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Re: REPOST - LEKI Air Ergo 2 backcounty pole

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  • Graham Blamey
    ... http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/Level%201/Owner%20Review% 20of%20LEKI%20Air%20Ergo%202%20backcountry%20pole/. Mike, if you are responding to
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 1, 2003
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      --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "mike" <mlissner@p...> wrote:
      > Ok. I have reposted the review here:
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/Level%201/Owner%20Review%
      20of%20LEKI%20Air%20Ergo%202%20backcountry%20pole/.

      Mike, if you are responding to edits from an Edit Moderator, you
      should also post a plain text version to this list with REPOST in the
      subject heading,
      Many thanks,
      Graham
      BGT Edit Moderator
    • mike
      Righto. I had been getting the impression more and more that the review in the test folder was the one that editors were looking at. Here s a plain text
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 1, 2003
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        Righto. I had been getting the impression more and more that the review in
        the test folder was the one that editors were looking at. Here's a plain
        text version of it for those that would rather it in this format. -mike

        =================================
        ==========================================
        Owner Review Of
        LEKI Air Ergo 2 Backcountry Hiking Pole
        By Michael Lissner

        Contents of Review:
        1. Tester Biography
        2. Backpacking Background
        3. Product Information
        4. Product Description
        5. Background Information
        6. Experiences with the Product
        7. Comments and Review
        8. Summary of Experiences
        9. Update

        Tester Biography:
        Name: Michael Jay Lissner
        Age: 21
        Gender: Male
        Height: 198 cm (6'6")
        Weight: 86 kg (185 lb)
        Email Address: yourmothership@...
        City of Current Residence: Depending on time of year: San Diego, CA /
        Claremont, CA

        Backpacking Background:
        I was first introduced into backpacking through the Boy Scouts, and it was
        my love of backpacking that made me stick all the way through and get my
        Eagle. After becoming too old to continue in Boy Scouts, I had trouble
        motivating myself to plan my own trips, and did not backpack for a few
        years, until I realized that I should thru-hike the PCT. I am currently in a
        multiyear training program, practicing techniques, studying backpacking
        literature, getting in shape, planning the many wee details and perhaps most
        importantly, converting my ultra-heavy Boy Scout techniques into ones more
        suited to ultra-light thru-hiking. My current style is a fairly minimalist
        one relying on more intelligence and discomfort and less on safety gear and
        toys. I would describe it as nearly ultra-light status, but not quite there
        yet. My usual stomping grounds are the Laguna Mountains (when in San Diego),
        the San Bernardino Mountains and deserts of southern California (when in
        Claremont), and occasionally- when gas prices, or sugar daddies allow- the
        southern Sierras.

        Product Information:
        Manufacturer: LEKI USA Inc.
        Manufacturer's URL: www.LEKI.com
        Product Name: LEKI Air Ergo 2
        Year of Manufacture: 2002
        Suggested Retail Price: $89.95 (US)
        Advertised Length Variability: 90-150 cm (35.4-59.0 in)
        Measured Length Variability: 90-151 cm (35.4-59.3 in)
        Advertised Weight: Unavailable
        Measured Weight*: 249.2 g (8.80 oz)
        *Weight was measured only recently, after a few modifications had been made
        and some minimalist wear had occurred. Sadly, the weight of the poles was
        not measured before these modifications. These modifications are as follows:
        1. I read that poles were a convenient place to keep duct tape, and added a
        few meters (about six and a half feet) of it around the middle of the upper
        shaft of the pole. 2. One night while on a gram shaving rampage I cut off
        the lower section of foam grip that I never used, and that nobody could deny
        had some weight (perhaps 50 or 100 g [about an ounce or two]).

        Product Description:
        These poles consist of two pieces; one that slides in and out of the other,
        utilizing a grommet that expands when the bottom section is twisted to lock
        them where you desire. At the top of the pole there is a cork/latex
        composite top, in the center of which there is either a white or a black pin
        (more on that to come). Out of the back of the top cork/latex composite
        piece comes the nylon wrist strap that is lined with some mysterious fuzzy
        synthetic fabric (probably nylon also) which is supposed to make the wrist
        strap more comfortable than it would be otherwise. Below the top piece there
        is the open celled foam grip. This is a two-piece grip. There is the top
        part that is designed for regular use, and the bottom part that is
        intentioned for use during steep uphill assents. As mentioned before, it was
        this lower part that I found useless and cut off to shave weight. Where the
        two pieces of the pole come together, there is a plastic ring that I suppose
        serves to keep the sharp bottom edge of the upper tube from being exposed
        (there are plans in my head of cutting this off in my next rampage, as it
        doesn't seem to have enough purpose). The lower section of the shaft is
        marked off in 5 cm increments from 120 to 150 cm, and tapers for the bottom
        third or so, coming to a plastic end piece that is advertised to be
        replaceable, should you be able to get it off (I can't get it off with my
        bare hands). Onto this plastic piece goes whatever basket you choose and as
        a part of its end is the carbide tip.

        Background Information:
        I purchased this pole as a part of a set while abroad in the Basque Country
        of Spain in the spring of 2003. The store I purchased it from was a
        mountaineering store, and since my purchase I have come to learn that these
        poles are not technically designed for long distance backpacking (what I
        mostly use it for), but rather for backcountry alpine mountaineering.
        Something that hinted at this when I purchased them was that the baskets on
        the bottom had a rather large diameter, something trekking poles would not
        generally have. I had it switched to a smaller one when I bought them, and
        thought nothing more of it until researching them for this report, at which
        point I discovered that they were listed online as backcountry alpine poles.
        That having been said, in my experience, with the smaller baskets, they have
        performed beautifully as long distance backpacking poles. When shopping for
        these, I chose them from those the store had for sale for basically two
        reasons. First, I prefer two section poles to any other variety. In my
        experience, the two sections provide a better strength/weight ratio than
        three section poles, and more adjustability than one section poles. Also,
        the fewer parts a piece of equipment has the fewer things can go wrong, and
        generally the lighter the weight. Additionally, the two-piece construction
        gave the poles a great amount of length variability; something as tall man,
        I look for. They range from 90 to 150 centimeters (35.4-59.0 in), and have
        come to be quite useful as reaching poles (more on that later).

        Second, the twist lock seemed to be a more reliable system than that in the
        other poles for sale that by and large involved flipping a lever or using a
        screwdriver (something I don't ever take along) to adjust.

        Upon arriving back at my host apartment with my shiny new poles, I took an
        overall look at them, read the little information that came with them and
        tried to see if there were any differences between the two in the set. I
        noticed only one major difference: One of the poles had a white pin in the
        top, and the other had a black one. Other than that they appeared identical
        to me. At the time, I thought that the different colored pins were simply so
        that they could be differentiated in the field, should a preference develop,
        but since then I have come to learn from the LEKI website that there is a
        difference that I had not noticed. The strap on each pole is laced with a
        half twist to make it wrap properly around the bottom of the user's hand. On
        the left (consequently the white pinned one) it is twisted in a clockwise
        direction (as viewed from behind the pole). On the right (the black pinned
        pole) it is twisted in a counterclockwise direction. This allows the padded
        section of the strap to lie properly against the palm of each of the user's
        hands. Because I did not realize this at the time of purchasing them, or
        even until writing this report, I set out to test the poles, indifferent to
        which pole fell into which hand.

        The initial hikes I took with the poles were into the mountains along the
        northern coast of Spain, and consisted of rather few kilometers through
        fairly rough terrain, both plant wise and elevation gain/loss wise. Though I
        attempted to use both poles on the first of these trips, I quickly realized
        that one pole was going to be good for me, and that two was simply too many
        for my brain to think about while walking. For me it was hard enough to
        plant three things securely on the ground. Four was simply too many. As a
        result of these first trips, I quickly decided to give one pole of the set
        to my hiking partner before it looked less than brand new. As it should turn
        out, I gave him the black pinned (the right hand) pole, and continued to use
        the white pinned (left hand pole) in my right hand. In my experience of
        using only the white pinned pole in pretty much only the right hand, I have
        experienced absolutely no problems or discomfort, even on the most onerous
        of days.

        Experiences with the Product:
        Since purchasing these poles in Spain I have used one of them on several
        trips lasting from 2-5 days, and have also used it on several day hikes. The
        trips took place in several different geographic regions, varying from the
        Camino De Santiago in Spain to the Adirondacks of New York to the mountains
        of Southern California. The Camino De Santiago trip consisted three days of
        mostly level but muddy terrain in the plains of northeastern Spain, with a
        relatively uneventful temperature with a low of about 7C (45F) at night to a
        high of about 21C (70F) during the day. The trips in the Adirondacks varied
        from simple and carefree day hikes to a three-day trip, with the terrain
        varying from very steep ups and downs to rather monotonous and wet plains,
        with a generally humid temperature varying from about 10C (50F) at night to
        about 27C (81F) during the day. The trips in the mountains of Southern
        California took place in the San Gorgonio range, and consisted of only up,
        and only down (if that is possible). The temperature during the San Gorgonio
        trips varied more than it did on the other trips, from a low of about 2C
        (36F) to a high of about 29C (84F).

        Comments and Review:
        During the many trips I have taken with just one pole of the two, I have
        found it to be a very useful ally. The uses of the pole essentially break
        down into the conventional and unconventional uses.

        Of the many unconventional uses, probably the most useful feature of it that
        I have encountered has been its ability to serve as a third leg when
        balancing on two is just not as easy as it should be. This occurred most
        during a rather wet experience in the Adirondacks, during which many tricky
        river and swamp crossings were necessary, but has also been the case when in
        windy or rocky downhill areas. With a third touch down point, I have been
        able to traverse slippery logs much more quickly and dryly, pole vault
        streams too wide to simply jump, zip down potentially dangerous rocky areas
        without worrying as much about tripping, and keep my footing in windy and
        slippery areas, where otherwise it would not be possible. Equally
        importantly, I have been able to lean forward on this third leg while taking
        breaks, in many cases eliminating the need for that ideal sitting rock we
        all know must exist. Indeed, on the last trip I took my friend asked me why
        I never sat down at breaks.

        Another unconventional use of the pole that I have found has been its
        usefulness as a reaching pole. This has been the handiest when bear bagging
        and de-bear bagging food in a tree for the night, but has also been useful
        when wanting to pick something spearable up off the ground. Once, while
        exhausted in camp, I even used it to grab my water bottle out of my pack
        that seemed miles and miles (certainly kilometers at least) out of reach. I
        should say however that it almost serves this function too well. With a
        maximum length of 150 cm (59 in) it is far too long to, when being used
        properly, serve as a hiking pole, even for the tallest of people. At 198 cm
        in height, I generally set it around 125 cm (49 in) for general hiking. This
        gives an extra 25 cm (10 in) of length that is for all intensive purposes
        extra when the pole is used in a normal and proper way. I have for some time
        now been considering cutting off this 25 cm (10 in) from the upper section
        of the pole in order to save yet more weight, though I have not yet gone
        forward with the plan.

        Additional unconventional uses of the pole that deserve at least some
        mention are the following: At night it serves admirably as a support for my
        tarp shelter; when attacked by some unidentified wild bird, I felt much more
        comfortable with a pole in my hand; and should an emergency occur during a
        trip, I plan on counting on it to make a field splint, a crutch, a gurney or
        even, if necessary, a traction splint. In short, in my experience a long,
        straight and strong pole is a very handy thing to have.

        On the subject of the conventional uses, I have come to find it to be a
        rather useful tool as well. I have been rather pleased with the grip and
        strap combination, finding them to be plenty supportive and comfortable when
        used properly. I use them by sliding my hand upwards through the wrist strap
        and then coming down on it to grip it and the pole with my fingers. At first
        I gripped the pole in a fist, as seems to be the natural thing, but as I
        grew more and more comfortable with the strap system, my style changed to a
        somewhat irregular one, involving putting first one finger (my pinky) behind
        the grip itself (with the pole between it and my ring finger) and then later
        going one step further and gripping the pole with two fingers in front of
        the grip and two behind. This both eliminates any possibility of my
        inadvertent death gripping of the pole, and puts my wrist at a comfortable
        angle. Several LEKI poles now have a 15 degree forward angle that would
        probably ameliorate any necessity to do this, but this one does not. It is,
        however, not something that bothers me, as I have found a solution that I am
        perfectly happy with, and to angle it forward would make the pole collapse
        less than it does now.

        I did however found two things to complain about in regards to the grip of
        the pole. The first of these is lower section of it. When I bought the pole
        I asked what it could possibly be for, and the storeowner told me it was for
        steeper sections of trail so that adjusting the pole would not be necessary.
        Since that time, I have never once found adjusting the pole to be shorter or
        longer to be so arduous that I would rather take my hand out of the
        supporting wrist strap and death grip the lower section of the grip than
        simply adjust it the overall length of the pole. Because of that preference,
        before the last trip I took with the pole I cut off the lower section of
        foam grip, and threw it in the trash. I cannot say I have any regrets for
        this action beyond being made fun of by my so-called friends for shaving off
        needless grams. I should mention to those of you that have this pole and are
        thinking about doing this that this does not leave the pole in pristine
        condition. Little bits of foam stay stuck to the pole, leaving it rough and
        dirty looking. The second thing that I found to complain about the grip is
        the way it turns sweaty hands a little black after a long day of use. If
        there is one thing I do not like doing while backpacking, it is washing my
        hands. Unfortunately, the foam material that the grip is made from wears off
        a little bit with every use, turning my hands black where it rubs on them,
        and forcing hand washings.perhaps this is a good thing after all.

        As far as the amount to which I have found the pole to help during uphill
        and downhill sections, I can say that I have indeed found it to be rather
        helpful. On the uphill sections, it gives my left leg a little bit of a
        needed boost that seems to get me to the top somewhat easier, and on the
        downhill sections, I have definitely found it to take much of the burden off
        my young but vulnerable joints, the proof being in the way one leg gets more
        sore in the joints than the other after a long day.

        The one big complaint that I have about the pole is its overall collapsed
        length (90 cm [35.4 in]). I generally carry a rather small pack, and even
        when collapsed it is much larger than the longest dimension of my pack,
        giving me pretty much nowhere to stow it when I want it entirely out of the
        way. As I mentioned earlier, the length to which it extends is beyond that
        which any hiker could properly use. LEKI could have made it much shorter (up
        to 25 cm [10 in] in my case) without having reduced its usability in any
        way.

        Summary:
        Though I found two poles to be far too many for my brain to handle, I have
        found one to be a pleasure to use. As far as the one pole goes, it is
        comfortable to use, and I have found it helpful in ways I had never imagined
        before bringing it along on a trip. I am somewhat annoyed with the way it
        turns my hand a little black and its overall collapsed length, but the black
        comes off easily, and the length was something that I recognized when I
        bought it as opposed to the three piece model sitting next to it.

        Update:
        Since the writing of this report, I have gone forward with my plan to cut
        the pole shorter. Writing the report really got me thinking about it, and I
        decided I would see just how possible it was to do without damaging the pole
        aesthetically or functionally. In this possibility investigation, I wanted
        to see if I could get the plastic ring off the bottom of the upper pole unit
        before hacksawing off the excess length. This would allow me to put it back
        on to the upper section once it is cut, and make the pole look unmodified to
        the casual observer's eye. As it should turn out, this plastic piece is held
        on by friction alone, and is easily removed. With that fact in mind, I
        separated the two sections of the pole, got out my trusty hacksaw and sawed
        off about 20 cm (8 in or so) of the upper pole section. Once that was cut
        off, I put the plastic ring on new bottom of the upper pole section, slid
        the lower section back into the upper section and reveled in my flawless
        modifications. The one stipulation at this point is that I have not used the
        pole with this modification and cannot assume that it will hold up as it
        would have before I took my saw to it.


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Graham Blamey" <gg@...>
        To: <BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2003 3:05 PM
        Subject: [BackpackGearTest] Re: REPOST - LEKI Air Ergo 2 backcounty pole


        > --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "mike" <mlissner@p...> wrote:
        > > Ok. I have reposted the review here:
        > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/Level%201/Owner%20Review%
        > 20of%20LEKI%20Air%20Ergo%202%20backcountry%20pole/.
        >
        > Mike, if you are responding to edits from an Edit Moderator, you
        > should also post a plain text version to this list with REPOST in the
        > subject heading,
        > Many thanks,
        > Graham
        > BGT Edit Moderator
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > BackpackGearTest-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • Coy
        Hi Mike Your impression is mostly correct. The test monitor usually looks at the version in the test folder if the tester puts one up. A tester will often
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 1, 2003
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          Hi Mike

          Your impression is mostly correct. The test monitor usually looks
          at the version in the test folder if the tester puts one up. A
          tester will often put one in the test folder to avoid yahooisms on
          things like charts plus if there are pic the monitor can see them in
          context. A lot of time a report looks kinda weird in text till you
          see it in its html form in the test folder. But the posting of
          reports to the list was started long before the other site was even
          though of. We still require it so that evryone gets to see the
          report before it is uploaded to the folder it goes in. The extra
          step in uploading it to the test folder is just gravey. The real
          purpose of the test folder is to help the tester get everything
          right in HTML before uploading to the correct folder.

          Coy Boy

          --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "mike" <mlissner@p...>
          wrote:
          > Righto. I had been getting the impression more and more that the
          review in
          > the test folder was the one that editors were looking at. Here's a
          plain
          > text version of it for those that would rather it in this format. -
          mike
        • Andrew Priest
          ... Hi Mike Sorry but it is a real pain to edit from the website. Please repost the Review to the list as requested. As to your comment on the 150 cm pole. I
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 2, 2003
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            At 03:28 AM 02/11/2003, you wrote:
            >Ok. I have reposted the review here:
            ><http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/Level%201/Owner%20Review%20of%20LEKI%20Air%20Ergo%202%20backcountry%20pole/.>http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/Level%201/Owner%20Review%20of%20LEKI%20Air%20Ergo%202%20backcountry%20pole/.
            >I have taken in all of the suggested edits to the best of my ability, but
            >I am not sure I addressed the projecting issue that you mentioned quite as
            >well as I might have if I really thought there was somebody out there that
            >could use a 150 cm pole. You might check on that section of the report.
            >Secondly, I added an update (yes, already) to the end of the review that
            >has not yet been seen by editors.
            >Thanks for the editing. I am always surprised by the number of mistakes
            >that slip through my fingers. -mike

            Hi Mike

            Sorry but it is a real pain to edit from the website. Please repost the
            Review to the list as requested. As to your comment on the 150 cm pole. I
            met a guy walking the Bibbulmun Track who is 6' 8". Now I don't know if he
            would use the full length of the pole, but he might come close.
            Irrespective of our views, projecting is not ok and it is just good to get
            into the habit of not doing it.

            Thanks
            Andrew Priest
            Chief Edit Moderator

            --
            http://BackpackGearTest.org : The most comprehensive interactive gear
            reviews and tests on the planet


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Andy Mytys
            ... Not to mention a lot of us use the poles for other things, like holding up our tarps, lowing bags into tight cracks to retrieve water in dry and desperate
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 2, 2003
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              --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Priest <apriest@b...>
              wrote:
              > At 03:28 AM 02/11/2003, you wrote:
              > >Ok. I have reposted the review here:
              > >I have taken in all of the suggested edits to the best of my
              > >ability, but I am not sure I addressed the projecting issue that
              > >you mentioned quite as well as I might have if I really thought
              > >there was somebody out there that could use a 150 cm pole.
              >
              > Hi Mike
              >
              > Sorry but it is a real pain to edit from the website. Please repost
              > the Review to the list as requested. As to your comment on the 150
              > cm pole. I met a guy walking the Bibbulmun Track who is 6' 8". Now
              > I don't know if he would use the full length of the pole, but he
              > might come close. Irrespective of our views, projecting is not ok
              > and it is just good to get into the habit of not doing it.
              >

              Not to mention a lot of us use the poles for other things, like
              holding up our tarps, lowing bags into tight cracks to retrieve water
              in dry and desperate areas, pushing bear bags up when counter
              balancing, etc.

              I like long poles myself. 135 cm is a MINIMUM, IMO.
            • Andrew Priest
              Hi Mike Thanks for working with me to finalise this Review. It really is a good review. Please find my final edits below. I still do have some concerns re
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 3, 2003
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                Hi Mike

                Thanks for working with me to finalise this Review. It really is a good
                review. Please find my final edits below. I still do have some concerns re
                your comments on the pole length, however, a simple three word addition
                will resolve my concerns. Once sorted you are most welcome to upload your
                Owner Review to:

                <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Trekking%20Poles/Poles/LEKI%20AirErgo%202%20ELS%20Backcountry%20Non-Probe/>
                or Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > LEKI AirErgo 2 ELS Backcountry Non-Probe.

                When you upload the HTML copy of your Owner Review please click the radio
                button labelled, Owner Review. The file name is not relevant.

                I strongly recommend that you do a test upload to the test upload folder at
                Reviews > Test or <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test>. This
                allows you to check that all is well with your Owner Review before you
                place it on the main site. One problem area which comes all too often, is
                URL not being hot (clickable). Please verify that all links in your Owner
                Review work ok when uploaded.

                If you require assistance with your upload, please ask in our Yahoo!
                support group,
                BGTFileUploadHelp @ <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGTFileUploadHelp/>.

                Regards
                Andrew Priest
                Chief Edit Moderator


                At 10:12 AM 02/11/2003, you wrote:
                >Owner Review Of
                >LEKI Air Ergo 2 Backcountry Hiking Pole

                EDIT:> Reviewing the Leki website, I would suggest the more correct title
                for the pole is "Leki AirErgo 2 (ELS) Backcountry Non-Probe Hiking
                Pole." Can you please correct your title.


                >Background Information:
                >Additionally, the two-piece construction gave the poles a great amount of
                >length variability; something as tall man,
                >I look for. They range from 90 to 150 centimeters (35.4-59.0 in), and have
                >come to be quite useful as reaching poles (more on that later).

                EDIT:> "A" is missing between "as A tall man".

                >Comments and Review:
                >
                >With a maximum length of 150 cm (59 in) it is far too long to, when being used
                >properly, serve as a hiking pole, even for the tallest of people.

                EDIT:> As I alluded to early, I continue to have a problem with this
                statement, as you are making a judgement/projection to all people. I know,
                I have read your comments on the tallest man etc. It just still does not
                sit comfortably with me. Adding the words "in my opinion" makes all the
                difference and makes the view expressed your opinion rather than "fact."
                --
                http://BackpackGearTest.org : The most comprehensive interactive gear
                reviews and tests on the planet


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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