Mountainsmith Dolomite 7075 OLS Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Unique to our review, the Mountainsmith Dolomite is sold as a single pole and excels in simple hiking terrain.
While most products in this category have moved towards foam grips, the Dolomite features a cork grip that molds to the user's hand over time. Unfortunately, our test model had a relatively abrasive feel to the cork. The grip contour is comfortable and the rounded top of the handle is pleasant to push down upon, but the secondary grip tapers from top to bottom in a way that is uncomfortable to hold. Overall, this pole is not as comfortable as most other products in the category.
At 9.5 ounces for a single pole, the Dolomite is relatively heavy compared to other trekking poles on the market. It features thick aluminum shaft components, which make the pole feel heavy and slow to swing forward. Newer users and hikers out for short day-hikes won't feel the weight, but seasoned users immediately notice the heavy overall weight and clunky feel of this heavy pole. If weight is a consideration at all, or if you'll be swinging this pole on the trail for long distances and multiple days in a row, the weight will likely become an issue.
Locking and Adjustability
The Dolomite features two aluminum lever locks that snap securely into place and prevent any length changes during use. The levers are tightened or loosened with small metal dials, which are easy to operate and don't require a special tool for adjustments. The pole extends from 24 to 54 inches, for a generous 30 inches of length adjustment capacity. We were impressed by the Dolomite's performance in this category.
As with most three-section collapsible pole designs, the Dolomite does not pack down to a small size. The smallest collapsed length of the pole is 24 inches, which is too long to fit cleanly onto the outside of a backpack, and it will unlikely fit inside. The pole also takes up more room in luggage if traveling is required to get you to the trail. More and more trekking poles are moving towards a foldable design while still allowing 8 inches of length adjustment, and this pole bucks the trend. Most users don't need more than 8 inches of length adjustment, however, and the large minimum packed size is a hefty price to pay for so much length adjustment.
Built from sturdy aluminum, we have little doubt that the Dolomite will last a long time. The shafts feel thick and solid, and the aluminum lever locks are confidence-inspiring. We wouldn't hesitate to bring this pole with us to the ends of the earth on treks through rugged and rocky terrain or to use it to cross creeks with a heavy pack. We did not run into any issues during our testing period.
The main drawback to this product is its lack of versatility. Sold as a single pole, this product doesn't perform well on terrain where two poles are useful, like balancing across tricky creek crossings, wading rivers, crossing rugged boulder fields, and winter snowshoeing or backcountry skiing. Its weight and large packed size also make it unsuitable for carrying on alpine climbs or scrambles. This product is best used on established hiking trails for trips shorter than a day or two and where the pace will be relaxed.
The Dolomite provides the performance of more expensive poles in an affordable package, albeit for just one-half of the standard "pair." For advanced users who demand two poles and higher performance, this pole won't seem like a good value, but for new hikers or anyone who wants to try a trekking pole to see what all the fuss is about, this product is an affordable and reasonable option. And, to be fair, you can always buy two.
If you are going to be hiking on established trails at relaxed paces, and aren't sure if you need two trekking poles, the Dolomite is an affordable way to add efficiency to your hiking. But, if you are an experienced hiker who is looking for poles that will up your game, look elsewhere.
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