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Review: Camp Sky Carbon Evo

Choosing poles used to be easy. They were all aluminum and you either had two or three sections that nested into each other like a Russian doll or you bought a single length pole. In recent years though, pole technology has come a long way. Material choices have changed; Aluminum, Carbon Fiber, Bamboo and titanium to name a few. Design has changed, too; 3 piece, two piece, and now foldable trekking poles are quite common. The Camp Sky Carbon Evo has taken some of the best of this new tech and it into one sturdy set of poles… sturdy for carbon anyway.

Specs & Features:

  • Weight: 400g/pair
  • Length Extended: 115 – 135cm
  • Length Compact: 36cm
  • Basket: Interchangeable – snow, dirt & really small dirt baskets
  • Tip: replaceable carbide
  • Handle: foam
  • Material: Carbon Fiber & Alloy

What is the Camp Sky Carbon Evo?

Camp Sky Carbon Evo on the border of BC and Alberta

The Sky Carbon Evo are 3 section poles designed for backcountry use.  It’s up to you how you want to travel in the backcountry. Splitboarding or ski touring, trekking or trail running.

The Camp Sky Carbon Evo folded

The Carbon Evo’s are made up of three segments: The upper two are carbon while the bottom segment is made of aluminum alloy. They’re designed this was as the lower segment generally receives the most direct abuse an the alloy is much impact/abuse resistant.  Since the upper two sections are less likely to get hit, banged and scraped they’re made of lightweight carbon fiber. The result is a set of poles that weigh less than a similar alloy set-up but only a hair more than a full carbon pole at 400g a pair. A fair compromise for a little durability.

The three segments are held together by an inner cord that has a micro-adjustable tensioning system. Each segment overlaps the other quite a bit, lending these poles a very sturdy feel. They will bend quite a lot if given a good side load, but always bounce back… until they break that is but more on that later.

The uppermost segment has CAMP’s Alu-Lock adjustment that allows the poles to extend from 115 to 135 cm. The Alu-Lock is camming lever much like what BD has been using on poles for ages. However, they’re designed with the lever facing backwards so they won’t open when scrubbed through the bush, a major annoyance with the BD set-up. When compact they measure 36cm.

On top of it all is a foam handle, and at the bottom, a replaceable carbide tip.

Who are they for? Humans!

On the GDT with Camp SKy Carbon Evo Poles

I used and abused these poles, a lot. Their size was perfect for me.  I typically adjust my poles to one length and then adjust my grip position depending on whether I’m going uphill, downhill or side-hilling. With the Sky Carbon Evo I placed the adjuster at 125cm and was happy, for the entire summer. for reference, I am 187cm tall. My wife on the other hand didn’t exactly get the same luxury when she tried using the Sky Carbon Evo’s. She is 5’2″ and the poles at their lowest setting were still just too long.

Foam Grips = Black Hands. Always

The Camp Sky Carbon Evo are extremely comfortable to use. Well balanced and durable. There is just enough foam on the top for placing your hand on the top for large down steps though a slightly larger handle top would have been welcome. The foam handle is contoured to fit left and right hands. Can you swap em? Of course, but they are most comfortable in the correct hand. The biggest downside to foam pole handles is the foam eventually wears off on your hands. This is not an exclusive to the Camp poles, this happens with all foam handled poles. One of the costs of going light-weight.

The Sky Carbon Evo come with both trekking and skiing baskets. I left the skiing baskets on and rarely, if ever, found this to be a problem this summer. While hiking you generally aren’t moving much faster than 5km an hour, which isn’t too fast to move a pole who’s basket has caught on something and there aren’t any crevasses to probe. If I were to use them for trail running or mountaineering, I’d probably change the basket.

Who else are they for? Pikas!?!

A Pika’s Favorite Pole

I took these poles on a few day hikes around Squamish, gave them the full break in on the Sunshine Coast Trail and then decided to torture them on the Great Divide Trail. On our second week we camped near some cute Pikas. If you don’t know what a Pika is, they’re what Pikachu is based off of. Furry and more high pitched than Ryan Reynolds though they’re not at all yellow. Well, despite leaning my poles against a tree, one of the Pika knocked them over and decide to gnaw on my pole handles for dinner. Fortunately, I had hockey tape on hand and so I patched up the handles for further use.

In Field Repairs

The Pika incident didn’t kill the Sky Carbon Evo, so I continued to use them until the Hayden incident. While boulder hopping one day I was holding the poles parallel in my right hand. I hopped onto a large boulder that looked solidly placed, yet, was not. As the rock moved and threw me off balance I had to reach out to keep from falling with the hand that was holding the poles. My hips pinched the poles against a rock and I leaned over them with the pole uppers. SNAP, and I thought it was the end of the poles.

At the bottom of the boulder field I used the aforementioned hockey tape to align the two cracked halves. Then, taped two large MSR tent pegs on each pole to act as supports and the poles were back in action! I was pretty skeptical of the repair and the poles durability initially. But I gradually began using them more and more until I realized I could put my full body weight on them both uphill, downhill and while fording rivers with 35lbs on my back.

This break was 100% user error. I would never expect carbon poles to survive that time of impact.  These poles just kept on going after the repair and are still going on.

Summary

Camp Sky Carbon Evo on the Sunshine Coast Trail

Pros: Durable and lightweight. Good adjustment range. Great Colors.

Cons: No option for shorter adventurers. Not a fan of foam handles

Overall: The Camp Sky Carbon Evo are great trekking poles and I would expect great ski poles but of course mine met with an early demise. They took a beating and the only way you’re going to break them is by misusing them or a gross error. If you’re looking for a lightweight, year round pole they’re a great option!

Feel like checking out the Camp Sky Carbon EVo?  Camp USA

We also featured these poles in our Christmas Special: https://blacksheepadventuresports.com/2019/12/14/skiers-christmas-gift-guide-2019/

Black Sheep Adventure Sports was supplied with a sample Camp Sky Carbon Evo Pole set for this review but this didn’t influence our review in any way.