EDIT: GOSSAMER GEAR LIGHTREK 4 TREKKING POLES - Lori Portious
- EDIT: GOSSAMER GEAR LIGHTREK 4 TREKKING POLES
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
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
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.
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
The BGT web site does have a units convertor which can be used when
converting between imperial and metric. Please note that while the convertor
is accurate, it very often gives more decimal places than can possibly be
justified. For instance, it may convert 20 C to 68.00 F. Please round off
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
program. It was established to help all newcomers through the somewhat
confusing process of becoming gear testers, and to make sure they understand
the 'rules'. Mentoring is also available for veteran testers who'd like to
get some feedback on their test applications or test reports. Whatever stage
you're at the Mentors are here to help. If you'd like a Mentor, please
contact the Mentor Coordinator (mentor@...) and please
include "Mentor Request" in your subject line.
Rules and Regulations
In addition, you must take some time out to read through our Documentation
pages to understand just what we are about, and what rules there are for our
operations. You be required to state that you have read these and will
comply with them when you apply for a Test. These pages are found at
http://www.backpackgeartest.org/requirements.php. This is at least the
second generation of our rules: they have evolved over time, but we try to
keep them as simple and as plain as possible. If you find any problems with
them, let us know.
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.
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
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
Applying for Tests
You will also need to join the Yahoo group where the Tests are announced:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/backpackgeartesters/ This is where everything
related to Tests and Testing takes place.
> NAME: Lori PontiousEdit: the font changes around between lines. it would be nice to have just
> EMAIL: lorister@...
> AGE: 43
> LOCATION: Fresno County
> GENDER: F
> 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 tarpEDIT: catenary
> I don't believe the Lightreks vibrate any more than the aluminum polesComment: these sorts of observations are very valuable.
> So light you just might lose them in a high wind or swift stream,Edit: change from 'you' to 'I' - BGT rules.
> if you aren't careful.
- 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:
GOSSAMER GEAR LIGHTREK 4 TREKKING POLES
By Lori Pontious
July 14, 2010
NAME: Lori Pontious
LOCATION: Fresno County
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.
Manufacturer: Gossamer Gear
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
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.