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6 oz/pole, $30 DIY poles
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
6 oz/pole, $30 DIY poles on 04/07/2009 08:57:16 MDT Print View

DIY trekking pole

Since giving a lift to hitching PCTers in Independence, CA this past summer, I've wanted a pair of nice light poles with the excellent Gossamer Gear cork grips. My previous rig of BD Traverse poles with the grips wrapped in cycling bar tape left much to be desired.

So at the ski swap this past fall, I snagged a pair of decent fiberglass skate ski poles for $10. The other day I finally got around to ordering some GG grips, and put the whole together last night.
DIY pole

I cut the poles for a 120 cm length, and the upper end just happened to be the right size for fitting snugly up in the grip. My scheme for some kind of t-nut was not put to the test. A bit of dremel and file work to turn the tips into smaller, symmetrical spikes rounded things out.

Each pole is 6 oz on the nose.

I'm pretty confident that the thick fiberglass will hold up well (I don't trust myself with carbon in much of anything), but we'll have to wait and see on that one.

The only immediate disadvantage on the rig is a lack of resistance to flex, if you suspend the ends on tables and weight the middle, they bend a good bit. I'll soon figure out if this is a detriment in practice.

I'm pleased with the weight, excited about the great grip material and shape, and more excited about the low outlay of cash and time.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: 6 oz/pole, $30 DIY poles on 04/07/2009 09:11:39 MDT Print View

Nice, and the price is right!

brian blair

Locale: Silverado Canyon
Nice! on 04/08/2009 10:09:01 MDT Print View

Nice work Dave....I had a similar plan in mind until I found a pair of Gossamer poles for $40. I'd like to make a pair like this for Steph though.

Are you going back to paired poles....or did you make 2 just to have an extra?


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
two poles good on 04/08/2009 20:06:49 MDT Print View

I prefer two for "serious" hiking. The primary purpose of getting these going is the Devil's Backbone 50 miler south of Bozeman in July. I always used two poles in the Grand Canyon, too.

Mark Antone
(mantone) - F

Locale: Washington State
Re: 6 oz/pole, $30 DIY poles on 05/20/2010 13:22:19 MDT Print View

How have these poles been holding up?

Curious, don't you use straps around your wrist?

James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
re: 6 oz/pole, $30 DIY poles on 05/20/2010 14:23:23 MDT Print View

The GG poles don't have straps (unless you order the straps upgrade). I had the same question (thought I'd miss straps) until I got my LT4s and started using them. When they are this light, you really don't need straps.

Very cool project. It'll be interesting to see if you need/miss straps with a 6oz pole (rather than 2.5oz for the LT3/4s). Good luck!

Cheers, James.

Edited by on 05/20/2010 14:24:59 MDT.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
the case against straps on poles on 05/21/2010 11:06:29 MDT Print View

My wife and I were crossing a rock field we were both using GG Lightrek 3 carbon fiber poles. Mine were stock. She didn't like not having straps so I installed straps on hers. I caught my pole in a crack and fell. I held onto the pole as long as I could to break my fall, but when I felt significant bending, I let go.

The same thing happened to my wife, but because of the strap, her pole broke over a rock and cost $110 to replace. It wasn't because the pole was carbon. I'm pretty sure an aluminum pole would have kinked given the same forces.

Now neither of us use straps. One nice thing about the ultralight carbon poles: they tend to stay put better when jammed into the ground instead of falling over so we don't miss the straps all that much.

Mike S
(MikeyLXT) - F

Locale: Maryland
Re: the case against straps on poles on 05/21/2010 11:26:00 MDT Print View

I use my straps to hold and put pressure on my poles. For me it is more a case of grip and how i hold onto a pole. Most of my weight is transferred by the straps. I do very little actual gripping to transfer weight onto the poles.

Adam Kramer
(rbeard) - F

Locale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
Re: Re: the case against straps on poles on 05/21/2010 12:36:06 MDT Print View

me too, you can get serious leverage on the straps and that makes using your poles that much easier.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
wrist straps and durability on 05/21/2010 22:33:51 MDT Print View

I don't like and don't use wrist straps for trekking poles. Too clumsy and slow to get in and out of, and I like to vary my grip depending on cadence and terrain.

These poles have been used a lot in the last year, and are holding up great. I've added a pair of small baskets, as the extra weight is made up for in their resistance to getting stuck in soft ground.

I made a shorter, aluminum pair for my wife, and they are even lighter and cheaper.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
update on 11/11/2010 23:04:04 MST Print View

I'll put in one more plug for these poles. The fiberglass XC ski pole shafts have proven to be really sturdy. The metal tips hold up well, I give them a grind with a file every so often to keep them sharpish. The GosGear grips are absolutely ideal. The poles even float, and the cork grips and non-metal shafts make a noticeable difference in the cold.

Best money ever spent on backpacking gear? Maybe.