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Gossamer Gear Lightrek Plus Poles

in Trekking Poles

Average Rating
4.38 / 5 (16 reviews)

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Roger Gorham
( rgorham )

White Mtns, NH
Gossamer Gear Lightrek Plus Poles on 08/06/2005 21:03:27 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

These poles are wonderfully light, especially when compared to traditional poles weighing 200% more. However, I found their light weight comes with two distinct disadvantages.

First, the weight-saving absence of a wrist strap is a significant sacrifice. My hands are more relaxed throughout the day when using poles with straps since I don't always need to grip them. Also, the poles are more at-the-ready for unexpected balancing needs when the strap is on properly. On a recent 4000 foot descent of Mt. Madison, it was better to palm the top of the handle than to grasp the grip. While the handle was made for just that effort, it became tiring after the first 1000 feet and I wished I had the straps as an alternative. As a consequence, I ended up carrying the poles from time to time instead of using them (a feat made easy by their light weight). A strap option on the pole would go along way to improving their usefulness.

Second, they are not as useful in windy conditions. I recently experienced 25 to 50 MPH winds in the Presidential Range of NH above treeline and found the wind made accurate placement of the pole tip challenging since the poles are so light. At times it was better not to rely on them than to mistakenly commit my weight to an uncertain pole tip landing. Friends with normal-weight poles didn't experience this. Perhaps I should have looked for a temporary way to weight them down while I was in windy conditions.

These are really light poles, but because of my experience, I am undecided if I would bring them on another hike or just do without any poles. What I do know for sure is that I'm not going back to 22 ounce poles.

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paul johnson
( pj )

LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
GG LightTrek Plus Poles on 08/09/2005 03:43:44 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I absolutely love these poles. For me, these are an "American Express" piece of gear, i.e. "Don't leave home without" them. A sheer joy to use. They're so light that, at brief rehydration rest stops, it's easy to forget that they are hanging by keeper straps (not to be confused with wrist straps) from your wrists.

Their light weight allows precise pole placement (haven't experienced the "wind" issue of a prev. reviewer, but can see how a very strong wind could affect these poles). They have, perhaps, only one-half of the flex of the original LightTrek poles - a plus for many who found the extreme flex of the original poles disconcerting (after a couple of hours use, this was not an issue for me with the original poles). The lightweight, furthermore, allows for a very relaxed grip on the up/fwd swing of each pole which contributes greatly to reduced grip.forearm fatigue, making wrist straps largely unecessary - again, this feature, or lack thereof, in this case, takes just a little gettin' used to. If someone does have some type of a carpal tunnel issue, then these poles may not be for you - you prob. need wrist straps.

I'm sure that, with a little ingenuity, these poles could be retrofitted with some wrist straps (Bill Fornshell, do you copy? Over.).

Fragile??? With proper use, they are not fragile. Have over 400 miles on my original poles, ~30 miles on the "Plus" poles. Have never broken a pole. Any pole will break (or bend/yield - depending upon the mat'l used in construction) if the the pole tip is jammed b/t rocks and the pole is "levered" against the rock. The light wt. of these poles allows one to "feel" when the poles are jammed b/t rocks far easier than 17-22oz poles. This gives me a chance to pull the pole out instead of "levering" it. So, I've found it less likely that I will break one of these poles when I jam them b/t rocks (I have bent/broke several Titanal poles this way).

At ~2.7oz each w/trekking baskets, they have no competition.

An added plus for me is that at 115cm, they are the perfect length for pitching quite a few number of shelters which use trekking poles for support.

I generally don't like to give out a perfect score, and I would probably have given these poles a 4.5 or 4.75 if fractional scores were possible. Hey...there's always room for improvement, right?!! But,... for right now, I believe that they are a 5. They deliver what they promise, and then some. I can actually be pretty "nit-picky" - at times even "majoring in the minors", but as far as my use of these poles go, I have zero complaints. oh...and the light on your wallet as the poles are in your hands - once again, no competition.

Edited by pj on 08/10/2005 02:11:38 MDT.

Ron Stoecklein
( rs7trout )
Gossamer gear Lightreks on 09/24/2005 09:51:04 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I just used the Lightreks on a hike ending up on Mt. Langley.

Old Army Pass was obliterated by boulders in several sections and I put full trust in the poles leveraging my way up and back.

I loved the lightness--and wind on Langley was maybe gusting at 30+--I had no problems.

I used a loop of lightweight "twine" connected to the base of each handle---only so that I could easily secure the poles while taking pictures or drinking water, etc.

I had used adjustable poles prior to the Lightreks with straps--now instead of fiddling with adjustments--I simply moved my hand from the base of the handles to palming the tops--and I have found that I like the fact there are no straps to get in the way (as I mentioned I do use the "twine" but only for securing the poles when taking picutres, etc.)

They will be an integral part of my equipment.

kevin davidson
( kdesign )

Mythical State of Jefferson
GG Lightrek Plus Rocks (and survives them) on 09/24/2005 11:48:16 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

By rights, I should be using BMW's Stix on some of the terrain I've been using my Lightrek poles on.
Talus and scree strewn, marmot hole ridden off trail
Sierra terrain. But, so far ---no breakage. Using the stock baskets is key to this.
I love their almost non-existent weight and the lack of force-bearing straps is a non issue ( I do have spectra cord loops for loss prevention ).
They are most valuable for me in preserving my knees on long,steep descents. Lovely for tarp and tarptent poles, as well.

Edited by kdesign on 09/24/2005 11:52:10 MDT.

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Mark Larson
( mlarson )

Southeast USA
LT+++ on 10/23/2005 07:10:32 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

After a bit over 1000 miles without incident. I agree with all comments above. These poles are very comfortable, very light, and an excellent value.

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Phil Barton
( flyfast )

Re: Gossamer Gear Lightrek Plus Poles on 04/20/2006 21:48:50 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I only have 3 trips with the GG Lightrek poles thus far. The poles have proven excellent in every regard. They are stiff enough to support me (oh, about 200 pounds) on rocky terrain.

As tarp poles, I especially like how the surface of the LT pole is just rough enough to provide a good grip to a guyline. Guylines haven't slipped even in a thunderstorm.

The poles' lightness is really amazing.

The service at Gossamer Gear is excellent. One of my poles lost its tip on the first outing. The company's new president responded immediately to my e-mail. GG shipped a replacement/swap pole within days. GG continues to be a great company to deal with.

--Update 2/13/2007--
Now I have a years' use with these poles on a variety of terrain - summiting a 14er in Colorado and trails in NM, AR, OK. The Lightrek Plus poles are a favorite part of my kit.

Since the replacement of that initial pole I've had no problems whatsoever. The light weight of these poles means I just don't think about them. Weighing 200 pounds or so I have placed a fair shock on the poles several times. They do not show signs of wear. I no longer use the baskets.

These poles have also excelled in use with different tarp configurations. The roughness of the surface has held guylines without slipping. The poles have survived high winds just fine.

Finally, the one piece configuration requires some planning for travel. I've packed them as luggage for a flight one time using the tube from GG. That turned out to be a pain as the airline explained that round tubes don't work well with baggage equipment. The result was a delayed arrival for my poles. It would be easier to send them by UPS or mail than to check them as baggage.

Edited by flyfast on 02/13/2007 08:16:14 MST.

Alfred Sidman
( sidmanac )

Pacific Northwest
The lightest but fixed length not convenient. on 10/18/2006 11:52:48 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Straightforward: Use them if you want the lightest. However, I keep going for my REI UL 3-section carbon fiber poles. Even at three times the weight, and with occasional twist-lock slippage, the ability to transport the REI UL's collapsed to pack height through brush or in vehicles is too important. Even more so since my Lightreks are sized for my 6'3.5" height. Also, when strapped to a pack in the open, the long Lightreks catch the wind and tug a bit. Since I only use them intermittently with light and ultralight set-ups, this is how they are frequently deployed.

The one situation where I'm still most likely to go for the Lightreks is in snow. When the shaft is slippery, and the basket is getting planted and torqued in snow, the slippage problem with the collapsibles begins to outweigh the convenience of collapsibility. Then the choice hinges on expected brush density.

Otherwise, the Lightreks are fine, more flex, no damage, light enough to be blown around in heavy wind as others have noted.

Edited by sidmanac on 10/18/2006 12:29:08 MDT.

Frank Deland
( rambler )

On the AT in VA
Good customer service on 10/18/2006 14:18:01 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Same as Phil Barton above. The tip broke off on the first day. I returned the pole, it was repaired at no cost and a spare basket and extra tip was also included. I had lost a basket as well as the tip after only a few miles. In fairness, the AT in NY/NJ where I was hiking is very rocky and the rocks are jagged and sharp often. The extreme metal tip is worn almost half way down, much like a Leki pole I own with many more miles.
The fitting for the Leki poles is slightly different than these from G.
There is a gap in the Leki's between the end of the threads and the pole itself. The threads on the Leki are more like those reverse threads on PCV pipe connectors. So once on the pole, the baskets can turn without loosening. If the baskets on the G. poles turn they will work down the thread or loosen. I have tried using rubber cement to see if that helps, because I really do like these poles. You will not appreciate how light they are until you have used them for awhile and then go back to using your old ones! The poles are strong and after 150 miles of rocks, the one I did use is scratched up a bit, but otherwise fine. The handles are comfortable. I did not miss the straps.

Edited by rambler on 10/18/2006 14:20:32 MDT.

Andrew King
( drewboy )

Great poles if only they held up on 02/12/2007 14:09:02 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I had just acquired a pair of these poles last week and set out over the weekend for an over-nighter to try them out. Unfortunately, about 40 minutes into the hike the tip broke off of one pole, just above where the basket attaches. I continued my hike with the one good pole and the other broke off stump pole. The following day mid way through my return hike, the other tip broke off in the exact same way. I was not doing anything extreme or out of the ordinary during this hike. OK, for some more positive comments: I really want to like these poles! They are a pleasure to hike with (when whole), and I do not miss the wrist straps at all. One thing I did not anticipate was how quiet these guys are. The flexible carbon fiber shafts absorbs all shock and the difference in noise level compared to a hiking companion who had some aluminum poles was striking.

I am encouraged by other reviews where they had poles replaced after this breakage and the issues did not recur. Perhaps there was a defective batch? I have just returned mine to GG and will continue to evaluate the replacement poles. GG as a company is an absolute pleasure to deal with and I will give this product every possible chance. I'll post an update after spending more time with the new poles.

Update: I have the replaced poles now, and have taken them out on 2 hikes so far. No issues to report, other than the basket came off one pole during my hike, but fortunately I caught it and was able to screw it back on. I'll definitely need to find a better way to affix those. I've raised my rating to a 4 while I evaluate longer term reliability.

Edited by drewboy on 03/12/2007 14:24:45 MDT.

Michael Schurr
( mrschurr )

Great Poles With a Problem on 02/12/2007 14:36:22 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I had the same experience with the Gossamer Lightreck Plus poles as others, with the tips breaking off. Replacements were promtly sent and I have not had probems since. It can pose an interesting probem if the poles are also used for a shelter support.

Doug Johnson
( djohnson - M )

Washington State
Gossamer Gear Lightreks on 02/12/2007 15:03:20 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I agree with a variety of the comments above. These poles are super-light, very easy to flick around for quick placements, and absorb shock quite nicely. While I broke a couple of the earliest Lightrek poles, the newer generation (Lightrek Plus) has been quite durable, even surviving some serious falls. The multi-position grips are awesome (see my review here on the site). They are also priced very fairly. Highly recommended!

On the downside, they use Leki-style tips but not actual Leki tips. The baskets don't screw into a non-threaded area like the actual Leki tips which means that they can uncrew while hiking, especially when using snow baskets. This is annoying and I did lose a basket once. Also, the breakaway tips break away a tad too easily- like the reviewer above, I also broke a tip. I replaced both of them with actual Leki tips which seem to be much more durable (although I've broken a Leki tip in the past as well.)

If the Lightrek Poles came with Leki tips, it would be an instant 5.

Re: Fixed length poles. Sure, they are harder to transport and a pain to carry when scrambling but they disappear in your hands, never rattle, and absorb shock over the entire length of the pole- serious positives. If you use poles full-time like I do, I think you'll find adapting to fixed length poles very easy.

Happy walking!

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Leki Baskets priced at: $6.00 - $9.99
Thatcher Drew
( node1 )
not strong enough on 07/04/2007 09:44:50 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

A slippery rock put sudden (but not total) weight on one of these poles. The shaft simply shattered where other, stronger poles would not. Bad spot. Scary moment. Maybe the engineering works for younger, lighter, shorter folks. Love the weight but just can't rely on these poles any more.

Maybe there should be a category for boomers like me who need to up the safety margins a bit. On the other end of the spectrum I'm not sure I would specify these for a really rigorous expedition.

Lawton Grinter
( disco )

Rocky Mountains
These Poles Are Amazing! on 08/27/2007 17:10:08 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

During my 2004 PCT hike on into 2006 I had seen a few sets of carbon fiber trekking poles on the trail but had immediately discounted them after hearing
stories of carbon poles snapping like twigs and I just personally felt that carbon poles would not hold up to the use & abuse a thru-hiker would put on them during a multi-month hike. After 500+ miles of testing with the 6 oz. Gossamer Gear Lightreks, I am not only a convert to carbon fiber poles, but they are currently my favorite piece of gear!

These poles are amazing!

I´ve got a full review on the 125 cm Lightreks I´ve been using posted here:

Hasta luego,


Kevin Egelhoff
( kegelhoff )

Southern Cal
2008 GG Pole - Best poles by far! on 08/29/2007 11:44:36 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Five of us just returned from a 6 day, 90 mile hike on the John Muir Trail this past week. All of us had been using typical so-called light weight adjustable alum. poles in the past but we all decided to use the new GG carbon poles on this light and fast hike. I can't imagine a tougher test then our hike to subject a pole to! Rocks, boulders, stream crossings, flying down jagged rock covered passes at an amazing pace and not a single problem with any of the 5 sets of poles. The terrain was so tough that I completely wore out a brand new pair of ROClite 320 shoes in just 6 days! We all carry a small amount of duct tape on our poles for emergency use and wrapped the tape directly under the grips. We all ended up adding small and very light loops "Straps" that were held on by the duct tape. The straps are very handy when you want to let go of the poles to take a quick picture or reach for a water bottle without having to stop and set the poles down. 2 in the group used the staps while hiking and 3 of us felt that the poles were so light and easy to move around that the straps really wern't needed while hiking. So easy to add straps that I can't see why anyone would complain that they don't come with straps. Personal choice I guess. I'm sold on these poles and think it is one of the most important items of gear I own and use! Thanks GG.

Edited by kegelhoff on 08/30/2007 16:09:36 MDT.

Tim Heckel
( ThinAir - M )

6237' - Manitou Springs
GG carbon poles - cat'z meow on 10/04/2007 15:25:41 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I love my GG poles. After a year of fiddling with the REI UL carbon sectioned poles that won't lock I got my fixed poles and they are perfect for me. I do not miss the wrist straps at all. Love the grips. I never mounted the baskets and rarely miss them. And I rarely miss the ability to collapse and stow the poles. My poles have gone backpacking a few times and have now summited many of Colorado's high 13 & 14K' peaks. I am so addicted to them I constructed an ABS shipping tube so I could transport them to Europe for our just-completed 100 mile Tour du Mont Blanc. It's just icing on the cake that they are the right length to use with my TarpTent!

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Keith Selbo
( herman666 - M )

Northern Virginia
Wouldn't hike with anything else on 06/23/2009 09:14:11 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Good God these poles are light! Strong too. No problems for me whatsoever so I'll just address some of the issues noted above.

No Straps. My wife likes to have straps too so I took the straps off some old Wal-Mart poles and attached them to her Lightreks with nylon cable ties. Works fine for her.

Can't hold the weight of aging boomers. Noted. The cheapest adjustment one can make for ultralight hiking is losing weight. I went from obese to less-than-I-weighed-in-10th-grade (dropped 65lb). Not easy, but the incentive (not breaking the most phenomenally light poles ever) helps.

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