Why didn't I have trek poles before now?
I’ve been crawling up and down the mountains since I was draggin diapers on the ground. My dad worked for the Forest Service and we went camping all the time. I really developed a deep love the woods. It has stayed with me and now I get to share it with my kids now. Guiding elk hunts is a blast but when the animal is down the phrase “the work begins” is never more meaningful. Younger legs and back never really seemed to deter me from loading up heavy and stumbling back to camp or the vehicle. I’ve always wanted to try Trekking poles and this year I made it happen.
I did some research on the different types of poles. There seems to be two types of pole material, aluminum and carbon fiber. Both styles offer a twist lock or a cam lock to adjust the height to fit the hiker. Looks like all types are very compactable and pretty light weight. The pros and cons of each type that I could find is that carbon fiber can have less stability when lots of force is exerted on them. Especially when temps are colder. That being said I really couldn’t find any cases where someone’s CF poles broke or shattered on reviews or blogs. The aluminum cons consensus was that the aluminum vibrated when hitting a something hard and for super long trips the weight over a 3-4 day hike seemed to bother some folks. The weight is really only a few ounces, and the average was around 3-6 at most at most.
Features to consider before purchase
It really comes down to personal preference. If you don’t think you’re ever going to use them in below freezing temperatures, then I would go with the carbon style. If price and durability are your benefits, then aluminum is your type. I also saw several threads on the grip choices. Cork and foam are the 2 that most manufactures really go with. The cork seemed to be more comfortable and slightly longer lasting then foam. Foam also seemed to retain more water and if frozen would deteriorate fast than cork. Below freeing seems to be the separation from carbon vs aluminum. The adjustment style is also about personal choice. Both twist lock and cam lock seemed to have the same response for reviews. They both seemed pretty solid systems and held up to the demands of the hike for everyone willing to share their experience.
I love Alps Outdoorz and their products. I use their Commander X pack for all my trips. When I was talking with them about the new Veil camo they are wrapping their bags in. I talked to them about their trekking poles and decided to give them a try. They weigh in at 22 ounces for the pair. Made from aluminum and offer adjustable wrist straps. They will adjust for height and terrain. The cam lock will adjust 20cm or 7 ¾ inches. The tent pole collapsible style makes them super compact and stores easily on the side of a pack. The foam grips have a bike style top handle. The foam extends another 6 inches below the first-tier handle. I find this option extremely comfortable when the slope changes up hill. One area I really noticed using trekking poles. Especially going uphill, the more I dig in with the poles the more my core gets a serious workout. I also had to adjust the tension on the top of my backpack for less movement as my arms were engaged. I would expect sore traps on the first couple trips. Definitely recommend you get some poles if you’re in the market. They really help stabilize you with a pack on your back. I really noticed the support when going down steep terrain or over deadfall.