By Lacey David. Trekking Poles. Published at Thursday, April 11th, 2019 - 17:58:44 PM.
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.
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.
The Quick Locks include extension grips—sections of foam below the main grip that extend your range of carry options—and are available with either cork or foam grips. Both options will work fine, though the faux cork and two-piece construction isn’t as slick as Leki’s seamless grips. Cascade Mountain Tech includes snow baskets for winter use and rubber tip covers for paved surfaces, options that cost extra with other brands.
All things being equal, a trekking pole with a one-piece shaft will be both less expensive and lighter and stronger than a trekking pole with a multipiece shaft. For example, the single-piece Black Diamond Vapor Carbon 1 weighs 35 percent less and costs $20 less than the comparably strong Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork.
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