By Leola Guillet. Trekking Poles. Published at Monday, April 29th, 2019 - 17:04:39 PM.
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.
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.
Given current pole technology and availability, I would rule out any pole that weighs more than nine ounces each or 18 ounces for the pair. People with less arm strength (or scrawny runner arms like me) may want to set an even lower threshold. To keep weight to a minimum, avoid “anti-shock” models, remove the mud/trekking baskets, and consider models with shorter shaft lengths.
Check out any hiking or outdoor store and you’ll see a dizzying selection of often brightly coloured, high-tech poles. Some, like my Black Diamond Distance FLZ trekking poles, fold up into a small package that’s great for travelling.
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