REI Flash Carbon ReviewJanuary 10, 2018
- Easy adjusting
- Warmest Grip
- Warmest Grip
- Longest minimum collapsed length
Only three of the six models in our review weighed a pound or less and the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles have the distinction of being the lightest in our assortment at 14.8 ounces (420 grams).
Unfortunately while they came in as the lightest they also were noted for being the least packable of all the models in our test with a minimum collapsed size of 27 inches. This could make traveling with them difficult as they would not likely fit inside carry-on suitcase dimensions. The longer minimum length also makes strapping them on small backpacks for scrambling less convenient.
REI uses an exclusive EVA foam grip that worked well with our testers with small and large hands. The grip was quite warm which was a boon to our cold-handed testers and those who used them in colder environments. A few testers who took them out on hot and humid trips reported the grips could feel a little too warm at times. When traveling on hard trail surfaces and rocky slabs, some testers felt that the carbon composite material did help dampen vibrations compared to an aluminum model but other testers felt the effect was hard to perceive.
Our heavier testers swore by the security of the adjustment after ensuring the glove friendly “Powerlock” system was properly adjusted (a small Phillips head screwdriver quickly adjusts tension on the mechanism). The included trekking baskets had a very low profile, which resulted in less snags while bushwhacking or rock hopping over talus fields. Rubber tips for indoor use are not included, but plastic travel tips are.
After hundreds of miles, REI Flash Carbon trekking poles only show minor cosmetic wear. The carbon composite upper section looks brand new and the aluminum lower section has minor scratches in its finish. All testers felt that short of catching these in a crevice and powering forward they were unlikely to fail from normal use in hundreds of miles.Continue Reading
David is a self proclaimed snow & navigation geek and teaches all aspects of climbing and avalanche safety for Eastern Mountain Sports Schools in North Conway, NH. He tests GPS's for the Gear Institute.