Mountainsmith Halite 7075 - Women's Review
Cons: Painful thumb release, unrefined grip comfort, small adjustability range
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Halite are foldable aluminum trekking poles that pack down quite small and come equipped with trail and snow baskets. The grips aren't the most comfortable, and the thumb release mechanism is challenging to use, which makes them difficult to pack down. That said, they are quite affordable and could be a great option for day hikes, light backpacking, and snowshoeing.
We wanted to love the grips on the Halite 7075 because they're made from natural cork and EVA, but they just didn't provide the comfort of other models. The grips are slimmer and shorter to accommodate smaller hands, but if you have larger hands, these might be too slim and short for comfort. The top of the grip is made of a harder plastic, which made palming on the poles while going downhill somewhat uncomfortable. We appreciate the thin wrist straps, as they worked well enough, and had a barely-there feel. Finally, aluminum poles will never provide as much shock-absorption as carbon fiber poles, though many are designed with thick cork or foam grips to dampen vibration. However, given the folding design of the Halite, we felt both trail vibrations, as well as the vibrations of the poles themselves — which is definitely not very comfortable on long hikes.
At 18.5 ounces without baskets or tips, these poles are the second heaviest poles in our review, so they didn't score well in this metric. That said, they pack down small and easily disappear into a pack, so we weren't overly concerned, especially for shorter journeys.
Locking and Adjustability
The Halite 7075 does not offer the same range of adjustment on the lower end of the spectrum that we would expect from a women's specific pole. It has a range from 106 to 125 cm, while other women's poles in our review range from 90 to 125 cm or at least 100 to 125 cm. This means these poles may not be ideal for shorter women.
The lever locking mechanism is quite easy to lock in place and it is easy to tighten the lock with a thumbscrew in the field. However, we found it difficult to engage the release mechanism to fold the poles when we wanted to put them in our pack. This is because the metal thumb release is quite small and is rather painful to press. If you don't plan to move between folding the poles and using them at full extension, then this won't be an issue; but we see this as a sizable drawback to these poles.
This is one metric where the Halite 7075 truly shines. When folded down to the smallest size, these poles measure a mere 14 inches. However, given the issues we had with engaging the thumb release mechanism, it might be challenging to stow these poles in your pack after you've been using them on the trail.
Aluminum trekking poles are likely to prove more durable than carbon fiber. That said, there is a trade-off between telescoping and foldable poles, where foldable poles are more prone to durability issues. Over the duration of our review, we didn't encounter any glaring durability issues with the Halite 7075. However, they do rattle a bit while in use, which is somewhat unnerving and made us question their durability over the long haul. For most day hikers, this won't be an issue, but we wouldn't recommend relying on these poles on a thru-hike or an expedition.
The Halite 7075 come equipped with trail and powder baskets, as well as rubber tips. This means these poles would be great four-season poles if you plan to use them for day-hiking, snowshoeing, light backpacking, or glacial trekking. However, given our concerns about durability, we wouldn't recommend them for backcountry skiing or splitboarding. They also wouldn't be our top pick for alpine running, longer backpacking trips, thru-hiking, or moving between technical and non-technical terrain.
Depending on what you're looking for, the Halite 7075 could be a steal or a disappointment. They are completely adequate trekking poles that pack down quite small, but they score fairly low across all our other metrics. For a human of average female height with smaller hands looking for an inexpensive pair of folding trekking poles for peak bagging, snowshoeing, and light backpacking, these could be a great option.
The Halite 7075 have some great features, but struggle to hold their own in a field of fierce competitors. While the poles pack down small, the release mechanism is quite difficult and painful to engage. The grips are made of cork but are a bit slim and short for our taste. Finally, if you are shorter than 5'5" these poles may not adjust short enough for you. All that said, they are a reasonably priced pair of poles that come with trail and snow baskets, and would be a great first pair for someone who wants to day hike, snowshoe, or take weekend backpacking trips.
— Mary Witlacil