Review: REI Carbon Powerlock Trekking Poles

If you know me, you know that I’m not really that steady on my feet.  I’m definitely not the person who will evangelize trail runners – I love my high ankle boots and the support they give me.  For an early birthday gift last year, Andrew gave me the REI Carbon Powerlock Trekking Poles (Women’s).


You can find the poles at REI here for $130.  The total weight for the two poles with baskets and rubber tips is 15 oz.  If you’ve never used trekking poles, I suggest borrowing some from a friend and figuring out if you find them useful.  I’d used a pair of these Swiss Gear trekking poles once or twice before, which definitely helped me be more steady, but the difference between the two is amazing.

The REI poles are built with foam grips, padded straps, are made of carbon fiber, and have an external locking mechanism for the adjustable length.  These poles do not have shocks.



  • Lightweight but solid – enough said.
  • Locking mechanism – The Swiss Gear poles I was using had twist locks and would constantly slip and shorten.  These poles are way more solid and have never slipped.


  • Grip – The foam grip on these poles are great.  It’s comfortable to hold them all day, and I’ve never had a problem with blisters on my hands.  They’re easy to grip in both wet and dry conditions.



  • The wrist straps are pretty hard to adjust.  I constantly feel like one is longer than the other.
  • Compared to other high end brands, these trekking poles are on the expensive side.  They are worth using a 20% off coupon if you’re an REI member, but you can get similar Black Diamond poles with shocks for $10 more.

Overall Opinion

  • Trekking poles are an absolute must for me.  There’s no way I could hike without them.
  • If you like foam handles, these are a good choice, though they are a little overpriced.
  • Will I carry this on the JMT? Absolutely.  With the elevation changes over the trail, I’d be a fool not to!

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2 thoughts on “Review: REI Carbon Powerlock Trekking Poles

  1. Please be aware that the REI Carbon Power Lock Women’s Trekking Poles are packaged with a message hidden under the rubber basket that says that the locking mechanism must be tightened with a screwdriver and re-righted over time. Since the message is unreadable and since my black diamond poles lasted for over 2000 miles and never needed tightening, I did not carry a screw driver on my last long distance walk and my REI poles collapsed on me and I ended up with a concussion. I tried to state this on the REI website but they won’t allow me to post a criticism of their poles. I would attach a photo of the unreadable message if I could…

    • I do tighten my poles before every trip. The locking mechanism is a simple machine that needs to be taken care of, but that stinks that that happened to you!

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