New Discovery, research, and smart shopping: see the new Gear Shop.
Member Gear Reviews
Collapsible Trekking Poles
5 Member Reviews
Definitely ultralight but also very weak material that breaks very easily. Both poles broke below lower joint during third hike. No warranty for pole breakage even on day # 1 (check web site fine print). Unlike a tent, backpack, or sleeping bag, you can’t always choose exactly how your poles are employed. Sometimes poles can be used with a light touch and in other circumstances when you lose you balance, etc. and put your weight on a pole (one of the purposes of poles), the pole will receive some stress. The LT5s cannot handle such stress. Great for weight savings but require babying and therefore not a very useful piece of gear despite a high price. This is a good example of ultralight gear that fails because even though it’s low weight it does not adequately perform its basic function if used for any kind of serious backpacking. However, these poles may be fine for easy hiking on groomed trails or day hikes around the neighborhood and similar activities.
I started the AT with the LT4s back in 2012. I was about 3 days into my sobo thru the 100 Mile wilderness in July. The mud was still thick and deep in places. I planted a pole, took a step, sank to my knee, fell forward, and snapped that pole on a log in front of me!
Of course I was using a tent that required both poles to pitch. So I was looking forward to finding the right stick every night. And there was little to no cell phone connectivity out there. and I still had several days to get to Monson …
A couple days later I found some limited cel signal on the top of a mountain, so I called GG and explained my situation, and can I order a replacement segment to be sent to the hostel in Monson. The guy who answered the call was clearly not grasping where I was, or had not listened to me, or was just too busy to talk to a customer, and told me I had to order a new lower section, and to do so online. I told him I wouldn’t be able able to do for several days. Clearly esasperated, he asked “Can’t you get to a computer?” I reiterated that I was In the middle of the 100-mile wilderness, and days away from any place I could do that. He finally relented, took my order and credit card over the phone, and the part was waiting for me in Monson.
So, a happy ending, but the single most frustrating experience with customer service I’ve experienced in my 65 years. I still have those poles, but I grab my Lekis most days now, and I have not done business with them since.
I happily acknowledge that the Gossamer Gear LT5’s are beloved pieces of kit among thru-hikers and ultralight practitioners alike. If I was in need of a collapsible pole for fair-season trail hiking, I’d certainly take a hard look at these. And in this context, these poles have served me well enough and I’d give them a solid 4-stars overall for this context.
For me personally, “summertime trail hiking” is a relatively narrow use case, and I need my gear to extend beyond that scenario so I can limit the amount of gear I own and ensure that the gear I do own is as versatile as possible across multiple use cases.
And that leads me to this review. These poles are made with thin-walled carbon, so they tend to break more readily, than say, the Black Diamond Distance series carbon poles or the REI Flash Carbon Poles, both of which are made with thicker-walled carbon tubes (and granted, are a little heavier). That limits their use in snow, mud, scree, etc. when hiking off-trail.
I echo other’s comments about the lack of security in the locking adjustment collars. This is exacerbated in cold, wet/frozen conditions, which makes these poles somewhat limited in their ability to be used in the winter.
I’d love to see these poles offered with slightly smaller-diameter grips for smaller hands/women, cam-lock collars, and thicker carbon tubing.
The Gossamer Gear LT5 trekking poles are my ‘go-to’ trekking poles for backpacking treks that require flying. For all local on-trail backpacking treks I prefer my Gossamer Gear LT4 trekking poles as they are lighter and their locking mechanism doesn’t slip under pressure. For off-trail backpacking treks I’m using Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles.
I wish the LT5s could be my all-around trekking poles as they have a lot going for them.
So why do I still have three different pairs of trekking poles?
These are great poles that could be excellent, if Gossamer Gear would make the twist lock mechanism on the LT5s as bombproof as on the older LT4s. I really appreciate the LT5s weight savings over my Black Diamond poles and don’t hold it against the LT5s that I manage to break them when taking them into terrain they are not designed for.
Was using black diamond carbon z before trying the LT5. I found it to be very tough and comfortable for the weight. The best part is it is fully adjustable for the trekking pole tents. I would highly recommend them.
Backpacking Light helps hikers and other backcountry enthusiasts overcome their barriers to living a life outside in Wild Places.
Inform. Educate. Inspire. Learn more
Get Backpacking Light news, updates, gear info, skills, and commentary delivered into your inbox 1-2x/week.
This feature requires an active Backpacking Light Membership.
Use the links below to share this content: