Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Fixed Length Poles
Display Avatars Sort By:
Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Fixed Length Poles on 03/07/2012 21:43:21 MST Print View

I have used variable length poles for the last few years but have the heavy BD poles and am looking to cut weight. I am considering some Fixed Length CF poles. My question is to other Fixed Length pole users out there. How often have you had them and wished you had variable length poles? I find that the only real reason I change the length is for storing the poles, temporarily lashing to my pack or shelter setup. I know the shelter setup can still be accomplished with Fixed Length but am a little concerned about times where I would want to not use the poles for a section of trail. Has that happened to you? Thoughts?

Todd T
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Lack of length options is the main issue on 03/07/2012 21:53:38 MST Print View

I like my poles the same length regardless of terrain, direction, etc., and my tent has its own pole, so I have never wanted to change the length.

The problem is that the length options are limited, so I can't really get a pair exactly the length I want. I have a pair of BD Z-Poles and they're about an inch longer than my perfect length. I won't buy another fixed-length pair unless I can get them exactly 117 cm long.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Fixed Length Poles on 03/07/2012 22:43:53 MST Print View

Skurka suggests in his new book MYOGing fixed length poles from carbon fiber golf shafts. You should be able to get the rest of the materials as replacement parts from Leki or GG (I haven't actually checked this out). It's an interesting idea, but I'm happy enough with my adjustable poles--at least for now.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 03/07/2012 22:44:46 MST.

Thomas Budge
(budgthom) - F

Locale: Idaho
Tried ski poles? on 03/07/2012 22:58:42 MST Print View

You should be able to find CF ski poles in 117cm length.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Fixed Length Poles on 03/08/2012 06:55:25 MST Print View

The problem with them is when you are not using them. I felt like I was carrying a radio pack with my fix length poles strapped to the side of my pack.

I know Jay Wilkerson loves his. No locking mechanism to fail.

Chris C
(cvcass) - MLife

Locale: State of Jefferson
I like mine on 03/08/2012 07:09:46 MST Print View

I have Black Diamond Zpoles, I just fold them up and strap them to my pack when they are unnecessary. Overall I am very pleased with them.

Philip Delvoie
(PhilipD) - MLife

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Fixed Length Poles on 03/08/2012 07:36:37 MST Print View

I am finding that I set my poles when I start my trip and do not change them or collapse them through the whole trip. I do use them for my shelter setup and just make everything work at the length I have preset. I am leaning toward just going with fixed length poles in order to reduce an area of failure and to add simplicity.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Fixed Length Poles on 03/08/2012 07:43:32 MST Print View

FWIW, there are UL adjustable length or collapsible pole options out there.

I have both the Fizan UL poles (adjustable) and the BD Z Distance poles (collapsible). Both weigh under a pound for the pair. Both are aluminum and cost <$100 for the pair. Big Agnes also has UL adjusable length poles.

I like adjustable length poles for three reasons. First is for travel, so that they fit inside my checked luggage. Second is for my shelters where the the pole is designed to go *inside* the shelter; yes, there are work-arounds but having adjustible poles makes it a no-brainer. Third is, as you mentioned, being able to easily store them in my pack.

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Fixed Length Poles on 03/08/2012 08:20:18 MST Print View

I have used adjustable and fixed length poles and now I am quite the fan of fixed length. The only downside for me would be packing the poles for airplane travel which I don't do that often. The whole notion that you would want to change pole length to one setting while going uphill and another while going downhill always seemed like way overthinking it to me. I found that except for transporting the poles they were always set at one length and never changed throughout the entire hike. I had a custom set of LT3C's made by GG to the exact length I prefer and they work like a charm for me.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Golf Shafts on 03/08/2012 08:47:49 MST Print View

I have a pair of MYOG golf shaft poles. I really prefer these to an adjustable version based on the much lower weight. Even with the adjustable version, I never change the length unless I am strapping them to my pack. I rarely find myself doing that. With the fixed length poles, if you are above tree line or in an area that there aren't many low hanging branches, you can just strap them on and look like a backcountry radio HAM with the antenna look mentioned previously.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 03/08/2012 08:55:04 MST Print View

"The problem with them is when you are not using them."


If you only hike on trails it would probably not be too much of a PITA having fixed length poles lashed to your pack when not in use. But I do a lot of off-trail travel and the poles get in the way when moving through the thick stuff, so I collapse them and strap them to my pack. I can't imagine trying to bushwack with fixed poles on my pack. Well, actually I can imagine it and it would suck big time.

My old Leki Makalus are crazy heavy, so I'm open to improvements. I wanted to love the BD collapsible poles but the wrist straps are attached with dental floss so I don't trust them to hold up well.

Edited by El_Canyon on 03/08/2012 08:56:49 MST.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Fixed Length Poles on 03/08/2012 12:22:43 MST Print View

“ How often have you had them and wished you had variable length poles?”

I used fixed length (GG LT3) all the time. While backpacking, I never wished for variable length. In the middle of nowhere, I’m glad I don’t have a moving part to worry about.

“…am a little concerned about times where I would want to not use the poles for a section of trail. Has that happened to you? ”

I use them on flats and bushwacking on mountain sides (where I love them). There are those very rare instances where I need to be on all 4’s while bagging a steep peak. I did not mind them on the side of my pack at that time.

The mountains were made for Teva’s

chris kersten
(xanadu) - F

Locale: here
they rock on 03/08/2012 13:01:11 MST Print View

I will never again use anything else. I use the pole at one length all of the time. Bad comparison, but drummers use the same stick to hit every drum so I use the same poles for every step. My poles fit perfect in the floor of my mazda behind the front seats and I never have to worry about loose screws. I use a Gossamer gear tent and made 2" extensions that weigh less than 1/2 ounce to set up my tent. Total weight for poles and extensions- under 6 ounces. Haven't broke one yet, but I know I will sooner or later. Still worth it though.

Tim Heckel
(ThinAir) - M

Locale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
Fixed is good on 03/08/2012 14:28:44 MST Print View

Love my GG fixed length poles.
The only time I take adjustable length poles is if I am planning to climb or scramble on the way up a peak since the fixed length can catch on overhead rock when stowed on the pack.
It would be convenient to have sectioned poles when hitchhiking, but not really a problem to have fixed poles.
Keep in mind the shape of the grips. I find myself using the grips in different positions for steep uphill and downhill. For steep uphill I move my hand down the grip. For downhill I "palm" the top of the grip.
On the GG fixed length poles I have never missed having straps either.
Hope that helps.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Re: Fixed Length Poles on 03/08/2012 15:31:21 MST Print View

My default poles are 125 cm GG LT2's. I find I can grip them in different ways to handle my needs going up, down, sidehill, etc. I got LT4's on Gear Swap (yes!) that I save for airplane traveling and having to check luggage where collapsing them is helpful. When I had a Gatewood Cape that I used for many years, adjustable poles were nice to be able to easily raise or lower shelter apex as needed. Now have a Zpacks hexamid and the 125 cm poles are a perfect fit with no adjustment.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
GG LT3C on sale on 03/08/2012 18:16:01 MST Print View

Ok, I have decided to pull the trigger on the Gossamer Gear LT3C fixed length poles which are on sale at the moment for $93.

I will use the heavier duty BD poles I currently have for my alpine/mountaineering pursuits where my poles get beat up much more in talus fields etc.. and will use the LT3's for backpacking on trails. My thought is on trails I generally should not have the need to stash the poles and so fixed length should be less of an issue in those circumstances.