MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon ($170)

Table of Contents

1 lb. 1 oz.

Folding (lever lock)

Foam

One of the most well-rounded poles we’ve ever used.

Overkill for summer use and not the most comfortable grips.

The majority of the poles listed in this list are designed to be used for light shoulder season and summer work, but if expecting significant snow-related travel, you should consider having a stronger design. Its DynaLock Ascent Carbon is precisely the thing: Its Kevlar-reinforced carbon fiber structure is durable, and it comes with bigger winter baskets to keep the poles in snow. The remainder of the Ascent looks like a standard trekking pole, with the ability to fold it down and put down to a tiny size, adjustable 8-inches as well as a moderate capacity of 1 lb and 1 one ounce per couple (for the 100-120cm model). Overall, it’s one of the most balanced models we’ve used. One editor even brought it to Patagonia’s notoriously difficult 43-mile Huemul Circuit in which the pair created the current mixed-gender team FKT with a time of less than 12 hours–a truly impressive demonstration of the poles’ versatility.

The $170 MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon is priced at $170. It offers plenty of bang for the buck, but it’s too big for summer use. It’s possible to go lighter using something like that BD Distance Carbon Z above as well, and the winter baskets don’t need to be used for anything other than heavy snow (more compact trekking discs come with). Additionally, we noticed that the foam grips on the MSR aren’t the most comfortable as a traditional model for hiking, particularly at the top, which has many pieces of plastic that are exposed. While we’re on the subject of complaints, if you are looking for a pole that can be used throughout the year for everything from snowshoeing, to challenging high-level routes The DynaLock Ascent Carbon deserves a take a look. It’s been inconsistent recently, however MSR as well as a few other retailers had a decent selection as of the date of publication.