REI Flash Carbon Review

January 10, 2018
REI Flash Carbon
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
84
Weight
9
Packability
5
Comfort/Swing
7
Features
6
Durability
7

The Good

  • Lightweight
  • Glove-friendly
  • Easy adjusting
  • Warmest Grip

The Bad

  • Warmest Grip
  • Longest minimum collapsed length
THE VERDICT
The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles were a solid competitor in the category of lightweight trekking poles. Reviewers felt this was a great entry at the price point and appreciated the classic style coupled with high tech materials like the dampening carbon composite uppers and easy-to-use “Powerlocks.”
FULL REVIEW

Weight

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).

Packability

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.

Comfort/Swing

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.

Features

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.

Durability

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.

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WHERE TO BUY
MSRP
$139.00
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USER REVIEWS

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