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I am a big fan of trekking polesÖor any poles. One year I used my wifeís ski poles during all my trips. Of course, they werenít adjustable so it was a bit awkward. Trekking poles collapse, fitting nicely onto your pack while not in use (instead of high above the pack getting tangled in branches). Iíve had several pairs over the years, most eventually broke, and one pair was stolen from my campsite.
If you do any off trail hiking or climbing, I canít express enough how helpful these are for uphill balance efficiency, downhill stress relief on the knees, helpfulness side hilling, during stream and difficult talus crossings, snake probing, cougar threatening, bear scaring and so much more.
Not only did these poles come in handy to cross this stream, on the same trip I had to bang them together to scare off bears during two separate encounters!
Here are the conclusions Iíve come to about Trekking Poles:
LEKI Thermolite Trekking Poles
These are the poles Iím finally satisfied with. Super lightweight and durable, they have lasted longer than all the other pairs over the yearsÖ.and Iíve had quite a few fail me. I no longer think about poles being a weight issue on long trips, Iíll bring them along without a second thought.
REI Summit Trekking Poles
Any poles are better than no poles at all so if you are debating whether to spend your money on poles or something else, I would suggest just to by the cheapest REI pair. As long as you are not relying on them every weekend, they should last several years. If you learn to love them, buy some more expensive (LEKI) ones down the road.
A cheep brand will break the first year. Even the REI brand just wonít survive countless trips. Leki just uses better components inside.
The fancy ones with the springs (or shocks) are heavy and the springs can be more of a danger when needing something rigid to lean (or fall) against. Plus, the more components they have the more that can go wrong.
The lighter the poles the longer you can use them without getting sore muscles. I will never buy anything but ultra-light poles again. After 8 hours of climbing, most of us will feel the effects of heavy trekking poles.