Lightweight Trekking Poles – Are They Worth It?

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Trekking poles are an extremely underused and underappreciated piece of gear when it comes to backpacking.

Most backpackers I’ve met have never used them, and would never consider using them.

But then, why would they?

The average backpacker (who likes to explore the sights and sounds of foreign cities) has no need for trekking poles.

There are, however, some people for whom trekking poles (and lightweight trekking poles) are indispensible.

If you plan on doing a lot of trekking and hiking up big hills, you’ll save you body a lot of strain by investing in a quality pole or two.

Why Use Lightweight Trekking Poles?

As with most things in life, there are ‘regular’ trekking poles and lightweight trekking poles.

But why would you want to use the (potentially more expensive) latter over the former?

To put it simply, they’re lighter!

In the age of lightweight backpacking (and ‘flashpacking’), weight matters. The lighter your pole is, the easier it’ll be to use, and the less of a burden it’ll feel.

Lighter trekking poles will also add less to your overall bag weight than their heavier counterparts (when you’re not using them).

Lightweight Trekking Poles

How Much Lighter are Lightweight Trekking Poles than Regular Trekking Poles?

After looking through various lightweight trekking poles and comparing them to regular ones, it seems the different in weight can be quite noticeable.

For example, the Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Pole weighs in at 270 grams, whereas the Black Diamond Contour Elliptical Trekking Pole weighs in at 566 grams.

The Disadvantages of Using Lightweight Trekking Poles

Despite all the positives, it does need to be said that there are a couple of negatives when it comes to lightweight trekking poles.

For starters, because most of them are made of carbon (as opposed to aluminum), they are more likely to break than their heavier alternatives.

In addition to this, a lot of lightweight trekking poles are fixed length (meaning they can’t be shortened, made longer or collapsed into a small space).

Variable length trekking poles are far more versatile (although heavier), and can even be used to hold up a tent or a shelter if necessary.

To sum up – Are lightweight trekking poles worth buying? Well, if you’re determined to make your pack as light as possible and you don’t mind having a pole made of carbon, then they’re most definitely worth looking at.

Related posts:

  1. How to Travel Light – The Principles of Lightweight Backpacking
  2. The Lightweight Travel Packing Checklist – How to Make Sure You Don’t Forget Anything

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