In my backpacking experiences, few though they may be, I've learned one very important lesson: going up is hard, going down hurts.
Being a more or less out of shape person who's trying hard to quit smoking (and doing well I think), going up is hard. But I can change those things about myself that make it hard. I can get in better shape through some cardio, and quit smoking. If I can manage those things, going up will soon start to get easier and easier.
Going down, however, is a different story. It absolutely kills my ankles, knees (in particular) and hips, and short of gritting it, there isn't much to be done. Aging has no cure.
So I've decided to definitely start hiking with trekking poles, and I'm looking for some suggestions. I've read through the gear reviews, but in all honesty, it hasn't helped that much. I've found a couple that are intriguing, but few that I might consider buying.
I have a few wants out of a trekking pole:
Lightweight. I'd like to look at the GG, or the BPL Stix (especially considering they're on sale for a good price), but that leads to my next want in a set of poles.
Collapsible. I'd like the option of not carrying them, and strapping them to my pack. Carrying them on a plane is a consideration as well, and it seems (however I may be wrong in this assumption) that having collapsible poles would be great.
I'd like CF poles because they are lighter and stronger than aluminum of the same weight.
Ideally I'd like to get a pole that collapses and weighs in the 3-5 oz range, but based on my looking, I don't think that's possible. At least not in a pole that might be durable enough to withstand the rigors of hiking.
The "best" poles I have seen that are collapsible are the Pacer Poles (which seem quite interesting, and useful even when not hiking on steep grade), but they weight about 11-12 oz each, which equates to 1.5 pounds if on my pack when not being used. The Stix or GG poles seem great at 2.5-4 oz each, yet don't collapse.
Are there any poles out there which seem to split the difference?