Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lightweight Trekking Poles

For those of you who haven’t tried them, trekking poles may make a huge different in your hiking style and comfort. For me, a diabetic easily beaten down by endless internal factors and someone with degenerative discs in my lower back, the addition of trekking poles to my gear allowed me to go further, faster, and with far greater safety. It also allowed me to lighten my shelter load as I no longer needed tent or tarp poles because my trekking poles turned out to be plenty sufficient for shelter supports.

Since this blog is dedicated to lightweight backpacking, I figured I’d mention the latest and greatest poles on the market which might work for you.

· Titanium Goat - $150 – 3.2 oz per pole (

· Gossamer Gear Lighttrek 4 - $150 – 3.4 oz per pole (

· Backpacking Light STIX Carbon Fiber - $100 – 4.1 oz per pole (

· Komperdell C3 Powelock Carbon – $ Unknown - 5.1 oz per pole – (

There are a ton of manufacturers who make different kinds of trekking poles which include LEKI (, KOMPERDELL (, BLACK DIAMOND (, and even REI ( if you want something with different options or at a lower price. To be fair to other countries and not get lost in the American bubble, Europe has a ton of vendors which manufacturer some great trekking poles as well as other backpacking equipment. Unfortunately, I haven't seen them and know of them only by reputation.

If you’ve ever wondered whether trekking poles are for you, borrow a pair from a friend or go to your local Thrift Store and pick up a pair of ski poles to try out. Attempting to purchase them at different times of the year may also be a smart decision. For example, REI had a sale in January which had a very nice set of REI Carbon UL Shock trekking poles for 50% off. You can also find them at a discount on websites devoted to gear swaps.

Trekking poles come in many different sizes, materials, and with different frills. Earlier posts in this blog addressed the different options, but finding what works best for you is the most important.

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