MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon Review – Elevate Your Trekking Experience

Lightweight and durable, the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles offer exceptional adjustability and comfort, ideal for serious outdoor enthusiasts.
MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon

MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon

Unveiling the Superior Performance and Comfort of MSR's Premium Trekking Poles
The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles combine lightweight durability with advanced adjustability, offering exceptional performance for serious trekkers.


Weight & Portability
Comfort & Grip
Adjustability & Stability
Durability & Build Quality
Shock Absorption & Performance


  • Lightweight construction
  • Excellent durability
  • Ergonomic EVA foam grips
  • Adjustable, breathable straps
  • DynaLock™ adjustability
  • Carbide tips with removable baskets
  • Compact design


  • Premium price
  • Bulkier collapsed size
  • Complex adjustability for beginners
  • Limited color options


Overview of the Product

The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles are engineered for outdoor enthusiasts who demand high performance and reliability from their gear. Designed with serious trekkers, hikers, and mountaineers in mind, these poles promise to deliver durability, lightweight construction, and advanced adjustability. MSR, a trusted name in the outdoor gear industry, has combined carbon fiber shafts with innovative DynaLock adjustability to create trekking poles that excel in various terrains and conditions.

Initial Impressions

Upon first handling the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles, the immediate impression is one of high-quality craftsmanship. The carbon fiber construction offers a lightweight yet sturdy feel, and the ergonomic grips ensure comfort right from the start. The sleek design, combined with the bright and functional adjustment mechanisms, gives an indication of the poles’ performance-oriented nature. Testing these poles involved a range of activities, from casual hikes to more challenging mountain treks, providing a comprehensive assessment of their capabilities.

Context of Testing

The testing phase took place over several weeks, encompassing various terrains and weather conditions to gauge the poles’ performance accurately. From the rocky trails of the Appalachians to the snowy paths in the Rockies, the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles were subjected to rigorous use. This varied testing environment was crucial to determine how well these poles could adapt and support the user in different scenarios. Additionally, feedback from fellow trekkers and hikers was gathered to provide a well-rounded review.

Technical Specifications

Key Features and Technology

The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles are packed with features designed to enhance performance, comfort, and reliability. Below is a detailed breakdown of the key specifications:

  • Material: Carbon fiber shafts
  • Grip: Ergonomic EVA foam grips
  • Straps: Adjustable, breathable straps
  • Locking Mechanism: DynaLock™ technology
  • Adjustability Range: 100 cm to 130 cm
  • Weight: 15.5 ounces (440 grams) per pair
  • Tip: Carbide tip with removable baskets
  • Folded Length: 67 cm (collapsed)

Design and Materials

Carbon Fiber Shafts The poles are constructed from high-strength carbon fiber, which offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. This material ensures durability while keeping the poles lightweight, ideal for long treks and varied terrains.

Ergonomic EVA Foam Grips The grips are made from EVA foam, known for its comfort and shock-absorbing properties. These ergonomic grips are designed to reduce hand fatigue during prolonged use and provide a secure hold in wet or dry conditions.

Adjustable Straps The poles feature adjustable straps made from breathable materials. These straps can be easily customized for a snug fit, enhancing control and reducing the risk of blisters.

DynaLock™ Adjustability

DynaLock™ Mechanism The standout feature of these poles is the DynaLock™ adjustability. This locking mechanism ensures a secure and easy adjustment of pole length. Users can quickly change the length to adapt to varying terrain, even while wearing gloves. The DynaLock™ system also offers a significant advantage in stability and reliability, reducing the risk of slippage during intense use.

Adjustability Range With an adjustability range of 100 cm to 130 cm, these poles cater to a wide range of heights and preferences. This flexibility makes them suitable for different users and varying types of activities, from flat trails to steep ascents.

Additional Features

Carbide Tips The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon poles come with durable carbide tips, which provide excellent traction on a variety of surfaces, from rocky trails to icy paths. The tips are also equipped with removable baskets, allowing for adaptability in snow and mud.

Compact Design When not in use, the poles can be collapsed to a compact length of 67 cm, making them easy to store and transport. This feature is particularly useful for backpackers and travelers who need to save space.

Summary of Specifications

  • Weight: 15.5 ounces (440 grams) per pair
  • Adjustability: 100 cm to 130 cm
  • Materials: Carbon fiber shafts, EVA foam grips
  • Locking Mechanism: DynaLock™ technology
  • Additional Features: Carbide tips, removable baskets, adjustable straps, compact design

These specifications highlight the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles as a well-engineered product designed to meet the needs of serious outdoor enthusiasts.

Performance Evaluation

Fabric Performance (Material Quality)

Carbon Fiber Durability The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles are crafted from high-strength carbon fiber, providing an impressive balance between weight and durability. During testing, the poles withstood various rugged terrains, including rocky paths and uneven surfaces, without showing signs of damage or wear. The carbon fiber shafts demonstrated excellent resilience, maintaining their integrity even under substantial stress.

Weather Resistance

All-Weather Reliability The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles excelled in diverse weather conditions. The poles performed admirably in rain, snow, and sleet, thanks to their corrosion-resistant materials and robust construction. The ergonomic EVA foam grips maintained their grip and comfort even in wet conditions, preventing slippage and enhancing safety. Additionally, the adjustable straps, made from breathable and quick-drying materials, ensured consistent performance in different climates.

Practical Features

DynaLock™ Adjustability One of the most notable features is the DynaLock™ adjustability mechanism. This system allows for quick and secure length adjustments, which is particularly useful when transitioning between different terrains. The mechanism was easy to operate, even while wearing gloves, ensuring uninterrupted movement during hikes. The secure locking system provided confidence that the poles would remain at the desired length without slipping.

Carbide Tips and Removable Baskets The carbide tips offered excellent traction on various surfaces, from rocky trails to icy patches. Their durability ensured consistent performance throughout the testing period. The removable baskets were a practical addition, allowing the poles to adapt to different terrains, such as snowy or muddy conditions. Switching between baskets was straightforward, adding to the poles’ versatility.

Compact Design When collapsed, the poles measured 67 cm, making them convenient to store and transport. This compact design is particularly advantageous for backpackers and travelers who need to conserve space. The poles fit easily into backpacks without occupying significant room, enhancing their practicality for long trips.

Summary of Performance

The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles proved to be highly reliable and durable in various challenging environments. Their robust carbon fiber construction, combined with practical features like the DynaLock™ adjustability and carbide tips, ensured top-notch performance in all tested conditions. Whether facing rocky trails or snowy paths, these trekking poles consistently delivered stability, adaptability, and ease of use, making them a valuable asset for any serious trekker.

Fit and Comfort

Sizing and Adjustability

Range of Adjustability The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles feature an adjustability range from 100 cm to 130 cm, catering to a wide array of users. This flexibility ensures that trekkers of different heights can find a suitable length, optimizing comfort and performance. The DynaLock™ mechanism allows for precise adjustments, making it easy to customize the pole length on-the-go to match varying terrains and inclines.

Ergonomic Design

EVA Foam Grips The ergonomic EVA foam grips are a standout feature, providing a comfortable and secure hold during prolonged use. The foam’s texture offers excellent grip, reducing the risk of hand fatigue and slippage, even in wet conditions. The grips are designed to fit naturally in the hand, distributing pressure evenly and minimizing strain during extended treks.

Adjustable Straps The trekking poles come equipped with adjustable straps made from breathable and soft materials. These straps can be easily tightened or loosened to fit snugly around the wrist, enhancing control and reducing the likelihood of blisters. The straps’ breathability is particularly beneficial in warm weather, as it prevents excessive sweating and discomfort.

Comfort During Activities

Extended Use Comfort During various testing activities, including hiking, trekking, and mountaineering, the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon poles consistently provided high levels of comfort. The lightweight carbon fiber construction played a significant role in reducing overall fatigue, especially during long ascents and descents. The poles’ shock-absorbing capabilities, thanks to the EVA foam grips, further enhanced comfort by mitigating the impact on joints and muscles.

Versatility in Terrain The poles’ adaptability to different terrains also contributed to their comfort. Whether navigating rocky paths, snow-covered trails, or muddy tracks, the poles maintained a stable and supportive feel. The removable baskets allowed for quick adjustments to match the terrain, ensuring a consistent and comfortable trekking experience.

Overall User Experience

Feedback from Testers Feedback from fellow hikers and testers highlighted the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles’ excellent comfort and fit. Users praised the ergonomic design and the ease of adjusting the pole length, which significantly contributed to a positive overall experience. The combination of lightweight construction, comfortable grips, and adjustable straps made these poles a preferred choice for extended outdoor activities.

Summary of Fit and Comfort

In summary, the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles excel in providing a comfortable and customizable fit for a variety of users. The ergonomic EVA foam grips and adjustable straps ensure a secure and comfortable hold, while the poles’ lightweight construction minimizes fatigue. Whether used on short hikes or long treks, these poles deliver consistent comfort and support, making them a reliable companion for any adventure.

Pros and Cons


Lightweight Construction – The carbon fiber shafts make the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles extremely lightweight, at just 15.5 ounces per pair. This reduces fatigue during long hikes and makes them easy to carry.

Excellent Durability – Carbon fiber provides exceptional strength and durability, ensuring the poles can withstand rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions without compromising performance.

Ergonomic Design – The EVA foam grips are ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort and reduce hand fatigue. They offer excellent grip even in wet conditions, enhancing safety and control.

Adjustable Straps – The breathable, adjustable straps allow for a customizable fit, enhancing comfort and reducing the risk of blisters during extended use.

DynaLock™ Adjustability – The DynaLock™ mechanism offers secure and quick adjustments, allowing users to change the pole length easily on-the-go. This feature is particularly useful when transitioning between different terrains and inclines.

Removable Baskets and Carbide Tips – The carbide tips provide excellent traction on various surfaces, while the removable baskets allow for quick adaptation to different terrains, such as snow or mud.

Compact and Portable – When collapsed, the poles measure just 67 cm, making them easy to store and transport. This is ideal for backpackers and travelers who need to conserve space.


Premium Price – The high-quality materials and advanced features come with a higher price tag. This may be a barrier for budget-conscious hikers and trekkers.

Bulkier Feel – Despite being lightweight, some users may find the poles’ larger collapsed size slightly bulkier compared to other ultra-compact trekking poles.

Complex Adjustability for Beginners – While the DynaLock™ mechanism is highly effective, beginners may initially find the adjustment process slightly complex until they become familiar with it.

Limited Color Options – The poles are primarily available in a standard color scheme, which might not appeal to those looking for more vibrant or personalized options.

Summary of Pros and Cons

Overall, the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles offer numerous advantages, including lightweight construction, durability, ergonomic design, and excellent adjustability. However, the higher price point and potential bulkiness might be drawbacks for some users. Despite these minor cons, the poles remain a top choice for serious outdoor enthusiasts seeking reliable and comfortable trekking support.

Comparative Analysis

When comparing the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles to the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and the REI Flash Carbon, several distinctions and similarities emerge, highlighting the strengths and potential drawbacks of each model.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles are renowned for their comfort and durability, much like the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon. Both models feature carbon fiber shafts, providing excellent strength-to-weight ratios. However, the Alpine Carbon Cork poles stand out with their natural cork grips, which offer superior moisture-wicking properties and comfort over long periods. While the MSR poles utilize EVA foam grips that are also ergonomic and comfortable, cork is often preferred for its natural feel and improved grip over time. Both models include adjustable locking mechanisms, but the DynaLock™ system on the MSR poles is slightly more intuitive and quicker to adjust, especially in varying conditions.

REI Flash Carbon The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are another competitor in the lightweight carbon category. Similar to the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon poles, the Flash Carbon poles are designed to be lightweight and durable. However, the REI poles are generally more affordable, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious hikers. While they lack the premium DynaLock™ adjustability system, they feature a reliable quick-lock mechanism that provides secure length adjustments. The REI Flash Carbon poles also have ergonomic foam grips and adjustable straps, ensuring comfort during extended use. However, the overall build quality and the stability offered by the MSR poles might be superior, justifying their higher price point for more demanding trekkers.

Summary of Comparative Analysis

In summary, while the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles excel with their cork grips and robust construction, the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon poles offer more intuitive adjustability and equally impressive durability. The REI Flash Carbon poles provide a budget-friendly alternative with reliable performance, though they might lack some of the premium features found in the MSR model. Each of these trekking poles has its strengths, catering to different preferences and budgets among outdoor enthusiasts.


The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon trekking poles stand out as a top-tier choice for serious trekkers and outdoor enthusiasts. Their lightweight yet durable carbon fiber construction, combined with the innovative DynaLock™ adjustability system, provides excellent performance across various terrains and weather conditions. The ergonomic EVA foam grips and adjustable straps enhance comfort and control, making long hikes and challenging ascents more manageable.

While the higher price point may be a consideration for budget-conscious buyers, the investment is justified by the poles’ exceptional durability and practical features. Compared to competitors like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and REI Flash Carbon, the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon poles offer superior adjustability and build quality.

Overall, these trekking poles are best suited for adventurers who demand reliable, high-performance gear that can adapt to diverse and demanding environments. They are a valuable addition to any serious hiker’s equipment list.

Further reading