Mountainsmith Carbonite Pro Trekking Pole Review

Mountainsmith Carbonite. Click to enlarge.By Mary Webb

Mountainsmith Carbonite Pro series Trekking Poles are a backcountry necessity.  Whether you are trekking in Mongolia, the Canadian Rockies or perhaps dicing a few hundred miles on the Appalachian Trail, you can never assume steady terrain.  A loaded pack on a multi-day hike will weary the best of us.  We looked to Mountainsmith to offer an aid to uncharted territory and we ended up with a great travel companion.

Easy to get a grip

These Mountainsmith Carbonite Pros come with securely attached cork hand grips. The curvature of each grip is designed for comfort. The cork is an excellent choice because your hands still have a good grip even if it’s raining. Cork absorbs sweat and moisture very well and kept our hands relatively dry during the long hikes. Design of the cork is important as the index finger is able to rest on a knob that is created to give comfort in the grip.  We really liked the ribbed pattern in the cork that gives extra grip and breathability to the hand.

Wrist straps made of Neoprene fit nicely on the wrist and adjust well.  Carbonite Pro wrist straps fit snug enough to control the poles, but not too tight or binding so your hands have mobility.  There is a cushion backing in the strap that stretches to protect your skin as the straps maintain contact against your wrist.

On Point

Carbide tips are variegated on the point to dig into the terrain.   Tips are small enough to sink into nooks between stones on steep sloped hikes.  We felt Mountainsmith’s anti-shock absorption system soak up trail shocks on uneven terrain and provide a sense of extra buoyancy that tends to cushion heavily loaded steps.  Our shoulders felt relief, not only from the additional help of the poles aiding in the weight of our pack, but also the shock absorption took pressure off rigid motion in the arms.

Weight distribution and overall balance on uneven and sometimes steep terrain is the biggest payoff when using trekking poles of any

Cork: There's hardly any better grip material to be found - man made or not.
Cork: There's hardly any better grip material to be found - man made or not.

kind. If you are new to the idea of using trekking poles on your hikes and backpacks, they may take some getting used to. But as you learn how well trekking poles work to give you two more points of contact with the terrain, you’ll likely grow to trust the extra weight distribution trekking poles offer in addition to reducing the shock load on your feet, knees, and back when carrying a loaded pack. With the pack off, trekking poles can simply allow you to navigate terrain with much improved balance and traction control.

Rubber boot tips cover the points and give protection when you are on paved ground; while we felt these could have been more secure when we placed them on, they delivered a successful aid in walking us along the pavement.

Trekking baskets keep Mountainsmith poles from snagging on vegetation.  Some areas on our hike were muddy, but the baskets kept the poles working with us to higher destination spots.

Well Traveled

Collapsible poles come in three aluminum sections; heights are adjustable up to 57-inches as indicated on the pole shaft. But we did not adjust past the 54-inch pole length. Pole adjustment is executed with an easy twist turning mechanism allowing you to adjust poles to desired length and lock firmly in place.  We had the opportunity to share Mountainsmith Carbonite Pro poles among other members of our hiking crew, adjusting the length to fit our individual needs. Sharing your trekking poles with folks who may not have ever had the experience or benefit of using an extra contact point on moderate hikes is a great way to introduce others to the value of using trekking poles. You can use one pole and let a hiking buddy use the other pole. Even using one trekking pole provides and additional measure of balance and weight distribution.

Whether traveling by plane or car to your destination, you won’t be disappointed with the compact design of the poles that fit nicely in a carry-on backpack or suitcase. These sticks are ultra-light weight, completely adjustable, and affordable.    Not bad for $69.00!


Weight 1 lb. 2 oz. 0.54 kg

Compact/Extended Dimensions 26” (66cm) 54” (137cm)

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