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  1. #1
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    Default Rule of thumb for trekking poles?

    Planning on a thru hike, what should I'll be looking when buying treking poles?

  2. #2

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    Long enough for shelter if used for that.
    Light enough to meet your desires about that aspect.
    No antishock to break and add wt, unless you prefer that.
    Grips you like
    Some are anti twist-lock due to bad prior experience and prefer fliplocks. I dont have any issues with my twistlocks.
    Price you like.
    Collapsible /adjustable is good
    Carbon is more breakage prone.

    Boils down to a lot of personal preference.

    I like aluminum, under 12 oz/pr, 3 piece adjustable.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 05-07-2015 at 22:55.

  3. #3
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    Fliplock also for shelter use, you can make twistlock work for that, just it is harder.

    As pointed out carbon is more prone to breaking given a sideways (bending) force (like if you fall on them), but lighter. They also are warmer if you grasp the shaft, the aluminum will conduct heat away from your hands very quickly, the carbon does not - A factor when the weather gets cold.

    Some carbon poles offer very little weight savings over aluminum, so watch the weight and compare. IIRC Costco does sell a low cost carbon pole, however it does weigh quite a bit.

    Some brands have lifetime guarantees (Leki, REI brand, Komprodell), I do not believe Black Diamond offers this.

    And you might opt for the Wally World poles, they are not the best but they are cheap and that may give you time to decide what you really want in poles.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Fliplock also for shelter use, you can make twistlock work for that, just it is harder.

    As pointed out carbon is more prone to breaking given a sideways (bending) force (like if you fall on them), but lighter. They also are warmer if you grasp the shaft, the aluminum will conduct heat away from your hands very quickly, the carbon does not - A factor when the weather gets cold.

    Some carbon poles offer very little weight savings over aluminum, so watch the weight and compare. IIRC Costco does sell a low cost carbon pole, however it does weigh quite a bit.

    Some brands have lifetime guarantees (Leki, REI brand, Komprodell), I do not believe Black Diamond offers this.

    And you might opt for the Wally World poles, they are not the best but they are cheap and that may give you time to decide what you really want in poles.
    Black Diamond may not offer a lifetime warranty, but they really hold up well. My Black Diamond poles are 8 years old and have lasted for hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles of rugged trail.
    Shutterbug

  5. #5
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    I have had Lekis and MountainSmiths and they had tensioners and tips break on me within a year. I have had a pair of Colemans from Target. They have lasted 3-4 years to today. Of course I usually hike on ridgelines and lake trails now.

    They are going to get a lot of abuse in rock country. But on regular dirt tread, inexpensive poles will work great.

    I recommend in getting a pair you can add boots. Then definitely get some that you can turn into shelter poles easily. You can just stretch a tarp or footprint, and a few stakes to them and have a instant shelter to get out of bad weather.
    Last edited by Tennessee Viking; 05-08-2015 at 08:00.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
    Mountains to Sea Trail Maintainer
    Former TEHCC (AT) Maintainer
    Falls Lake Trail: 2011

  6. #6
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    For normal use, they should be long enough that your forearms are level with the ground when the sticks are out in front of you. I like to make mine longer than that for downhills especially, but that's good enough. Unless you are very tall, 135cm is almost certainly long enough. This is also plenty tall enough for any standard tarp or tent shelter (except for tall pyramids which require two poles joined in the middle).

    I like 3-section poles, and I don't mind twist lock, though my next set will probably be flip-lock. I do prefer cork handles for the feel. A comfortable strap, since the strap will bear most of the weight (you don't grip the poles tightly when using).

    I've had the same pair of Leki poles for probably ten years now. I swiped them from my daughter when she quit hiking - they are "ultralight" poles, whatever that means, but they are pretty light, 135cm, foam rubber grips (ick), and the standard strap. They are pretty beat up but they still work just fine, and I tend to fall on them several times per day. Some critter chewed up the grips one night when they were holding up my tent - probably a porcupine looking for salt. I think they'll be due for replacement in the next couple of seasons.

    Edit: Oh, yeah, do NOT get anti-shock. This is a feature where the second section moves inside the first section to absorb shock. If you start to fall and plant the pole really hard on rock, it will bounce off the rock because of the anti-shock feature and you will fall down. Hard. Ask me how I know this. (The sad part is that it took multiple falls before I gave up on the &*^% poles.)
    Last edited by bigcranky; 05-08-2015 at 08:04.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  7. #7
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Check out PacerPoles - unique - extremely comfortable and effective to use - by far the best to ease down hill, which is what most folks want their poles for.

    http://www.pacerpole.com/

    Been using them for about ten years now, will never go back to conventional poles.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Long enough for shelter if used for that.
    Light enough to meet your desires about that aspect.
    No antishock to break and add wt, unless you prefer that.
    Grips you like
    Some are anti twist-lock due to bad prior experience and prefer fliplocks. I dont have any issues with my twistlocks.
    Price you like.
    Collapsible /adjustable is good
    Carbon is more breakage prone.

    Boils down to a lot of personal preference.

    I like aluminum, under 12 oz/pr, 3 piece adjustable.
    Where in the world are you finding a pair of 3 piece adjustable trekking poles that weigh under 12oz?

  9. #9
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    One piece of advice, consider availability of repair and replacement parts. Poles take a lot of abuse over 2100 miles. Some brands replacement parts are readily available at many outfitters.
    More walking, less talking.

  10. #10
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    I have had good luck with Leki.

  11. #11
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, im just using them to hike with, not support a shelter. Mine are the cheap ones from Walmart. Actually they seem to be holding up rather well. The shock absorber, or internal spring, helps a lot. The only thing I don't like is every once in a while, theyll collapse. Usually at the worst possible time. But a quick remedy is every morning, I get up and make sure the twist lock is tight. So far, I'm happy with them. But I haven't been spoiled by good quality poles either. Haha

  12. #12
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    What I have, of the options listed above: Komperdell, aluminum, 3-section, lever locks, cork grips, NO shock absorbers. Interchangeable baskets for snow and mud.

    But as someone observed above, that's just my preference, and your mileage may vary.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  13. #13

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    After wearing out or getting tired of my 15 old Lekis with shock absorbers I bought these.
    Pretty good deal, free shipping and it was the first time ordering from them and got a new t-shirt.

    https://www.backcountryedge.com/leki...e-xl-2014.html

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by swisscross View Post
    Where in the world are you finding a pair of 3 piece adjustable trekking poles that weigh under 12oz?
    My thoughts exactly..thinking he must have meant apiece?

  15. #15

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    Do not get cork grips. I only use one pole when hiking and I'm on my third Black Diamond alpine cork pole because the cork grips on the other ones have cracked and disintegrated. And BD has not responded to my email. Figures. My next pole will have the hard rubber grip.

    I did find a solution of sorts which allows my last cork pole to last much longer: Coating the cork grip with birkenstock cork saver---a glue-like substance protecting the cork.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by swisscross View Post
    Where in the world are you finding a pair of 3 piece adjustable trekking poles that weigh under 12oz?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ambidex View Post
    My thoughts exactly..thinking he must have meant apiece?
    Fizan!

    11.2 oz per pair... available thru massdrop
    Last edited by cmoulder; 07-28-2016 at 08:59. Reason: better link

  17. #17
    AT 2012
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    minority opinion: unless you are using your poles for a shelter system or are using mass transit, consider one piece hiking poles. I use a pair of titanium women's poles: strong, simple, light. I've broken way more than my share of carbon fiber poles. next minority opinion: get the poles an inch or two shorter than is normally recommended. that way you don't have to lift your arm as high with each step, and it is more like you re dancing with poles than walking.
    Lazarus

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1azarus View Post
    minority opinion: unless you are using your poles for a shelter system or are using mass transit, consider one piece hiking poles. I use a pair of titanium women's poles: strong, simple, light. I've broken way more than my share of carbon fiber poles. next minority opinion: get the poles an inch or two shorter than is normally recommended. that way you don't have to lift your arm as high with each step, and it is more like you re dancing with poles than walking.
    That's a good idea to get the women's Ti poles... which ones are you using? I have an old pair of Leki Ti poles with all sections being made of Ti. The ones they now call "Titanium" have Ti uppers and Al lowers, which is 1) totally misleading since they're not all titanium, and 2) totally stupid because Ti is the far better material for the lower section.

    I have had good luck with the REI (Komperdell) Power Lock CF poles. However, they are fairly robust and heavy, as heavy or heavier than many Al poles.

    Being a persnickety malcontent who uses a trekking pole supported shelter, I decided to make my own 2-section CF poles, which I did. They're heavier than the GG LT poles, but much more robust, yet still weigh only 9.8 oz per pair, with straps. They've proven pretty durable so far, using BD distance tips, BD flicklocks, GG grips and myog straps.
    myog trekking poles 01.jpg

  19. #19

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    I have used Lekis for 20 plus years. I have had three pairs and mix and match parts as things get bent or damaged. The rubber grips are impacted long term by DEET on your hands and slowly dissolve (this takes a couple of years). The cork grips seem to hold up better to DEET. The one way to ruin Lekis is to consistently leave them collapsed when wet between trips. There starts to be corrosion that builds up inside the tube. I remove the straps the day I get a new pair as in rocky territory using strap can lead to shoulder injuries when slipping. Twist locks work but take a bit of getting used to, I reflexively tighten them up before heading down hill. Pole tips are replaceable as long as you replace them before they are worn to the point where the lower pole section is damaged.

    I like the antishock poles, they used to offer heavy springs for those like me that weigh more than a typical hiker but I don't know it they still do.

  20. #20
    Registered User Maydog's Avatar
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    I've only used the ones I currently own, but they work fine. They are 3 piece, twist lock, shock-absorbing aluminum poles with black rubber grips. If I were to replace them, I'd probably get softer grips and nicer straps. But I like the durability of mine and they work just fine for me. They are Desert Snow brand, which is an Israeli company.
    "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." - S. Sontag

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