Owner Review - Leki Wanderfreund poles, by Marie-Noelle
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Leki Wanderfreund - Owner Review
Wanderfreund poles - Min & max sizes
Name Marie-Noelle Augendre I started backpacking eight years ago,
day hiking in Ile-de-France all year round,
and doing several one or two week trips in more mountainous regions
(Corsica, Pyrenees, Cevennes, Luberon, etc.) each year.
As I usually go solo, and am a bit of a gear-addict, my backpack tends
to be on the heavy side (tent, white gas stove, ceramic water filter,
I'm actually trying to go lighter, but I don't think I'll ever be an
Height about 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight 152 lbs (69 kg)
Email address augendre.bgt@...
City, Country Paris, France
Listed weight not available
Actual weight 18.5 oz (525 g) for a pair of poles
Conditions of use
Since I bought these poles 6 years ago, I have taken them during all
my one to two-week backpacking trips, mostly in France (Luberon,
Cevennes, Corsica, Pyrenees, Alps, Brittany, Dordogne Vallee, to name
a few), but also in Spain (Pyrenees) and Morocco (Sahara and Djebel
Sahrho). With them, I have walked in hilly country, mostly between
2600 and 9200 ft (800 to 2900 m). From one trip to another, I have
encountered many different trail conditions, from wide forest lanes to
narrow bushy paths, walking on smooth sand, hoping from one boulder to
the next, sometimes climbing rocks, etc; inclines could have been nil
to rather steep slopes. As those trips has taken place between
February and November, temperatures were always between 40° and 90° F
(5° to 32°C), may be a bit more in Morocco. Except for some snow
patches encountered in Aveyron last March, I never had to walk on
snowy or frozen ground.
The pole components
The Wanderfreund are a common kind of adjustable poles, with three
sections connected by plastic expanders, which allow to adjust their
length from 23" to 49" (58 to 124 cm). However, their grip is quite
unusual, as it is a cane-style handle, with a cord loop in lieu of a
N.B.: Bear in mind I bought my poles in 1999, so the product listed
on the manufacturer website under the same name might be somewhat
The handle is very comfortable
Issues and solutions
This handle provides a powerful grip in any situation, as I always
have each pole firmly in hand (see picture on the left). Only thing I
have to do is to adjust the poles length depending on the incline: on
flat ground my arms are roughly bent at a 90° angle; on ascending
slopes, I shorten the poles a bit so I can stick them in front of me
and propel myself upwards; on very steep descending slopes, I
sometimes lenghten them up to 2" 3/4 (7 cm) so I can throw them far
below and lean firmly on them.
The cane style grip is also convenient for tarp pitching (see picture
on the right): with a couple of loops around the handle, the guy won't
slide down the pole.
Very convenient handle to pitch a tarp
Paint is gone on most of the pole I don't really use the cord loops
when walking, but they are handy for hanging the poles, secure them
around my wrists when taking pictures or looking at the map, etc.
I must admit I haven't taken any special care of them: at the end of
each trip, I usually fold them so I can put them in or outside my pack
to travel back home (by train more often), where I conveniently
"forget" all about them til next trip.
Consequently, a few years ago, I was very annoyed because the
expanders didn't work properly any more: however much I twist a pole
section clockwise, the expander didn't lock. I intended to have all
the expanders changed, but my local retailer didn't have the right
size (Leki seems to use 3 different expander sizes,depending on the
poles model) and told me to dismantle the poles and wash them
thoroughly to get rid of all the dirt; I did this and it worked
perfectly! So now, I just give them a good wash from time to time, and
don't have to worry about this problem any more.
The cracking which appeared on one of the poles sleeve is another
matter: it doesn't appear to affect the strength of the pole, but the
two sections are not so tightly connected, and the damaged pole makes
a clicking noise each time I stick it, no matter how soft is the
ground. I would have liked to have the cracked sleeve changed, but the
retailer don't get spare... I confess the pole is not so noisy as to
bother me, but I've received some complaints from people I've been
The poles section has also lost a great deal of their paint,
especially in the places where one section slides inside the other,
and also where the lower section tends to knock against any obstacle
on the trail. However, there is no special corrosion signs on the
stripped parts; the "Stop" marks on the upper sides of the poles
sections disappeared a long time ago, but I'm used to adjust them to
the correct length so it doesn't bother me.
Likes and dislikes
These poles are the only one I've ever used, except when I've borrowed
someone else for a very short time, thus not long enough to form an
But I like their handle very much, as their design allow me to lean on
the poles and get the maximum support without putting strain on my
wrists; had I to buy a new pair of poles, I'd go for the same design.
In fact, the only thing bothering me... a little bit is that cracked
sleeve and the clicking noise it brings along; but as french retailers
don't seem able to provide spare parts, I'll go on with it...
As these poles are six years old, I wondered whether newer kind of
poles could be lighter; so, I just had a quick look on some
"ultralight poles" reviews on the BGT site, but my own Wanderfreund
seem to be still in!
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