As the resident gear whore at Smackpacker, I decided that I needed to lower my gear worn/carried weight a few months ago and started to procure lighter clothing, a new iPod, a new camera, etc. When Backpacking Light offered their 2009 STIX carbon fiber poles at an incredibly cheap price of $53.99, I couldn’t resist trying out these 8.2 oz poles (pair). I bought the 115cm length due to the fact that this pairs well with my Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape.
Upon receiving these poles, I couldn’t help but notice the interesting design of the pole tips: instead of offering a replaceable tip, the poles tapered all the way to an integrated tip. While this is clearly the lightest option, it is certainly not the most durable. People on the interwebz have been covering the carbon fiber tip with heat shrink as a lightweight protective solution.
Another solution is to remove the basket and overlay an aftermarket Leki tip over these poles for an increased length of ~4.3cm. I will show how to do this in picture format!
The first step of this is to place the basket on the basket collar. This provides some leverage to remove the collar from the poles and create the length necessary for sliding on an aftermarket tip.
The second step is to grab the pole handle in your left hand (if right-handed), and use the basket to loosen the collar, removing it from the pole. This is very easy to do as you can see from the photo below as there’s only a small amount of glue on the pole to secure the collar to the pole.
Once this is done, simply place some leki replacement tips over the end of the poles, pounding them into the ground, tip first, several times.
Note: this modification adds just over 4cm of length to the poles. This created a slightly longer pole than I’d prefer, but that’s a trade-off that I gladly made due to the length required to erect my cape. After this modification, I’ve used the poles on several hikes and they worked flawlessly! It’s really surprising how much easier it is to use a featherweight pole. While they certainly aren’t bombproof or as stowable as an adjustable pole, these poles fully meet my needs and divided my pole weight in half!