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Old 11-21-2012, 11:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anybody have opinions on trekking poles?

My parents want to do the Chilkoot Trail next summer for their 30th anniversary, and want to get, among other things, a good pair of trekking poles for the trip. So, I want to get them each a set for Xmas.

That said, I know exactly jack **** about them, beyond the fact that they look suspiciously like ski poles.

Anybody on here care to weigh in on what I should look for when shopping for them? Any specific recommendations from the ones MEC carry? (I'd just go down and ask, if the nearest one wasn't in Edmonton)

Also, for those that do longer hiking trips, any random unexpected gear suggestions? My parents already have all the 'standard' gear you'd need, save the poles, but if anybody knows of some random gear that turns out to be really handy, post it up.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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the first thing you need to know about trekking poles is to not let whee mcgee borrow them. he'll return it half a year later with 1/3 of it missing

yeah, i have a pair, but i was not picky. they are for me an extra because i don't really need them. i went backpacking wearing baseball cleats once up death valley, because i didn't have my hiking boots...

i suspect if they are going backpacking as well that ideally the poles be lightweight. all that gear really add up. they all felt the same to me at rei, so i just bought a pair from target for like 1/2 the price...

mine came with flashlights at the handles, and 2 sets of tip pads for better surface area (i imagine they are for snowy terrain) never really needed either, but they both gave me peace of mind. there were a pair with compasses at the handles too, but i opted for flashlights, i figured there are many other ways to get your bearings, but not many to get light.

like i said, i was never really in a situation that i thought "oh man i should have had a trekking pole" but they do give you a sense of security. i'm also in my 20's while your parents are not. i'd suggest trying out as many as you can and find the pair that is the most lightweight and NOT flimsy. (they all feel kinda flimsy)

Last edited by heinous; 11-22-2012 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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In my experience there isn't much difference between low and high end trekking poles. I will say I don't like cork handles. Just head down there and see what's comfortable.

As far as random gear. Bring lots of extra thick socks. They weigh next to nothing and don't underestimate how amazing it feels to put on a clean pair of socks in the morning (especially when compared to how it feels putting on a pair of rock hard, heavily used, socks.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Depends on what you are looking for. What is their gear loadout like? Just the normal heavyweight affair (normal tent, framed packs, etc) or are they going ultralight (tarps, bivy, frameless packs)? I personally have a pair of Black Diamond poles that are similar to this:
Black Diamond Trail Back Trekking Poles - Pair - Free Shipping at REI.com

They work well on the trail and for setting up my tarp (I'm an ultralight backpacking guy) but aren't the "norm" for someone trying to go ultralight. On the page you linked, the BD Trail Ergo Cork would be a very good choice for no frills, no ultralite. These also telescope which is nice when you want them to be packed down very small. The more expensive ones are one piece and more lightweight, while being longer due to the non-telescoping design.

Does that help at all?
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Extra tips for them would be nice as well! Bear Bangers and Spray are a must need of course, extra socks.

Those mio drink things are pretty compact to add to your water, are they doing the filter your own as they go? Would be a nice treat lol
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BassDude View Post
Depends on what you are looking for. What is their gear loadout like? Just the normal heavyweight affair (normal tent, framed packs, etc) or are they going ultralight (tarps, bivy, frameless packs)?
Somewhere in the middle. Frameless or partially frameless (The ones with internal aluminum or fiberglass rods) packs, older compact sleeping bags, small aluminum pole tent, ect. Weight is a concern, but not the ultimate one.

I'll take a look at those Black Diamond ones, thanks.

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Extra tips for them would be nice as well!
Are tips a big wear item?
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Nothing says "violent and insane" like sharpening a shotgun.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Tip wear not so much, but being able to switch from the somewhat pointy to a nice bucket for terrain difference is nice. Hiking around here is pretty similar (Banff/K-Country) with what you would expect, just a nice option.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Honestly? I've considered them as hiking sticks that are too expensive to throw away when you get sick of carrying them.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Then you haven't used them correctly. I used to think they were silly as well. However, they do help alot, especially on steep/rough terrain.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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or just stay on trail...

i've used them before to poke at questionable terrain to make sure it's safe, but you can always fashion some other tool for it.

but again, his parents probably have older knees.
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