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Trekking pole suggestions
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Thomas Davenport
Trekking pole suggestions on 06/21/2013 17:02:42 MDT Print View

I'm a big dude. 6'6", 250# +/-. Did I mention I'm clumsy? One might say, oafish.

I'm hard on gear.

I need new trekking poles. 140 cm length. Bullet proof.

I bought the Komperdell Carbon Approach Vario 3 recently and used them on two attempts at Shasta (the latter one successful -- yay me!). I didn't realize it, until actually using them, but hate folding poles -- they take up too much space. Worse, I managed to break both. Well, that's an exaggeration. The right one won't stay locked, so constantly comes open. The left one, on the other hand (see what I just did there?) won't close all the way. will accept my return, so other than a little hassle, I'm not out any shekels.

Likes: Extended handle (below the main handle) for traversing, blondes, and anti-shock poles.

Dislikes: Stuff that breaks.

Final note: I don't care about weight. I'm a big dude and pay enough weight penalties along the way that one more won't break me.

Black Diamond Contour Elliptic Shock Trekking Pole? Other?

I'm not that worried about cost.


Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Meh with shocks on 06/21/2013 19:34:35 MDT Print View

My first gifted pair had them and I thought they were a bit gimmicky.

I really, really like my black diamond alpine carbon corks. They are just bomber poles...I simply cannot imagine how one would break these without driving over them with a truck.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Meh with shocks on 06/21/2013 19:38:47 MDT Print View

Pass on the shocks here too. Another vote for the Alpines too. I'm 6'3" and 250lb with pack on. They're stout. Aluminum would slightly more robust.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Meh with shocks on 06/22/2013 13:09:51 MDT Print View

+1 on pass on the shocks. Most importantly because they don't really work, they just sound like they should, which is enough, apparently, to sell them to the unsuspecting customer, which included me back in the day. It only took me one or two trips to know I hated them.

In my observation they don't doing anything about the so-called shock. My apologies if this is already old hat to you. But what they do actually do is decrease the stability when you need them most. If you think "shock" is an actual issue for you perhaps take a look at the way you are using them. The "correct" way is with you wrist going through the bottom of the loop and your hands wrapped loosely around the upper straps and the handle. Using them this way the force is transferred through the strap and NOT your grip. Your grip will normally be used just to lightly "steer" the poles with the fingertips. When you are using them this way "shock" is not an issue for most people.

Also when you use them that way you will seldom want to use the extended grips - better to re-size the poles. You can still grab the poles further down with you hands in a pinch, but it will be hard to go back to the "death grip" method of using the pole, even for a short time, once you have use the straps correctly.

The other downsides are that the shock ones are heaver, more expensive, more parts to break, and lastly (the worst for me) noisy as hell. squeak, ping, pink, squeak, squeak. Even if you get rid of the squeaks and ping there is still a ringing from the springs.

Edited by millonas on 06/22/2013 13:13:25 MDT.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Re: Re: Meh with shocks on 06/22/2013 14:22:00 MDT Print View

I agree that they don't add anything but they don't bother me either and my 18+ yr old super makalu's still get the job done and I don't mind the weightmine don't seem to squeak or make noise either. What I would like to see is a button on the top of the handle that when pushed you could lengthen the pole or shorten it either with gas pressure or spring load. Push the button push down on the pole to shorten push the button take weight off and it lengthen's automatically kinda like an office chair height adjustment. But then I might not like the price. Leki, GG ,Black Diamond, Komperdell or others if you use my idea at least send me a free set of poles!

Edited by mtmnmark on 06/22/2013 14:23:51 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Meh with shocks on 06/22/2013 16:58:08 MDT Print View

"What I would like to see is a button on the top of the handle that when pushed you could lengthen the pole or shorten it either with gas pressure or spring load."

I seem to remember a super hero (I mean besides the Monkey King, the most famous one) who had an expanding staff. Can't remember which one at the moment.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meh with shocks on 06/22/2013 17:35:25 MDT Print View

"I seem to remember a super hero (I mean besides the Monkey King, the most famous one) who had an expanding staff."

Gosh, I never considered myself a superhero, but thanks....

(you knew somebody was gonna......)

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Trekking pole suggestions on 06/22/2013 20:27:42 MDT Print View

the makalu's are bomber tough. leki tech support removed the shock device from mine after i stress cracked the fittings. perhaps they would do them for you on new poles , it's a simple exchange of the parts.
you may well not like the shocks, as they are a useless pita, good only for marketing poles to the as-yet-unknowing. (just my op)

i run Pacer Poles, and i love them. a lot.
i own the alloy units as well as the carbon ones. i prefer the alloy poles because of the more appropriate swing weight and it's effects in the wind. Pacer Poles are quite tough. i got rolled down some rapids a few years back, and although a pole stuck underneath me got bent (left a nice bruise too), it continued to give yeoman service though the remainder of the trek.

if thee is really really big, and has developed the oomph to go with it, you may be better served with just one piece ski poles. they are strong, and quite cheap at yard sales. trim to length.


Jade Willcoxon
(H2Oboy) - M

Locale: Midwest
My all time faves are... on 06/24/2013 07:49:42 MDT Print View

my Alpine Carbon Corks. Relatively lightweight and super tough poles. Not to mention comfy on the hands.

Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Alpine Carbon Corks on 06/24/2013 09:44:30 MDT Print View

Alpine Carbon Corks only extend to 130cm. I love them, and they seem very durable (sort of heavy, too), but I've never heard of a 'tall' version that reaches to 140cm.

Gossamer Gear LT4 adjustables say they go to 140cm, but they are out of stock. You might find some used ones.

Besides this, I question your need for 140cm. I am 6'2" and I use Alpine Carbon Corks at 118cm. Unless you have very short arms for your height, 130cm should be enough for what most people think of as "proper" use of trekking poles.

Edited by ezabielski on 06/24/2013 09:46:53 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Trekking pole suggestions on 06/24/2013 11:00:51 MDT Print View

The elliptical poles are about as strong as you'll find. Definitely go with flick locks and don't bother with any kind of shock features--- really a gimmick IMHO.

The Black Diamond carbon poles are great, BUT they aren't much lighter. The only advantage I can see is that they won't corrode on beach hikes.

As far as pole length, it really depends on your personal ergonomics, with arm, leg and torso and strength variations making a difference rather than just overall height. With steep downhill legs it is nice to be able to lengthen your poles, so the 140cm versions may be worth it for a tall person. I do like an extended grip below the handle to help with a quick grab going up a big step. Cork handles are okay, but the high density foam handles that Black Diamond uses on their better poles works for me.

I like to use unpadded fingerless bike gloves with my poles. I started because my hands are prone to sunburn and found that I liked the grip. You get a sweat wipe built into most bike gloves too, which works form me going uphill :)

Are you hiking with partners who are faster than you are? That may be contributing to your trail stumbles. That's one reason I like to go solo, so I can literally "march to the beat of a different drummer."

Thomas Davenport
Thanks on 07/08/2013 10:47:54 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions, folks.

One comment above suggested that I don't need 140 cm. I routinely set them at 135 cm and sometimes bump them to 140 cm on downhills. Sometimes I'll shorten a bit on uphills. But 90% of the time they are set to 135 cm. Still, I like having some flexibility and the extra height can be nice for a tarp.

I settled on BD Trail Shock poles, which I found a screaming deal on. Haven't taken them for a spin as of yet, but they do reach the level of bulletproofness I sought.

Happy trails!