Guest post: Don’t leave home without trekking poles

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by @ThatOutdoorGuy.

Trekking Poles: Don’t Leave Home Without Them

One of the most hilariously-contested topics on Twitter is whether or not trekking poles are an adventure necessity, or a nuisance. Two different groups of avid outdoor adventurer friends have formed teams, if you will, and go at each other non-stop. I’ve ventured into the fray with them a time or two, but just for fun, for I am absolutely convinced that if you’re going hiking, you should carry at least one trekking pole. Period.

For almost two decades I carried a heavy, homemade hiking stick that possesses great emotional ties (I made it during my last summer as a YMCA Summer Camp Director, back in the mid-80’s.) I would often see people using trekking poles, but they never appeared to be serious hikers, and seemed to use them more as something to differentiate themselves from us “poor hikers” than what they are intended for. Then I found a pair on clearance at a small outfitter in a side alley in downtown Gatlinburg.

I decided very early on that I only needed one of them, after seeing “walking hikers”, as I refer to them, using trekking poles like ski poles on flat ground. My trekking pole was an extension of my arm, not a walking stick.

After encountering an irritable female black bear with cubs on a narrow, elevated trail in the Smokies, I decided to attach an emergency whistle to the hand strap of my trekking pole. (She chased me off the trail and high up onto a tree.) During another recent encounter with a much-larger black bear, not too far from my previous run-in, I was very happy to have that whistle handy. (He ran when I blew it!)

Thanks to some purposeful shopping during the Rock/Creek Memorial Day Tent Sale, I’m now the proud owner of a pair of Leki® Corklite trekking poles. They are, without question, my most amazing new outdoor adventure gear purchase of the year! Let me explain why, and also share why I think you should invest in a pair of high quality trekking poles yourself.

Why I Love My Leki® Corklites

I really don’t have any serious complaints about my old trekking poles, very much like I don’t recall disliking my first car, a 1971 Ford Galaxie 500; it’s just that my new Corklites are superior in materials and features.

Leki uses industry terminology to explain details like “perfect swing behavior”, whereas I would say “they feel very comfortable in my hand”.

I’m especially taken by the quick-release height adjustment locking system, which Leki® refers to as its Speedlock system. My previous trekking poles were the twist-adjustable type, and they were a pain to adjust whenever I needed to change the height to match the terrain.

Another technical phrase that Leki® uses is “smallest possible pipe diameter”, which very simply translates to “ultralight”, another favorite feature of mine.
But my favorite design feature, and the main reason I purchased them, are the handles, or grips. They simply feel like they were made for my hands, and I’ll leave it at that.

Why I, and Leki®, Think You Should Invest In A Pair Of High Quality Trekking Poles

The following details are how Leki® chooses to describe my Corklite trekking poles, with my comments in parentheses:

  • AERGON Cor-Tec Grip (which accommodates all size hands, especially mine!)
  • Air-textured strap wicks and dries quickly (a real plus on a sweltering hike in the South)
  • SpeedLock/Super Lock System (My model has a double Speedlock system.)
  • Soft Antishock System Lite (My model doesn’t have this feature, which I don’t care for.)
  • Performance Basket (which I keep on mine at all times)
  • Carbide Tip (a standard, but necessary design feature to extend the life of the pole)
  • Ultra Sonic Finish (all Leki® poles come with this)

When you add up all those high-tech details, and consider the science that goes into them, I think you’ll agree that you should, at the very least, stop by the closest Rock Creek store and check them out for yourself. Remember to tell them that @ThatOutdoorGuy sent you. Now #GetOutdoors!

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