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Thread: Trekking Poles...Which Ones?!

  1. #1
    Member Desalad's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Framingham, MA Avatar: Terrace Mtn Leanto Sunrise

    Trekking Poles...Which Ones?!

    So it's pretty clear that all the experts here see great value in using trekking poles. My first year winter camping (two years ago) I rented some poles from EMS, and being about 240lbs with my loaded pack, I managed to break the handle clean off one of the poles, the handle was constructed of cork.

    Last year I brought one ski pole, used it to hike to base camp, and left it at camp for our two day hikes.

    Now, I'm starting to get more serious about tackling backcountry, mostly in the bears, no bugs.

    What are some good, inexpensive trekking poles that you all would recommend?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Member Tuggy's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    Birdsboro, Pennsylvania
    Look at Campmor's website They have a whole range of them in a variety of prices. You could probably go to Walmart and get a serviceable cheap pair. Have fun.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rhihn's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Voorheesville NY
    Quote Originally Posted by E. Schlimmer
    Sectional poles like these that you have to twist to extend and shorten sometimes collapse, espcially in winter, and they can freeze solid, too, so you really have to struggle to adjust them.
    This has been my experience, too (Leki's).

  4. #4
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    > Sectional poles like these that you have to twist to extend and shorten sometimes collapse, espcially in winter, and they can freeze solid, too, so you really have to struggle to adjust them.

    I disassembled my poles (Leki) and put a _small_ dab of silicone grease on the threads of the tightening screw. (A _small_ dab--you do not want any to get on the outside of the plastic expander or the inside of the poles). Easy to adjust and no problems with them sticking or collapsing.

    If you get too much dirt inside the poles, it may be worth disassembling and cleaning them.

    My poles have straight grips and I have discarded the "shock absorbing springs". Never had any problems with shock and the springs just made the poles imprecise. (Proper use of the straps prevents shock problems for me.)

    Never tried the angled grips, but have no problems with the straight grips motivating me to try them.

    Some people like the BD flicklock mechanism. Never tried them.

    This is just what works for me--YMMV.



  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2004


    Leki's - a few different varieties in aluminum or titanium.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    We have a couple older pairs of Lekis which were fine, although we did occasionally experience the collapsing problem. Now, my wife uses BD flicklocks, which seem to work well for her, and I use life-links, with their snap lock and ovalized systems. They work well, too.

    Never pay full retail for any of these; watch for half price deals, closeouts, campmor, sierra, etc.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Straps, toughness, ease of adjustment.

    Take a good look at the straps when you make a purchase. I apply most of my weight onto my poles via the straps and my forearms just before the wrist joint thereby sparing my smaller and more delicate hand and wrist muscles. I keep my straps nice and snug and prefer them nice and wide so they don't cut into my wrist. Some straps keep working themselves loose and so it helps to add a blocker thingy on your strap even if they become harder to adjust. I where cycling gloves with my poles.

    Ease of adjustment is important. I can adjust mine instinctively by the feel of the trail within a couple of strides while I hike and I do it often. In winter mine are no fun to adjust if I'm not wearing a leather-palmed glove.
    If your poles are adjusted too long (I see this all the time) you will need to elevate the shoulder girdle and the shoulder joint itself over and over again, with every step in fact, which will create painfull trouble over time.

    The super lightweight and pricey titanium poles seem way too fragile for heavy duty knee sparing descents. My poles are pretty heavy duty, not very light but very tough and I've still managed to bend them often. However, I lean way out and real hard on then on the descents. I take 'em to a sports shop where the owner puts them in a big vise and straightens them for me.

    Make sure you take your poles completely apart at the end of the trip or day if you think they have moisture inside.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Northford, CT

    Leki poles

    I use Leki Makilu(sp?) poles myself. Certainly not the cheapest ones out there, but among the better ones.

    I suggest the offset handles (as they form a more natural angle for the hands and, therefore, are less tiring) and cork handles (which give a good, non-slippery, grip even when wet).

    I got the 'snowbasket' tips for use in snow as compared to the narrower tips which come with the poles which are fine for 3-season use.

  9. #9
    Senior Member poison ivy's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Mansfield, MA Avatar: Mt. Whitney, CA
    I'll be the voice of dissent here...

    I have Black Diamond trekking poles and I really like them because they have a flip-lock that keep the collapsable sections tight. I've had bad luck with the twist-n-lock type poles coming apart (however, I will add that none were Lekis... they were the Komperdells.)

    - Ivy

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2003
    CT Refugee now in NH
    Ditto on the komperdell's, although EMS replaced the set for free.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    For many years now (seven? maybe more?) I've used your standard run-of the mill cheap-o aluminum ski poles. Find a size that works for you and you don't have to worry about springs, moving parts, or breaking them. When going up hills, I grip a little lower on the pole. When going down hills, I grip a little higher on them. Don't want to use them? I strap them to the side of my pack. The only thing I do is trim/remove the basket so I don't got ripping up vegetation by mistake (summer use). When I'm hauling along above treeline or along flat trails at higher speeds and using the poles as 3rd and 4th "legs", weighting them up considerably, I don't have to worry about them collapsing under me from a defective or worn locking mechanism. Cheap and perfect, never any problems.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Gris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Flyin Thru The Night :-)
    I like my second pair of Komperdell (no springs). They are tough but not too heavy (10 oz each) and best of all they have long foam grips so you don't have to adjust unless you need to use the straps. Got em pretty cheap on sale too...

    ON sale now for $52 a pair.
    Last edited by Gris; 01-15-2005 at 03:02 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Quietman's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Peterborough, NH
    I have 2 different EMS bargain basement twist lock poles that I've used for a few years with no problems, cost $5 each. Have many extra ski poles that work just as well. Can't justify the high cost of any other options. In the summer, I use my trusty 25 year old hiking stick that has a ski pole strap attached with a screw.

  14. #14
    Senior Member adamiata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    What a greasy horror show!
    I got a set of EMS trekkers for Christmas and I"m happy with them. I managed to bend one pretty badly on the Crawford path by falling on it. I took it to EMS in Conway, hoping they could replace the broken section, the exchanged them insteadwith no questions asked.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Dugan's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    Caboodle tries to help with calculus
    I like my Komperdells which have a twist lock mechanism. I've used anti-shock but wouldn't pay extra since I don't find a noticeable difference. Next poles I do plan to spring for a friendlier hand grip. Mine are plain plastic which can be slippery.

    Sierra Trading Post also runs good sales on poles.

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