Contributors to this thread:
Favorite Trekking Poles and Why?
I’ve been looking at Black Diamond Trail Back and Trail Pro Shock poles. I like the shock absorbers on the pros but they cost 50% more.
Looking for recommendations and what features you like.
I like Mountain Smith Carbonlite. I like them because they are light, strong, are telescoping, and have shock absorbers. I don’t like the poles that fold like tent poles. They also cost a little less.
There have been a few recent Bowsite threads on this very topic that have a lot of good information. The most recent is: https://forums.bowsite.com/tf/bgforums/thread.cfm?threadid=484657&messages=25&forum=2
Hard to go wrong with Black Diamonds but the last couple years I’ve been using the Sky Evos that Stone Glacier sells and I really like them. As far as “features” go, I like everything about them from construction to the locks to the takedown.
One of my main criteria is that when I lock down the telescoping sections they don’t slip.
Overland thanks for the link. Very helpful.
One question that went unanswered was why cork grips?
Also I will use (abuse) them specifically for elk hunting so I think I’ll stick with aluminum over carbon. Better to have them bend than break.
“Do you have overly sweaty palms? Buy trekking poles with cork handles—they’re less slippery than synthetic grips. Additionally, cork grips end up being lighter than synthetic grips, which you’ll be grateful for on an extended hiking trip. They also change to fit the shape of your hand the more you use them.“
I haven't used a lot of poles. I've used the cheapie Cascade Mountain poles and was really happy with them, considering their cost of $30 or so. But, I've had to epoxy the locks on them and they still can't be completely trusted. What I mean is that when you are packing meat and descending down a steep incline there will be times when you need the pole's support. If it collapses you're going down with a heavy pack, which is dangerous. Just a few weeks ago I picked up a pair of Black Diamond poles with flick locks and they seem like they've be great but I haven't hiked with them yet.
I'd like to make a point about the shock absorbing type poles. They suck. The springs will get noisier the more that you use them. Eventually, they'll sound like a mattress in a hotel that rents by the hour.
I have the Black Diamond Carbon Cork. They are nice to use since they are so light. I used Easton Aluminum Backcountry poles (discontinued) before the Black Diamonds. They worked fine too, just heavier. One thing about the BD is mine have a high gloss shine, I can imagine Mule Deer spotting me swinging those things across the prairie. Doah! Could easily drab them with some paint I guess. The only other thing I hate about trekking poles is they are so nice to use. And no doubt you will be quietly cruising down a trail with your bow strapped to your pack and completely walk past a Bull and Cow elk feeding in the timber 40 yards away. Don’t ask me how I know ! Homer Simpson Doah!
I like carbon. The main reason is when you click them against each other or rocks, etc. the sound is muted and more natural than the metallic clink of aluminum poles. I also glue the rubber tips on the bottom for silence. If you use the correct rubber tips that have a metal washer inside to keep the point of the pole from driving through the rubber they will last for years. If you don't glue them on they will last for years but will be laying somewhere on the mountain LOL.
If you're backpacking overnight, I prefer the Black Diamond Carbon Whippets. You can use them to level out a tent/bivvy site pretty well, especially if you are in uneven ground. They also work well if you're in icy/snowy conditions on steep slopes. If it's day-hiking I prefer the Black Diamond Carbon Corks which was mentioned previously.
Black Diamond Trail Pro Shocks is what I've been using for about 10 years. The first set lasted me 8 until I borrowed them to a friend and since he ruins everything he managed to break both of the poles in just a few days of sheep hunting together. Normal people won't have any issues with them but if you are like a bull in a china shop, you will.
I really like my Montem poles, they have been solid, especially for the price. I have the aluminum with cork grips, the lever locks are solid and hold, the grips are good, and they are tough. I tripped going through some deadfall and put pretty much my entire fat ass weight on one of the poles and it flexed but did not break or bend. Probably lighter options out there, etc but I have been impressed and they are budget friendly.
Brotsky, thanks for the headsup, just ordered my Montem poles.!
No doubt those Montems are a nice pole AND the best bang for your buck.
They are sitting in my Amazon shopping cart. But I have arthritis and reducing any impact on my joints sounds great so I’m still considering the Black Diamond Pro Shock Trail poles. The fact that the price is twice as much has me at a standstill.
Funny how we don’t blink an eye at 10 grand moose hunts but overthink 49 bucks. Lol
I think you'll find that trekking poles help with balance more than anything. I can't imagine slamming them into the ground hard enough for shock absorbers to be necessary, especially while hunting. I've been using Black Diamond Carbons for several years and have never come close to breaking one.
Also, I like using mine with the ski bails on, in case I get into some soft ground or snow. They really help prevent you from inadvertently stabbing a pole deep into the ground and losing your balance.
I still have the REI brand carbon fiber poles from 4 or 5 years ago. Still goin strong for half the price of the popular name brand poles
I went to REI yesterday to get a hands on feel for the poles. The shock absorbers might be nice if you were coming downhill with your palms on top of the grips. But I wasn’t too impressed with them and so they’re definitely not a factor in my choice of poles.
But I will say this.... the Black Diamond Pro Shocks and one of the REI brand which was priced the same were the only two with all aluminum lever locks. All of the others were plastic. That is a deciding factor because they can be a weak link and a broken or failing lock would make a pole useless.
I like my Helinox Trailridge poles. I also have the Helinox chair and ultralite cot. They are not cheap, but they build quality gear. Cheap gear rarely fails at home.
I use an old ski pole which was free. Plenty stout and won't slip.