My Birthday Present!!!
So my birthday present is our upcoming trip but my husband also wanted to give me something physical too. So we went to REI with our dividend and he let me pick out my first pair of trekking poles! I’ve always had a hiking stick but these are my first poles and I am so excited about getting to use them next week! I purchased the Leki Khumbu Aergon SpeedLock Trekking Poles. It is a discontinued 2010 version of the new 2011 poles from their Performance Mountain Trek line. The SpeedLock doesn’t seem to be a popular feature for a lot of people but I personally am inept when it comes to using the internal twisting kind. No matter how hard I try it never seems to work. So I prefer the external lock design. I’ve tried them out on several day hikes already and love them!
These poles are made of aluminum with rubber handles that feature air vent holes that allow cool air to reach your palms to prevent over sweating. This is good since I’m hiking in humid Ga and I went with aluminum as I am planning on using these poles till they break and we are intending to go off trail in the future. They collapse to 70 cm and extend to 145 cm but I’m 5′ 2.5″ and so far I’ve never had to take them past 125 and only then when going downhill. As with any multi-sectioned pole you can put either section as any length you want to achieve the overall height you’re looking for, but as with most of the poles I’ve seen there are markings that make getting to your adjustment easy and quick once you know the length that is right for you in the terrain you’re hiking in. On more or less level terrain I leave them at 110 cm which is the lowest marked length.
I got the white pair for a bit more of a feminine look as well as because they were $20 off. If you don’t know anything about REI membership let me explain a little. It’s a co-op store and you get 10% back on all full priced items you buy called a dividend, as well as access to a super members only used gear sale twice a year. When the dividends come out in March you also get a 20% off members only one use coupon that has to be used on a full priced item. So when I found out that the poles were 20% off anyway I used my dividends on the poles and still get to use my yearly coupon on something else (hopefully a sleeping pad). So the poles were originally $100.00 and I paid $57.00 for them which was one of the only reasons I was able to get them.
Right now the adjustable wrist loops are stiff, but that is good since it means they probably won’t slip without some real effort and I can keep them at my desired length. The loops themselves are very cushioned and comfy. The fact that they are adjustable is something I didn’t consider important until I got them home and started playing around with it. Having the loops set just right increase the comfort noticeably. Another thing I didn’t consider important is that these poles are Unisex. I just picked the poles I liked best in our price range. I wasn’t necessarily determined to get one or the other. I am naturally wide in my shoulders, hips and wrists and have frustrations with many things that just don’t accommodate a woman who is short and stocky at a healthy weight. The wrist straps being adjustable and unisex let me decide what is comfortable to me and have a much wider adjustable range than the women specific poles I have tried out in store. Also I noticed that the handle grips are also more comfortable to me and my fingers don’t feel as cramped in the finger grooves. I never noticed the difference till I got them home, but I am sure glad I went with the unisex poles.
The last thing I wanted to mention is the weight. They are listed at 19.4 oz but I weighted them at 22 (I don’t really trust my scale though). A lot of UL Backpackers seem really concerned about the weight of their trekking poles and while I agree it’s good to be weight conscious about it, I’m not entirely sure I feel that it’s something I will worry too much about. My requirements for a trekking pole was 1. a brand I trust 2. a length that was going to work for me 3. a comfortable handle and wrist strap 4. overall durability. If I came in under a pound doing that in my current price range then all the better, but weight is something I feel willing to sacrifice on for a pole I love. I coddle and baby a lot of my gear, but I need a pole I can really beat up and for me that means getting a Leki Aluminum pole. I do wish I could have gotten cork handles but the price was just not in our budget this time. For trail only hiking (aka my AT trip) I’d love to have the Leki Cressida Aergon SpeedLock poles which also feel a little better suited for larger hands despite being a woman specific pole, but I’m really happy I got a set of poles with rubber hand grips for my all around poles.
I’ll be posting a proper review in a few weeks under the Gear Review section. So far I’m really happy with these poles!