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Trekking poles; Folding or telescoping?

Viva Terlingua

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Partial Frances (2018)
Full Frances 2022 (May-Jun)
At first glance it may appear that folding poles breakdown into a smaller package, but that's not entirely true. The folding poles will be shorter of course, but they are bulkier since there are 3 pieces instead of one collapsed pole. So, if you put them in the side pocket of your pack, the telescoping poles will stick above the top of your pack but the folders will take more room in the pocket. Many Osprey packs have trekking pole holders, which I don't think would work so well with folding poles.

Assuming you can't get your poles through TSA anyway and don't need to store them completely in your pack, which style is people's preference and why?
 
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LakeMcD

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 15' Portuguese 16' GR10/Norte/Primitivo 17' Chemin LePuy 18' Salvador/Prim/Kerry Way 19'
At home I love my folding Black Diamond poles. When I need them on an international trip the telescoping is usually more plentiful and affordable, especially if they get taken at the airport. I set them up and use them (flats and uphill) similar to xc ski poles and plant them at an angle well behind my outstretched hand to aid in forward propulsion.
 

pitztop

Solvitur ambulando
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 - Camino de Levante
At first glance it may appear that folding poles breakdown into a smaller package, but that's not entirely true. The folding poles will be shorter of course, but they are bulkier since there are 3 pieces instead of one collapsed pole. So, if you put them in the side pocket of your pack, the telescoping poles will stick above the top of your pack but the folders will take more room in the pocket. Many Osprey packs have trekking pole holders, which I don't think would work so well with folding poles.

Assuming you can't get your poles through TSA anyway and don't need to store them completely in your pack, which style is people's preference and why?
Although I have used folding poles in the past, I am now using telescoping poles for two reasons:

1. I've become a fan of Pacer Poles (http://pacerpole.com). All their models are telescoping.
2. I have an Osprey backpack with a trekking pole holder, which works very well with telescoping poles. I'm not sure how it would hold folding poles.

My Osprey pack is long enough to pack my Pacer Poles entirely inside, allowing me to check my backpack as baggage when I travel by plane.
 
F

Former member 91017

Guest
I forget how many Osprey packs I have (different seasons, different reasons). I use the pole-holder just fine on each pack with my folding poles. It’s a bungee cord, after all. In fact, I find that the folding poles create just enough tension in the cord *not* to slip the way my telescoping poles used to. I won’t go back to telescoping poles after mine became stuck in the full length position on Camino because of the dust that jammed the sliding mechanism in a manner that could not be fixed “out there”.
 

Viva Terlingua

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Partial Frances (2018)
Full Frances 2022 (May-Jun)
I won’t go back to telescoping poles after mine became stuck in the full length position on Camino because of the dust that jammed the sliding mechanism in a manner that could not be fixed “out there”.
Were they twist lock or clip lock? It's hard to picture how the clip lock poles could get jammed.
 
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Icacos

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
… I won’t go back to telescoping poles after mine became stuck in the full length position
I found I didn’t have the strength to tighten the mechanism enough to hold under pressure, nor the strength to loosen it if it was tightened enough. But those were old poles; perhaps the newer telescoping poles no longer use the tightening and untightening mechanism.
 
F

Former member 91017

Guest
Were they twist lock or clip lock? It's hard to picture how the clip lock poles could get jammed.
Honestly... I forget. They were whatever I could buy in the small outfitter in SJPdP. By mid-meseta they were no longer "height adjustable" (I had been altering them for long ascents or descents).

Now I have the "double grip" that allows me to drop or raise my hand for the ascent/descent adjustment purpose, and the folding style that never jam. Also, mine are so light-weight as to be almost absurd. My hiking buddy here at home has some BS telescoping... and picked up my FLK-Z poles the other day. On arriving home she went *immediately* to get the FLK-Z's for her coming St. Cuthbert's trip.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
I have used Leki poles (telescoping to a degree) for about 25 years. When the locking mechanism of one pole of my first set failed, Leki gave me instructions on how to fix. When that didn't work, they replaced both of my old poles. That made me a Leki customer for life.

Oh yes, after starting to use trekking poles, I became a believer - I would never hike any distance without them.
 

Sanman

Walk for Nature
Time of past OR future Camino
Via Pondiensa, Francis, Portugal, West Highland W,
I have used both. The clasp on my telescope poles kept loosening making them almost useless when pressure was applied. I switched to collapsing which yes while bulkier still work with my Osprey. They are carbon and i prefer them.
 
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Colin S.

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
(2020)
I used to use telescoping poles, but now use Kompferdell Carbon folding poles. They are great, super light, and fold down quite small. The only thing is they are decently expensive, so I would never risk taking them carry-on and having them confiscated, so they are only useful to me when I am checking my bags.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
At first glance it may appear that folding poles breakdown into a smaller package, but that's not entirely true. The folding poles will be shorter of course, but they are bulkier since there are 3 pieces instead of one collapsed pole. So, if you put them in the side pocket of your pack, the telescoping poles will stick above the top of your pack but the folders will take more room in the pocket. Many Osprey packs have trekking pole holders, which I don't think would work so well with folding poles.

Assuming you can't get your poles through TSA anyway and don't need to store them completely in your pack, which style is people's preference and why?
None of this makes much sense to me, perhaps because none of these things are key distinctions in the market. Four section telescoping poles can be shorter than similar three section folding poles, and there are folding poles with a telescoping top section that allows for a limited range of length adjustment.

And what is the issue with them sticking above the top of your pack? They should be in your hands from the moment you start walking until you stop, whether that's for a coffee, a meal or because you have finished walking for the day. Sure, if you feel twee about using them on hard surfaces in towns and urban areas, and cannot afford the ridiculously small cost to replace the rubber tips every so often, then attaching them to your pack where you can start using them again without having to take your pack off might just be excusable. And I will make an exception for end of the day shopping and sightseeing. But in the main, you are getting no benefit from having them in your pack, only adding unnecessarily to the weight of your pack on your back.
 
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Hiawatha

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
Via Francigena 2019
Twist locks can be maddening , loose one moment and impossibly tight the next , even after adjustment .
I use Black Diamond lever lock , telescoping alloy poles for rough bush walks . They never jam or slip and can be fine tuned easily without tools , well worth the small extra expense over other alloy models.
For long Camino walks the light weight , comfort and small collapsed size of Carbon Z poles is hard to beat .
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Have completed through Agosta
I have used both kinds. I never thought I would like folding, but Leki makes a great set and I am a believer. I only break them down to pack inside the pack.
 
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ukjohn99

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2009 St Jean to Santiago
Although I have used folding poles in the past, I am now using telescoping poles for two reasons:

1. I've become a fan of Pacer Poles (http://pacerpole.com). All their models are telescoping.
2. I have an Osprey backpack with a trekking pole holder, which works very well with telescoping poles. I'm not sure how it would hold folding poles.

My Osprey pack is long enough to pack my Pacer Poles entirely inside, allowing me to check my backpack as baggage when I travel by plane.
I agree about the Pacer poles. I used a pair of carbon ones on my Camino. Occasionally I'd catch one in a drain grating but they always survived and I still have and use them. They help with my stride and make me more secure on rough ground. One also acts as a monopod for a camera. Wonderful poles.
 

Oddyspapa

My soul is staying on the way, always.
Time of past OR future Camino
Full CF (May/Jun of 2014, 2018 )
Full CF+Finisterre (2016 May/Jun)
Will go again 2020
My wife and me were using Black Diamond ultralight carbon folding poles for last three Camino. It is very light and had no issue of TSA or even some albergues where ask to leave poles at the entrance.
 

Lleslie

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino Via Podiensis (2018)
My telescoping poles are Fairydown - pre Macpac! Still going strong and I take them apart completely to fit in my 30L pack - wrapping the ends in plastic wrap and reassembling on arrival.
 
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Were they twist lock or clip lock? It's hard to picture how the clip lock poles could get jammed.

I used twist lock for the first several years. And found either the freezing of other disintegration of the mechanism each season.

Switched to clip lock two years ago. Each clip has an adjustable screw to re-tighten as needed. The originals poles are still good and have not needed adjusting.

For air travel I separate to put inside my pack, which in turn is inside a bag-liner come carry bag with a handle.

Kia kaha
 

jsalt

Jill
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
My telescoping poles (twist action) would sometimes fail me, when I needed them most, when I put pressure on them downhill. OR, the opposite, when I tried to telescope them down, they would stick and not budge, and I had to find a STRONG MAN to unstick them for me :eek: . So I threw them away and bought folding poles and I would never go back now to telescoping ones.
 

J F Gregory

Camino Frances April 2023
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016, Portuguese 2021, Frances 2 2023
I use folding polls. I fold them put them in a package and stick them in the middle of my backpack and I have never had an issue taking them on any airplane. I travel internationally several times a year and always take my walking poles.
 

MaidinBham

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances SJPP to Muxia, April (2014)
Camino Portuguese Lisbon>Santiago, April/May (2016)
Only ever used one brand of trekking poles and that's Black Diamond carbon z poles fold to ~ 12" weigh less than 16 ounces, and never had a problem at airports or when boarding airplane with my carry-on backpack.
 

J F Gregory

Camino Frances April 2023
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016, Portuguese 2021, Frances 2 2023
Only ever used one brand of trekking poles and that's Black Diamond carbon z poles fold to ~ 12" weigh less than 16 ounces, and never had a problem at airports or when boarding airplane with my carry-on backpack.
I use Cnoc carbin z poles and had them for about 6 years. I also put them in my pack back and carry them on with no issues. I have traveled with then to 2 Caminos, Iraq, Liberia and several other European countries.
 
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