Aug 15, 2007 at 10:14 am #1224613
John Rowling IIParticipant
@jrowlingLocale: Great Lakes Area
I'm looking for some new trekking poles. My current ones are REI Traverse anti-shock adjustables. The adjustables are great to use with my TT Contrail. Any suggestions?Aug 15, 2007 at 10:25 am #1398691
I use the Leki Super Makalu Long AS poles. Been using them for about a month now (on a trip and on my daily training hikes), and I have no complaints. They are really nice, and help considerably on uphill sections.Aug 15, 2007 at 10:28 am #1398693
I've been using the REI Peak UL Carbon Trekking Poles for a while now and they've worked very well.Aug 15, 2007 at 10:33 am #1398694
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
I've been switching progressively to lighter weight poles:
REI Traverse –> REI Peak UL Compact –> Titanium Goat adjustable poles
Having used my new Ti Goat poles on a 4-day trip recently, I like them very much and recommend them highly. See my review in the "Reader Review" section.Aug 15, 2007 at 10:44 am #1398695
@jkrew81Locale: White Mtns
I have used a pair of Life Link Guide Lites for 3 years and they have never failed me. Def four season goto item for me.Aug 15, 2007 at 10:45 am #1398696
@naturephoto1Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
My original hiking poles were Leki Super Makalu. Now I use the Bozeman Mountain Works fixed length Carbon Fiber Stix Pro Trekking poles.
RichAug 15, 2007 at 10:48 am #1398697
Once you go black (black diamond trekking poles that is), you never go back…Aug 15, 2007 at 10:54 am #1398698
@sigeatsLocale: Southern California
I've been using the Gossamer Gear Lightrek for about six months and really like them. I have the 120 cm version, and don't really mind that they don't adjust. As far as strength goes, I've had no problems. And the flex in the pole really absorbs shocks well . . .Aug 15, 2007 at 11:15 am #1398707
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Leki Ti Makalu. No anti-shock or PA. They weigh about 16 oz for the pair. I like them quite a bit and got them for 50% off!
AdamAug 15, 2007 at 11:19 am #1398709
@pivvayLocale: Rocky Mountains
Use my wife REI Compact's and they're great for me. Going to look at Ti-Goat or make my own possibly as well. Only thing bad about the REI poles to me is the price! :) hahaAug 15, 2007 at 3:49 pm #1398738
They're on the heavier side, but I swear by my Black Diamond Flick Locks, specifically the Contour and Spire Poles.
At 19 and 20 ounces per pair respectively, they add a bit of weight, but I've shattered and splintered 5 other models from Leki and Komperdell/REI. My BD's stand up to the pounding I give them. The Flicklock works every time, without fuss, unlike any twist mechanism I've ever used. For those who find the binary lock on the lower section troublesome (typically due to the lower section slightly twisting and thus throwing the lock off track), the ellipse shape of the Spire has eliminated this issue. They are also extremely tough.
For lower weight, check out the BD Enduro carbon fiber versions that were reviewed here on BPL about 3 weeks ago.Aug 15, 2007 at 3:59 pm #1398743
@hellbillylarryLocale: southern appalachians
I'm still using my Leki Malikus with the cork handles. I have been using them since 2000. I would like to go to a lighter pair but I can't find any really light ones with cork handles. I am also kind of attached to these poles as they have been all over the country with me.Aug 15, 2007 at 6:26 pm #1398756
@mad777Locale: South Florida
Komperdell C3 Carbon 3 piece adjustable anti-shock, bought on sale at EMS for $99.
They weight 13 oz. per pair (size large). At the time I bought them, they were the lightest adjustable poles out there, they may still be.
I have used them for over two years and I am hard on poles / bad on balance. They have served me well when I thought that a carbon pole should have shattered.
Every two days, I take them apart and check/adjust the locking mechanism, if I don't, after a couple of weeks worth of use, they sometimes get "finicky."
I must have adjustable poles as I travel by air often to hiking destination AND I use the trekking poles to support my tent, otherwise, I might be tempted to go with non-adjustable, uber-light poles.Aug 15, 2007 at 7:15 pm #1398761
@bjorn240Locale: Westchester County, NY
I use Black Diamond Countour poles. At 19oz, they are not light, but the flick-lock adjustment is easy to use, and I have found them significantly more reliable than my wife's Lekis.
I would use fixed-length poles, but take too many trips out west by plane to make it feasible. And I'm too cheap to buy another set of poles just for trips near home.Aug 15, 2007 at 7:38 pm #1398765
If you frequently adjust your poles as you transition from uphill-level-downhill I strongly suggest flick lock poles. I've used REI summits, Leki Makalau, and a 135 gram ODBox FoxTail (basically like the aluminum canes blind people use). The twist locks are so annoying to adjust because they require several twists to open then several twists to tighten securely. I like to keep moving quickly along the trail and diverting my eyes from my footwork is dangerous. I always tried to save a little money going with cheaper poles, but finally my BD Trails are in the mail.
The ultimate pole would be a 3 section large diameter graphite tube flick lock that folds down to about 23-24"; minimalist in design to get the weight to 12 oz a pair or so.. Far as I know it does not exist yet.Aug 15, 2007 at 7:43 pm #1398766
@naturephoto1Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
When we use our fixed length Trekking poles such as the BMW Stix Pro or the GG Lite Trek Hiking poles we adjust the position of our hands on the the handles and the shafts if need be as we go up and down hills.
RichAug 15, 2007 at 8:57 pm #1398774
Daniel J KowalskiMember
@camperdanLocale: Southwestern Ohio
I use Black Diamond Contour poles. They have served me well so far.
DanAug 15, 2007 at 9:13 pm #1398781
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
First of all, definitely check this out: Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
Personally, I typically use trekking poles full time and don't mind strapping full-length poles to my pack (except for off-trail in brush, but I tend to gravitate to sub alpine or desert environments where this isn't an issue). As the trekking pole guy at BPL, I'm spoiled and have used almost every lightweight pole on the market. I love the BMW Stix (the best but very expensive), the Gossamer Gear Lightrek (very light and with a comfortable flex- I find they're strong and stiff enough for all but the heaviest hikers), and the Komperdell Featherlight (super stiff and strong). For trips where I need collapsible poles, I use Komperdell C2 poles. They're strong and have a Flicklock-style locking system, but at a MUCH lighter weight. Some people have had bad luck with the Komperdell C3 but I have a pair that I've been really hard on and I've had no issues at all. My experience has been good, but I do prefer the simplicity of the C2.
A pole that we hope to have in soon for testing are the Titanium Goat Adjustable Goat poles. We had good luck with the old Ti Goat poles and this new model addresses all of our previous concerns AND they're adjustable. They hold a lot of promise- I can't wait to use them!
Poles are certainly a preference issue but here are some cold hard facts: At the same weight, carbon poles are much stiffer than aluminum poles. A few extra ounces in your hands may not seem like much but when you lift them thousands of times in a day, the weight really adds up- like lightweight footwear, light poles make a much bigger difference than pack weight. Lightweight poles make for quicker placements. The most reliable mechanisms are no mechanisms at all- fixed length. Straps are a preference thing but they definitely add to pole weight and many people never miss the straps.
Last, I'm an over-agressive pole user which makes me a good pole reviewer because I often test them to failure. I've broken more aluminum poles than carbon poles, despite the fact that I haven't used an aluminum pole in several years. My opinion is that carbon fiber is an excellent choice for a lightweight hiking pole.
Besides that, my old 8 oz poles seem so clunky- I can't hardly stand using them. Going to light poles is like switching to an UL pack weight or trading the leather hiking boots in for lightweight runners. Once you make the trade, I doubt you'll ever go back.
Best of luck in your search!
DougAug 16, 2007 at 6:13 am #1398822
"light poles make a much bigger difference than pack weight."
Huh? I don't see how pole weight in hands compares much to weight carried on the back. I've never really wished my poles were lighter, but I sure did wish my pack were lighter at the start of a few backpacks.Aug 16, 2007 at 8:18 am #1398834
@einsteinxLocale: The Netherlands
Komperdell Titanal poles, kinda heavy compared to what you see on this site, but I like them and for an item I somtimes put all of my weight on I like them to be a bit sturdy. Besides you can't go wrong with a name like Titanal.
EinsAug 16, 2007 at 8:18 am #1398835
John, I think Doug's point was that you feel 5 oz extra in your poles more than you would 5 oz extra in your pack. Similar to the concept that dropping 1 lb from your shoes is like dropping 8 lbs from your pack.Aug 16, 2007 at 8:25 am #1398836
Pacerpole 3 section carbon fibre.
Once you get used to them, they really are better than anything else.Aug 16, 2007 at 8:47 am #1398839
That makes some sense..forgive my misinterpretation..; )Aug 16, 2007 at 1:06 pm #1398873
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
Exactly right Steve- weight on the back is fairly static but weight on the feet or in the hands is always in motion- you lift them thousands of times during a day. The research shows that using poles increases heart rate and thus caloric expenditure. Having lighter poles reduces this increase in energy usage.
FYI- the Komperdell "Titanal" and Leki "Titanium" titles are mostly rubbish. These are aluminum alloy poles that use some minimum of titanium in the alloy. But for all intents and purposes, these are aluminum poles.
Now, if you are sticking to a certain weigth, say 7 or 8 ounces for an aluminum pole, the carbon fiber pole at the same weight will be SIGNIFICANTLY stiffer while also offering greater vibration damping. Take the MSR Overland Carbon (made by Komperdell) for example. It weighs just .7 ounces more than the Leki Ultralite Ti Ergometric but it is so much more burly. While this Leki model is a noodle, the MSR pole is among the stiffest we've reviewed. To have the same stiffness, aluminum poles have to be much heavier than carbon fiber.
This is not specific to poles. In cycling, they are finding consistently that carbon fiber frames can be lighter while offering the same stiffness AND dampen vibration considerably when compared to aluminum frames.
The downside of carbon fiber in all situations is additional expense. People have the perception that carbon fiber will shatter and while I've broken carbon poles (often intentionally to see the result), it's more of a clean break and I've found the force required to break is usually higher than what it takes to fold an aluminum pole to the point of uselessness. The one legitimate issue I've seen is that a hard score on a carbon shaft can severely weaken it. For example, I once nailed a carbon pole with the blade of an aluminum shovel when trying to dig it out of frozen snow. It broke clean at the point of contact. In other words, don't score the carbon and you should be good to go.
Last, an ultralight pole, in either carbon fiber or aluminum, is not going to be the best for all people. I'm 6'1" and 185 pounds and most ul poles are great for me. However, my friend who is 6'4" and 225 needs a stiffer, more robust pole. He loves the Komperdell Featherlite but likes the Lightrek and C3 a bit less. My wife is 5'2" and 115 pounds and her first generation Lightrek (the most flexible pole I've ever seen) is perfect for her.
Anyhoo…best of luck in your quest!
DougAug 16, 2007 at 1:21 pm #1398877
Leki Makalau 21 oz
Having read this thread, that part of my brain that says 'Dont buy anything else this year – just go with what you have' – – – has been overwhelmed by the other part that is begging 'Oh my poor tired hands – those heavy poles – ok, just one more enlightenment'
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