Even just using the PCS, I found the stability kit invaluable. I prefer to set the stove on rock and there were not many flat surfaces around on the trail. The PCS is a little top heavy and having the stand means more options for placement. It adds virtually nothing in weight and everything stores so neatly inside the PCS. The pot support came in handy too when my bud wanted to use his pan for cooking up some canned stew.
I was not looking forward to taking a dump in the woods but now that I have I'm glad I had my iPood. Although very lightweight it was strong enough to dig through rocky woody New England soil. The hollow handle not only saves on weight but is the perfect place for putting toilet paper. The sack has just enough room to fit a mini bottle of Purell. Makes a great little package to hand to your friend or anyone in your group when they gotta do their business.
First off, although I've day hiked for years, I'm a total newb at backpacking. I bought these poles on a whim because everyone says you should use trekking poles and boy am I glad I did. Our first trip was only 18 miles on the Appalachian but involved constant climbs and descents. However, these poles performed like a champ.
The locking system was very quick and easy to adjust and never once budged even under a great deal of weight during descents. By contrast my companion had a new pair of fancy Leki poles with cork handles and spring loaded shock absorbers (I was jealous) but the twist lock mechanism had a temporary failure on the trail before we could get it to reengage. My flintlocks were flawless.
There is a little bit of flex in the poles and I'm not sure whether that's good or bad but it was not bothersome to me. I found the grips and straps very comfortable and was not troubled by sweat.
My boots were not up to snuff for this maiden voyage so I experienced a bit of toe bang so I relied on these babies to keep me from crippling myself. Combined with the benefits of balance, stability and weight distribution (saving my knees and ankles and preventing faceplants), I came away from this trip appreciating how truly essential a piece of gear trekking poles are. These poles performed great for me and I look forward to using them on our next trip.
So how trailworthy is this product? I'd hate for this thing to bust in my pack.
Everyone seems to rave about the Jetboil but I've also read some very good things about the Optimus Crux cooking system. I need a stove but can't decide which to buy. The JetBoil seems to cook water faster, have a little more stability and you can get a killer coffee press whereas the Optimus is lighter and comes with a fry pan with room for a folding spork all in a very compact package. I really like the idea of a compact fry pan (for eggs, etc) but also like my coffee. Which would you buy?