By Valeraine Dufour. Trekking Poles. Published at Friday, April 12th, 2019 - 21:14:44 PM.
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
For many users—especially those on tight budgets—the Carbon Fiber Quick Lock poles offer enough functionality with a few justified trade-offs. I think most people will be happy with these poles and an extra $120 in their wallets.
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.
I’ve been hiking and trekking with poles for 16 years. That includes trips on the Sea-to-Sea Route (7,775 miles, 11 months), the Great Western Loop (6,875 miles, seven months), the Alaska-Yukon Expedition (4,700 miles, six months), and a half-dozen high routes in the Mountain West. Fortunately, in those years, I’ve seen pole manufacturers shift away from models made from heavy aluminum, uncomfortable plastic grips, and squeaky, heavy “anti-shock” springs.
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