Pacer Poles

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    Whit Kincaid


    I purchased and tried these poles for a 40 mile PCT hike in the San Jacintos in July after reading the review here at BackpackingLight. Here is the lightitude award winner in my book! In terms of on trail hiking, these aren’t just better poles, this is a whole new approach. They are superb while ascending. To me that was clear. I did the section from Palms to Pines highway (Hwy 74)up to Saddle Junction and back down into Idyllwyld. Primarily I was acending for two days. It ended with a hair raising descent of Devil Slide trail into town at 11:00PM sans photon with starlight only. I’ll never do that again! While descending they seemed fine. In fact, considering the stress factor envolved in that decent and being new gear, they did great. They are easy to adjust, and only the slightest loosening once or twice after heavy use.
    However, in the flat (when I typically just carry or stow my poles)they are simply like nothing else I’ve ever tried. They actually perform as claimed….. they improve the human stride. I find them remarkable.

    Andy Howell


    I agree with everything that has been said about these poles. Look up their website and you will see that all kinds of scientific claims are made for this design.

    They certainly work very differently to ordinary poles and – for me – they are more efficient. There is a lot less arm movement, a very small movement skims the ground with the poles. Your arms really do begin to work like pistons – but this is not strenuous.

    I also agree about ascent. They are superb for climb conditions but they’re also very effective for descent.

    It does take a little while to work out the best height for you. The poles tend to be extend to a lower height that with normal poles and this takes a bit of getting used to. But once you’ve found your optimum height I find that I rarely have to alter the length of them while I am walking – far less frequently than with other poles.

    Finally, the left and right mouled handles look a bit odd. But they really are very, very comfortable.

    Dondo .
    BPL Member


    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    Here's something I just posted at the Editor's Roundtable forum. It occured to me that it belongs here as well.

    Heather, here's something I posted on the TLB general discussion forum a few days ago:

    And Now For Something Completely Different:

    #117888 – 12/08/06 07:44 PM

    "I had a love/hate relationship with trekking poles for years and was about to give up on them. Then I tried these:

    After eight months of use in all kinds of terrain and conditions I have to say that I AM a believer."

    Back in the spring, after reading about Pacer Poles, I had one of those "ah-ha" moments, an intution of how it would actually feel to use them. After ordering them from Brian Frankle at ULA, I read the instructions carefully and practiced around the house. A couple of days later I took them on a three-day trip with plenty of steep ascents and descents. About an hour into the trip, I was getting more and more excited about these poles. They were really increasing the quality of my movement and I remember thinking that this was the biggest improvement in my hiking life since I discovered trail running shoes. With "normal" poles I had always felt like a guy using poles; with Pacer Poles, I was starting to feel like an upright four-legged creature. Since then, I always hike with them, even when I'm just hiking a couple of hours in the local foothills. My enjoyment of the act of hiking has increased so much.

    I hesitated posting here initially because I wanted to gain more experience with Pacer Poles in steep terrain and deep snow, two areas where the reviewers here didn't give them very high marks. Well, I've encountered plenty of steep terrain over the summer and fall and recently some deep snow. In my experience, Pacer Poles excel in both conditions. There was no need to contort my wrists to pull myself up. Instead, I just pushed down against the handles while the tips were planted alongside my body.

    So thanks for designing these and best of luck in getting the word out. Hopefully, others will join Brian, Chris, Miles, and others in discovering how different, and how good Pacer Poles really are.

    paul johnson


    Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest

    I truly do love both sets of PacerPoles that i own (one pair 2-sect, and one pair 3-sect).

    I can't say enough good things about them. They are one of favorite T-poles (trekking poles) to use.

    I, personally, don't always choose to use them in precisely their prescribed manner depending upon the terrain that i find myself on (very rocky, uneven, when a lot of assist in balance is req'd and one is hopping/stepping from rock-to-rock instead of "walking"/"striding", and when on very steep ascents/descents, often coupled with some large step-ups which make gripping the foam area more advantageous for me), but others seem to be able to – so, perhaps, i'm just the "odd ball" here.

    The above points do NOT factor into my rating, as what is said above is true of ANY T-pole or Hiking Staff.

    Like the Old Scotsman says "It's better felt, than telt!". I couldn't "tell" it any better. One needs to actually try these poles, using proper PacerPole form, to "feel" the difference. I don't have the words (and y'all know i have A LOT of words!!!) to properly describe the feeling.

    Here is a URL to a very long PacerPole Thread which I include here, rather than duplicate just my Posts. To include just my Posts here, would give a slanted or lop-sided view. One really needs to read others responses to my criticisms/objections to get a fuller picture and to see which way the "chips may fall" for your own specific uses.

    PP cust. srv. is also *T*O*P* *N*O*T*C*H*, IMO.

    So then, why do I give the PP's only a 4. Well, first, it would be and should be closer to a 4.5, but decimal values aren't allowed. I give them a 4, because of their weight. Yes, proper PP trekking form mitigates much or nearly all of this extra weight, yet at times, the way i feel that i personally am forced to use them on rare occasions as described above, their weight can be noticed as compared to a truly UL CF T-pole. The joints also can, on a rare occasion (nothing like my experience with Komperdell or REI poles, made by K., IIRC) lock up or fail to tighten. I haven't had problems with them loosening with use, but i periodically try to re-tighten them anyways – rarely have i found much movement/adjustment/tightening required.

    I really wonder if minor design changes to the grip and other parts, coupled with perhaps some changes in materials used, could shave a few ounces off of their weight without affecting their performance and longevity? Don't know, but i'd like to see the PP people try it.

    If I could have only one pair of T-poles or H-staffs with me, the PP's would make my short list of THREE diff sets (LL Trail Sticks and GG LightTreks being the other two pairs on the short list). At this point, I'm NOT sure which of the three i would pick – i guess, it would depend upon the terrain that i know that i would be hiking on. That would be the deciding factor for me.

    G Foster McLachlan


    Locale: NYS

    I own the carbon fiber pole 3 piece. I backpack with them on rough terrain and put them through a lot of abuse.

    Now, there is a purpose to these poles that traditional trek poles don't offer. And that is to relieve a substantial part of the workload off of your legs and to your upper body. This is good physically speaking in my opinion. Too much strain and stress on one major body part or joints isn't smart and if you can avoid it, great.

    And bc of this and when used correctly, they sure as heck increase your endurance and more.

    You can hike farther and more effiently and avoid possible injury. Your whole body gets a good work out too. When your humping a precipitous grade and you start gasping for air, just kick in with the arms and watch how things change. You can vary which body part works harder at different intervals and this way you can offer legs rest, and still keep the pace w the arms and vice versa. Telling you.

    On the decent they relieve much more pressure off the wrists bc of the shape of the grips than coventional pole grips, not to mention you can go hail mary downhill bc you can absorb more shock and strain if you wanted as it feels your whole body absorbs the vibrations not just your arms.

    Of course using these offers stability/balance just as regular poles–Which seems to be the main purpose of trek poles to these offer that and everything else mentioned. QUite a package.

    They are also strong..I put all of my weight on them at times and never felt like they could snap, honeslty.

    I would give these a 5 star rating if they can knock off some weight. Not sure if the plastic handle is completely solid maybe can be hollowed out a bit more or they can even make the grips and plastic thinner.?.

    The extra weight than other carbon fibers is worth it since it offers a better, safer hike. Now if I wasn't peakbagging or hitting steep grades often and was hiking more flats and such maybe I "might" opt for traditional -I guess nordic style-lighter stix just for stability.bc that trekking would be relatively easy to me at that point anyway.hand stand it the whole way.

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