Monopod Trekking Poles + Backcountry Tripod Solution

Monopod Trekking Poles + Backcountry Tripod Solution

Written by Skylyn Smith

During my recent summer travels, I have been venturing further into the wilderness, up steeper terrain, and at a faster pace than previous years. While on these treks, I found myself using my Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles much more often to save my knees and calves from the strain of thousands of feet of elevation gain and descent through countless miles of uneven terrain. On some easier trails I would bring them along because of how light they are and how well they compress down to strap to my pack when not in use.

On these excursions, keeping my gear as light as possible was of the highest priority for ease of fast movement through varying terrain with longer miles. On some overnight trips, I had more weight than normal, causing me to not bring my tripod, which left me at a disadvantage for photographing lower light scenes. This got me pondering a possible solution to allow me to capture low light without having to set my camera on a rock or tree, and to instead use my two trekking poles plus my girlfriend's trekking poles strapped together to make a stable tripod with the gear we already had on hand. This solution worked better and allowed for more flexibility of framing a photo than a natural object with my camera on it. This led to my idea of using a trekking pole that had a ¼" thread on the top grip, allowing a tripod ball head to be attached to it.

Once I began researching a possible solution, I was stoked to find out that Cascade Mountain Tech makes a Carbon Fiber Monopod Pole that has a ¼" threaded adapter for screwing a ball head on it. Once I received it, I was pleased to quickly find out the build quality is just as great as my normal carbon trekking poles that have taken me through 1000s of miles of adventures, and that this new solution for a lightweight backcountry tripod was coming to fruition!

The next thing I needed to do is get back out in the backcountry and test out these new Cascade Mountain Tech Monopod Trekking Poles. After a week or so of rain, I was finally able to gear up for a backpacking trip to an alpine lake in the Cascade mountains. As sunset approached, I began building the trekking pole tripod to capture the low light scenes that would unfold. I was extremely pleased to find that the adjustable wrist strap on the new monopod pole is able to tighten around the handles of the other 2 poles synching them tightly together and making a stable enough tripod. Now with a ¼" thread on one of the pole heads, I screwed on my ball head I removed from my normal tripod, and just like that: I had a ultralight trekking pole tripod! It has exponentially more adjustments than a rock or log, and I was able to use the gear we had on hand instead of trekking with my 3lb tripod. I can now use my arca swiss L bracket to achieve vertical and horizontal shots and have the flexabity to do more complex shots with this setup vs using a natural object.

I am very excited to see how this ultralight carbon fiber backcountry trekking pole tripod idea evolves in the future, and to see what beautiful images come from this setup, while keeping my pack weight low and my back and knees happier along the way.

Weight: Carbon Pole (7.8oz each) / Carbon Monopod (8.6 oz each) {The monopod extends to 60 inches tall}

Here are some photos of more epic places my Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles have taken me in the past 5 years of ownership. I liked my first set of poles so much, I gifted them to my girlfriend to replace her heavy aluminum ski poles and bought myself a nice new pair a few years ago! Cascade Mountain Tech recently sent me a new complete set of their monopod trekking poles to try out the monopod/trekking pole tripod idea I had, and honestly I am just as impressed with the build quality and material choice on the monopod poles as their normal carbon fiber poles. The cork grips are ergonomic and feel secure in my hands, and the quick adjustments of the poles make it easy to adjust the height for up and down sections of trail.

In addition to our trekking poles from Cascade Mountain Tech, my girlfriend and I also really enjoy our extremely comfortable Cascade Mountain Tech packable chairs while we are hanging out around camp or gazing at the stars (these way more comfortable than your standard camp chair)! Make sure to check out all of their affordable products that can help you reach more places while adding to the comfort of your journey!

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