Lightweight Trekking Poles: Gear Guide

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Lightweight Trekking Poles: Gear Guide

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    Locale: Washington DC

    Forgot to mention that the weight above was without snow baskets and without rubber tips… the straps where left on when I weighed them.

    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Right there

    “I have taken my hiking pole, the neoTrekk BigStik, onto many flights. It has no pointy end and looks kinda like a cane. So put a rubber crutch tip on it, limp a little. look handicapped… and you get onboard OK.”

    Don’t be that guy.

    Max O
    BPL Member


    Any opinions on  or even experience with the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon poles?:
    Not particulary light I know, but could be a strong and functional pole for winter activities.

    Cas Berentsen
    BPL Member


    Fizan Compact Light / Trekking Compact. Alu 326g the pair (11.5oz (11oz advertized) ) around +/-60USD the pair. Tested as well on this website somewhere in the past

    Bought one sturdy pair in 2010 from the UK that I had to leave behind on the airport, a second less sturdy pair for 47eur ( 52USD) in 2012 from Italy and a third pair for 59eur ( 66 USD)from France  after one pole of the second batch fractured while tensioning.

    Using these poles now for 9 years and really pleased with them.



    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Exhaustively detailed article that will likely  be referred to often on BPL.

    My take:

    1. Pole straps-> essential once you learn how to properly use and adjust them (see online instructions for XC ski pole strap use)
    2. Foam grip extensions-> never found the need for them and I always remove them and put several turns of Gorilla duct tape just under the handle. You will find uses for it.
    3. Pole tips-> should have threaded area for adding snow baskets for those of us who use our poles in winter snow
    4. Grips-> I like cork and barring that soft, textured synthetic material like a dense closed cell foam.
    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    I used trekking poles for the first time about 8-10 ?? years ago, mostly due to some knee pain I had then (and no longer have – it’s everything else that hurts now!). I bought what were then very cheap ($35?), LLBean hikelite poles, with a cork grip, twist lock adjustment, and tips with removable snow baskets. I still have them. I have no idea how many miles are on them, pretty much every day hike and backpack trip since. They have never slipped, broken, or otherwise malfunctioned. They still adjust easily. They weigh one pound for the pair. LLBean doesn’t even sell this model any more, but I love them! I hope they never break or wear out, and I’ll use them til I’m drooling in my wheelchair. I can then will them to one of you younger hikers, because as far as I can tell, they’re every bit as good as anything in this review, despite not being a very sexy brand.

    Tony Wong
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Anti-Shock feature…waste of money and ineffective in most situations.

    Recent bought some new Leki poles after my prior pair of Leki’s lower section fused together with the middle section due to “corrosion”.

    Great poles and served me well with old “shock absorber” anti shock mechanism.

    Took poles out yesterday on a 14.6 miles hike up and back down Mt. Diablo in the SF Bay Area.

    Love the flick lock poles and the tool-less means of adjusting tension on the flip locks to increase hold when adjusting the length of the poles.

    (I decrease length while going up hill and increase length while going down hill).

    Cork handles are new to me, nice vs. the plastic/rubber ones I had before.

    Strap is super easy to adjust the length on…my old ones were near impossible to adjust without great effort and annoyance.

    The Anti Shock system on the new Leki poles is a small barrel “nub” of “rubber” that is kinda like a marshmello just above the basket on the pole.

    Applying a lot of weight/pressure on the poles caused them to “squish” which is supposed to make it easier on the joints/body.

    I am 150 lbs….if I plant the poles firmly in the dirt and then press the tops of the handles against my belly and lean forward to apply force, with some effort, I can really compress the Anti Shock Marshmello.

    In most situations, I am not applying that much downward force to take advantage of the Anti Shock rubber nub.

    Plus, the amount of compression possible only translates to maybe an half inch of travel in the pole.

    Neat idea, but just did not find meaningful benefit to the feature.

    Save your money and avoid this feature….unless you like the handles on this particular set of poles….they are great if you like to palm the tops of your poles while going downhill.

    P.S. +1 on the value of using the pole straps “the right way”….would NEVER get poles without the strap.




    Locale: Cascadia

    Sorry for bumping an old thread, but doing some research lately on trekking poles got me here.

    One thing that I find rather strangely claimed in this article is that ergo handled trekking poles with the handle tilted forward a few degrees, as BS? I’ve been using trekking poles for well over 20 years now and find my Ergo Trail cork trekking poles are vastly more efficient and comfortable over long distances. It’s like night and day for my body type and style of hiking. Seems the author might be injecting too much personal bias into this claim that ergo poles might be total BS.

    One big advantage for myself is that the tilted handle allows me to apply a downward force into the trekking pole when it is behind my body pushing me forward. I can get a much deeper push using these than my standard straight poles without additional work needed by my hands and arms to accommodate the awkward grip in that position.

    I personally refuse to take out my straight poles at all now, unless there is a matter of safety due to vertical pole strength.

    NOW. there are two major faults in the ergo handles.

    1. Pushing straight down on the pole from the top will cause an ergo pole to bend much more easily, thus greatly limiting the force one can put down on the top without correcting for the bend by holding the handle tight on the side and forcing the pole straight. This also applies to trekking pole tents in high winds and heavy snow, as the weight can bend the pole much more than straight poles. The bend also makes it hard to seat into some trekking pole cups at the peaks of shelters.

    2. The packed size is a couple inches longer due to the inner tube no longer being able to insert all the way due to the bend in the handle. So far, for me, this is a non-issue, but, might be for others.

    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member


    Since I have wacko knees from motorcycle racing crashes, I need to stride normally on flat trails, swinging my arms the way humans evolved to walk balanced / with the most efficiency / and max safety. I need poles when going downhill, nowhere else. I don’t want to propel myself with my arms and shoulders since they too are missing a few ligaments. That technique is for skiers. Walking is a job for your legs.

    Most hikers use bendy telescoping hiking poles that fail a lot… joints fail to hold, or the tubing bends and breaks. For such an important hiking tool, you deserve better. The three major design challenges for a great hiking pole are: #1 – a way to deliver immediate length changes while hiking fast on up-and-down trails, #2 – a way to pack the thing into a small space (like inside a carryon), and (3) reliability, so you have zero worryies about your pole breaking or collapsing. If you have no need for #2 (packs small) then the classic wood hiking staff is still a great tool because it does deliver on #3 and #1. But a pair of the popular telescoping poles fails to deliver on both #1 and #3 – a dual shortcoming. You can’t change the length while striding along, and they break or the joints fail at high rates. The  carbon neoTrekk BigStik delivers on #1 and #2 and #3. It is so reliable and functional that your hiking brain soon learns how to move faster and have no worries. And the BigStik is a lot lighter than the classic wood hiking staff.

    Alex V
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Cascades

    Black Diamond now has fixed length trekking poles at 3oz each, 6oz total for 110cm. The Komperdell fixed length poles mentioned appear to no longer be for sale so if someone is looking for fixed length might consider these instead:

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