ULTRALIGHT CARBON FIBER
ZPACKS EXPANSION INTO ANOTHER ULTRALIGHT OFFERING
Bursting onto the scene in the world of trekking poles, a little company that is well represented and respected on trails all over the world… ZPACKS.
Full disclosure… Admittingly, I am pro ZPACKS and own several pieces of their quality made products.
Their gospel of ultralightness has morphed my hiking experiences drastically over the years… obviously making it more comfortable and actually safer!
You read that correctly…
We all know the less weight you carry while hiking results in decreasing your chances for a cumbersome mechanical injury and overuse injury!
Can you be “more comfortable and safer” without ZPACKS…of course you can. However, they make it easier to cut unnecessary weight and have a wide array of ultralight offerings to facilitate the aforementioned endeavor.
In respect to my admitted pro ZPACKS stance, I do view everything through ZPACKS’ blue glasses.
MY INTENTIONS & OPPORTUNE TIMING
**NOTE: This is an initial “FIRST-LOOK” out of the box specs review**
While the weight of their poles were still heavier than my fixed length Black Diamond ZPoles (5oz per pole) that I am extremely happy with…, I was intrigued by their trekking pole offering.
At 7 ounces per pole, these carbon beauties definitely live up to their tag line to “Lighten Up.”
This is a “First Look” review. My intentions were not to replace my BDs, but to select a pair of ultralight “Flick-Lock” or “Clasp-Lock” poles for my father-in-law per his direction to find him a pair of trekking poles.
Why not look at their trekking poles since I have purchased a Duplex, down sleeping bag, Arc Blast backpack, and dry bags from them in the past year on his behalf as a personal gear purchaser.
It has been fun spending his money over the past year!
ZPACKS went live on their website at the right time. So I purchased a pair for him…and got a chance to get an out-of -the-box “First Look” at them.
To offer full disclosure again… I have never used clasp-lock poles. Remember, I’m happy with my 120cm BD ZPoles. It fits my ZPACKS Duplex perfectly…so no reason for me to leave my 5oz BD ZPoles!
Upon receiving the ZPACKS trekking poles shipment, I opened them with a sense of giddiness.
THE INITIAL 10 “FIRST LOOK” THOUGHTS
Here are my initial 10 “First Look” thoughts (opinions):
1) I like the price-point…
2) I like the industry standard of a 1 year warranty on carbon shaft poles (Comparing to Leki’s lifetime warranty doesn’t compare equally; they only offer lifetime warranties on their aluminum poles)…
2) I like the weight, they are light…
3) I like the sturdiness… the carbon braid shafts feels durable…
4) I like the padded straps…
5) The EVA foam handles felt ergonomically comfortable in my hand…not too small in circumference, the trim-lines were angled appropriately in relation to each finger and palm…
6) I like the overall length of the EVA foam handles (gives you the option to choke up on them when needed going up steep inclines)…
7) No vibration was experienced when I tapped them on the hardwood floor going up & down steps in my home…
8) The clasp-locks left me wondering about their durability (not saying anything bad about them…they are …just…plastic)…
9) The flick-lock “tensioning screw housings” once again left me wondering about their durability too (same thing…not saying anything bad about them…they are…plastic)…
10) The clasp-lock “coupling” once again…well…you know what I’m about to say…yep…wondering about durability…plastic…blah…blah…blah…
ADDRESSING THE INITIAL 10 “FIRST LOOK” THOUGHTS
Now I want to address the #s 8-9-10. I fully disclosed, I used 120cm fixed length Black Diamond ZPoles.
With that being said, I sought the opinion of another experienced hiker I have a lot of confidence in.
He has hundreds…probably thousands of trail miles under his belt.
I took the ZPACKS trekking poles to frequent hiking friend & partner, Chris Russell. He uses “clasp-lock adjustable trekking poles (Black Diamond) and I felt he could give me some excellent feedback; comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
After handing them to him, I quietly let him examined the poles; to not direct him to my “First-Look” thoughts.
He had some of the same initial thoughts (#s 8-9-10…) as I did. Not necessarily bad things, just “First-Look” studious examination thoughts.
In regard to #s 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, he and I discussed them in depth and were in agreement for the most part.
Regarding the “First Look” thoughts, both Chris and I felt the new “ZPACKS Carbon Trekking Poles were a pretty good value for a pair of ultralight clasp-lock trekking poles compared to the market.
The ZPACKS Trekking poles, for $100, is a piece of equipment that is appropriate for its price-point, warranty, and potentially expected durability upon the initial 10 “FIRST-LOOK” thoughts.
It is a pole, that if broken in 2 years, I would feel like I got my money’s worth out of it. If broken within 1 year…, I would solicit the warranty and get a replacement. If it lasted greater than 3 years…terrific…what a deal (and I do expect them to last by the way)!
I feel most hikers could appreciate the reduction in their trekking pole weights and really appreciate the price-point.
I have full confidence in the crew at ZPACKS that they put these poles through a thorough testing and gave a thumbs up on the quality, weight, durability, and price-point(for the ease of ordering and quality, most expect from ZPACKS).
THE INITIAL 10 “FIRST-LOOK” SPECS
Here are some specs in regard to the EVA Foam Handles:
Top Circumference : 3.75 inches
Mid Circumference : 3.50 inches
Lower Circumference : 3.25 inches
Total Length : 10.0 inches (Thumb-side) | 10.25 inches (Index finger side)
Weight: 7.0 ounces (198 grams) per pole including wrist strap and basket.
Maximum Length to ‘stop’ line: 54″ (137 cm)
Maximum Length for pitching tents: 56″ (142 cm)
Collapsed Length: 24.5″ (62 cm)
Price: $59 single / $49.50 each for two
SIMILAR PRODUCT OFFERINGS
(Some Reports of Vibration) (This offering is 8 ounces per pole)
Beware of the Cork offerings on this product. They have been reported to be plastic feeling and unreliable (coming off) after extended use.
DID WE KEEP THEM OR SEND THEM BACK
We did move forward with keeping the ZPACKS trekking poles.
My father-in-law seemed to really like them and was excited about getting them on a trail.
We do have a 50+ miles hike in the GSMNP in a few weeks and if we see anything regarding quality that needs to be reported, I will post an addenda to this JBENSBLOG post.
See you all on the trail,