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REPOST: OR - GG Lightrek 4 poles, Lori Pontious

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  • 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 1 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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