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  1. #1
    Registered User Nar Nar's Avatar
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    Default Trekking poles... where to start?

    I've been backpacking for about 2 years now and I have never needed trekking poles. I'm young and in good shape so I never saw the point in bringing them, until a combination of a lot of running and hiking has started to take a toll on one of my knees. For that reason, I'm going to start using them next year and I need to invest in a good pair of poles. However, I have no idea where to start. I've heard some bad stories about Black Diamond's customer service so I'd probably like to start with Leki, but they have so many different options that I don't know what to choose. Weight and price are a factor, but I'm not willing to drop a significant amount of money just to save a few ounces. What do you use? What would you recommend? Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Section Hiker
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    I do love my Black Diamond trail ergo's. I've not had to contact customer service so I can't comment on that. Trekking poles are great whether you need them to aleviate pain or not. Mine have kept me from many a fall on my butt. Saved me just last weekend on a flat but very muddy area. I have both but usually use only one, slightly shorter than regular length. Works for me. I would definitely recommend the flip (not twist) locking kind. The only problem we had was my doofy dad running my tractor into the garage wall and smooshing one my son's BD poles that was leaning there. I don't think customer service could help that!


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
    "


  3. #3
    Coach Lou coach lou's Avatar
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    Black Diamond Ergos for me also! I hang on them pry with them lean on them....and I've never had the need to call BD customer service either.

  4. #4

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    Piece of tree limb on the side of the trail. Free.

    If you want to experiment with "real" poles Costo has a pair for $28 I believe.

    If you want name brand poles try Lekki - poles always seem to be breaking but they have a good rep for fixing them.

  5. #5
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    I use Leki's and so far so good. Mine are also used to support my tent. If I ever break one, I may be looking for the right length stick out of necessity. I came across at least one fellow who broke their Leki in the Whites this year. He got it replaced but said it was a nuisance (they shipped it to the PO after he had already moved on). I think the new Leki's are mostly the lever clamp lock which is good. I've had a few issues with the twist lock style not locking up and that requires time consuming disassembly. I try to never change the length of the ones I'm using now for that reason.

  6. #6
    Registered User tarditi's Avatar
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    I got one to use as a tarp support pole, tried it out on an AT section hike and wished I had a matching pole for my off hand the rest of the trip. Made a big difference to me. I like hiking sticks just fine, but a lightweight trekking pole is to a hiking stick what a technical UL pack is to a military surplus ALICE pack.


    Can try it our with cheaper poles to see if you even like the mechanics of it, then invest in some name brand ones if you so choose - my $25 Köppen pole I got at the sporting goods store was just fine for me. FWIW, I've heard more Black Diamond breaking stories and less of the Lekis.

  7. #7
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    I use Lekis. I think more important that the manufacturer is the grip. I really like cork grips. I find them easier on my hands and easier to hold on to when wet.

  8. #8
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    I use bamboo. Super lightweight and strong. I personally like having a pole that is about the same height as me (or taller). The extra length is great for rock-hopping or when you are negotiating a large step down. I also like to be able to have a hand at or above head level at times to help "pull" myself up a hill.

    I've never found any trekking poles in the length I would desire, so I've never used them. I also like having one hand free, so I personally prefer a single pole over a pair of trekking poles. I'm able to switch hands based on which side is the down hill side of the trail, or simply switch hands because one has gotten tired.

    For a hand grip, I simply wrap the pole at hand height with some of the wrap you put on a tennis racket grip. Keeps a good grip even when it is wet.

  9. #9
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    I went through the same thing recently and reported on a similar thread how I came to decide on BD Ergo Trail Cork Poles.

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...=1#post1491002

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    I went through the same thing recently and reported on a similar thread how I came to decide on BD Ergo Trail Cork Poles.

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...=1#post1491002
    This may be a matter of 'I don't know what I am missing', but my Wal*Mart ones worked fine for my recent walk across Maine. I could not imagine paying what you guys do for this sort of thing. Maybe if I tried them I would understand.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  11. #11
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    I use leki, I hike with friends that use black diamond. Can't go wrong with either.

    I tell my scouts to either find an old set of ski poles at a thrift shop, or buy the Costco poles before they spend money on something they won't keep using.

    Once they try them and like them, its easier to find a quality pair that has the features they like.

    For myself, I love my poles and won't hike without them if I have the choice.
    Last edited by bfayer; 08-12-2013 at 21:52.

  12. #12
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    I started with Walmart $12 poles and they did okay, fell and bent them and decided to get Black Diamond poles for long hikes. The biggest difference, and an important one to me, is the handles being rounded and soft to the hand rather than having sharp edges. I have both the BD trail shock and cork handle ergo, I like the regular handles better. I could not have made across the Mt Rogers area in the snow this spring without them, my trapezium (sp ?) muscles in the shoulders were so sore the evening I reached Orchard Shelter I didn't know if I could hike the next day, had to catch myself on every step with the poles, took two steps forward and slid back one, never been sore there before, felt fine the next morning.

  13. #13
    double d's Avatar
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    Shop around, but I would suggest Leki poles are very good (yes, that is the company I use). I would suggest you invest in a good pair, my first pair of poles were cheap ones from WalMart and they just didn't hold up at all (on the AT). Good luck and happy hiking.
    "I told my Ma's and Pa's I was coming to them mountains and they acted as if they was gutshot. Ma, I sez's, them mountains is the marrow of the world and by God, I was right". Del Gue

  14. #14
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    I bought a pair of Mountain Smith poles, but I must be honest that I got them because I liked the anvil logo. I like anvils
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

  15. #15
    Registered User Nar Nar's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses everyone. I already have a cheap pair of Walmart poles that I will be testing out soon. Can anyone recommend any specific models of either BD or Leki? Thanks

  16. #16

    Default

    I can't say enough good things about Leki Poles. I got a different cheapo pair to support my Nomad 2-4-2 tent so I could take my Lekis for day hiking. (Lightheart Gear greatly improved that design) I don't like the anti-shock feature because I think it wastes your energy...YMMV? Leki, IMHO, has absolutely the BEST customer service extant. The older twist lock nylon expanders did need to be replaced every now and then. Don't forget Leki has free service at Trail Days in Damascus. (Do NOT spray WD40 in the interior of the shafts ) I may finally replace my old ones with the flip lock style. I also like the CorTec grips. I'm on my third pair...

  17. #17
    Registered User Old Boots's Avatar
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    I have BD trail backs. They work fine and customer service was responsive.

  18. #18
    Coach Lou coach lou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slbirdnerd View Post
    I do love my Black Diamond trail ergo's. I've not had to contact customer service so I can't comment on that. Trekking poles are great whether you need them to aleviate pain or not. Mine have kept me from many a fall on my butt. Saved me just last weekend on a flat but very muddy area. I have both but usually use only one, slightly shorter than regular length. Works for me. I would definitely recommend the flip (not twist) locking kind. The only problem we had was my doofy dad running my tractor into the garage wall and smooshing one my son's BD poles that was leaning there. I don't think customer service could help that!
    Quote Originally Posted by coach lou View Post
    Black Diamond Ergos for me also! I hang on them pry with them lean on them....and I've never had the need to call BD customer service either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    I went through the same thing recently and reported on a similar thread how I came to decide on BD Ergo Trail Cork Poles.

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...=1#post1491002
    Quote Originally Posted by bfayer View Post
    I use leki, I hike with friends that use black diamond. Can't go wrong with either.

    I tell my scouts to either find an old set of ski poles at a thrift shop, or buy the Costco poles before them spend money on something they won't keep using.

    Once they try them and like them, its easier to find a quality pair that has the features they like.

    For myself, I love my poles and won't hike without them if I have the choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drybones View Post
    I started with Walmart $12 poles and they did okay, fell and bent them and decided to get Black Diamond poles for long hikes. The biggest difference, and an important one to me, is the handles being rounded and soft to the hand rather than having sharp edges. I have both the BD trail shock and cork handle ergo, I like the regular handles better. I could not have made across the Mt Rogers area in the snow this spring without them, my trapezium (sp ?) muscles in the shoulders were so sore the evening I reached Orchard Shelter I didn't know if I could hike the next day, had to catch myself on every step with the poles, took two steps forward and slid back one, never been sore there before, felt fine the next morning.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nar Nar View Post
    Thanks for the responses everyone. I already have a cheap pair of Walmart poles that I will be testing out soon. Can anyone recommend any specific models of either BD or Leki? Thanks
    BD ERGO Corks!!!!!!

  19. #19

    Default Trekking poles... where to start?

    I use black diamond trail shocks. Got em at an Rei stratch n dent sale. One of the poles was missing the lower half. So I called black diamond and they sent me the correct piece. The customer service was fine and I like the poles.

    I would get poles with the flick lock (or something similar) adjustments.

    If I could have any set, it would be the gossamer gear lt4s. Now if they would only get them in stock...

  20. #20
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Leki Super Makalu Cor-Tec. They have anti-shock and cork grips, or I should say they use to have cork grips. The cork started dissolving early on during my thru. Other than that I love them. One thing I would say for Leki is they have good customer service and parts can be readily found along the trail. I was doing some maintenance on mine last week and noticed the middle shaft on one pole was starting to split. I called Leki on Tues afternoon and I had a replacement section on my doorstep Friday afternoon. No cost and no hassle. During my thru hike I lost a tip near Stratton Mt and had the tips replaced at EMS in Manchester Center.
    More walking, less talking.

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