Women’s Poles (Not) Have Been on U.S. Market For Longer Than We Think

We were interested in women’s specific trekking poles and did a bit of inquiring at the Leki booth since, as the most recognized trekking pole company in the U.S., we found it odd that they weren’t making women’s specific models like some other manufacturers.

Funny story: it turns out that Leki has been making women’s specific poles in Europe for years. That makes sense – poles are far more popular in Europe among walkers and trampers than they are in the U.S. among hikers and backpackers.

These women’s poles were typically 10 cm shorter and had grips 15% smaller in every dimension. These size reductions also reduced weight, of course, so they were a little lighter.

When the ultralight craze gained steam in the US market, Leki decided simply to offer their Euro-market women’s poles, and rebrand them as their Ultralight line. What they didn’t do was label them as women’s-specific poles.

Of course, it turned out that not only were the Ultralights a big hit among women, they were a bigger hit on uninformed ultralight guys – hey, most of our male staff has a pair! Now Leki is in a pickle: what will they do to capitalize on women’s specific marketing since they already have a number of “women’s” poles in the US market? Make them pink?

Life-Link, a company that has earned a loyal following of rugged manly avalanche-dodging types for years, now offers a woman’s pole: the Avalanche Lily.

Life-Link Avalanche Lily

The LifeLink Avalanche Lily is a women’s version of the Guide Ultra Light. The Avalanche Lily is not pink – but rather, a nice pale blue with smaller grips than what you find on the similar Guide Ultra Lights. Since the Guide Ultra Lights are already a short pole (49 in) no reduction in length was made.

Aside: Do you like your LifeLink Guide Ultra Light poles but are you frustrated that they are too short to use with your shelter, or maybe you’re tall and want some added length? LifeLink introduces a longer version of this pole that extends to 57 inches, the Carbon Race (2 oz heavier at 16 oz). Now you can use them with your Missing Link tent! In addition, the longer length is good for assembling a 6 ft 2 in avalanche probe.