View Full Version : Trying to pick out hiking poles

06-12-2009, 23:55
I've had a set of the twist lock hiking poles from Wal-Mart and the flick-lock style hiking poles from Walmart. I've hiked close to 200 miles on the AT and have come to really like using hiking poles in general, but have also come to find out that the Wal-Mart poles - SUCK...

I stopped at the store at Neel's Gap, GA and looked at the Leki poles that they had in stock. I really liked the feel of these poles, but if I'm going to spend the money I'd rather go ahead and buy the best ones available.

I've read alot about the Black Diamond and the Leki poles and it seems that folks really like the locking mechanisms on the Black Diamonds. However most seem to think the Leki handles are more comfortable as well as the straps.

I'd like to hear your opinions on which poles to buy. I hunt also and will be in some pretty steep country in NM in February looking for sheep.

I was looking at the Thermolite Aergon XL Antishock (E-OMC has them for $118). How do the Black Diamonds compare? Is there another brand to look at?

What do ya'll recommend?

Thank you,


06-13-2009, 00:35
I checked out a few of the top brands before I bought mine,and they were pretty nice. In the end i ended up getting a pair of REI's brand. So far they've held up fine and cost half as much.

06-13-2009, 01:00
While looking for a run away sock under my bed I found a pair of Komperdells. They are appearently my fathers day gift from the wife and kids. Of course I will have to keep my mouth shut. Kudos for my wife for noticing the duct tape holding my cheepo poles together.

You will have to wait untill after fathers day for my review.

Many Walks
06-13-2009, 01:12
You'll get different viewpoints, but here is my opinion.

I have both Leki Makalu's and Black Diamond Terra's and both sets were about the same price. The BD's are by far my favorite. The grips feel better to me with a broad cork top that's great for downhill without blistering my palms and the grip configuration allows me to position my hands a few different ways to avoid fatigue and adjust for the terrain. Strap adjustment is easy. The locking mechanism is secure and doesn't loosen like the twist lock. They're sturdy so I can put my full weight on them. They accept both BD and Leki tips and baskets.

The Leki grips feel a bit "petite" to me as I think they are trying to appeal to both men and women. I prefer a sturdier feel. I have to keep adjusting the Leki twist locks as they tend to loosen after a while. I turn off the Leki cushion feature as it annoys me, but after a while it tends to engage again.

I broke one of my lower sections of the BD's when I slipped on a root and fell on the pole. I ordered a pair of replacements on the website and had my parts two days later WITHOUT extra expedited shipping costs. Excellent service!

I keep the Leki's in the corner as loaners, but I hike with my Black Diamonds.

Both companies have multiple product offerings so it is good to decide which features work for you and which one feels the best.

I'm Happy with the Black Diamonds and would definitely buy them again.

06-13-2009, 05:16
ive got the Leki Carbonlite Aergon Antishock Trekking Poles and they are amazing! Super strong, super-light and expensive...but worth it! :)

06-13-2009, 05:31
I looked at a few and ended up getting a pair of Black Diamond Trail trekking poles for $80. I'm sure the Leki poles are nice too but I went the Black Diamond route.

Very important to also get a StickPic, makes for great photos:


06-13-2009, 06:26
I'll 3rd the Black Diamonds (trail), although I've never used Lekis to compare. No slipping with the flick-lock mechanisms and adjustments are easy and fast when your hand/poles are wet and/or cold. You can adjust with just about any type of glove on . . . that's a huge plus! :)

IMO, don't waste your money on the carbon ones to save a few ounces. They are expensive and flimsy. I would also pass on the ones with shock absorbers. I like a firm pole plant and it's just something that wears and breaks. YMMV.

06-13-2009, 08:18
I have a pair of BD Trails. The wrist staps have extra padding, There is padded section below the grip for adjusting your grip when going up hill. Adjusts easily. Also they are quiet. The anti-shock mechanismns tend to make noise. These are very resonably priced around $80. I also like the small baskets on the end. Good quality poles good value.

06-13-2009, 08:19
I've used wooden staffs and REI (Komperdell) extensively in the past. They were great, and a fantastic addition to my hiking gear.

About four or so years ago I bought a pair of PacerPoles from Brian Frankle at ULA and I haven't looked back. They are unique, much more comfortable to use all day, handle down hills and step-downs much more efficiently, allow for more precise placement of the pole, and just plain feel good to use. They are a major step up from conventional straight-grip poles.

You owe it to yourself to check them out. I attest to all the claims made on the website.


kayak karl
06-13-2009, 08:30
Pacer Poles

Big Dawg
06-13-2009, 08:34
I have the BD Alpine CF flicklock poles & love em. I've had Leki's & offbrands. Each grip & wriststrap was a little different, but not enough to sway me either way just on that. In the past, the twistlock on the Leki's & offbrand would collapse at the most inopportune time, so I went w/ the BD flicklock to eliminate that problem.

06-13-2009, 09:17
i like wearing out the wally world ones 13 bucks for a set is great

Rain Man
06-13-2009, 09:42
I've had and used Leki Makula Titaniums for several years now and love them. Have never had a problem with the twist-locks (though I do open them up and wipe them down with a dry rag now and again). Can't speak about the Black Diamonds.

I will say that I have a name-brand camera tripod with the "flip" locks. One broke with hardly any force. I'm just way too scared of the brittleness of the plastic to hold under such leveraged force when flipped/snapped to lock it. I would love to hear any experience on the strength of those little plastic pieces.



06-13-2009, 13:30
About 8 months ago I told my family back in the states that I was going to attempt an A.T. thru-hike in 2010. After the "Are you freakin crazy!" reaction, they wanted to know if I needed anything. I had the majority of the most important gear already purchased, but made mention that I was looking into hiking poles. Before I had made my decision, I received a package in the mail containing LEKI, Makalu Carbon Soft Antishock ploes. Haven't had any problems w/blisters or poles collapsing. The antishock provides a little give that has minimal benefit on my short 5-10 mile weekend hikes. Benefit for a 2,168 mile hike? I've had them completely submerged in a high water cave pass-thru (cave in the middle of the trail??) due to heavy rains only to pull them apart, wipe them down and proceed with the rest of my hike. (again, no pole collapsing even though internal mechanisms were wet) I don't know what your budget is and these poles are a little pricey, but so far I think they're worth their weight. (light BTW) Never owned BD's so I can't speak on their behalf!! Good luck on your choice!! W-W

06-13-2009, 17:04
i use actual ski poles that i bought used for 5 bucks at a local sporting store. the only negative is that they dont fold up, but theyve never been in my way.

06-13-2009, 18:22
Another vote for Black Diamond mainly because as others have already said the extensive gripping area at the top which enable you to "shorten up" when necessary on steep ascents without worrying about sweaty slippery hands on the metal. Now I have lost Black Diamond tips on occasion but I still stick with them. Their locking mechanism makes them quite sturdy; in fact, they're hard to collapse.

06-13-2009, 20:43
I have a mismatched set of poles spanning the best (worst) of both worlds. I have a Tracks Sherlite staff that I've had for probably 15 years or more. It has held up well over the years however it has only seen limited short weekend hikes. It is very sturdy and compared to others fairly heavy(15oz). It was 60 bucks then and they run around 70 now. The other pole is a swissgear(Walmart? special) that came with a cheap one man tent. It has held up fairly well with limited use. I'll be putting them both through the paces(pun intended) when I head out shortly for my(and their) first long section hike(130 miles). Well see what happens. My money is on the Tracks holding up perfectly though.