- Dec 2, 2019 at 6:48 am #3621163Edward John MBPL Member
That’s why I like grip straps that are easy to get in and out of, because there can be frequent changes in how I grip the pole.
It is true that most wrist straps are far too narrow these days, I like 45mm wide foam padded wrist straps, I only use poles in winter on snow and ice, if I used in warmer seasons I may not so muchDec 2, 2019 at 2:16 pm #3621177Jason FSpectator
Ah, I hadn’t thought of that, Sam.
Perhaps the hole and bolt for the camera, and the individual user can choose to carry or not carry the bolt.Dec 2, 2019 at 5:27 pm #3621190Steve MartellBPL Member
@steveLocale: Eastern Washington
Gustavo, The three best comments/suggestions (IMHO) are the ones by James Marco, David Thomas and Sam Farrington. It will be difficult to make all UL hikers happy, but their comments are closest to what I prefer as well.
I use to think a compass (imbedded in the top of the pole) was a gimmick, but soon found them so useful that I now add one to all my poles. You need a good one though—such as this: (Suunto Clipper)Dec 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm #3621194Mina LoomisBPL Member
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
I really liked my old Leki Makalu Womens poles, acquired in a hurry at a small outfitter in Mammoth Lakes CA (Sierra) after one of my LT3’s broke in a river crossing. The Lekis were aluminum, weighed about 15 oz for the pair, twist locks, cork handles, really comfortable hand straps. Now Leki only makes the Makalu in Mens, which is heavier and unnecessarily long for me. My poles were lost in a travel incident this last summer so I am shopping for replacements. After too much breakage (one in that river, another in a car trunk), I’m not inclined to trust the really thin light carbon poles similar to those LT3s. I am not finding anything close to what I had.
What I was hoping for: About that 15 oz for the pair, or lighter. Cork grips. Adjustable enough to tweak a tarp setup. Comfortable straps.
It looks like the market has moved away from cork grips. There are a few but the poles are either heavy, or are like the GG ones with minimal straps that are skinny and scratchy and cut into my wrist.
So to the OP asking about features: Cork is way easier on the skin than that neoprene stuff. Skinny little webbing wrist straps hurt–use something that spreads the pressure out and doesn’t chafe and that can be sized to the user’s wrist. A few inches of pole length adjustability helps ultralight tarp users tweak for uneven ground and weather configurations. And whether carbon or aluminum, make it strong enough to hold up for stream crossings. Beyond that, features and accessories don’t add much but weight.
Thanks, and please let us all know when your model is ready.Dec 2, 2019 at 6:28 pm #3621198Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I myself still use a pair of Leki Makalus. With the advent of CF and folding poles, I think this model went from being Lekis premium top of the line product to the midrange. I think the problem facing web shops and bricks and mortar stores is that there are too many models to keep track of.
Leki still makes poles for women. Check out the Leki website
REI has the Womens Legacy Lite with CoreTec handles on thier site right now.
I have also seen Lekis Makalus in Canada and Europe labeled “compact” which are shorter and lighter than my old Lekis and labeled “not recommended for tall or heavy folks ( 5 ft 10 inches or 190 pounds if I remember right) which might be the same as the women’s models in the USA..
CheersDec 3, 2019 at 4:19 pm #3621332Mina LoomisBPL Member
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
Thanks for your comments on the Lekis. When I searched their site the only Makalu that came up was the mens. I don’t know how I would get access to whatever is on offer internationally. I did see the other cork grip models but they are all considerably heavier. So unless there is a better option out there, it leaves me having to decide whether lighter weight or cork is more important to me. Since the lighter weight market is carbon now, to match what I lost in a comparable weight I’ll need to switch to carbon, but after my experience with the LT3s I am still leery.
But this is turning into a thread drift. Thanks again!Dec 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm #3621636Ross BleakneyBPL Member
I would like to see the following:
Gossamer Gear two-piece pole, but with a Locus Gear (lever clamp) flick lock. Here is why:
1) The Gossamer Gear poles themselves are very light, and strong enough.
2) The straps are excellent. Very comfortable, and very easy to adjust.
3) Two pieces saves weight, is simpler to adjust than three pieces, but still has just about all of the functionality of three pieces. The only significant difference is packing it into a suitcase (where a three-piece pole fits better).
4) Even the best twist locks wear down over time. Flick locks last longer, and are much easier to apply. The Locus Gear flick locks are the best I’ve used. Unlike some of the others (e. g. Black Diamond) you don’t need a tool to adjust the tightness of the lock. I’m not alone in wanting this. The review of trekking poles here said as much:
A grip extension and lever clamp adjustability mechanisms would elevate the LT5 into “best-of-the-best” in lightweight trekking poles (caveat: for trail use)!
A grip extension doesn’t matter to me, and a two section pole would save considerable weight over a two section pole. But, alas, Gossamer Gear doesn’t make flick lock (AKA lever lock) poles.Dec 5, 2019 at 9:15 pm #3621672Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I agree that a good execution is probably by far most important. Otherwise I will almost totally agree with Ryan:
Solid flip-locks, good weight/durability tradeoff (wrapped carbon fiber), and NO anti-shock.
Cork vs. foam grips depends a lot upon the foam. Most poles use foam that is not durable enough, but the stuff that Gossamer Gear uses is pretty good. Otherwise, use cork.
But I do like having the long grips, so that I can just move my hand down a bit for uphill spots instead of having to adjust length. That’s worth the weight.
I will go against the party line in that I like wrist straps, if only to easily and quickly clip them to my shoulder strap on the fly when I want them stowed out of the way. It can be pretty minimalist- it doesn’t need padding- but the strap should widen on the part that goes over the wrist.
A two-segment pole works just fine for me, but a lot of people like three-segment poles because they collapse smaller for airline luggage. But making it two-segment would save weight as well as having fewer possible points of mechanical failure. “A multi-engine airplane has more engine problems than a single-engine airplane.”
Like others, for me the BD Alpine Carbon Cork poles are my current gold standard as a feature-set, but they’re too heavy. The grips could be less bulky. Does REI still make their carbon flip-lock poles too?
Frankly, a two-segment LT5 with flip-locks and a longer grip like on the BD Alpine Carbon Cork would be perfect for me.Dec 5, 2019 at 10:48 pm #3621686Larry SwearingenBPL Member
@larry_swearingenLocale: NE Indiana
Well I like the on-board Bear Spray and the Weenie roaster.
How about WIFI ?
Larry SDec 6, 2019 at 12:59 am #3621697obx hikerBPL Member
@obxcolaLocale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Lots of good comments and pretty much covered the subject But….
Anyway I have BD carbon flz’s and also GGear LT4’s and like ’em both. Like the flicklocks because the LT4 locks can and will slip if the poles are adjusted with dust on the shafts. Easy to fix by wiping the shafts with a damp rag but it seems like I manage to forget about once a trip and better hope you’re not in the wrong spot when the lock slips! Also like Sam I palm the grip-top on descents and if you’re putting some type of threaded socket please design in to be inset with a flush plug. Though I can see where something like that could be very handy.
Here’s the “but” part. Like Matthew and maybe some others I use a mid and need a pole length @ 143cm or maybe a little longer with a 2-pole inverted V setup. I also fly to hike pretty often. As Ross noted it’s really difficult to get a 2-part pole to fit into a suitcase; in fact I use a really long duffle bag and wrap the poles in pipe insulation to hopefully keep them safe (so far so good) But this rules out the black diamonds and again there’s that slippage potential with the LT4 type locks.
Maybe a wrinkle or niche for your new endeavor could be a 3-part pole with flicklocks that could fit in a suitcase and adjust from @ 120 cm to 150 cm? A 3-part pole that breaks down to @ 53-52 cm could fit in most carry-ons. Absent that a totally designed extension piece that really fits the pole; not some aftermarket gismo that doesn’t fit tightly.
Maybe something that screws into that aforementioned threaded socket in the top of the handle? That threaded socket idea could be the outlet for some serious gizmo efforts. A strong threaded socket couldn’t add that much weight and might present opportunities for all sorts of creative attachments; like a nice pole extension for a mid-type pyramid tent with a smooth rounded top, or even a long spear head to convert your pole to a handy lance!. Make those grizzlies think twice.Dec 6, 2019 at 1:03 am #3621698jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
I like Ross’ comments. the GG two piece pole is brilliant once you learn to be hyper careful about pole placement to avoid snapping the lower section. But a flic lock would be better for adjustment.
The ridiculous low weight of the GG poles is very nice. Their design is minimal, straightforward and clean. They make one big point: they’re lightweight. That ‘outweighed’ most else for me. I haven’t broken one in years, but they are more fragile than other heavier poles. I bought mine without wrist straps and then added very light utility cord for the few occasions when I wanted the poles attached to my wrists. In retrospect straps make more sense.
Poles are used for tents and so this needs to be considered.Dec 11, 2019 at 3:52 am #3622328Brian WBPL Member
If I’d were to go all scifi, I’d like my poles to hover off the ground when I’m not using them. I’d like them to take voice commands and follow me when I’m not using them. And I’d like them to still be light weight and strong when I use them. Finally, I’d like the build and materials to be as environmentally friendly as possible. One can dream.
The next obvious iteration would be for an accessory to go between the two poles, so that they can carry my backpack when I’m too tired. Think of them as a pack mule meets a drone meets hiking poles.
This is what I would reasonably expect out of high end poles.Dec 11, 2019 at 1:33 pm #3622363Erica RBPL Member
I found I never used the full length of my carbon poles, so I sawed off some for weight savings (I still do extend the poles when going down hill.) Likewise I never used the foam grip below the cork handles, so I cut them off. Just a little weight savings on poles makes a big difference.
To me, it is very important the pole have a good swing to it. This is where the pole pivots as you swing it from behind to in front. The upper part of the handle has a mushroom shape to allow a swing without holding on to the handle.
I cannot imagine using poles without straps. I’d have to use “the death grip” on the handle. How could I swing it forward?
To me, poles are a safety issue. I do not want an injured ankle from a fall in the backcountry. They hold up my tent too.Dec 11, 2019 at 7:08 pm #3622410James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Treking pole design is difficult, even though they sound like a simplistic piece of gear… not as complicated as a stove, for instance.
1) They have to support at least 75% of your weight. A larger diameter means extra strength for the same weight. But, the trade off is brittle and subject to side stress.
2) Joints are always a problem with strength. Every joint means it is weaker at the same weight.
3) Wear and tear can add up over a thousand hiking miles or so. Extra abrasion resistance and strength needs to be added to the tip area (about 14″ up) to prevent wedging in rocks, mud, and other trail obstacles.
4) Weight is very important. The lighter the better for the same strength.
5) Straps are necessary to support your arm/shoulder/body weight. Having a death grip on staffs to do this can mean expending a lot of extra energy.
6) A top handle for supporting your weight while descending should be about 1.5″ dia, min.
7) Generally accepted wisdom is staff length should be comfortable (with your hand setting up through the strap and handling the pole) at level with your fore arm. I tend to disagree with this (more below.)
8) Tips need to grip on a large variety of terrain: rock, gravel, sand, mud, etc. A softer steel tip works on all of these almost as well as a carbide tip, but has the added advantage of being extended about 3/4″ into mud, clay and other softer materials solidly. A longer carbide tip breaks at that length.
9) A small basket near the tip (about 1-5-2.0″ dia) helps in softer snow(actually larger,) mud, stream crossings, sand, but can get in the way of planting the pole. Some swift streams can drag pole tips up and back with any basket. About even, I would guess…
10) Reliable, reliable and reliable. As Erica says, safety while hiking, a prosthetic if the worst does happen and you are injured, and other ultra reliable uses that crop up on the trail.
11) Dual use covers a lot of different things. Measuring stick, tent pole, etc. A weinee roasting stick? Well…whatever works…
As far as staff length, I have found that in every case, I ALWAYS want a longer staff. Descents are obvious, with the staff well below me. Ascents means I want to be able to push forward and up, and, to catch myself if I fall backwards. I want a longer length staff for that. On level terrain, I want the staff to push me forward. Again it is behind me and longer than accepted wisdom.
The difference in weight between Ti, Al, and carbon is not real great, maybe a couple ounces. To me, a strict Ultralighter, the trade off is in weight vs. durability/reliability. I stripped everything off my staffs: joints, handles and heavy reinforcements for tips. Simple staffs have little to go wrong. But, they can be difficult to handle on an airplane.
I found that flick-locks occasionally failed catastrophically: broken hinges, catching on a rock, etc. There ain’t a fix for those other than a lot of duct tape. And they tend to catch scrub more than twist locks. Twist locks are heavier and more problematic, but are smoother to use and don’t fail beyond use.Dec 11, 2019 at 7:56 pm #3622416Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I have found that twist locks can be serviced and restored by the user, even in the field. I think one vendor even sells replacement parts – the rubber bit, for this. That is a definite advantage.
CheersDec 12, 2019 at 9:19 am #3622481Rene RavenelBPL Member
The one big take away from this thread is that lots of different people want lots of different things. Maybe the market differentiator you’re looking for is customization. This is the flip side to a zillion different pole models: choosing the pole parts you want.
- choice of grips
- foam vs cork
- thin/minimal vs fat/contoured
- inset threaded gadget mount
- choice of wrist straps
- extra long adjustable in lieu of adjustable pole length
- free, optional rubber tip covers
- some people want them and feel they shouldn’t have to pay for them
- some people will never use them and just throw them away
- Grip/wrap tape
- add below the grip if you want an extended grip for steep ascents
- add above the tip for abrasion protection
- up to the buyer how much weight they want to add for the extra functionality
- choice of tube strength/weight (diameter, wall thickness)
- if you’re short/light, or easy on gear, you can go thinner
- if you always break your poles in the same area, put a thicker segment there
- choice of tube material
- carbon, aluminum, titanium
- give the customer the choice of strength/weight/cost/durability
- Offer choice of adjustable clamp vs fixed length insert
Other feature ideas:
- Make fixed length segments removable/interchangeable.
- Mix and match segments to support tall pyramid shelters
- If you break a segment, just replace that one segment
- Offering one of the segments (say, the upper) in two lengths can differentiate your product for size/gender
- Fill pole segments with rigid expanding from to resist collapse/bending failure.
- Put ruler markings on the length of the pole. Why? I don’t know – weighs nothing and could be useful some day :)
You might be able to let the customer assemble all of the above upon receipt, like a kit, which will save you on assembly labor. It’ll be cheaper to have a pile of grips or straps laying around because no one likes them than a pile of complete poles laying around because no one likes the grips or straps you put on them.
This is a lot of features but they’re mostly variations on required parts and therefor add no extra weight or complexity.Dec 12, 2019 at 10:06 am #3622485Edward John MBPL Member
Ruler markings for measuring snow depth [ depth hoar] accurately? Bloody brilliant idea, also useful for measuring that fish that didn’t get away and that huge snake that almost ate you for breakfast [ in Oz] or the real size of that grizzly bear paw print [ in Canada/USA] and I like the idea of a modular DIY assembly.
- choice of grips
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