By Paige Collin. Trekking Poles. Published at Sunday, February 24th, 2019 - 09:01:34 AM.
Trekking poles come with wrist straps, which when used properly can reduce pressure on the hand and wrist. Personally, I cut mine off for reasons I delve into. Most trekking poles will come with trekking or mud baskets, which are about two inches in diameter. I always remove them. They add weight, tangle in trailside brush, and have no apparent value. Snow baskets are a different story. Without them, poles are nearly useless in unconsolidated snow. With most models, they are a $15 accessory item
And remember that lighter is not always better. For example, I’ve found that the ultralight (and ultra-thin) shafts of the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z poles are too fragile for backpacking. The RaidLight Vertical Carbon 3 poles lack versatile extension grips.
When evaluating poles, I start with the shafts. They need to be stiff, free of vibration on impact, and able to endure reasonable contact with rocks and vegetation without fracturing. Next, I look at the hand grips, which should be soft on the hands but still responsive, meaning not mushy. I also really like extension grips. Finally, the locks need to be secure and reliable and easy to use and repair. Only some of the poles I tested met those criteria.
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