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Gossamer Gear LT4's ... Strap or no strap? that is the question
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James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Gossamer Gear LT4's ... Strap or no strap? that is the question on 04/03/2011 10:13:22 MDT Print View

I use them all the time. I got rid of the handle, which shortenend them a bit. Then went with a couple MYOG poles without any handle. I adjust hiking length for up hills and down hills with a twist or two on the straps. At their shortest, they work well for climping up steep trails. This is with the strap fully loose. Going down is a matter of twisting a couple turns. Worst case is three turns with my hand resting on top of the pole.

Without the handle, there is little pressure on my hands from holding it. Light fingertip pressure is all that is needed, doing away with the stiff hands at the end of the day.

To me, the quick adjustment and lack of forarm tiredness more than trumps the loss of a handle. Indeed, after about few years, I forgot it one trip and had an old one. The handle was really awkward the entire trip. The slightly increased length of the pole (it is 45" or ~114cm) was more than made up for by increasing the length of the strap.

Kevin Cody
(codycolor2) - F

Locale: Los Padres NF
Just received mine on 04/22/2011 12:11:31 MDT Print View

Can't wait to use them. It's funny how the packaging they come in actually weighs more than the actual poles and they come in a cylindrical cardboard tube like you would put a poster in.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
this forum software sucks on 05/01/2011 12:40:12 MDT Print View

Trekking poles have 3 benefits:
1) balance
2) reduce joint impact on descent
3) improve speed/endurance on ascent

It's this latter benefit where straps are important. Without straps, using poles to propel yourself when ascending will cause significant soreness in your hands and forearms in a short period of time. If you use straps properly, you can avoid the hands/forearm soreness on ascent.

The least important function of straps are to keep you from dropping them. I'm not sure why most of you think that this is their function. Maybe lack of experience with them? Or mostly flat terrain? During ascents, your arms should be working about as hard as your legs. If not, you're using them wrong.

That said, I have the same concern as the OP. When I purchase my LT4s, I plan on adding a bit of padding, as the straps look a little rough for comfort on steeper ascents - I could see them biting into the skin. But we'll see...

Edited by lindahlb on 05/01/2011 12:45:23 MDT.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Gossamer Gear LT4's ... Strap or no strap? that is the question on 05/01/2011 13:30:04 MDT Print View

Depends on if you want to use them for walking assistance or carry them all day long for balance and fall insurance.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Reason to go Strapless on 05/23/2011 22:31:59 MDT Print View

I came across this thread and wanted to add a point about straps that I have never seen mentioned. I witnessed a man using straps while going down hill last summer do a face plant on the trail when the tips of his poles got lodged in rock and he couldn't remove his hands from the straps in time get the picture. Broken nose. Every since then I avoid straps. For me the compromise would probably be, use straps ascending but not descending.

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Depends on weight on 05/24/2011 07:10:43 MDT Print View

When I first started using poles (Komperdel Antishock @ 600g per pair) I always used the straps and considered them an integral part of the poles. I used them for around 200 days including 100 days on the full GR5 (North Sea to Med). When using these I had a base weight around 12-15 kg.

In my recent push towards UL I switched to Ti Goat poles (240g per pair), used with a base weight of around 4-5 kg. After 40 days use, and I am ambivalent about the straps. I find them useful when using the poles in more extreme conditions (steep uphill, down hill and river crossings) but I am finding them a bit of a nuisance on flatter, easier terrain. I don't think it is the strap design or materials, just the lighter weight of the poles and lighter base weight.

As the straps are mainly used when pressing down on them, I am about to experiment with removing the straps on easier terrain. I believe I can do this by not tightening the strap attachment, allowing the strap to slip out of the pole quite easily.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Depends on weight on 06/02/2011 08:02:55 MDT Print View

I replaced my old REI poles with LT4 and straps. A screw on top holds the strap on. My straps stay put adjustment wise and are comfortable, for me they work very well. I also use them for my Tarptent Sublite and MLD Solomid. If you don't like the straps you could remove them.