The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber is an incredibly inexpensive carbon model. The interesting thing about these poles is that they were almost identical to the Foxelli HOG1 Trekking Pole, except with ever so slightly different locking mechanisms and branding. The Hiker Hunger poles are very lightweight, feature cork handles, and are offered at an extremely low price. Do note that the carbon fiber weave is quite thin; while this model is one of the lightest cork handled poles we tested, this also makes them much more prone to breaking.
Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Review
Cons: Durability, locking mechanisms could be better
Manufacturer: Hiker Hunger
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Hiker Hunger is a relatively small brand that we were not entirely familiar with. We became interested in learning more when we found that they offer one of the most inexpensive carbon fiber and cork handled poles on the market. For $70, they're even less expensive than our Best Buy award winner, the Black Diamond Trail Back.
The Hiker Hunger poles feel pretty good in hand, thanks to their ergonomically shaped cork handles. As we've found with cork grips, they are by far the most comfortable option when it comes to trekking poles. However, the thin weave of the carbon fiber poles and nylon wrist straps do not make them as comfortable as something like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork. They also feature a textured foam grip below the cork handles for "choking down" on the pole, as we've seen in other trekking poles. The thick and textured foam was more comfortable than other options that we have seen.
Locking Mechanism and Adjustability
These Carbon Fiber poles are a three section telescoping design with two standard lever locking mechanisms. They adjust from 24 inches out to 54 inches, giving you a wide range of adjustability and pack down to a pretty standard 24 inches, which is consistent within an inch of what we've seen from other telescoping pole designs this review period. We weren't as psyched on the locking mechanisms because they're built out of plastic and don't feel as strong as metal versions, like those found on the REI Co-op Flash Carbon.
Weighing in at about 15 ounces, these were one of the lighter poles in our lineup this year. This is due to the thin carbon fiber weave; while this makes them light, we also question the durability a little bit. If you're looking for a lightweight pole, we would suggest the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z which is five ounces lighter and feels and performs much better. That said, they are one of the lightest cork handled pole that we tested.
Although we tested the Hiker Hunger poles out on plenty of trails, we were a little concerned with the durability of pole overall. The thin carbon fiber weave used to construct them doesn't inspire confidence. The locking mechanisms are also entirely made of plastic, and the levers aren't very thick. If you're looking for a durable carbon fiber pole, we would suggest taking a peek at the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork which features a much thicker carbon weave and burlier locking mechanisms.
These poles come with quite a few attachments, more than we had seen in any of our other poles, the Foxelli HOG1 Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles excluded. Snow baskets, trekking baskets, and two sets of rubber tips to cover the carbide tips that are found on the pole. Regarding versatility, these make the Hiker Hunger one of the more versatile models. We wouldn't use them for any heavy duty applications, but day hikes both on pavement and dirt would be acceptable. For a more versatile, heavy duty pole we would suggest the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork.
We think that the Hiker Hunger trekking poles will serve most day hikers and single overnight backpackers well. We wouldn't suggest them for trips much longer than a weekend, due to our concerns with their durability.
For $70, the Hiker Hunger poles come with quite a few extras. They're the least expensive carbon fiber pole that we've seen. That said, we do have some questions about durability and value. For $70, we would suggest taking a look at the REI Co-op Passage, or for $10 more, the Black Diamond Trail Back. Both are aluminum poles, feature better locking mechanisms, and will last you for years to come in a wider variety of environments. The Hiker Hunger poles are best for day hikes on trail.
For the low price, you'll get cork handles and a carbon fiber construction that doesn't weigh a whole lot. However, questions about durability and longevity came into question when testing the Hiker Hunger poles. For $10 more, you could score the Black Diamond Trail Back; while it is heavier, it is more durable and versatile.
— Graham Williams