REI Flash Carbon Trekking Poles Review – Are They Worth the Investment?

Lightweight, durable, and ergonomic, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles enhance your hiking experience with advanced features and reliable performance.
REI Flash Carbon

REI Flash Carbon Trekking Poles

Discover the Lightweight Durability and Comfort of REI Flash Carbon Trekking Poles
The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles offer exceptional lightweight performance, comfort, and adjustability, making them a top choice for serious hikers.


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


  • Lightweight construction
  • Durable carbon fiber shafts
  • Ergonomic cork handles
  • Adjustable length
  • Interchangeable tips
  • Padded wrist straps
  • Anti-shock technology


  • High price
  • Complexity of adjustments
  • Not ultra-compact when collapsed
  • Learning curve for new users


Brief Overview

The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are designed for avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who prioritize lightweight gear without compromising on durability and performance. These trekking poles are crafted to provide stability and support on various terrains, making them a versatile addition to your hiking equipment. Engineered with advanced materials and thoughtful design, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are aimed at enhancing your trekking experience, whether you’re tackling rugged mountain paths or gentle forest trails.

Initial Impressions and Context of Testing

Upon unboxing the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles, the first thing that stands out is their remarkably light weight. Weighing in at just over a pound for the pair, they immediately feel easy to handle and maneuver. The sleek, modern design, highlighted by carbon fiber shafts and ergonomic cork handles, speaks to both aesthetics and functionality.

To thoroughly evaluate these trekking poles, I took them on a series of hikes varying in difficulty and terrain. From steep, rocky ascents in the mountains to long, undulating trails through dense woods, the REI Flash Carbon poles were put through their paces. These settings provided a comprehensive backdrop to test their performance, durability, and comfort under real-world conditions.

My initial impression is highly positive; the poles feel well-balanced and sturdy despite their lightweight construction. The ease of adjustability and the comfortable grips add to the overall favorable first impression. This sets the stage for a deeper dive into the technical specifications and performance evaluation, where we will see how these poles hold up in various outdoor scenarios.

Technical Specifications

Key Features and Technology

The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are packed with advanced features and technologies designed to enhance your hiking experience. Here’s a closer look at what makes these poles stand out:

  • Carbon Fiber Shafts: The main shafts are constructed from high-quality carbon fiber, which offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. This material ensures the poles are lightweight without sacrificing durability.
  • Ergonomic Cork Handles: The handles are made from natural cork, which provides a comfortable grip that molds to your hands over time. Cork also offers excellent moisture-wicking properties, keeping your hands dry during intense hikes.
  • Adjustable Length: The poles feature an easy-to-use adjustment mechanism, allowing you to quickly modify the length to suit different terrains and hiking preferences. The FlickLock Pro system ensures secure and precise adjustments.
  • Anti-Shock Technology: Built-in anti-shock technology helps reduce the impact on your wrists and arms, providing additional comfort during long hikes.
  • Interchangeable Tips: The poles come with interchangeable carbide tips, which provide excellent traction on various surfaces, and rubber tips for use on paved trails or roads.

Design and Materials

The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are designed with both functionality and aesthetics in mind. Here’s a breakdown of their design elements and materials:

  • Carbon Fiber Construction: As mentioned, the carbon fiber shafts are lightweight yet incredibly strong, making them ideal for rigorous outdoor activities.
  • Cork Handles: The ergonomic cork handles are not only comfortable but also sustainable, as cork is a renewable resource.
  • FlickLock Pro Adjustment System: Made from durable aluminum, this adjustment mechanism is easy to operate even with gloves on, ensuring quick and secure length adjustments.
  • Padded Straps: The adjustable wrist straps are padded for added comfort and are designed to distribute weight evenly, reducing fatigue.

Additional Features

  • Weight: Each pole weighs approximately 7.6 ounces (215 grams), making them one of the lightest options available in their category.
  • Collapsed Length: When fully collapsed, the poles measure around 25 inches (64 cm), making them easy to pack and carry.
  • Extended Length: The poles can be extended up to 51 inches (130 cm), accommodating hikers of different heights and preferences.

These technical specifications highlight the advanced engineering and thoughtful design behind the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles. The combination of lightweight carbon fiber, ergonomic features, and practical adjustments make these poles a reliable choice for any hiking adventure.

Performance Evaluation

Fabric Performance

While trekking poles do not have fabric components, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are constructed using high-quality carbon fiber, a material renowned for its superior strength-to-weight ratio. The carbon fiber shafts provide excellent durability while maintaining a lightweight profile, ensuring that the poles can withstand the rigors of various terrains without becoming cumbersome.

Weather Resistance

The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles excel in weather resistance, performing admirably in a range of conditions:

  • Rain and Moisture: The carbon fiber material is naturally resistant to water, preventing the poles from absorbing moisture and becoming heavy. The ergonomic cork handles also maintain a good grip even when wet, ensuring stability and safety during rainy hikes.
  • Cold and Snow: In cold conditions, the poles remain sturdy and reliable. The carbide tips provide excellent traction on icy surfaces, preventing slips and falls. Additionally, the FlickLock Pro adjustment system remains easy to use even with gloves on, which is crucial during winter hikes.
  • Heat: In hot weather, the cork handles wick away moisture, keeping your hands dry and comfortable. The carbon fiber shafts do not become overly hot, making them comfortable to hold even under the sun.

Practical Features

  • Adjustable Length: The FlickLock Pro adjustment system allows for quick and secure length adjustments. This feature is particularly useful when transitioning between different types of terrain, such as steep ascents and flat trails.
  • Interchangeable Tips: The poles come with carbide tips for rough terrain and rubber tips for paved surfaces. This versatility enhances their usability across various hiking environments.
  • Wrist Straps: The adjustable and padded wrist straps help distribute the load evenly across your hands and wrists, reducing fatigue and providing additional support. They are easy to adjust, ensuring a snug fit that prevents the poles from slipping during use.


The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are built to last. The carbon fiber shafts are highly resistant to impact and abrasion, ensuring longevity even with frequent use. The carbide tips are tough and wear-resistant, maintaining their grip and effectiveness over time. Additionally, the FlickLock Pro adjustment mechanism is made from durable aluminum, adding to the overall robustness of the poles.

In conclusion, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles deliver outstanding performance across various metrics. Their lightweight construction, combined with advanced features like the FlickLock Pro system and interchangeable tips, makes them a versatile and reliable choice for hikers. Whether you’re facing wet, cold, or hot conditions, these poles provide the support and durability needed for a successful hiking adventure.

Fit and Comfort

Sizing and Fit

The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are designed to cater to a wide range of body types and preferences. The adjustable length feature is particularly noteworthy, allowing the poles to extend from 25 inches to 51 inches. This wide range of adjustability ensures that hikers of different heights can find their ideal pole length, enhancing stability and comfort on the trail.

The FlickLock Pro adjustment system plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect fit. This system is intuitive and easy to use, enabling quick adjustments on the go. Whether you need to shorten the poles for a steep climb or lengthen them for a downhill descent, the FlickLock Pro ensures that you can do so effortlessly, maintaining optimal pole length for various terrains.

Comfort During Various Activities

The comfort of the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles truly shines during extended use. Here are some aspects that contribute to their comfort:

  • Ergonomic Cork Handles: The natural cork handles are a standout feature, offering a comfortable grip that molds to your hand over time. The ergonomic design reduces strain on your hands and wrists, making the poles comfortable to hold for long periods. Additionally, cork’s natural moisture-wicking properties keep your hands dry, even during sweaty hikes.
  • Padded Wrist Straps: The adjustable wrist straps are padded for additional comfort, preventing chafing and distributing the weight evenly across your wrists. This design reduces fatigue and allows for a more relaxed grip, which is especially beneficial during long hikes.
  • Anti-Shock Technology: The built-in anti-shock feature minimizes the impact on your joints, particularly during downhill sections. This technology absorbs the shocks and vibrations, providing a smoother and more comfortable hiking experience.
  • Lightweight Construction: Weighing just 7.6 ounces per pole, the lightweight carbon fiber construction reduces the overall effort required to use the poles. This is particularly noticeable during long hikes, where every ounce counts. The reduced weight helps prevent arm fatigue, allowing you to hike longer and more comfortably.

User Feedback

During testing, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles proved to be comfortable across various hiking scenarios. Whether navigating rocky trails, steep inclines, or flat paths, the poles provided consistent support and comfort. Hikers with different hand sizes and grip preferences reported that the cork handles and padded straps adapted well to their needs, further enhancing the overall comfort.

In summary, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles excel in fit and comfort, making them an excellent choice for hikers seeking reliable and ergonomic support on their outdoor adventures. The combination of adjustable length, ergonomic design, and lightweight construction ensures that these poles can be tailored to suit individual preferences and deliver comfort throughout various hiking activities.

Pros and Cons


  • Lightweight Construction: The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles are incredibly light, weighing just 7.6 ounces each. This makes them easy to carry and reduces fatigue during long hikes.
  • Durable Carbon Fiber Shafts: The use of high-quality carbon fiber provides a strong and durable structure that can withstand rough terrain and harsh conditions.
  • Ergonomic Cork Handles: The natural cork handles offer a comfortable grip that molds to your hands over time. They also wick away moisture, keeping your hands dry.
  • Adjustable Length: The FlickLock Pro adjustment system allows for quick and secure length adjustments, accommodating various terrains and user heights.
  • Interchangeable Tips: The poles come with both carbide tips for rugged surfaces and rubber tips for paved trails, enhancing their versatility.
  • Padded Wrist Straps: The adjustable, padded wrist straps provide additional comfort and support, distributing weight evenly across your wrists and reducing fatigue.
  • Anti-Shock Technology: The built-in anti-shock feature absorbs impacts, protecting your joints during descents and rough terrain.


  • Price: The advanced materials and features come at a cost, making these poles a significant investment compared to some other options on the market.
  • Complexity of Adjustments: While the FlickLock Pro system is effective, some users may find it slightly more complex to operate compared to simpler adjustment mechanisms.
  • Not Collapsible to Ultra-Compact Size: Although the poles collapse to 25 inches, they may not be as compact as some other models, making them slightly less convenient for travel or storage.
  • Learning Curve for New Users: For those new to using trekking poles, there might be a learning curve to fully utilize all the features, such as the anti-shock technology and interchangeable tips.

In summary, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles offer numerous advantages that cater to serious hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Their lightweight, durable construction and ergonomic design provide exceptional comfort and performance. However, the higher price point and slight complexity in adjustments might be a consideration for some users. Despite these minor drawbacks, the overall quality and functionality make these trekking poles a worthwhile investment for dedicated hikers.

Comparative Analysis

When evaluating the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles against other high-quality options, two notable contenders are the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and the Leki Black Series FX Carbon. Both alternatives offer distinct features that cater to different hiking needs and preferences.

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles are renowned for their durability and comfort. Similar to the REI Flash Carbon, they feature carbon fiber shafts that provide a lightweight yet sturdy construction. The ergonomic cork handles are a common strength, offering excellent grip and moisture-wicking properties. However, the Black Diamond poles have an added advantage in their dual FlickLock adjustability, which allows for more precise length adjustments. This feature can be particularly beneficial on varied terrains. Additionally, the Black Diamond poles include a foam grip extension for added versatility during steep ascents.

On the other hand, the Leki Black Series FX Carbon trekking poles stand out with their innovative folding design, which makes them incredibly compact and easy to pack. This feature contrasts with the REI Flash Carbon’s collapsible but less compact design. The Leki poles also utilize a SpeedLock 2 adjustment system, which is user-friendly and secure. Their Aergon Thermo grips offer a different ergonomic experience, focusing on ultra-lightweight and comfortable handling, ideal for long-distance treks.

In comparison, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles hold their ground with a strong emphasis on lightweight design, ergonomic cork handles, and an effective anti-shock feature. While the Black Diamond poles offer superior adjustability and foam extensions for technical hikes, and the Leki poles provide exceptional portability and grip innovation, the REI Flash Carbon poles excel in delivering a balanced combination of weight, comfort, and durability. These comparisons highlight that while each pole has its unique strengths, the REI Flash Carbon trekking poles offer a compelling mix of features suitable for a wide range of hiking adventures.


The REI Flash Carbon trekking poles stand out as a top choice for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a lightweight, durable, and comfortable option. With their high-quality carbon fiber construction, ergonomic cork handles, and versatile FlickLock Pro adjustment system, these poles offer a well-rounded package that performs exceptionally across various terrains and weather conditions. While the price point is higher and the adjustments slightly complex for beginners, the overall performance and reliability make them a worthwhile investment.

Ideal for both casual hikers and serious trekkers, the REI Flash Carbon poles provide excellent support and comfort on long hikes. Their anti-shock technology and interchangeable tips further enhance their adaptability, making them suitable for diverse hiking scenarios. In conclusion, these trekking poles deliver great value for money and are highly recommended for anyone looking to elevate their hiking experience.

Further reading