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Exped Trekker Trekking Poles REVIEW

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

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by Jay Ham | 2005-04-26 03:00:00-06

Overview

Exped Trekker Trekking Poles REVIEW - 1
Exped Trekker trekking poles.

The Exped Trekker poles are some of the stiffest and longest extending poles of those we tested. Exped hard anodizes the shafts, both inside and out, strengthening the aluminum against breakage, scratches, and corrosion. The poles include comfortable foam grips with wrist straps and carbide tips all for a very reasonable MSRP of $69. On the down side, the Exped Trekker poles weigh 18.4 ounces (520 g) for the pair, and the shaft locking mechanisms occasionally slip.

In Brief

  • Very durable and stiff
  • Stiffness leads to trail vibration at the grips
  • A great value at $69
  • Not the lightest at 9.2 ounce (260 g) per pole
  • Locking mechanism occasionally slips

Specifications

• Trekking Pole Type

Collapsible, three sections

• Shaft Material

Extruded, aircraft quality 7075-T6 aluminum

• Tips

Carbide steel tips

• Grips

Grip materialGrip SizeStrap included?
EVA foam with plastic topsmedium largeyes

• Weight (without baskets)

Weight per pole (oz)Weight per pole (g)
Backpacking Light measured9.2 260
Manufacturer claim10.0 280

• Pole Length

inchescentimeters
Minimum length 2667
Maximum length 58 147

• Model Year

2004

• MSRP

$69

Usable Features and Ease of Use

The Exped Trekkers are full-featured aluminum trekking poles. They are collapsible into three sections adjusting in length from 26 to 58 inches. They include EVA foam grips with wrist straps and carbide steel tips. The Exped Trekkers tested came with snow baskets, measuring 3.75 inches in diameter that screw onto the tips.

Locking mechanism - ease of use

Exped Trekker Trekking Poles REVIEW - 2
The locking mechanisms used in the Exped Trekkers - not slip free.

The expanding locking mechanisms used in Exped Trekkers are designed to make contact with the inside of the poles in two places for a "fast and slip-free lock" (see photo). However, after several trips the white expansion nuts became coated in dust and occasionally slipped inside the pole shafts rather than tightening. This can be overcome by extending the pole section enough to expose the white expansion nut, holding the expansion nut during preliminary tightening until it is snug, sliding the lower pole section into the upper section (with some resistance) until the proper length is reached, and then fully tightening the expansion nut.

When the sections are fully tightened, some continue to slip when full body weight is applied to the pole. Measured on a scale, it takes approximately 70 to 80 pounds to cause the pole sections to collapse.

Baskets and tip

The tip section of the Exped Trekkers is fairly stiff. They are tipped with smooth concave carbide, which held up well against countless rock encounters. We found the concave, smooth shape to slip more often than other tips that utilize more aggressively cut patterns.

As mentioned above, the Exped Trekkers came with 3.75-inch snow baskets. Exped offers true trekking baskets, which were not tested. The baskets are attached by screwing them onto the plastic portion of the tip. Removal is fairly simple and it only takes a couple of minutes to re-outfit both poles.

Grip comfort and performance

Exped Trekker Trekking Poles REVIEW - 3
The Exped Trekkers come with anatomically shaped EVA foam grips and carbide steel tips.

The Exped Trekker grips are mostly EVA foam with hard plastic tops that house the adjustment mechanism for the wrist straps (see photo). The grips are anatomically shaped and are sized medium large. They were a good fit for most of our reviewers, even those with larger hands. The seam between the EVA foam and plastic tops is noticeable but not uncomfortable. The adjustment on the straps has a wide enough range to accommodate most users.

Usability with trekking pole shelters

Shelter (pole length needed)Usable with this shelter?
Tarpsyes
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
Pyramid type tarps/tentsyes, and fits Leki's pole adapter, which connects two poles into one

Weight/Swing Weight

The Exped Trekker poles are on the heavy side of lightweight, at 9.2 ounces per pole. The majority of the weight is concentrated in the aluminum shafts and adjusting mechanisms, which translates into additional swing weight and greater fatigue in the wrists after long trail days as compared to lighter or more balanced poles.

Lateral Stiffness/Stability

Exped hard anodizes both the outside and inside of their trekker series. Aluminum that has been anodized is both harder and stiffer. The Trekkers tested were among the stiffest poles we reviewed with very minimal flex on the trail. These poles are excellent in their double duty role as shelter supports. The stiffness and adjustability make them ideal for tarps and pyramid tents alike.

Trail Vibration

Although stiffness can be a good thing, it contributes to the trail vibrations felt while hiking with these poles. The Exped Trekkers exhibit very high trail vibration and transfer a great deal of shock to the user's hands. The EVA foam grips do a reasonable job of dissipating some trail shock. On the up side, there is very minimal rattling or noise from the poles while hiking, the result of close fitting tolerances in the shaft sections and locking mechanism.

Durability

The Exped Trekkers appear to be virtually bombproof. We put them through considerable abuse, both on the trail and in camp, with only minor scratches resulting. As mentioned above, Exped hard anodizes the pole shafts both inside and out. The anodizing makes the shafts harder, stronger, more scratch resistant, and protects against corrosion. As a result, the poles are less likely to bend or snap. The locking mechanisms are a combination of hard plastics and metal screws that should hold up well to hard use.

Value

The Exped Trekkers are priced a solid $20 to $40 below the market standard. As such they are a good value but would be a better value if they lost a little of their 18.4-ounce weight and had better locking mechanisms.

Recommendations for Improvement

The Exped Trekker poles could be improved with better locking mechanisms and lighter weight. The plastics used in the locking mechanism, while very durable, might be too hard to adequately grip the inside anodized shafts. To improve ease and security of locking, we suggest exploring other plastics or locking mechanism shapes that would more securely hold within the shafts. These poles excel at stiffness and strength and may currently fill a niche with travelers who desire such traits. For our purposes however, reducing the shaft weight at the sacrifice of lesser strength and more flexibility would be a favorable trade-off.


Citation

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

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