D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces

Posted by: Trailrunner

D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/05/08 05:20 PM

There's at least one thing that kite builders and lightweight backpackers have in common: They want their stuff to be strong and light. So when I decided to build (more like assemble) my own lightweight poles I looked here for ideas. I chose a pair of 1/2" OD (outside diameter) carbon fiber tubes at $13.26 each. I could have gone with a lighter, smaller diameter tube but I was willing to pay a small weight penalty for more strength. Also, the 1/2" dimension was perfect for what goes on either end as you will see below. I have not even cut the tubes down because the 48" length seems about right for me. Perhaps a tad long but I plan to grip them a little low on level ground and use the full length for descents.

Now that I had my shafts it was time to look for tips and grips. Let's start from the bottom up.

I found these tips at REI. About $9.00/pr. With their 1/2" ID (inside diameter) they slipped on to my tube ends perfectly. But being rubber I question their durability. And they don't accept baskets. So my backup plan is a pair of off the shelf Leki Pole tips. They don't just slip over the tubes so I'll need a ferrule. But at this point they are still plan "B". I plan to use the rubber tips for about 25 miles' worth of day hikes and then assess their future. Also, it seems to me that the broader footprint of the rubber tips would be less damaging to the trail than the pointy carbide tips.




On to the grips. I looked around quite a bit and found these at Cabela's. Cost was about $2.00 each. The EVA foam feels exactly like the grips on my store bought REI poles. And since they're intended for fishing poles they're made to provide a firm grip while wet.


They slipped onto the shafts with ease.

Keep in mind that this is a work in progress. I have yet to add straps. The Ti Goat and Gossamer Gear poles are strapless. Some say they work great without. I find myself transferring lots of weight to the straps on my existing poles and I can't imagine going without them, but I want to keep an open mind so I'll go strapless for a while. If I do find that straps are needed I have a few ideas for adding removable ones. Again, this is a work in progress. I'll post more as they evolve.

Total Cost: About $39.00 in parts plus shipping.

Weight: 3.4 ounces each. The carbide tips weigh the same as the rubber tips.

Flexion: Hardly any. I can lean on them with my full weight (175 lbs) and they barely budge.

Assembly time: Less than 5 minutes.

Durability: ???? We'll see. I do not expect long term daily use from these poles. I made them mainly for my JMT thruhike this summer.


Packability: Not a good pole for planes, trains and automobiles. But I didn't intend them to be.

As a shelter pole: They work on my Lunar Solo and Gatewood cape. Not as well as adjustable poles but they will never collapse on me.

To be continued........
Posted by: billk

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/05/08 10:12 PM

Thanks for the link to Goodwinds Kites. It looks like they have some nifty stuff. If only that 3/4oz. coated ripstop was tarp-worthy <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: mugs

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/06/08 12:46 AM

Quote:
I want to keep an open mind so I'll go strapless for a while. If I do find that straps are needed I have a few ideas for adding removable ones.


Oh man, That was the last mental picture I wanted in my head before I went to bed <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

Hope your "strapless idea works" personally I prefure "straps" keeps things in place ya know. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

All kidding aside it looks like a really great project. Will have to try it some time. Allthough I prefer an adjustable pole for different tarp pitching options.
Posted by: BarryP

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/06/08 07:04 AM

Wow. Great ideas and finds <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />! This looks like something I can make! I like 45Ē poles so this would work good. This is much cheaper than the GG and even the new BPL stix.

I like using the fixed-length pole on my GG Squall Classic. Iíve been fine with fixed length in my travels.

Youíll find strapless is easier on the wrists and eliminates hand swelling. Your forearms will like it (because of low weight). And your hand muscles will gain new strength. It cured my wifeís carpal tunnel. The few backpacking trips she has been on has been enough to totally eliminate her pain in the past 3 years.

A couple of questions:
1. Do you think youíll have to add any glue to the tips or handles to keep them from sliding (or falling off) in hot weather?
2. Do you think youíll need a little more diameter on the handles? 1.15Ē seems small for long time hand grip. But Iím not sure; Iím used to fatter handles (GG pole).

-Barry
Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/06/08 10:17 AM

Quote:

Oh man, That was the last mental picture I wanted in my head before I went to bed <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

Hope your "strapless idea works" personally I prefure "straps" keeps things in place ya know. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />


Yeah mugs, there are certain places where straps should be mandatory <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/06/08 10:31 AM

Quote:

A couple of questions:
1. Do you think youíll have to add any glue to the tips or handles to keep them from sliding (or falling off) in hot weather?
2. Do you think youíll need a little more diameter on the handles? 1.15Ē seems small for long time hand grip. But Iím not sure; Iím used to fatter handles (GG pole).

-Barry


1) The handles will be secured with Gorilla Glue because (a) it's what I have on hand and (b) it seems to work very well. The rubber tip is a very tight fit. But I am concerned that it will loosen up over time and if I catch it in a crack I could lose it. Then again it may wear out long before it loosens up. So for now it just a press fit while the poles are on "probation" and the design is not finalized.

2) That's a concern for me too but I guess only time in the field will tell. Ideally I would love to find some "real" EVA grips with a 1/2" ID but so far they are elusive.
Posted by: speyguy

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/06/08 02:52 PM

Wow, I'm impressed. Nice work! It got me thinking about the handles. There is a fishing rod building supply place (Anglers Workshop) not too far from me (there are others) where you can purchase cork handles if they were preferred. Although, I like the foam.
Posted by: Keith

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/08/08 08:18 AM

>"Also, it seems to me that the broader footprint of the rubber tips would be less damaging to the trail than the pointy carbide tips."
****************************************

Interesting observation about carbide tips and a possible alternative. I have a couple pairs of LuxuryLite's CF poles. (Made by Valcour on this board). He no longer makes the trekking poles but just his hiking staff. Anyway the tips on his poles are a softer material than carbide and actually grip rock where carbide just skates off. I believe also that the tip material (which is like a piece of metal piping whose O.D. fits the I.D. of the CF pole) extends some distance up inside to protect it from the kind of fracturing that can happen to CF if it gets stuck between a crack in rocks and pried out. Anyway, I had several head-to-head comparisons with carbide-tipped pole users as I was hiking across the Grand Canyon. Everyone agreed the LL poles had better grip.

Another feature I like is the adjustable height grip that the poles have. It's a completely different approach, but it really works.
Posted by: phat

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 03/08/08 11:23 AM

Cool!

You're down at about the weight of my Komperdell C3's (They're 175gr == roughly 6 oz for the pair)

Now the only problem with this design is you have to factor in the weight of the additional $120 in
cash that was left in your wallet, So buying the Komperdell's makes me have a lighter overall weight
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: BarryP

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 10/21/08 12:10 PM

Trailrunner,
Have you had anytime to try out your DIY poles?
Thanx,
-Barry
Posted by: rootball

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 10/21/08 05:06 PM

Really sweet. I might follow suit on this idea. I had a friend that made his own flyrods. I perused a few catalogs and have always wanted to get some of those cork rings and make a cork grip on my walking pole. I might just make a new pole and use the cork -maybe a nice western grip.
Posted by: Earthling

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 10/21/08 05:28 PM

The original rubber feet are still going strong on my Trekker 3's from Cascade Design after ten years! They work great, and I've never taken them off to expose the carbide tips on the poles. Not using them for off trail use will elngthen their life considerably IME. Nice project kevin <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 10/22/08 09:31 AM

Quote:
Trailrunner,
Have you had anytime to try out your DIY poles?
Thanx,
-Barry


They have seen some use but not as much as I'd like. Most of my recent trips involved bushwhacking and/or class 3 rock climbing where I needed to stow my poles on my pack. That meant telescoping poles. I wanted to use them on my HST trip but I took public transportation to the TH and I needed poles that stored compactly on the train/bus. On other trips I did not need poles at all.

My main concern is the durability of the rubber tips and so far it's holding up well but the poles are still low mileage. The shafts seem to be bombproof and they flex very little even with all my weight on them. I retrospect I think I could have used a thinner walled shaft and saved some weight.

I used the whole 48" of the stock poles without cutting. That turned out to be too long for my personal needs so I plan to cut them down. I also made straps for the handles.
Posted by: Paddy_Crow

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 10/22/08 11:13 AM

I have a shaft from a driver (golf) that I have been toying with making a hiking pole with. It is 45" long and tapers from about .650" on the wide end to .350" at the tip. It already has a grip on it, so all I need to do is add a tip to the business end.
Posted by: Earthling

Re: D.I.Y. CF Hiking Poles, 3.4 ounces - 10/23/08 04:03 PM

great project for page one of the TLB <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />