By Lavern Aubert. Trekking Poles. Published at Monday, March 04th, 2019 - 19:08:30 PM.
As for carbide pole tips, all are not created equal. I have worn down some tips to rounded nubs within a few hundred miles, whereas others have lasted thousands. Leki and Black Diamond tips are both notably reliable. Once poo-pooed by “real walkers,” hiking or walking poles are now gaining popularity.
From a performance-only perspective, Ultimate Direction’s FK poles are the best I’ve ever used. Designed with a wide, single-piece shaft—20 millimeters thick, versus the standard 16- or 18-millimeter diameter—the FK poles are the stiffest and strongest I have ever used, and my measured weight of 3.8 ounces per pole (in the 115-centimeter length, without straps or baskets) is simply dreamy. After using them, it’s disheartening to use any other set of poles.
For hiking and general outdoor use, adjustable poles are worth the extra weight and expense. They can be used for more activities (hiking, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing) and perhaps by multiple members of the family. They can be adjusted to accommodate changes in terrain—shorter for uphills, longer for downhills, collapsed for scrambling. Finally, collapsible and adjustable-length models are compatible with more backpacking shelters that utilize trekking poles for support.
A few years back, a friend and I were assembling a gear list to send to a couple of gentlemen joining us for an ascent of Mt. Whitney. He and I had both been up many a mountain, but the other two were inexperienced climbers, so we were taking pains to make the list exhaustive. At one point during a review, I realized we had not put hiking poles on the list. When I pointed this out to my climbing buddy, he replied: ”I guess I took that for granted. Hiking without poles is like hiking without whiskey.”
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