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Exped Trekker Ergo Trekking Poles REVIEW

Product performance review of the Exped Trekker Ergo Trekking Poles, lightweight poles for backpacking.

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by Will Rietveld | 2005-04-26 03:00:00-06

Overview

Exped Trekker Ergo Trekking Poles  - 1

The Exped Trekker Ergo poles are made of stiff aircraft quality aluminum and have a solid locking mechanism that rarely slips. Their distinctive feature is the handles that are angled 15-degrees forward for improved downhill ergonomics. I tested the Trekker Ergo poles extensively, both on and off-trail, and found them to be solidly built, comfortable, and dependable. Their stiffness is great for vaulting across streams, stepping down from rocks and ledges, and supporting a shelter. However, the stiffness adds to trail vibration. These poles are tough and built to last, but heavy at 18 ounces (310 g) for the set.

In Brief

  • Ergonomic 15 degree grip angle
  • Very stiff - great for shelter support
  • Stiffness adds to trail vibration
  • Not the lightest at 9.0 ounces (255 g) per pole
  • A good value at $79

Specifications

• Trekking Pole Type

Collapsible, three sections

• Shaft Material

Aircraft quality 7075-T6 aluminum

• Tips

Carbide

• Grips

Grip materialGrip SizeStrap included?
Closed cell EVA foamlargeYes - non-padded, adjustable

• Weight (without baskets)

Weight per pole (oz)Weight per pole (g)
Backpacking Light measured9.0 255
Manufacturer claim9.0 255

• Pole Length

inchescentimeters
Minimum length 28.071
Maximum length 55.5 142

• Model Year

2004

• MSRP

$79.00

Usable Features and Ease of Use

Exped poles are anodized inside and out for extra scratch and corrosion resistance. The distinctive feature of the Trekker Ergo over the other Exped poles we tested is that the handles have a 15-degree forward bend for improved downhill ergonomic posture. The poles have large anatomic grips made of EVA foam with "buckle-less" straps. The poles adjust from 28 to 55.5 inches (71-142 cm), and collapse to 27 inches (68 cm). The shafts on the two lower sections are marked from 115-140 centimeters at 5-centimeter intervals, so the desired pole length can easily be set by adjusting both sections to the same mark. Plastic snap-on caps for the carbide tips are provided to prevent damage to other gear. The poles come with two sets of baskets: smaller ones to prevent sinking in soft ground or sand, and larger ones for use on snow. No special options are available for these poles.

Locking Mechanism

Editor's Note: While the Exped Trekker Ergo poles had little problem with slippage, both of the other sets of poles we reviewed from Exped, which have the same locking mechanism, had consistent problems with slippage.

The Exped Trekker Ergo poles have a special expander with dual contact areas for a fast and slip free lock. The poles require moderate force to unlock and slide to the desired setting. They lock easily and firmly. Once they are locked they are solid, with no slippage at all. There is little possibility that the poles will accidentally compress, unless they are not locked tight enough.

Baskets and Tips

The ends of the poles have a hard plastic sleeve with smooth carbide tips. Two sets of baskets are provided: 2-inch (5 cm) diameter baskets for soft ground, and 3.75-inch (10 cm) baskets for snow. The baskets thread tightly onto the pole and do not loosen by themselves. Changing the baskets is as easy as twisting one set off and twisting the other set on.

Grip Comfort and Performance

Exped Trekker Ergo Trekking Poles  - 2

Grips are large and padded with EVA foam. They are angled forward 15 degrees. Straps are 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and connect to a hard plastic cap on the top of the grip. They adjust easily and keep their adjustment without the use of a sleeve or buckle.

Usability with Trekking Pole Shelters

Shelter (pole length needed)Usable with this shelter?
Six Moon Designs Europa 2 (41 in/104 cm)Yes
Golite Trig 2 (48 in/123 cm)Yes
MSR Missing Link (54 in/137 cm) Yes

The Exped Trekker Ergo poles are especially suitable for supporting shelters because of their stiffness. Their adjustable range is 28-55.5 inches (71-142 cm). The following table is a list of popular shelters and our assessment of the suitability of the Exped poles to support the shelter:

Weight /Swing Weight

At 9 ounces (255 g) per pole the Trekker Ergo poles are about average weight by conventional standards and heavy by lightweight standards. The balance point is 22.5 inches (57 cm) from the top of the pole. The shaft tapers from 0.7 inches (17 mm) at the top to 0.4 inches (10 mm) at the bottom. The balance point more towards the handle of the pole and moderate taper combine to give these poles a swing weight requiring average exertion on the trail.

Lateral Stiffness/Stability

Exped Trekker Ergo Trekking Poles  - 3

Exped poles are made of aircraft aluminum, which is claimed to be the ideal pole alloy because of its exceptional stiffness and rebound characteristics. These poles are indeed stiff and only bend about 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) laterally with 25 pounds (11.3 kg) of force. This makes then very suitable for use as a shelter support. I also found them very helpful for rock hopping across snowmelt-swollen streams. Their stiffness allowed me to vault across some gaps I may not have attempted otherwise.

Trail Vibration

Vibration is high due to the poles' stiffness. They are a little noisy on the trail although the foam grips do an excellent job of isolating vibration from the hands.

Durability

I used these poles to vault across streams, caught them in cracks, put my full weight on them stepping off of rocks and ledges, accidentally stepped on them, used them to dig a cat hole, and I put a bunch of miles on them. The only damage I have to show for it all is a few scratches. The locking mechanism is solid. These poles are tough and built to last. They should stand up to years of use without failure.

Value

I could find little fault with the Exped Trekker Ergo poles. They are well designed, solidly built, comfortable to use, durable, and perform well - what I look for in a trekking pole. At $79 they are priced $20 less than most of the poles in our review suite - a good buy.

Recommendations for Improvement

The Exped Trekker Ergo poles are solidly built and perform well, but are heavy on the lightweight backpacker scale. I would like to see at least one set of really lightweight poles in the Exped lineup that retain the performance of the Trekker Ergo poles.


Citation

"Exped Trekker Ergo Trekking Poles REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/exped_trekker_ergo_trekking_poles_review.html, 2005-04-26 03:00:00-06.

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