The Foxelli HOG1 Carbon Fiber poles are one of the most inexpensive carbon fiber cork handled competitors that we've seen on the market. This contender was only matched by Hiker Hunger, which also reviewed in this year's lineup. Oddly enough, the Hiker Hunger poles and the HOG1 are almost exact carbon copies of each other, except for subtle differences in logos and locking mechanisms. Overall, the HOG1 poles are lightweight, have cork handles, and are super inexpensive. However, we do believe that you get what you pay for, and the carbon fiber weave does leave a bit to be desired, as it is rather thin, which makes us question the durability.
Foxelli HOG1 Carbon Fiber Review
Cons: Not durable, locking mechanisms aren't so great
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Foxelli HOG1 Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are a smaller brand that we hadn't heard of before, and we were interested in taking a look at one of the least expensive carbon fiber, and cork handled poles on the market. Interestingly enough, the Foxelli HOG1 and the Hiker Hunger poles were almost identical in design.
Thanks to cork handles and great ergonomic design, the HOG1 feels pretty good in the hand, and we thought they were on par with other cork handled poles that we had tested this year. Cork handles only get better with time, and we had no questions about the comfort in the handles. As we saw with the Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles, the thin carbon fiber weave didn't absorb shock as well as some models with a thicker weave, like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork. The nylon wrist straps also left a little to be desired. The foam grips located below the cork grips were thick and well cushioned, making it a much more pleasant experience to "choke down" on the pole in rough and uneven terrain.
Locking Mechanism and Adjustability
The HOG1 is a standard three section telescoping pole, offering a 24 inch packed size, and are adjustable when deployed to 54 inches. There are two lever locking mechanisms to adjust the pole; these locking mechanisms weren't as burly as we hoped, as they were made entirely of plastic, which didn't inspire confidence on our end. Some poles, like the REI Co-op Passage, featured plastic locking mechanisms but felt much thicker and burly.
Although the HOG1 and the Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber poles were almost identical, the HOG1 weighed in about 0.7 ounces heavier, likely due to the slightly different locking mechanism. Regardless, at 15.7 ounces, that makes the HOG1 one of the lightest cork handled poles that we've tested, and one of the most inexpensive for the weight. However, if you're looking for a lighter pole that feels a little more durable, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z may be worth a look. At 10 ounces, the Carbon Z was surprisingly durable.
We were a bit concerned with the durability of the HOG1 pole, as its plastic locking mechanisms and thin carbon fiber weave didn't make us want to go bushwhacking. They held up just fine on groomed trails, but the longevity of the pole may be suspect. If you're looking for a more durable pole, both the Leki Micro Vario Carbon and the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork have fully featured carbon poles that are quite a bit more burly and feature much thicker carbon fiber weave.
The HOG1 comes with plenty of attachments, as we saw with the Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber trekking poles. You'll find snow baskets, trekking baskets, and two sets of rubber tips to cover the carbide tips - even a carrying case. Regarding three-season versatility, this makes the HOG1 pretty versatile for a variety of adventures, both on paved and dirt surfaces. We think that, like the Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber trekking poles, the HOG1 would likely be best served as a day hiking pole. If you're looking for a more versatile, heavy duty, carbon fiber pole we would suggest something like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork.
The HOG1 poles are the ideal day hiking poles and can be used on overnight weekend backpacking trips. Much like the Hiker Hunger poles, we were a little skeptical about the durability and longevity of these particular poles but did not experience any problems.
For $70, you'll pretty much get the exact same pole as the Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber, and for the life of us, we couldn't distinguish much difference between the two. If you're looking for a lightweight, cork handled trekking pole for a super inexpensive price, look no further. We do think that durability and value aren't the highest metric with this pole, and for $70, you could buy something like the REI Co-op Passage. The Passage features a burlier design and will last for many seasons to come (in a variety of environments). The HOG1 is best served as a day hiking pole on the trail or in the city.
For $70, you'll get carbon fiber construction and comfortable cork grips. However, durability, longevity, and versatility limit the effectiveness of these poles. For only $10 more, you can purchase the Black Diamond Trail Back which offers a lot more in the way of durability and longevity.
— Graham Williams