Forum Index » GEAR » Time to get trekking poles. What do I look for?


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Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Time to get trekking poles. What do I look for? on 09/27/2010 13:31:39 MDT Print View

Using sticks found along the trail is satisfying to me in a number of ways but my body is beginning to yearn for trekking poles.

My elbows and forearms would like some shock absorption. My wallet wouldn't mind some of that either! I understand adjustibility is a must and low weight would be appreciated. What else should I be looking for? Feel free to make specific suggestions too!

Thanks.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Poles on 09/27/2010 13:35:27 MDT Print View

The lightweight champs around here are the Gossamer Gear LT4 poles (adjustable, 3.4oz/pole, $160 set) and the TiGoat poles (3.3oz/pole, $130 set). These poles are really nice to use because they are so light and because most of the weight is in the handle so it's really easy to flick them forward to the next step. It's weird using heavier poles after using these.

Edited by dandydan on 09/27/2010 13:35:58 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
warranty on 09/27/2010 13:47:30 MDT Print View

a good warranty as its likely that sooner or later youll snap one ...

or cheap enough of a price that it doesnt matter

i prefer flick locks ... if you like the twist locks make sure you can adjust them with gloves on, with wet hands, etc ... if you plan to use them in adverse conditions

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: warranty on 09/27/2010 13:51:38 MDT Print View

I agree with Eric. Flip locks are much better than screw locks.

More than half of all the screw locks that I have ever owned have failed, and none of the flip locks have.

--B.G.--

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
shock absorption on 09/27/2010 13:57:18 MDT Print View

I've extensively used shock absorbing poles in the past (leki makalu's) and recently switched to carbon fiber gossamer gear LT4's, which do not have anti-shock. My personal opinion...antishock is BS marketing. Theres not that much shock coming from poles tapping the trail, even when rocky. If anything, its the kung-fu grip and overzealous hammering that causes any soreness/ joint pain in the arms. If you relax your grip and/or rely on the hand straps, you won't feel that much shock. If you do choose to use straps, remember to enter you hand into the strap from under the strap, so that that you transfer weight through the strap, and not your wrist/hand.
strap

Skip the anti-shock and reap the benefits of a lighter less expensive pole.

I also agree that flick lock is more secure than twist lock. But it's a heavier mechanism. Thats a decision you'll have to make on your own

Edited by Konrad1013 on 09/27/2010 14:06:08 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: warranty on 09/27/2010 14:06:17 MDT Print View

Flip locks are better than screw locks. They are more secure (they never fail to open or close). However, they aren't offered on the lightest poles. I own both. For the winter time, I use Black Diamond poles, since they make a winter version that is quite strong (although heavy). I appreciate the solid, no-fuss locks. For the summer, I use Gossamer Gear Lighttrek 4, even though the locks are fussy. It is the price I pay for having such a light set of adjustable poles.

You might consider a fixed length pole. That way, you don't have to worry about the locks. Gossamer Gear makes some great ones (the Lighttrek 3), and they are even lighter than the Lighttrek 4.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Poles on 09/27/2010 14:25:29 MDT Print View

I love and treasure my Goat Poles, I fought long and hard over which to get but finally decided on the goats instead of the GG LT4s.

I just like the more minimalist approach, and love that I can get my hand comfortably on top of the grips when moving casually, or when my wrists get sore from days of use.

Can't go wrong with either option I'd say.

TiGoat warrants the uppers against breakage, and I'm sure they'll replace a broken lower for a very fair price if you did manage to somehow break it.

Honestly though, you'd pretty much have to karate kick the new stronger lowers to get them to break from what I've seen and put them through.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Flick locks, si! on 09/27/2010 14:27:44 MDT Print View

Yes indeedy-do, flick locks and no shocks. I use Black Diamond poles. You can micro-adjust flick locks and all the hardware is on the outside where you can deal with it.

I did notice that Outdoor Products is offering a flick lock trekking pole if you need a bargain basement price. Target has them for $18 each: http://www.target.com/CAP001-Outdoor-Products-Trekking-Pole/dp/B002QG1EMO/

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Flick locks, si! on 09/27/2010 14:34:58 MDT Print View

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/19153/index.html

Outdoor Products poles about 14 bucks each at Walmart.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: warranty on 09/27/2010 14:56:14 MDT Print View

I have a pair of Leki's with screw locks, and although they haven't failed me when I lock them down tightly enough, I don't find them to be particularly user-friendly. I'm planning on switching to flip locks for that reason.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Time to get trekking poles. What do I look for? on 09/27/2010 15:07:34 MDT Print View

Very light weight and a good way of clipping them to your pack to get them out of the way.

Cheers

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Just wanting to be cool too... on 09/27/2010 16:25:35 MDT Print View

1) Fliplocks are a must. SO much easier to manipulate, harder to break.

2) (Opinion only) I stick with metal. It doesn't catastrophicly (sp?) fail like Carbon Fiber can. What I mean is, metal bends, Carbon Fiber shatters.

3) I'd go with one of the two recommended at the beginning (Titanium), even though I bought Black Diamonds (they were on sale).

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
trekking poles. What do I look for?" on 09/27/2010 17:03:53 MDT Print View

I must be weird. I like twist locks and shock absorbers. Maybe because we have steep terrain here with 1000m+ decents over 2-3km distances not uncommon. The shock absorbers make steep decents much easier on the arm/leg joints, especially if you weigh 100kg!

I also have no hassles making quick twist adjustments from 125cm for accent/flats to 130cm for decents. But I do have to make sure the twists are tight and I check them periodically, especially if I get a pole hung up in a crack in the rocks.

BTW, my 135cm poles are CF wrapped duraluminum from a Korean company called Soletrek and weigh in under 400g for the pair. Most shock absorber-type poles are closer to 600g/pair.

Edited by rmjapan on 09/27/2010 17:06:45 MDT.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Thanks for the help, all! on 09/27/2010 18:24:25 MDT Print View

Re the Tigoat poles, how are the adjustments or as Tigoat calls them, "carbon friendly rubber expander system"? Convenient as the flip lock system? Solid?

Konrad...or anyone else,

Have you used other shock absorbing poles besides the Leki's? I just wonder if some systems work better than others. For what ever reason, I seem susceptible to tendinitis and have had it in my wrists, forearms and elbows doing a variety of things so I'd like to do whatever it takes to minimize problems....if it's possible in this application. Point well taken with the rest of your advice. As many times as I've had tendinitis, I'm actually very attentive to grip etc.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Thanks for the help, all! on 09/27/2010 18:33:13 MDT Print View

I've said this before in other posts but carbon fiber is a natural shock absorber. It doesn't need any fancy gadgets. This is the reason it's highly sought after for mountain bike handle bars as well as for forks on rigid bikes.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
anti-shock on 09/27/2010 18:34:13 MDT Print View

Hi Rusty,
I've only used the Leki Anti Shock System. Specifically their "soft anti-shock lite" system.

I'm wondering if my inability to feel any perceivable difference between my GG LT's and my older Lekis, comes down to the grip material. My lekis had cork grip handles, but were made of very hard, compacted cork, making them feel very similar to plastic. The GG poles have cork grips that feel like very very soft, like mushier wine corks...i'm wondering if those act as shock absorbers in themselves.

edit* Oh, Chris's point probably further adds to the explanation.

You can always pick up your poles from REI, and if they end up being uncomfortable because they lack an anti-shock system, you can exchange them for a pair that do have shock absorption.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 09/27/2010 20:50:25 MDT.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
CF "shock absorber" on 09/27/2010 19:15:26 MDT Print View

Don't confuse CF vibration dampening properties with shock absorbtion. Grip material is really just a matter of comfort as the proper use of straps should bear most of your weight/force. So a padded strap is more desirable over plain webbing. Cork grips seem to do better with sweat though it can blister the tender spots between thumb/index fingers. One of the reasons I always wear gloves while hiking too.

It really is a matter of your terrain. I have no doubts of a shock absorber's benefit when I step off a 50cm ledge and the shock absorber on the pole helping to support my 100kg gives 1-2cm!

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Just wanting to be cool too... on 09/27/2010 19:46:05 MDT Print View

"I stick with metal. It doesn't catastrophically fail like Carbon Fiber can. What I mean is, metal bends, Carbon Fiber shatters."

Yeah but these are trekking poles we are talking about here. For almost all of us, a snapped trekking pole isn't going to be a trip ender like a snapped carbon tent pole might be. I don't see the need for this caution. If a carbon trekking pole snaps then just carry on with one pole until you get the chance to get a replacement pole section. I believe Gossamer Gear is extremely reasonable with replacement sections.

Edited by dandydan on 09/27/2010 19:47:16 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Trekking poles on 09/27/2010 19:52:08 MDT Print View

"For almost all of us, a snapped trekking pole isn't going to be a trip ender like a snapped carbon tent pole might be."

Unless the carbon trekking pole is used to hold your shelter up.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Pole on 09/27/2010 20:06:32 MDT Print View

....even then you can usually find a stick to use. You'd have to be pretty darn unlucky to snap your hiking pole and not be able to find a stick to use instead or a tree you can tie your shelter up to.