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  • Roger Caffin
    EDIT: GOSSAMER GEAR LIGHTREK 4 TREKKING POLES Hi Lori Welcome to BGT. This is a very good start. I have some small edits for you to fix, and these are listed
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 21, 2010
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      Hi Lori

      Welcome to BGT. This is a very good start. I have some small edits for you
      to fix, and these are listed below. Please do not be offended by the terse
      manner used in spelling out the edits: that's just how I find it easiest to
      list them.

      When you have fixed these matters please REPOST the plain text of your OR
      here on this channel.
      At the same time would you please put the new HTML version in the Tests /
      Owner Reviews folder on BGT. Including the URL for the HTML file in the Test
      folder with all subsequent ones makes my life easier. It is now a
      requirement that we check the HTML version for various things like a
      clickable manufacturer's URL and some details of the layout before giving
      approval, and it is also a requirement that you provide the URL to help us
      Editors find your file. We are often editing several ORs at a time and are
      easily confused.

      All Test Reports require photos of the gear. While we do not insist on the
      inclusion of photos in your first Owner Review, we do strongly encourage you
      to do so. Your second Owner Review will require the inclusion of photos
      anyhow. As I am sure you will know, pictures convey so much more information
      when used in conjunction with the text. If you have trouble with the
      pictures, and especially with the 'ALT' tags, let me know. The problem is
      well-known and easily fixed.

      Edit Conventions
      Many Editors use the following convention in listing their edits and
      EDIT: you must fix this to comply with BackpackGearTest standards,
      Edit: you should seriously consider fixing this in some way,
      Comment: usually just that, although you might want to make a change as a
      However, if you think I have got something wrong or that what I am
      criticising is actually a matter of personal writing style, feel free to say
      so. Personal style is accepted, as long as it is reasonably clear what you

      Unit Conversions
      The BGT web site does have a units convertor which can be used when
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      all conversions in a realistic manner - in this case 68 F is suitable.

      If you are not sure exactly how to get going, we have an excellent Mentor
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      Rules and Regulations
      In addition, you must take some time out to read through our Documentation
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      HTML Creation and Problems
      In some cases when editing the plain text of a review I find problems with
      the layout of the text version. This can happen when an HTML file is badly
      converted - possibly by Yahoo. If this seems to be a problem, you could
      consider trying one of the free HTML/text editors such as Note Tab Lite:
      this one has a good conversion tool built in for stripping out the html tags
      to create plain text. Some people who know nothing about HTML like the very
      point-and-click oriented NVU, although I don't. It mangles the underlying
      layout of text and HTML tags. Both can be found through Google.

      In other cases where there are serious HTML problems the source of the
      problems may be that you used MS Word to generate the HTML file. We have had
      extremely bad results from MS Word: in fact it has been responsible for most
      of the really bad layout problems I have ever seen. In particular it causes
      untold grief over the inclusion of pictures. Also, if you feed a cleaned-up
      HTML file through Word to fix just one small error, Word will usually
      completely rewrite the HTML into a ghastly mess. We strongly discourage you
      from using MS Word to create the HTML! However, if Word is all you have,
      please save the file as 'web page, filtered' rather than as 'web page' or
      XML. The filtering does help improve Word's efforts slightly. But our Report
      Writer is a better option.

      BGT Report Writer
      This is meant to make the process of creating BGT reports and test series as
      friendly as possible. The Report Writer enables the writer to create a
      report without knowing anything about HTML, or having to wrestle with
      workarounds in Word. It will assist you with the inclusion of photos as
      well. Even for those who are fully HTML-literate it can be handy. See
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/lesson.php?lesson=RR&page=1 for further
      information. It is highly recommended.

      Uploading to BGT
      When uploading your Owner Review to the indicated folder, please ensure you
      select the button marked 'Owner Review'. If you require assistance with your
      upload, please ask in our Yahoo support group,
      BGTFileUploadHelp@yahoogroups.com. You can access this also via
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGTFileUploadHelp/ . The most common upload
      failure involves a comment about missing <alt> tags, and this is usually due
      to the use of MS Word.

      Tester Agreement
      Before you can become a Tester with BGT you must sign the Tester Agreement.
      Basically, this is an undertaking to play by the rules and complete any Test
      series, or to return the gear if you can't. Sometimes things happen, and if
      you let us know UP FRONT we will understand. We do put family needs first.
      The single most important thing here is to COMMUNICATE!
      The agreement can be found at:

      The signed agreement should be forwarded to
      C Carnes
      18 E Earle Street
      Greenville, SC 29609

      If this is your second approved review and you have submitted a Tester
      Agreement which has been acknowledged, you are now eligible to participate
      in the testing process by applying for tests. Further details on this may be
      found at

      Applying for Tests
      You will also need to join the Yahoo group where the Tests are announced:
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      related to Tests and Testing takes place.

      Roger Caffin
      BGT Editor
      > NAME: Lori Pontious
      > EMAIL: lorister@...
      > AGE: 43
      > LOCATION: Fresno County
      > GENDER: F
      Edit: the font changes around between lines. it would be nice to have just
      one font.

      > trailheads over high passes (10,000 feet and higher),
      EDIT: metric pls

      > in between 8-25 miles/week (12.88 - 40.25 km/week),
      EDIT: 8-25 miles is rounded off appropriately. Round off the metric
      conversion to match: 12 - 40 km would suit.

      > I've probably put a cumulative total of 150+ miles on the Lightreks,
      EDIT: metric please

      > I hammock with a caternary cut tarp
      EDIT: catenary

      > I don't believe the Lightreks vibrate any more than the aluminum poles
      Comment: these sorts of observations are very valuable.
      > So light you just might lose them in a high wind or swift stream,
      > if you aren't careful.
      Edit: change from 'you' to 'I' - BGT rules.
    • Lori
      Thank you Roger for the edits... Repost html is here. http://tinyurl.com/lightrek I have discovered that the WYSIWYG html editors for OS X combined with the
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 23, 2010
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        Thank you Roger for the edits...

        Repost html is here.

        I have discovered that the WYSIWYG html editors for OS X combined
        with the upload process at BGT somehow adds mysterious, maddening
        line breaks in the middle of some of the code - I was finding that
        the font settings and image links were not sticking. Re-editing my
        HTML in BBEdit to remove these line breaks fixes the code, which
        otherwise appears perfectly normal. Some days I am reminded very
        strongly of the reasons I left the IT industry altogether....

        Plain text follows:

        By Lori Pontious

        July 14, 2010

        Tester Information

        NAME: Lori Pontious
        EMAIL: lorister@...
        AGE: 43
        LOCATION: Fresno County
        GENDER: F
        HEIGHT: 5' 7" (1.7 m)
        WEIGHT: 165 lb (75 kg)

        I backpacked, camped and fished all over the lower 48 states with my
        family as a kid, and then life happened. I restarted these activities
        about four years ago - I dayhike or backpack in California coastal
        ranges or the Sierra Nevada, 2-6 times a month. I am between light
        and ultralight. I have a hammock system and own a Tarptent. I am a
        side sleeper and typically use a NeoAir on the ground. My base weight
        depends upon season and where I go.
        Product information

        Manufacturer: Gossamer Gear

        Manufacturer URL:

        Year of purchase: 2009

        Pole materials: Carbon Fiber, imitation cork (EVA Kork-o-lon) handles

        Listed Weight: 3.4 oz each (96 g)

        Measured Weight: 3.4 oz each (96 g)

        Length, collapsed: 33 inches (83 cm)

        Length, max: 52 inches (132 cm

        MSRP: US $160.00

        Product Description

        The Gossamer Gear Lightrek 4 trekking poles (hereinafter the
        Lightreks or poles) were a purchase I made after much consideration
        of various brands and types of locks. I already had other Gossamer
        Gear merchandise, and already had a favorable opinion of the company
        as a result. I ordered in early spring of 2009 and quickly received
        the poles in the mail.

        When the poles arrived in the sturdy cardboard tube, I was impressed
        by the weight difference between my prior aluminum set of poles and
        the Lightreks. I got the poles in matte black; the other color choice
        was Khyber camo. The spiral wrap to reinforce the carbon fiber is
        noticeable on the bottom section of each pole. The 6 inch (15.2 cm)
        grips fit comfortably in my hands, though they were larger in
        diameter than those on my previous poles. Along with the poles came a
        small bag of what appeared to be spare bits - gaskets, I think. The
        poles collapse to 33 inches (84 cm). They can be extended and locked
        all the way out, to 52 inches (132 cm), to the point that the rubber
        cylinder that expands to form the lock is nearly at the edge of the
        top section; while I would not expect them to support weight at this
        length it can be handy for extending my reach to push or lift some
        small item from a precarious place. Also in the packing tube were the
        baskets, which I put on with some force required to get them in place
        against the lip on the pole tip.

        The twist locks are unlike others I have examined. Upon initial
        examination I was somewhat disbelieving -- could it really be as
        simple as a rubber tube on a screw? Apparently it can be. The rubber
        cylinder screws down against the pole end and expands to lock the
        sections in place.

        IMAGE 1

        The logo of Gossamer Gear was painted on the top section, which came
        in handy as people would ask me about the poles, pick them up, and
        exclaim in surprise then ask where I got them and carefully copy down
        the company name. There are small orange Spectra loops at the bases
        of the handle - I initially thought for the usual wide wrist straps
        but really for a loop of cord so I won't have to worry about dropping
        and losing the pole.

        IMAGE 2

        My initial concerns were durability and the lack of straps. I've
        heard many stories of carbon fiber poles shattering or splintering.
        Also, the proper use of Nordic trekking poles practically mandates
        straps of adequate width for supporting the wrists, and this was how
        I used my previous pair of poles. (Note: Later in the year straps
        were made available for Lightrek 4 poles; I considered retrofitting
        but did not do so, more on this later.)
        Field Data

        I hike mainly in the Sierra Nevada, sometimes on the California Coast
        or in lower elevation parks and wilderness areas within the interior
        ranges of California, such as Henry Coe State Park or Pinnacles
        National Monument. I have been doing a lot of trail hiking but in
        some areas (Ventana Wilderness is a good example) the trail
        conditions vary greatly and I may be facing a wade through vegetation
        or a climb over (or crawl under) a downed tree. I frequently carry a
        bear canister due to the habituated bear problems in the Sierra,
        especially in National Parks. I have been participating in our local
        search and rescue team and this takes me off trail, sometimes
        crawling through deadfall, avalanche chutes, or dense manzanita and
        buck brush. My leisure backpacking outings take me from low to mid
        elevation trailheads over high passes (10,000 feet / 3048 meters and
        higher), through forested, subalpine and alpine terrain. If I use a
        piece of gear it gets a workout - I am not intentionally rough on
        things, but I try to find things that will survive my klutzy tendencies.


        Since their purchase the Lightreks have gone out with me nearly every
        time I hiked. I am part of a large hiking group and frequently
        dayhike and backpack with friends from that group. My usual activity
        level results in between 8-25 miles/week (12 - 40 km/week), either
        dayhiking or backpacking, with the exception of December 2009, when I
        was ill for most of the month.

        I hammock with a catenary cut tarp and have used the Lightreks to set
        up the tarp in a more open awning style; the twist lock mechanism and
        the poles themselves have stood up to some taut pitches of the tarp
        in this fashion, and also to the tarp pitched as a ground shelter. In
        one instance, over the Fourth of July weekend in 2009, this led to
        marmots chewing on the handles. Gossamer Gear replaced them for free,
        which was above and beyond -- I fully expected to pay for new
        handles. Since this incident I have taken to dunking the handles in
        streams, to wash off accumulated sweat (salt) that animals might want
        to chew at, in hopes of avoiding another handle replacement.

        Upon receiving the poles with new handles I discovered that one of
        the twist locks began to fail - turn and turn, no lock. With a
        previous set of poles this was a big problem; once the twist lock
        failed, I could not find a way to fix it or to find someone at the
        manufacturer to call or email about the issue. With Gossamer Gear, my
        email was returned on the same day, and after some discussion of the
        symptoms, a new lower pole section was mailed to me. I was also
        informed that if the pole fails to lock, one can pull the sections
        apart and roll the rubber stopper down the screw on the end of the
        lower section to facilitate the locking of the pole. This worked
        consistently while the new pole section was in the mail and allowed
        me to take the poles dayhiking on schedule.

        In late 2009 I acquired an ultralight tent that can be set up with
        trekking poles, and have used the Lightreks on backpacking outings in
        January, March, April and May 2010 for trips of 1-3 nights with this
        tent. Again, the poles held up to a nice taut pitch very well without

        These poles have been put in the trunk or the floorboard of my car,
        under or alongside full packs and bags. Perhaps I should have put
        them in the travel tube. They held up to this treatment anyway -- I
        did pay attention and try to put them to the side of heavy objects
        rather than under them, but the travel tube remained in the closet
        unused, since I would run out the door with pack and poles and forget
        the tube existed. Infrequently I strapped the poles on the pack for a
        hands-and-feet scramble. On occasion after piling into the bed of a
        pickup for a ride I have intentionally weighted them down with my
        pack to avoid losing them.

        I've probably put a cumulative total of 150+ miles (242 km) on the
        Lightreks, with countless "saves" when a rock or stick rolled out
        from under my foot, plus the creek crossings and precarious deadfall-
        dodgings they have helped me through. I have discovered that a gust
        of wind can practically snatch them away and that a really deep and
        fast creek makes them difficult to plant firmly -- they do indeed
        float. To avoid the unpleasantness of losing one mid-hike, I
        fashioned closed end loops of some hollow core line left over from a
        guyline project and threaded them through the Spectra loops at the
        base of the handle, so I can keep them attached to my wrist even if
        they fall out of my hands.

        I found out, soon after starting to use the Lightreks, that I did not
        miss the wrist straps in the slightest. I am able to move the poles
        around in my hands rather than stop to shorten or lengthen them,
        grabbing at the bottom of the handles going uphill or palming the top
        on a steep downhill. I frequently forget that they are there and use
        them as if I were truly four-legged. Rather than constantly applying
        a "death grip" as I swing them, I am able to lightly hold them and
        place pressure on the handle as the carbide tip strikes the ground so
        the weight transfers to the pole.

        In talking to other hikers about trekking poles, I was surprised to
        learn, months after I first began to use the Lightreks, that carbon
        fiber poles have a reputation for a lot of vibration. My only prior
        experience with poles was with aluminum, and I had no idea that
        carbon fiber trekking poles were supposed to vibrate. I don't believe
        the Lightreks vibrate any more than the aluminum poles I used before.

        When I began to volunteer with Search and Rescue, the Lightreks went
        out with me initially. Since this is rough cross country work and not
        trail hiking, I was concerned again for the durability of the poles,
        even though they have taken my weight many times before. The poles
        have gone out on four trainings so far and survived with scratches
        but no fractures or breaks. They held up through an unexpected
        traverse/climb up a near-vertical slope covered with a deep bed of
        dry pine needles; I had them collapsed completely and planted them
        hard with each swing of the arm, using them to haul my 200 pounds
        (90.7 kilograms) of combined body and pack weight straight up the
        slope, praying every moment that I wouldn't lose footing and slide
        down the half mile (0.8 km) of slope I was trying to climb, bouncing
        off pine trees like a pinball. (I made it to the top unscathed.)

        I am switching to a single metal pole for SAR work after the
        Lightreks aided me in my vertical climb, because I do not want to
        continue to overstress the carbon fiber and beat up my favorite poles
        unnecessarily. I value them too much for leisure backpacking and have
        a cheaper metal pole to abuse. But it made it clear to me that these
        are some pretty tough poles.

        IMAGE 3

        I have worn most of the painted on logo off the top section on both
        poles. I love these poles. I don't expect them to last forever and I
        do expect that I will replace them with another pair of Lightreks
        some day. Between the customer service and the performance of the
        poles themselves, I have been quite a happy Lightrek 4 user.



        Grippy cork handles

        Excellent customer service/support

        Long extension and adjustability = good shelter support poles

        Locking mechanism holds under pressure


        So light they need to be held tightly on deep stream crossings or in
        gusts of wind.
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