Greetings Doug. Kudos for another example of what we've come to expect from BPL reviews: Factually correct, Informative and Entertaining. Good Job!
A personal note: I do *not* have *any* vested interest in re LuxuryLite. Over the years I have purchased, used and abused, almost every product LL have ever made available to General Public. And a few not available to the GP. ;-) I am what most would call a "loyal customer." But I am not biased and I have disagreed strongly w/Bruce on more than one occasion. But I do like and respect the man and the staff @LL.
WTS, I am indeed an expert when it comes to backpacking in general and LL gear in particular. So I do hope this post helps clarify, inform and entertain. The latter is doubtful; i'm not as good a writer as you are Doug.
First some subjective ops:
1) Doug Johnson wrote; "Hand strap is comfortable for all-day treks." "... although this is not a trekking pole." "Then, again, this is not a trekking pole and it serves a slightly different purpose." "... trekking poles ... [are] more efficient when making direct ascents ..."
I disagree that the Stik is not a trekking pole. In fact you kinda/sorta disagreed w/yourself. As quoted in the first sentence above.
1a) What is a trekking pole? A pole one uses while trekking. Duh! So, Doug this *is* a trekking pole.
1b) I also disagree that the Stik is less efficient during ascents. The stability and ruggedness afforded by Stiks is unmatched (as you wrote)! And during descents, when (IMEO) the worst slips occur .... well, there's none better, if fitted w/a standard basket/tip!
1c) The *one handed,* on the fly, adjustability afforded by the prussik strap on the Stik is True Bleeding Genius! Specially on ascents/descents and hilly terrain in general. IMEO it is *the one* attribute which sets the Stiks apart from the rest.
Think how often one foregoes the *security* and convenience of properly adjusting a standard trekking pole because it's a PITA to stop in the middle of a descent and lengthen one's trekking pole. Even Flicklocks are usually used as "set and forget" due to the hassle. The prussik strap also allows quick and easy secure hanging of a multitude of items; including one's pack. And there's more .... for another post. ;-)
2) You noted that the cylindrical tips are not as positive as standard tips. I agree. Which is why on my Stiks I have two complete sets of tips and baskets. One I made myself out of LL sourced parts. And one, slightly larger, set which Bruce made later for me. They Work Great! I highly recommend them.
3) You're not impressed w/the "Needle" and think it just adds weight. Fair enough. I use it often and think that the "Needle" is good enough to replace the 1.2 ounce trowel I used to carry. Ergo: No need for an additional item .... adding more weight than reasonable alternatives. The Needle saved me app one ounce of weight. So, works for me. :-)
4) You rightly mention that the Stik is not suitable for all shelters. Which, as noted, applies to all trekking poles. ;-)
But what you may not be aware of is that different Stik section lengths may be ordered. Or one could simply cut a section(s) to whatever length one prefers. The latter is of course not an option w/standard design trekking poles.
Which brings me to your comparisons ....
5) While it is very useful to compare products one must always keep in mind (*I* think you did, but others?) that apples and oranges have different attributes.
The Stiks, like most other LL products over the years, are a Modular Concept! And they come from an MFG who is willing to build to suit. While they are heavier than UL poles, the additional weight is mitigated by the far greater degree of utility (more in that re during an upcoming followup post) and the utter reliability.
The Stiks won't let you down !
You might also not be aware of the fact that the first carbon fiber "Stiks" that LL built and sold, were much, much lighter. I still have two of them which I use for "Fast & Light" hikes. With LL baskets/tips. And custom sections to fit practically every UL shelter made.
If you want lighter .... LuxuyLite will build them!
If you want baskets/tips .... LuxuryLite will build them!
Like any great inventor, innovator and entrepreneur; Bruce wants to make what people want to buy!
Contact Bruce and annoy the heck out of him. Because I have a number of Lekis (rental/loaners) that i'd like to replace w/original, small diameter, CF Stiks. And the two I have left, although rugged and although they will still provide years of service .... they are pretty old.
BTW, Since I don't speak for LL take my ops as being strictly personal. TIA for your understanding!
Finally , of course LL products are not for everybody. But like other unique products they absolutely require a paradigm shift to fully appreciate their positive qualities. IOW; it may take a bit of time to learn how make the best use of them. Fortunately LL have one of the best satisfaction guarantees in the biz!
Thx for reading this long winded post. :-)