Below is my FR. I look forward to your edits and suggestions.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have had the opportunity to use the trekking poles on two long weekend
hikes and several day hikes. My first long weekend hike was spent on a
portion of the Quehanna Trail in Central Pennsylvania. It was a 20
mile (32 km) hike over rolling terrain that included a few steep ascents
and descents. The trail was mostly wet and muddy after several rains
but it was well traveled and easy to navigate. On this hike my pack
weighed approximately 35 lbs (16 kg).
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "Snow Covered
Trail">>My second long weekend hike was taken in the Allegheny National
Forest in mid-December. We camped at a spot several miles from the
trailhead on the first night. We woke up to temperatures below 10 F
(-12 C) and a few inches of snow. That morning as we drove the short
distance to the trailhead we began to notice that the snow accumulation
was drastically increasing as we gained altitude. After some
treacherous four-wheel driving along unplowed forest service roads, we
reached the trailhead to find the trail covered with two feet (61 cm) of
snow with much higher drifts along the way. After debating for a bit
about whether we should attempt it or not, I adjusted my poles and we
hit the trail. This hike was intended to be a short hike with low mile
days and a lot of camp time as we had a first time backpacker with us.
It turned out to be one of the longest 12 mile (19 km) hikes I ever took
and probably the first and only hike our new backpacking friend will do.
The trail generally rolled gradually but there were a few quick, steep
climbs and descents. My pack on this trip weighed approximately 35 lbs
I took a few day hikes in Cook Forest State Park in Western Pennsylvania
and one on the Minister Creek Trail in the Allegheny National Forest.
The terrain on these trails was similar to the trails I took my longer
hikes on with the exception of some rock filled areas on the Minister
I would estimate the poles have been used for 40 miles of hiking.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "Poles Near
Snow Drift">>On all of my hikes the trekking poles performed excellent.
This being my first experience using hiking poles, I can't believe I
have hiked without them for this long. What a difference these made.
Being new to hiking with trekking poles, I adjusted them often to find
the right fit. I found that these poles were very easy to adjust, even
with my gloves on. The FlickLocks were a snap to use. Once I found the
perfect height, I moved along with the poles like I have used them
At several points during my hikes I encountered stream crossings. I
used the poles to stabilize myself as I hopped from rock to rock. The
poles did not slip on the wet rocks and they held my weight with ease as
I landed. At no point did I feel like the poles could not support my
weight and I began to trust them more and more as I hiked.
On the steeper climbs and descents, using the poles to shift my weight
onto was great. It is like taking several pounds out of your pack.
This proved to be invaluable during my hike through the deep snow. I
was saved several times from falls because of the poles. In addition to
preventing some nasty spills, while hiking over some areas of blow down
and rocks covered by deep snow, the poles were a great tool for sticking
in the snow out ahead of where I was stepping to make sure there was
solid ground underneath. At the end of the hiking days when I reached
camp there was a noticeable difference in the amount of knee and ankle
soreness that I usually experience. I noticed a difference even on my
day-hikes with a very light pack on.
To this point I have found the grips to be very comfortable. I have had
hiking partners complain of blisters from their hiking pole grips so I
was a little concerned about that on my first trip out. I can report
that I experienced no such issues. I have not found a situation where I
felt I needed to use the lower grips yet. The wrist straps are a breeze
to use and they do not cause any discomfort.
I was surprised at how well the FlickLocks kept the poles at the heights
I set them to. Even after a few slips on the ice when most of my weight
was on them they held strong. For as light as these poles feel I am
amazed at how sturdy they are.
The one thing that I'm not sure about is the shock absorber. I can't
say that I noticed it working at all in a good or bad way. If I try to
specifically compress it by putting a lot of weight down on it I can
feel it move, however for my general hiking use I have not noticed it
function. I will pay closer attention to it going forward.
Being that this is my first time using trekking poles I do not have a
lot to compare them to however one negative issue I noticed was
vibration. When I was hiking on solid surfaces I could feel vibrations
ring up the poles as they struck the ground. I will keep an eye on this
going forward to see if it continues.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "Trying to Find
the Trail">>So far the trekking poles have been great. They will
definitely be required equipment on all of my future hikes.
<ul><li> Extremely sturdy</li>
<li>Grips and wrist straps are very comfortable</li>
<li>Easy to adjust</li>
<li>Great grip on trail surfaces</li>
<li>Hold the adjusted height very well</li></UL>
<ul><li>Vibration runs up the pole when it strikes hard
<u>Unsure About Yet</u>
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