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  1. #1
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    Default Trekking poles recommendation?

    Hi;
    I have one old but 100% functional Leki Makalu trekking pole, but decided I needed two poles.
    I first purchased a pair of Leki Makalu (not same model as what I have) used on Ebay, but they turned out to be useless. No more used poles for me!
    Next, I purchased a pair of 'Flyingbird' F86 carbon fibre poles on Ebay.
    Unfortunately, I had no idea of how poor a choice carbon fibre can be for trekking poles; One of the poles snapped while I was hiking. I never really put much stress on the thing; I considered this a wake-up call. Don't buy cheap Chinese c&!p on Amazon or Ebay.

    So I am now in the hunt for a new set of trekking poles.
    I want to go with aluminum, since I never broke one of them, and I was told that for trekking poles, it is the best material.
    I trust Leki, but perhaps they're not the best for the money?
    I am looking in the price range of $100 for a set.
    I am a man, about 6ft tall weigh about 145 but need support for carrying a full pack of up to 30lbs.

    What do you recommend?

    Thanks
    Arden

  2. #2

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    I went with Andrew Skurka's recommendation three years ago, and they have performed perfectly on every trip, in every season. I've snagged them in talus more than a few times, but they haven't snapped on me yet.

  3. #3

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    Cascade Mountain Tech for $45. They aren't sleek and pretty, but they're very light, inexpensive and functional.

    Took a pair of these on the AT in 2016. They weighed 14.2 ounces* (without the baskets, or rubber tips) which is about as light as you'll find, at any price. The grips were comfortable, the straps didn't chafe, even when wet. One of the straps loosened initially, but once they got a bit of grit and dirt on them, it held much better. They lasted 590 miles. The metal tips were nearly worn down by that point, and the material supporting the tip blew out. Cascade doesn't sell replacement tips, but you can buy the lower third directly from Cascade at a reasonable price. The locking adjustment was rock solid, with no slippage, and they supported my 215 to 190 pound weight easily.

    When the tips on the replacement lower thirds wore through after a whole lot of NH day hiking, I bought a pair of Lekkis, locally because I got impatient and didn't want to wait for shipping on my preferred brand. The far more expensive Lekkis weigh 16.3 oz. and the straps cut into my wrists, especially when wet or sweating. Hated them, only used them for a week before replacing them.*Bought a second pair of the Mountain Tech poles and they weighed 15.7 oz.

    Edit: I got the eva grip, not the cork.
    The only negative is that I bought them from Amazon, and had to wait for shipping. Replacement tips are not available in outfitters in trail towns, they (the lower thirds) have to be ordered from the manufacturer's online store.

  4. #4
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Default

    I've been happy with a set of Komperdell Ridgehiker poles that I ordered from Sierra Trading Post for $79.99. Lever locking adjustments with cork handles.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Aren, it sounds like you have been experiencing the bane of trying to cheap it out with trekking poles. There is a reason that one of the most influential ultra-long-distance and ultra-light hikers (who was a long term fan of cheep cat food can stoves) prefers the relatively heavier BD Alpine Carbon poles that retail in the range of $180 . . . they work well and reliably.

    You also suggest that there is a problem with the reliability of carbon in trekking poles. Please, don't confound failure of design and the failure of material. Carbon fiber can be the lightest and can also be the strongest, but not both at the same time and never cheap. Remember the quote "Light, stong, cheap, pick two." There are plenty of strong reliable carbon trekking poles out there, and they are a bit (but not a lot) lighter than a similarly strong aluminum equivalent (compare BD Alpine Carbon vs BD Trail Pro).

    Lots of people rave about the Cascade Mountain Tech poles in these forums because they are so inexpensive and reasonably reliable and comfortable.

    Personally, I am a big Leki fan because I prefer the shape/ergonomics of their handles to everything else on the market and I prefer their shorter tips that don't get stuck in soft ground as much as the Black Diamond or Komperdell/REI poles I also use frequently.

    Another interesting data point on trekking pole preferences for some could be the YouTuber channel "Darwin on the Trail" who swore by his BD Alpine Carbon poles through multiple thru-hikes until he found some inexpensive poles he liked better until the inexpensive poles failed and he went back to his BD Alpine Carbons.

    In the end, weight and price are often not the best combination of "features" to focus on. Almost by definition, and according to the quote I mention above, light weight and inexpensive often lead to unreliable. And of course, in the back country, reliability in the limited tools we choose to bring becomes a pretty high value asset.

    As Andrew Skurka might say "Go ultra light not stupid light" and that might also work for going cheap, but not stupid cheap. . . i.e. not cheap on the things you really depend on.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  6. #6
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    FWIW I've been VERY happy with my Komperdell poles from LL Bean. They are twist lock, cork handle, regular length. They've saved my bacon many times - but not every time (lazy user didn't have them in the right position to save me). That did bend one, finally, after years, but it still works. Just a little harder to extend and collapse. I do have a backup pair waiting in the wings, but my original pair just won't die.

    initially I used those rubber pole tips because of the many rocks in our area. I went through a number of those, losing them along the way (esp. in muck), and finally learned from someone else, who never used pole tips, and her 5-yr-old carbide tips hadn't worn down significantly. So now I just don't worry about wear. I do use the caps when transporting, so the tips don't dig into anything.

    Anyway I think these were under $100 at the time I bought, and are just under that price now (some design changes ... flick locks now, though I never had trouble with my twist locks).

  7. #7

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    CMT poles are great, but the tips wear out really fast.

  8. #8
    Furlough's Avatar
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    Leki Corklite.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis LíAmour

  9. #9
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Leki Makalu's that are about 10 years old. I recommend Leki because of their fantastic customer service and availability of parts. On my AT thru I had to replace my tips and they were easily available. I recently bought another pair of Leki's only because I was growing tired of the twist lock and wanted the flip lock.
    More walking, less talking.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for your recommendations guys;
    Maybe the best thing would be for me to visit my outdoor store and try out some models in the store. That is, unless the prices are significantly higher than at Amazon. Of course, I could try them out in the store, and buy them on Amazon, but I don't like doing that.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Furlough View Post
    Leki Corklite.
    Leki Corklite for me also. Definitely recommend the flip locks.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  12. #12
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    I found the Leki Corklite on Amazon, but when I search for them on the Leki site, all I find are 'Cor-Tec'. Are these one in the same?

  13. #13

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    Everyone being different, probably the best thing to take recommendations under advisement and go to an outdoor gear retailer like REI who has a broad selection of trekking poles. You can try each set to see how they fit in your hands, how easily they set up/break down, color, and wrist strap materials against the other models and brands.

    As an aside, of course Amazon will be cheaper, they buy in bulk (many times private labeled from known brands at lesser specs designed to look the same as higher end gear), don't have retail stores, and are not all that concerned about follow up processes. Which sounds great until something happens and a pole fails and you find return processes will not be fast and you may be referred to the manufacturer, a torturous process. If its mid-season you may find yourself going to a brick and mortar retaile to get another set. I find retailers who can support products and warranties in the store preferable.

  14. #14
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    Default

    Looks to me that the Leki Corklite has been replaced by the Legacy Lite Cor-Tec.
    There are a couple reasons I think I'll go with the Leki vs BD:
    1. I have had great experience with Leki before.
    2. I have a replacement set of carbide tips for Leki Makalu - if I understand correctly, the replacement tips fit all Leki poles.

  15. #15
    Registered User IslandPete's Avatar
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    Black Diamond Ergo Cork. Comfortable and tough... $85 on Amazon

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandPete View Post
    Black Diamond Ergo Cork. Comfortable and tough... $85 on Amazon
    I decided to go with the BD Ergo Cork. Reasons: The 15 deg grip, great reviews, and price. I bought from Amazon and had some reward points, so final cost was around $75.
    Thanks for your help.

  17. #17
    Registered User IslandPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arden View Post
    I decided to go with the BD Ergo Cork. Reasons: The 15 deg grip, great reviews, and price. I bought from Amazon and had some reward points, so final cost was around $75.
    Thanks for your help.
    I think you’ll like them, we did.

  18. #18
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    Believe it or not, I used a set of Walmart poles on my thru and that's all I use now. They are worn to the nub but I bought another set and they're still going, between both sets about 3800 AT miles. I'm 6'2" and around 218.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackmagic View Post
    I went with Andrew Skurka's recommendation three years ago, and they have performed perfectly on every trip, in every season. I've snagged them in talus more than a few times, but they haven't snapped on me yet.
    +1...love mine Iíve beat the s$&? Out of them and only issue is the crock falling apart after about 6 years of use...replaced w GG grips. Should last another 6+...Iím 220 lbs


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arden View Post
    I decided to go with the BD Ergo Cork. Reasons: The 15 deg grip, great reviews, and price. I bought from Amazon and had some reward points, so final cost was around $75.
    Thanks for your help.
    You'll love these poles and you got a great deal!

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