optimum length of snowshoe poles; recommended poles
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E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
optimum length of snowshoe poles; recommended poles on 11/20/2007 19:08:57 MST Print View

I'm new to snowshoeing and looking forward to our first trip in a few weeks.

How much longer should snowshoe poles be than your typical hiking pole length?

Would you recommend single or double section poles over 3 section poles? I don't think my 3 section pole can be made long enough. And a single shaft would be strongest, though more of a pain to transport.

Which single and double section poles would you recommend that I can get snowbaskets for?

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
snowshoe poles on 11/20/2007 20:37:38 MST Print View

I would definitely recommend adjustable poles like the black diamond flick locks. There is no one length that works for snowshoeing, since it in part depends on how deep the snow is that you are in, particularly if you are breaking trail. If you are in really a really deep trough, even medium length poies may be up over your head. You may want to go longer on the descent, but you really don't need long poles for snowshoeing for the most part.

Generally I use 120 cm, which is my downhill ski length, so sort of medium length for my height (5'9"), but I will go shorter than that at times.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Doug Johnson's response on 11/21/2007 09:20:12 MST Print View

I'm sharing Doug's respose from a PM: "my snowshoe poles are usually 5 cm longer than typical trekking poles. However, I usually run my trekking poles long for using the nordic walking (push-off) style for summer use so they're already about 5 cm long- perfect for snowshoeing."

Do all you experienced snowshoers out there recommend one piece poles, or can you go with a 2 or 3 piece pole for the portability? It's a real pain traveling with long one piece poles.

Also, Doug, which poles do you use for nordic walking? We just use our hiking poles with Leki rubber angled nordic walking tips (they are angled for max ground contact when pushing off behind you). My wife and I nordic walk as well all year, much better than walking alone and less pounding on the joints than running (though I run too).

Edited by mountainwalker on 11/21/2007 09:24:46 MST.

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
poles on 11/21/2007 09:44:09 MST Print View

I am still confused by your question. Are there treking poles out there that are not adjustable in length? You definitely don't want those. Two piece vs. three piece, as long as they are also adjustable, doesn't matter that much and could be a personal preference, but:

1) you want strong poles. Many treking poles are designed to be light, which isn't really going to matter when snowshoeing. You don't really need poles on easy terrain; but if you are traversing something steep you don't want your pole accidently collapsing on you and sending you down into the snow bank.

2) you don't want shocks or anything that can freeze. The black diamond flicklocks can be adjusted wearing gloves. I am a bit skeptical about the twisty locks on lower sections of many poles both for freezing and collapsing, but lots of poles, including adjustable ski poles, come with those twisty mechanisms.

3) short is better than long, but almost any reasonable length can work and you can get used to it. This is not cross country skiing where you need properly sized poles to push, or downhill skiing where you need shorter poles for the descent. Even the flicklocks will move when I jam into them (more skiing then snowshoeing), and it is not unusual to notice at some point that I or someone I am with are using different length poles when snowshoeing. Often the snow on either side of the track is of dramatically different heights, or the snow is soft and so the poles are sinking, or the amount of snow on the sides or its firmness keeps changing as you go along, so pole length really comes out in the wash most of the time when snowshoeing.

4) if there really are "one piece" nonadjustable treking poles on the market, my guess is that those are a waste of money for snowshoeing, since you could get used beat up downhill ski poles for probably $5-10.

Edited by mbenvenuto on 11/21/2007 09:49:12 MST.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
One-piece poles on 11/21/2007 11:59:33 MST Print View

I'll agree in general with most of the comments here, but also note that I've used my GossamerGear one-piece carbon fiber poles extensively for snowshoeing, and love them. The light weight and lack of fiddle factor and components that could slip or freeze up is a plus.

If you need to fly with them, they're more trouble, but GG does sell a thick cardboard mailing tube you can use to transport them.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: One-piece poles on 11/21/2007 13:16:36 MST Print View

>>"if there really are "one piece" nonadjustable treking poles on the market, my guess is that those are a waste of money for snowshoeing, since you could get used beat up downhill ski poles for probably $5-10"

you can get much better than beat up ski poles.. My newest trekking poles are the new Gossamer gear ligt trek 3 carbon fiber poles. They are extrodinarily lightweight.. just over 5oz, but they are much stiffer than my old Leki ultralite Titanum poles.. which broke..

If you really want an ajustable pole, I would recomend the Life-link Guide ultralight poles..

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
thanks on 11/23/2007 15:42:22 MST Print View

Thanks for the info - I checked and our 3 section poles can be made long enough for me (I wasn't sure how much more I could extend them) - I think Doug's suggestion of about +5 cm is spot on for the extra height of our snowboots and snowshoes - we have had our Leki Air Ergo Ti poles for years and they've been great so far. We just did the easiest and cheapest thing and just picked up 2 pairs of snow baskets. Now we're just hoping for some good snow : )

We mainly got the 3 section poles for the portability - much easier to travel with them.