Hands-on Gear Review

Raidlight Foldable Trail Poles Review

Raidlight Foldable Trail Poles - Trekking Poles
Price:  $160 List
Pros:  Light, the lightest. Four section fold makes for very low volume storage. These poles are small and short when folded.
Cons:  You need to take special care not to break them. Not cheap. Grips aren’t the most comfortable. They do not come with any baskets..
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Raidlight

Our Verdict

These are the lightest and most compact poles that we have ever seen. Raidlight is a French company, based in the Grenoble area, which specializes solely in ultra-light trail running and ski-touring accessories. For these poles, the only model they offer, their focus was clearly on weight and volume. They are the lightest model we tested and, notably, the only ones to fold into four sections, reducing their packed length to just 30 cm for the 110 cm version. If your priority is overwhelmingly on shaving grams off of your total equipment set, then these poles are hard to beat. However, we found them severely lacking in the durability department.

We used these poles for a full summer, and managed to finish the season with only a couple of bends. Once bent, the joints tend to not meet up properly and the poles feel a bit shaky. For the second season, we purchased a new pair and just a couple a couple of weeks into their use we snapped them in half while slipping while descending. Invariably, this is how your Raidlight poles will eventually meet their demise — you will weight one pole too much and it will bend or break. If it only bends, then it may be salvageable…to a point. After breaking the second pair we switched to the Black Diamond Ultra Distance.

That being said, these poles do provide a respectable ratio of support to weight and volume. For BASE jumping missions, where 6000 foot ascensions with medium weight packs are the norm, we need to be able to fit whatever we carry into our wingsuits for the jump down. These poles fit handily inside the socks we wore, taking up very little volume inside the wingsuit. We found them equally suited to stash inside a haulbag after an approach for a big wall project, but then again their fragility will not be of benefit while hiking under a heavy pack.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Trekking Poles for Hiking and Backpacking

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Matt Gerdes

Last Updated:
Monday
April 9, 2012

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Grip & Strap


Again, clearly weight and volume were the design priority. The grip and strap offer very little support. The strap is not adjustable but fits my medium sized hands (glove size 9) fine without gloves.

Shaft


The narrow aluminum shaft is ideal for a low volume in packed configuration, but definitely not durable in any way. These poles are not for heavy or long term use. They strongly resemble tent poles.

Fold & Lock System


A dyneema cord runs the length of the shaft, and is secured by pulling and sliding a knot into a slot a the top of the handle. Not super durable, and significantly less solid than the Leki or Black Diamond options.

Tips


Comes standard with carbide steel tips.

Baskets


No baskets included.

Other Versions


None to mention
Matt Gerdes

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 4, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Dec 4, 2013 - 05:55pm
dbricker · Hiker · zurich, switzerland
It all depends on your activity. An experienced gear guy told me, rightly, that these are either for alpine/trail jogging, or things like river hikes which might be flatter but stony or slippery. These poles are not intended for rocky, steep or up-and-down hikes/trekking. The resemblance to tent poles is misleading; their thinness, and relative flexibility is fine for easy hikes, these are not bendy fiberglass shafts, with shock cord. The dyneema takes a good pull before it locks in a very certain and reassuring way. They can take some weight, but not an average person's full weight. They are terrific if used for the intended purpose, otherwise get the value BD Trail Back poles, which are stiff and strong, but still light and very good value.
I happened to get these on sale, as well as the BD poles, and as soon as you pick up either you can feel which would be right for the kind of outdoor activity you have planned. I am not 100% sure I would've paid the regular, full price, as I am not a committed gram counter, although I pay attention to weight; value is in the eye of the beholder.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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