Easton CTR-80 Trekking Poles was provided by Easton for the purpose of this review
Words in italics came directly from website or box.
Review by Ron
CTR-80™ Adjustable Trekking Poles
Ultimate lightweight performance. CTR-80 features durable all-carbon construction with three-tier adjustability. The Vi-Brake™ vibration-dampening grip increases comfort for longer trips. Patent-pending Rock-Lock™ clamps secure pole sections with confidence. Features lightweight EVA foam grip extension and comfort strap.
CTR-80 Performance Features
- Patent-pending Vi-Brake™ technology reduces vibration transfer from the pole to your hand
- All-Carbon construction
- Rock-Lock™ clamp system
- Three-section adjustable
- Winter and Summer Baskets Included
- Fully extended length: 55.12 in (140 cm)
- Collapsed length: 25.25 in (64.1cm)
Why Choose the Rock-Lock system:
Patent-pending Rock-Lock clamp by Easton is a revolutionary locking system designed to offer full adjustability with a positive locking action.
Trek with confidence with Easton Exclusive low-profile toggle joint design that fuses the pole sections into position for hassle-free comfortable trekking in summer and winter. To adjust the Rock-Lock simply rotate the buckle lever to the desired position, re-engage the toggle joint, and snap the lever closed. Once set to the desired tension the lever can be locked and unlocked for collapsing the pole without losing locking tension.
As a hiker who has never hiked with trekking poles, I was very excited when I received the Easton CTR-80 poles in the mail to run out and give them a try. The moons lined up perfectly because we had beautiful weather over the weekend so I loaded up the family and we went on a day hike at one of our beautiful state parks. Before we took off on our fun family day, I thoroughly checked out the poles. I was really impressed at how small they packed up to be. If they are fully collapsed, the poles are only a bit over 25” long so they can easily be strapped to the outside of a pack without them sticking out above the pack or hanging below to get caught on something. The poles also have a removable holder to keep them together when not in use. The tips have removable protective coverings on them that not only protect the steel tips but they also protected our hardwood floors when I was testing them inside the house. The Vi-Brake™ vibration-dampening grips are very comfortable and claim to increase comfort on longer trips. The nylon straps are easily adjusted to fit any size wrist and have a thin foam strip on the inside of the strap to keep the nylon from rubbing your wrist and causing irritation.
The poles are easily adjusted to fit most hikers. I was disappointed that there were not any instructions on how to properly fit the poles to the person included in the box. I went to the Easton website and could not find anything there either. I Googled “how to fit trekking poles” and had several opinions on the subject. I picked three random sites and got two different suggestions so I went with majority. To fit the poles to your body, adjust the poles so your arm is at a 90 degree angle while holding the poles. The Easton CTR-80 have two patent pending Rock-Lock toggle clamps to allow easy adjustments even on the fly. To adjust the poles, simply lift up on the clamp, slide the pole to the desired height, turn the clamp to desired tension, then lock the clamp back into place. Once the clamp is locked into place, the Rock-Lock system lives up to its name. I am 6’3” tall and there is only 5cm left for the poles to extend so if you are taller than me, make sure you go and fit yourself to them before you go out and buy them. I allowed my middle son to try them out. He is 4’ 7” and there is room to make them shorter if needed.
Now for the fun part, the hike. Since I never used trekking poles before, I decided I would do half the hike with the poles and half without. The Easton CTR-80 all carbon poles are lightweight (1.44 lbs / 653.1 g) and very comfortable to hold in my hand. I put my hand through the strap and took off. I made sure I went up and down hills with the poles as well as flat. I did the first half of the hike with the poles. I found them to be very helpful while climbing, taking some stress of my legs and transferring the workload to my upper body. I felt much more sure footed while crossing streams and I really felt the difference going downhill. I am also a runner and I always prefer running uphill over down because of the stress going downhill puts on my knees and quads. I feel the same way when I hike. It is hard on my knees going downhill but with the poles, I could tell immediately that the poles were absorbing the pressure I would be putting on my knees without them. I never felt like the poles were stressing or near snapping. They are very solid even when I put tremendous pressure on them. I hiked about 1.5 miles with the poles then I gave them to my boys to use. As soon as I started without the poles, I knew right away I would always use trekking poles when I hike. I did not feel as sure footed and could feel the pressure on my knees going downhill.
Other than not having instructions on how to adjust the poles to my body, the only other issue I found with the poles is when I was in some thicker vegetation, the poles would get caught on the branches and it made it cumbersome to get through. Overall, I was very happy with the trekking poles and like I said earlier, I will use them on all my hikes. I have a 20 mile hike planned for the end of March and cannot wait to see how the Easton CTR-80’s do on a long hike. I am curious to see how my upper body reacts to more work on a hike and how the Vi-Brake™ vibration-dampening grips do on a long hike. More to come…
I am addicted! I have used the Easton CTR-80 trekking poles on several hikes since my first post and I cannot imagine hiking without them. They have performed well in the mountains as well as on flat hikes. I am very impressed on how easily I can make height adjustments while I am hiking. I found that I like to shorten the poles between 5 – 10 cm when I am climbing a hill depending on how steep it is and then lengthen them back to my fitted length for flats and down hills. To make the adjustments, all you have to do is open one of the two patent pending Rock-Lock toggle clamps, slide the telescoping pole up or down and lock it back. The adjustment can be made in a matter of seconds while walking.
My last hike was a 10 mile (it was supposed to be 20 but we decided to cut it short) hike on flat ground. I wondered if the poles would be much help on flatter ground so I went 4 miles with the poles then gave them up for a mile or so and noticed a big difference. As in my first test, I could feel the difference immediately in my legs. They felt weaker and heavier. When I went back to using the poles again my legs felt good. I did not feel any hand or upper body fatigue using the poles and that probably has to do with the Vi-Brake™ vibration-dampening grips. The trekking poles also helped me when the rains came and the trail got slippery. I found when the trail got slippery, I would shorten my stride and keep the poles more to my side rather than having them in front of me and they would help keep me from slipping and sliding.
For transporting the poles, I collapse the poles to the shortest position which is about 25” and attach them to the outside of my backpack. When I am not using them, they are small enough to easily fit in the corner of my camping closet. I have lost one of the plastic tip protectors so I am not allowed to use them in the house anymore.
As you can probably tell, I am very happy with the Easton CTR-80 trekking poles. The only issues I have found with them is the before mentioned hiking through thick brush and having the poles get tangled in the branches. The other issue is crossing wooden bridges that have gaps between the boards the poles can easily get caught in between the boards and trip you up or possible break the pole. The issues are not by any means a manufacturing defect, just something to be aware of when using them. I will have an update in a month.
Final Update 05/20/2011
I have now used the Easton CTR 80 Trekking Poles for over two months and I am thoroughly happy with the performance, strength and usefulness of the poles. I have used them on at least five hikes and one turkey hunt and I cannot image going on any extended off road walk without them. I am impressed with the ease of changing the height of the poles by the patented Rock-lock system as I ascend and descend hills. They have proven that they can take the full weight of me (185 lbs) as I found out one day as I slipped off a trail and used it to catch my fall. I especially like how they collapse down to just over 25” for not only storage at home but how I easily put them in the back of my turkey vest when I sit down to talk with a turkey or strap them to my backpack if I don’t want to use them on a hike (which has not happened since I got them).
I am convinced that the Easton CTR 80 Trekking Poles help with leg fatigue on longer hikes and I noticed that my knees are less sore the following days. Since I never used another brand of trekking poles to know if the Vi-Brake™ vibration-dampening grips are better than poles without, I can say my hands never feel tired or sore even after a ten mile hike.
I have found a couple of negatives on the poles that I mention in my previous post and they have nothing to do with the design of the poles but I have found another as I continue to use them and it’s a big one in my eyes…all my family members want to use them on our hikes and I really don’t want to share the poles with them. I guess I am going to have to go out and purchase more of the Easton CTR 80 trekking poles for the rest of the family.
Thank you Easton for providing the poles for me to test and 4AllOutdoors.org for the opportunity.
Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design