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Time to get trekking poles. What do I look for?
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
tape and knife on 09/27/2010 20:18:18 MDT Print View

bring some duct/athletic tape and a knife

at worst you can tape the ends together or carve a stick if you break yr poles for yr tarp

you should always have some tape anyways for repairs and emergency splints ... and a knife for survival ... u know like fighting off those wild bears ... lol

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Time to get trekking poles. What do I look for? on 09/27/2010 20:24:26 MDT Print View

Bringing that I have increased my base weight potentially bringing the weight of carbon poles to that of aluminum ones......; )

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Thanks for the help, all! on 09/27/2010 20:38:11 MDT Print View

Rusty, I'd say the carbon expanders aren't much different than twist locks, and there are some aggravations occasionally. If you loosen them up too much, you sometimes have to pull the lower out of the upper and tighten the expander a hair by itself to get it to grip the inside of the poles, price I willingly pay for the wt and simplicity of the design.

As to the issue of handle material being just an issue of comfort with proper technique, I'm personally not sold on how much that applies to hiking. The various strap techniques used on skis may make sense for that, but I don't get it for this use.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
In my own defense... on 09/27/2010 20:50:45 MDT Print View

My Dad always used to say that, "tools fail when you're using them." So your using the aluminum pole. You stumble, and plant it. The shock of the weight bends the pole and lowers you to the ground. Or, your using the carbon fiber pole, it breaks and you fall towards a carbon fiber dagger (the broken end of the pole) sticking up at you...

It's all fun and games until someone looses an eye...

Disclaimer: I have NO idea if this is possible, I'm just sayin...

Edited by wn7ant on 09/27/2010 20:51:20 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Reasons on 09/27/2010 20:58:33 MDT Print View

The reasons for not using a carbon pole seem pretty far out there.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
carbon on 09/27/2010 21:10:36 MDT Print View

imagine this situation ... yr suddenly jumped by 10 ninja bears ...

if you have an aluminum pole you whack a bear and all it does is bend ... and you become human sashimi

however ... of you have one of those fancy snap at the slightest touch carbon poles ... you can whack a bear ... and yr left with a deadly sharp spear tip ...

then you can kill all the said bears with yr fencing moves ... and with some ultralight BPL instant rice make bear sushi ...

i wouldnt worry about getting impaled by carbon poles ... lol

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: carbon on 09/27/2010 21:30:56 MDT Print View

Eric, that's not funny. That exact scenario happened to me last year, except there were 12 ninja bears and two shattered trekking poles just couldn't handle them all. I narrowly escaped serious injury because I was able to parachute off the mountain with my Trailstar shelter.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
That's it... on 09/27/2010 21:55:14 MDT Print View

I'm taking my marbles and playing somewhere else...

Where there aren't any ninja bears ;)

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Trekking poles... on 09/27/2010 23:26:49 MDT Print View

I have an old pair of Leki twist-locking anti-shock poles that I have used for while now. I'd love to replace them with something lighter but the Leki's just won't die. Anymore I just take one pole along and find a stick for the short end of the tarp. Two poles are just too heavy, and sometimes it seems like two poles just get in the way.
Go with Roger's advice: something light and easily stowed. I'd also look for something that will fit your budget AND is easily returned if you don't like it.
Carbon, metal or wood: I've seen them all break.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
carbon fibre on 09/27/2010 23:37:57 MDT Print View

Just saying but don't they make Supercar's out of Carbon Fiber like Aston Martin's, Zonda's and a Koenigsegg's. Has to be better than metal in some applications. My GG LT3s have never failed on me, same with my REI peaks and they have been through a lot.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Time to get trekking poles. What do I look for? on 09/28/2010 08:17:03 MDT Print View

I like the Black Diamond Flick-Lock poles without shock absorption (aluminum Trailback model or something like that). They're 20 oz a pair, but the weight on my arms causes no complaints.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
trekking poles on 09/28/2010 12:54:04 MDT Print View

I just started using poles. I purchased a pr at REI, anti shock aluminum twist lock. I did not like the weight or anti shock and returned them for the much lighter GG LT4 with straps $$$. The GG have a style of twist lock that I much prefer, clean and simple. I usually keep the poles at one length while hiking then adjust them for use with the tent. No problems so far. Being two piece they are a bit long and will not fit in my 34L pack if I where to use air travel. They do fit in a large suit case though. For as many times as I swing these when hiking miles I want lightness and strength. I do carry a bit of tape and knife to repair items. Some tarps like the MLD Solomid only require one pole for setup. The Tarptent Sublite uses two.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: trekking poles on 09/28/2010 14:45:29 MDT Print View

Carl, you'd have to put your poles in check baggage regardless of length unfortunately. Which makes TP usage a PITA with all the baggage allowance restrictions these days, not to mention the aggravation of having to deal with check baggage even if you don't mind paying for it.

I'm heading to Peru in Nov, and I'm probably just going to leave the poles at home unfortunately, since I have layovers in Columbia, and I don't want check baggage loss or delay to screw up my trip.

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
No Question on 09/28/2010 16:57:34 MDT Print View

No question I'd tell you to buy Leki's.

I'd get more into it, but everyone would call me out for my opinion on it.

There's a reason why 90% of the Thru-Hikers on the AT use Leki's....

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: No Question They Are Misinformed on 09/28/2010 17:34:48 MDT Print View

Leki has had a larger presence for years. More stores carry Leki, but it's not because Black Diamond isn't a great pole.

I think overall those people are misinformed about flick lock poles. I've seen several converts to flick lock, but have never seen a convert to twist locks from a person using flick locks.

Edited by jshann on 09/28/2010 17:36:14 MDT.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: "Time to get trekking poles. What do I look for?" on 09/28/2010 17:48:17 MDT Print View

Personally, I really like my BPL Stix. Just my 2 cents.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
RE: "Time to get trekking poles. What do I look for?" on 09/28/2010 19:41:05 MDT Print View

Let me start by repeating MY opinion that there's no perfect gear solution for ANY use.

I've used twist lock poles and they were fine except for cold weather ... difficult (some times impossible) to operate wearing gloves or mitts and I don't want to grab aluminum tubes with bare hands at 0F.

I own a pair of aluminum BD flint locks and they are clearly superior to twist locks in cold weather.

I also own BPL Stix and they are wonderful! But they're not long enough should I ever choose to get a TT Sublite and I'd prefer that they be longer when using a Jay Ham designed tarp. And then there's the difficulty of flying with them.

I've handled Titanium Goat adjustables and would prefer a stiffer pole. Haven't handled GG LT4's but reports seem to say they're a bit breakable.

Which brings me back to ... there is no perfect piece of gear.

edit: But there's absolutely no way you should ever want shock absorbing poles, never! (he writes with a wink and a smile).

Edited by jcolten on 09/28/2010 19:44:38 MDT.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Thanks for the replies, everyone! on 09/28/2010 20:52:51 MDT Print View

Very helpful!


You mention the Tigoat poles not being as stiff as you'd prefer. Perhaps this could be a boon for me with wanting to do everything possible to minimize problems with my susceptible ligaments. For kayaking, I purposely use a paddle with a flexible shaft for these very reasons. The extra flex takes much of the jar/shock off. Maybe a more flexible pole would work in the same way. Thoughts...anyone?

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Thanks for the replies, everyone! on 09/28/2010 22:37:35 MDT Print View

Rusty, I don't find my goat poles very jarring. There is some vibration because of the flexibility, but as Chris mentioned before, the CF seems to handle that softly.

I find them more comfortable in that respect than the Komperdells I had before.

Here's a pic as to the strength of these poles btw:

As to the issue of the twist-lock being tough to manipulate in the cold, the goat poles expanders are manipulated by twisting the pole sections themselves, which really isn't hard in gloves unless they're slippery or something.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Thanks for the replies, everyone! on 09/29/2010 09:25:24 MDT Print View

Thanks, Javan. With that much flex, I have to wonder how much of a person's weight they can bear. Having no experience with special poles for backpacking, I don't know to what capacity or in what ways others use them. Last weekend, while climbing up or down the steeper sections of trail, I found myself bearing as much of my weight on the wood sticks as I could to take the weight off my sore knees. Seeing the amount of flex in that picture makes me wonder if the Tigoat poles would actually work in those conditions for me...particularly going down hill. I don't really like the idea of a pole bending and causing me to take a header down the side of a steep mountain. For what it's worth, I'm only 160 lbs.


Edited by rustyb on 09/29/2010 09:28:39 MDT.