After hiking the PCT a couple of summers ago and becoming obsessed with the weight and functionality of gear, University of Washington student Dan Sedlacek teamed up with two of his fellow students to form Uphill designs. Their first product, Uphill Trekking Poles, are made from 95% sustainable materials, including bamboo and cork.
Uphill chose bamboo for reasons in addition to the obvious sustainability story. Co-founder Mounica Sonikar studied the structural properties of bamboo for her Master’s thesis and found it to be stronger than both aluminum and steel. The hollow structure of bamboo makes it not only strong and stable, but also as light as carbon fiber.
The bamboo trekking poles come in a fixed as well as collapsible version. Two screw-in, recycled aluminum joints enable you to split the pole into three parts for storing in your backpack.
Each trekking pole handle is made from cork. Cork helps with cushioning and also works to wick away any sweat on your hands as you hike. And finally, the pole tips are made from a 3D-printed biodegradable plastic. Stainless steel inserts at the tip help with traction over any terrain.
For all you ounce counters, the fixed length poles weigh 5.5 ounces (156 grams) per pole and the collapsible 8 ounces per pole. Uphill originally sold the fixed length bamboo trekking poles through their website, but have now turned to Kickstarter to help fund their collapsible version.
For $55, you can pre-order a single fixed length pole, $99 for two, and $149 for a pair of collapsible bamboo trekking poles. Delivery is expected March-April 2015 and you can choose the size of your poles when the campaign has finished.