Appalachian Ultralight 'Bear Batons' Trekking Poles
For months I have been getting asked if I was ever going to try anything from the new start-up company Appalachian Ultralight, and my typical response has been "nothing planned".

But during my quest a month or so ago for a fixed-length trekking pole, I randomly came across a set called the 'Bear Batons', and it turned out they were made by AU.

These 'Bear Batons' fell into the 'beta  development phase' of things, so I was pretty hesitant to give them much consideration, and ended up passing on them during my quest.

A week or two later, they came back into my mind, so I dropped AU a message via their facebook page, asking if I could buy just one, not a pair.

The response I got back from them included the following:

I'm selling these at a discount until these are better-tested and we save up enough to invest in a large order of carbon tubes. So I'd really prefer to sell them as a pair. If we go with just one I'd probably have to ask for $60 plus shipping. 

That kind of put me off. He was asking $100 bucks for the pair, and wanted $60 for just one. WTF.

So, I responded with a "thanks" and proceeded to forget about them.

But, as things go, the uniqueness of what originally drew me to them, kept gnawing at me in the back of my brain.

So a few weeks later I sent them another FB message asking:

When do you guys think these poles will be out of prototype/r&d status? 

My thinking was that maybe once they get out of the p/r&d phase and into full production, maybe they would list a single pole for sale, at an actually reasonable (ie: non-marked-up price) at which point I would buy one.

The response I got back pretty much dictated my decision to buy the pair they had listed on their website.

Hey John. I decided they aren't a priority for me right now. I'm going to sell these few I have and then put them on hold. 

So, the decision was made to just buy the pair of them and see how they work out.

What Made Them Stand Out To Me?

I wanted three things on my hunt/quest for a set of fixed-length trekking poles:

  • A fixed length of somewhere between 125cm and 135cm.
  • Carbon fiber shafts
  • Cork handles

At the very top of my list of which to buy were the Gossamer Gear 'LT3C' poles, at the 125cm length. At $65 bucks for one (and the ability to buy just one is nice) and being 79 grams (2.8 oz) make them probably one of the best decisions on the market for a fixed-length carbon trekking pole.

But in the end, the uniqueness of the huge cork grips on the AU 'Bear Batons' just won me over in my purchase decision.

They are totally unlike any other trekking poles I have seen that have cork handles. Unlike the form-shaped design that GG has on their cork handles, the approach that AU has taken with a really long/high cork handle, well, it is just unique and really stands out.

But of course 'standing out' is not what matters. One of the main reasons for having a fixed-length trekking pole is for trail running. You buy a pair of trekking poles that are perfect set to the height that you need. They work going downhill, uphill, on the flats, pretty much everywhere. Unlike hikers that shorten their adjustable height trekking poles when going uphill, and extend them when going downhill.

And that is where I see the idea, the concept, of these ultra high/long cork handles coming into play/use. The ability to have a fixed-length trekking pole, yet have the ability to have a greatly increased amount of hand locations, not just a fixed hand location at a fixed height. Hope that makes sense.

Having put away trekking poles over two years ago with the switch to a single hiking staff, the zpacks cf staff, I was not worried about having to get use to having a shaft/staff style hand grip, as it is what I have been use to for 2+ years. I also knew that having the variable height hand position (as in, holding the staff anywhere/height that I want too, at any given time, in any given trail condition) is something that had become the norm for me, it is just instinctive at this point, so not only would I not have to get use to that, but it was something I already loved the ability to do.

While the risk of buying a pair of prototype trekking poles is/was, well, a risk, given the fact that a percentage of the gear I already carry is prototype gear, it just sort of falls into the category of normality for me.


 The full length of just the cork handle is 37.5 cm (14 3/4 inches ). 

The full length of handle plus end pieces is 39.4 cm (15 1/2 inches).

The weight of one of the poles is 155 grams (5.467 ounces).

The weight of the other pole is 150 grams (5.291 ounces).

They are both exactly 132 cm (52 inches) in height.

The diameter of the cork handles is 8.89 cm (3.5 inches).

My only guess on the differences of weight between the two different trekking poles, which is only 5 grams (0.17 oz) is a result of the  hand made nature of the cork handles - and is pretty much, well, totally, and inconsequential weight difference.

A Few Photos:

Full trekking poles:

Holding the poles:

Bear Baton in one hand, Zpacks CF Staff in the other hand:

One is 155 grams:

The other is 150 grams:


Thank You For The Support!

Thank you to those that support me here on Patron! I used my funds from last month to help cover the cost (about half) of these poles - as previously mentioned, I would use some of my Patron funds to help fund gear that I would post videos and photos of.

Once I get some useage with these trekking poles I will get another video and post published with my thoughts on them!

Thank you,
+John Abela

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