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  1. #1
    Registered User G-FOURce's Avatar
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    Default general pole questions

    i am about to purchase a new set of poles and i have some questions. if it matters, i am a 44 year old fellow who is more of an ambler than a go getter on the trails. i will be sticking to established trails and i will not be pushing myself at all (i will also have my 10 year old son in tow, so no speed records will be set by us). i am on a budget and have narrowed my choices to two sets, so here are the questions around the features on the two:

    1. cork vs. rubber handles: is one necessarily better or more comfortable than the other. i would suspect the rubber will last longer but i have never used cork so i dont really know what advantages it may hold over other materials.

    2. anti-shock vs rigid: does anti-shock really work? does it help? is there any real advantage to it over a rigid pole?

    let's hear your thoughts...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-FOURce View Post
    i am about to purchase a new set of poles and i have some questions. if it matters, i am a 44 year old fellow who is more of an ambler than a go getter on the trails. i will be sticking to established trails and i will not be pushing myself at all (i will also have my 10 year old son in tow, so no speed records will be set by us). i am on a budget and have narrowed my choices to two sets, so here are the questions around the features on the two:

    1. cork vs. rubber handles: is one necessarily better or more comfortable than the other. i would suspect the rubber will last longer but i have never used cork so i dont really know what advantages it may hold over other materials.

    2. anti-shock vs rigid: does anti-shock really work? does it help? is there any real advantage to it over a rigid pole?

    let's hear your thoughts...
    Cork feels better, but with the poles I've used, the cork wears out very quickly. I would suggest avoiding cork for that reason, although some high end poles have material more comfortable than rubber.

    For anti-shock, I cannot even think of why anyone would want that. It is another potential point of mechanical failure. And when I'm trying to support myself with poles, the last thing I need is for it to "give" for the first inch or so. I need cushion in the soles of my shoes, but I honestly cannot even think of a "pro" for having cushion in a trekking pole.

    You can get poles for $12 each at Walmart. They work perfectly fine and keep you on a budget.

  3. #3
    Registered User Megapixel's Avatar
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    This may or may not fall into your budget but I have used a several brands of poles and by far the Pacerpoles are amazing. They are located in Europe, but they ship here and their customer service is amazing. Their handle design eliminated hand and wrist numbness that I got with conventional designs. The main thing I've learned from different poles is comfort is paramount, weight matters, and proper form is key. The folks at pacerpoles preach form constantly, and for good reason.
    I have never experienced cork handles, but as far as anti shock goes i feel it's just another moving part with no real value. I much prefer the performance and "stopping a fall ability" of rigid design.

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  4. #4
    Registered User zac39452's Avatar
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    ive always liked rubber handles better..the cork makes my hands feel,, chafed for lack of a better word and ill have to agree on the anti shock piece,, i see no real use for it

  5. #5
    Registered User G-FOURce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megapixel View Post
    ... Pacerpoles are amazing... Their handle design eliminated hand and wrist numbness that I got with conventional designs. The main thing I've learned from different poles is comfort is paramount, weight matters, and proper form is key. The folks at pacerpoles preach form constantly, and for good reason.
    i checked those out and they look awesome. i bookmarked the site and we'll see if i graduate to them. the only downside i can see to them is that i am also considering a Lightheart Duo and i am not sure those poles would work with that tent. great suggestion, though, and thanks!

  6. #6
    Registered User solobip's Avatar
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    I have found and heard that rigid is better, The give of the "shocks" can make you fall into the give. At least the cheap one anyway. I have rubber/plastic grips, don't know about cork or synthetic cork. Seems like cork would give more comfort and be drier. I think just as important, if not more, is the straps. They have to be quality, easy to adjust and comfortable, IMHO. Let us know what you pick, why, and how the work for you.

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    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Cork is a personal preference - I have had both-cork is nice.- I deleted the shocks to lighten it and like that too.- if I ever upgrade again, look at lever lock instead of cam rotate. get the lightest strongest you can afford.
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  8. #8
    Registered User G-FOURce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    ...if I ever upgrade again, look at lever lock instead of cam rotate. get the lightest strongest you can afford.
    is the flip lock that much better/stronger than the twist locks? i dont mind spending a few bucks more to get poles with that particular mechanism if the value and improvement warrants it.

  9. #9
    Registered User Studlintsean's Avatar
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    I believe all Lekki poles are on sale (25% off) at REI from Nov 16- Nov 26 for there winter sale. Im thinking I may go take a look to see what they have.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-FOURce View Post
    is the flip lock that much better/stronger than the twist locks? i dont mind spending a few bucks more to get poles with that particular mechanism if the value and improvement warrants it.
    I much prefer the flip lock over the twist lock. Once I dialed in the set screw on the flip locks, I never had any problems with them slipping. I switched from anti-shock poles to rigid and don't miss it.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Megapixel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-FOURce View Post
    i checked those out and they look awesome. i bookmarked the site and we'll see if i graduate to them. the only downside i can see to them is that i am also considering a Lightheart Duo and i am not sure those poles would work with that tent. great suggestion, though, and thanks!
    Mine worked with a lightheart gear solo, so i would think they would. If not i believe either lightheart or pacerpole could supply you with a cheap, lightweight extension piece made of pvc.

    http://www.postholer.com/ontrail
    2011 H.F.-Duncannon, Katahdin-Rangeley
    2012 Springer-Erwin



  12. #12
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    rubber. let the soft brown thread of the trail be the anti-shock.

  13. #13
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    cork, wide soft wrist straps, twist lock, tip silencers of rubber and no shocks. this will change the dimension of the hiking experience.

  14. #14
    Registered User bubonicplay's Avatar
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    Default general pole questions

    Check out the black diamond ultra distance, they also make aluminum ones.

    They are folded up, so once they are set up they won't move.

  15. #15
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    I have a pair of simple Coleman poles that I got from Target last longer than any high end brand name poles.
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  16. #16
    Registered User G-FOURce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubonicplay View Post
    Check out the black diamond ultra distance, they also make aluminum ones.

    They are folded up, so once they are set up they won't move.
    those things are awesome! unfortunately, i dont know that they'd work with the tent i am considering since they're a fixed length. pretty fargin' cool, though.

  17. #17
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    The Black Diamond Distance FLs are adjustable. That said, these are not really rugged enough for a thru-hike, based upon my son's experience. We are big fans of BD poles, just not the Z poles.

    From my experience: I am indifferent between cork and synthetic. The shocks are not necessary and create another point of failure. Flick locks are more reliable than twist locks.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmeh:1362317
    The Black Diamond Distance FLs are adjustable. That said, these are not really rugged enough for a thru-hike, based upon my son's experience. We are big fans of BD poles, just not the Z poles.

    From my experience: I am indifferent between cork and synthetic. The shocks are not necessary and create another point of failure. Flick locks are more reliable than twist locks.
    I like the Z poles. One word of warning is to fold them every day. I needed a vise and a spreader clamp to pull one apart after leaving fully deployed for a few days.

  19. #19
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    I much prefer the flip-lock to twist lock for two reasons:

    1) When hiking in very rocky areas, a pole will occasionally get stuck between two rocks, and it will twist a little when I dislodge it, loosening the lock. I end up having to frequently re-lock the poles.

    2) On the Lekis I used for years, sometimes the twist lock just wouldn't catch for some reason. It would spin and spin without tightening. Then the next time, it would work just fine. I like that with the lever system, there's no mystery - if it's loose, you tighten the screw and you're good to go.

  20. #20
    Registered User cabbagehead's Avatar
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    I have Leki makalu poles. The tips are shallowly embedded in plastic. They can easily pop out (1 did). Also, the locking mechanisms loose their effectiveness over time. For external locks, I recommend that the pivot points have a large surface area or a hard material. The company has a guarantee on the poles. I doubt I would ever use this guarantee. I don't know if they have a guarantee on their poor quality tips and locks.
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