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Trekking Poles Selection

barbaravan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy en Velay, Arles, Future plans Vezelay
Please be aware that the REI Carbon Power Lock Women's Trekking Poles are packaged with a message hidden under the rubber basket that says that the locking mechanism must be tightened with a screwdriver and re-tighted over time. Since the message is unreadable (hidden) and since my Black Diamond poles had lasted for over 2000 miles and never needed tightening and never collapsed, I did not carry a screw driver on my last long distance walk. My REI poles collapsed on me and I ended up with a concussion. I tried to state this on the REI website but they won't allow me to post a criticism of their poles.…I am not saying not to buy these trekking poles only that they need tightening and re-tightening with a screw driver along the way. (REI poles are made by Komperdell in Austria)

When I posted this on other sites people commented that some flip lock poles do need tightening (and re-tightening). My poles were fine for about 150 miles. These poles should have been checked and rechecked probably once a week and I would have needed to carry a screwdriver.

I do not know which brand of poles have the most durable flip lock mechanism (my Black Diamonds have been fantastic but I don't have other data) -- maybe somebody else knows? Obviously for long distance walkers flip lock trekking poles that maintain their lock over time are very important.
 

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sbauc

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Please be aware that the REI Carbon Power Lock Women's Trekking Poles are packaged with a message hidden under the rubber basket that says that the locking mechanism must be tightened with a screwdriver and re-tighted over time. Since the message is unreadable (hidden) and since my Black Diamond poles had lasted for over 2000 miles and never needed tightening and never collapsed, I did not carry a screw driver on my last long distance walk. My REI poles collapsed on me and I ended up with a concussion. I tried to state this on the REI website but they won't allow me to post a criticism of their poles.…I am not saying not to buy these trekking poles only that they need tightening and re-tightening with a screw driver along the way. (REI poles are made by Komperdell in Austria)

When I posted this on other sites people commented that some flip lock poles do need tightening (and re-tightening). My poles were fine for about 150 miles. These poles should have been checked and rechecked probably once a week and I would have needed to carry a screwdriver.

I do not know which brand of poles have the most durable flip lock mechanism (my Black Diamonds have been fantastic but I don't have other data) -- maybe somebody else knows? Obviously for long distance walkers flip lock trekking poles that maintain their lock over time are very important.
Thanks so much for your post. I was in REI today, looking at poles. Couldn't make a decision, so I plan to return. This info will help.
 

Latecomer

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VDLP (Sept 2015)

CF SJPDP-SdC+
(Sept/Oct 2018)
Sorry to hear about your injury!

I had similar poles (REI Carbon Composite Men's Power Lock Trekking Poles). I was quite happy with them - my favorite salesperson at REI showed me how to adjust them and recommended carrying a US Dime for this purpose (I did and it was the perfect tool). I found this important enough to include in my equipment review at (time marker 10:45):

Buen camino!
 

barbaravan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy en Velay, Arles, Future plans Vezelay
Sorry to hear about your injury!

I had similar poles (REI Carbon Composite Men's Power Lock Trekking Poles). I was quite happy with them - my favorite salesperson at REI showed me how to adjust them and recommended carrying a US Dime for this purpose (I did and it was the perfect tool). I found this important enough to include in my equipment review at (time marker 10:45):

Buen camino!


I wish my REI person had warned me. He did not. I wish the packaging had not hid this information but it does. Foolish as it sounds since my Black Diamond poles had always been so dependable, I never considered the REI poles loosening up after 150 or so miles.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Obviously for long distance walkers flip lock trekking poles that maintain their lock over time are very important.
I don't know of any mechanical locking mechanism like the flick lock that won't require some adjustment over its life to maintain its effectiveness.

I think I understand that there might have been a message in an obscure place, but it seems pretty clear to me that if an item has an accessible adjustment mechanism, it is because it might need adjustment from time to time.

I am using Komperdell poles at the moment, and any small coin that fits into the slot can be used instead of carrying a screwdriver. The last time I adjusted the lock, I was able to tighten it sufficiently with my fingers.

It certainly isn't an issue that would deter me from buying another set of Komperdell poles should I ever need to replace the one's I am using now.
 
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Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
I wish my REI person had warned me. He did not. I wish the packaging had not hid this information but it does. Foolish as it sounds since my Black Diamond poles had always been so dependable, I never considered the REI poles loosening up after 150 or so miles.
Have you tried to email REI about this issue as it could easily present a problem for someone else? Companies can be a bit precious at times but if it's something that could cause injury and could be rectified with better labelling and staff advice they would want to know. You bought the poles in good faith as being fit for purpose.

As for carrying a screwdriver, here's a credit card version of a Swiss Army knife that travels with me everywhere (check-in on planes). The multi screwdriver has many tales to tell of its adventures and rescues. The dime though is a great tool.

image.jpeg
 

barbaravan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy en Velay, Arles, Future plans Vezelay
Yes. I suppose having completed two 600 miles hikes and three 200 mile hikes plus lots and lots of day hikes with another set of poles without problems, I did not think these new poles would collapse in the first two hundred miles. I posted this because I thought that others also might not know. My Black Diamond poles which are flip lock do maintain their lock and I understand from posts on other sites that there is a variance in how poles maintain their lock -- but as I said I have not been able to find any data. Congratulations on being able to tighten these with your fingers -- I definitely could not do that....
 

barbaravan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy en Velay, Arles, Future plans Vezelay
Have you tried to email REI about this issue as it could easily present a problem for someone else? Companies can be a bit precious at times but if it's something that could cause injury and could be rectified with better labelling and staff advice they would want to know. You bought the poles in good faith as being fit for purpose.

As for carrying a screwdriver, here's a credit card version of a Swiss Army knife that travels with me everywhere (check-in on planes). The multi screwdriver has many tales to tell of its adventures and rescues. The dime though is a great tool.

View attachment 27145


Yes I have contacted REI many times. I have sent them pictures of the way the packaging hides the message. I have written a review which they have refused to post. I have explained that I have spent a year recovering from my concussion. I wish in their on-line product description they simply stated that the poles need to be tightened. All I can do now is post on various sites so that people like me who do not know that flip lock mechanism durability varies by manufacturer will know that with certain poles continual tightening is necessary.
 
J

Jas Asyiken

Guest
Sorry to hear about your accident. Hope you are better now.

Firstly, any telescopic equipment regardless of its locking mechanism will always subject to loosening although it's degree may vary. Cleaning and retightening are therefore necessary. Using retractable poles for walking is merely to enhance stability i.e. Nordic Walking while using it to ascend and descend (hiking nature) is to be able to totally support one's full weight so the type of usage also determines the degree of importance for maintenance.

I've been using the Komperdell Carbon for few years through harsh environment where falls could be catastrophic. What I do after every trek is to dismantle the poles completely, soak and wash them thoroughly. After drying, I wipe off any dusts and put them back. Retightening the screws is a necessary step in the process
although I do check the screw one more time pre-trip. And it lasts throughout the trip without further need for more. Note: the screws do loosen.

The problem with modern, more technical, lighter, more compact equipment is that they do require more care and attention i.e. more maintenance to keep its optimum performance. Alternatively, the non retractable poles will omit the fuss on maintenance significantly.
 

Terrri

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May/June 2013
September/October 2016
September/October 2019
Thank you for posting this to inform others.

I didn't use poles the first camino but plan to take them this fall because there were some times they would have been handy. I haven't given them much thought and haven't even tried them out yet. I have seen videos on their proper use but nothing about maintaining them. I might have realized this after I started using them but maybe I wouldn't have so thanks again.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
... I wish in their on-line product description they simply stated that the poles need to tightened. All I can do now is post on various sites so that people like me who do not know that flip lock mechanism durability varies by manufacturer will know that with certain poles continual tightening is necessary.
So what is it about the words 'feature a lightweight design and reliable, easily adjusted locking mechanisms', which I have just copied from the REI online product description, do you consider misleading? Clearly I cannot tell when those words were first used just by accessing the current site contents, but they are there now, and indicate to me that you might be expected to adjust the flick locks.

On the matter of whether one might need to use a screwdriver for the adjustment, I have tried both the 1 and 2 (euro) cent coins on my Komperdell and my wife's BD FLZ Distance flicklocks. Both coins fit into the Komperdell screw head, neither fit the BD screw head. You would need to carry a small screwdriver to adjust the latter should that be required.
 

Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
Yes I have contacted REI many times. I have sent them pictures of the way the packaging hides the message. I have written a review which they have refused to post. I have explained that I have spent a year recovering from my concussion. I wish in their on-line product description they simply stated that the poles need to be tightened. All I can do now is post on various sites so that people like me who do not know that flip lock mechanism durability varies by manufacturer will know that with certain poles continual tightening is necessary.
Given all your efforts that's really disappointing.

Having some experience in writing operating procedures and instructions, they are meant to be written so that they can be understood. Any safety issues are usually highlighted separately.

Many people buying trekking/walking poles are truly beginners and have no experience with their care or maintenance. Unless told about this at the time of purchase or by an experienced user, wrapping with its copious advertising is usually discarded. I know, I know but who reads instructions? Confession: I do but we have a saying in Australia if all else fails, read the instructions!

Then there's the issue of whether you are mechanically minded - or not. I know to maintain and adjust trekking poles only because I'm pedantic about reading instructions and fineprint. My husband knows because (in his own words) I'm a boy!

I'm grateful for the heads up and timely reminder to check on my own collection of trekking poles.

PS I have a pair of pacer poles which come with detailed and copious instructions on use, maintenance and adjustment.
 

vkbudd

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Primitivo (2016)
Please be aware that the REI Carbon Power Lock Women's Trekking Poles are packaged with a message hidden under the rubber basket that says that the locking mechanism must be tightened with a screwdriver and re-tighted over time. Since the message is unreadable (hidden) and since my Black Diamond poles had lasted for over 2000 miles and never needed tightening and never collapsed, I did not carry a screw driver on my last long distance walk. My REI poles collapsed on me and I ended up with a concussion...
Thanks for sharing your story. I have these poles as well, but have only just started using them in training for the Camino. They have collapsed (one at a time) a few times and not after very many miles. So far, the collapsing has only been an annoyance for me; it never occurred to me that it could lead to a major injury. Thanks for the warning!
 

REV

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2015 from Roncesvalles) Camino Portuguese (2015 from Tuí) Camino Inglés (2015 from Ferrol)
Given all your efforts that's really disappointing.

Having some experience in writing operating procedures and instructions, they are meant to be written so that they can be understood. Any safety issues are usually highlighted separately.

Many people buying trekking/walking poles are truly beginners and have no experience with their care or maintenance. Unless told about this at the time of purchase or by an experienced user, wrapping with its copious advertising is usually discarded. I know, I know but who reads instructions? Confession: I do but we have a saying in Australia if all else fails, read the instructions!

Then there's the issue of whether you are mechanically minded - or not. I know to maintain and adjust trekking poles only because I'm pedantic about reading instructions and fineprint. My husband knows because (in his own words) I'm a boy!

I'm grateful for the heads up and timely reminder to check on my own collection of trekking poles.

PS I have a pair of pacer poles which come with detailed and copious instructions on use, maintenance and adjustment.


Because this thread is entitled "TREKKING POLES SELECTION", I wish to underscore your reference to "pacer poles" aka "PacerPoles," which I enthusiastically recommend.

http://www.pacerpole.com

They can be obtained online from Britain. There are also YouTube videos showing how to use them. Their handles are quite different from other poles, and they are very comfortable to use.

I used PacerPoles last year for nearly 1000 miles on the Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese and Camino Ingles. Before that, I used them on a difficult hike in the highlands of Bali. I am 70+ . These poles have been a major contribution to both my safety and my comfort.

Here is a review I just found online:

http://sectionhiker.com/pacer-poles-why-arent-all-trekking-poles-this-good/

It begins:

"British-made Pacerpoles are far superior to the trekking poles you can buy in the United States. I’ve been testing a pair for nearly 2 months and I am a convert. They help me carry a backpack with better posture, prevent muscle soreness in my legs, and are much more resistant to bending and snapping than my current trekking poles.

The main difference between conventional poles and Pacerpoles is in the hand grip. It’s kind of hard to explain so I’ve shot this video to show you. Instead of a vertical pole grip, the Pacerpoles have a horizontal pistol style grip, where your thumb is positioned at a 45 degree angle to the ground and the ball of your hand is on the top of the pole. These two changes give you a much better mechanical advantage to use the poles for propulsion and lift, rather than just lateral stabilization like conventional hiking and trekking poles."

I suggest reading the entire review, which also includes:

"If you decide to take the plunge, Pacerpoles has an unlimited 30 day return policy which may or may not give you enough time to decide whether you like the differences or not. Either way, you really need to commit to these poles to get any benefit out of them." AND

"Conclusion
I am very impressed with the aluminum pair of Pacer Poles that I tested in this review and I’m glad I finally tried them. Honestly, I will probably buy a pair of my own rather than continue using Black Diamond trekking poles for three season hiking. The Pacerpole hand grip makes such a difference in my posture, walking speed, and stability that I can’t imagine settling for anything less. If you climb a lot of mountains, you should give Pacerpoles a try. I would recommend sticking with the aluminum ones, only because they will be more resistant to breaking and they are likely to still be usable if you bend them. I’ve snapped way more carbon fiber poles than I ever want to and don’t trust them in very rocky terrain."

My own discovery of PacerPoles was through this Forum, which I explained in an earlier post:

"I do not think I would have completed the Caminos without them, because I had several long stretches with a problem with my left leg. Others in my family have also used them with similarly positive experiences. I tried them after reading a lengthy thread asking something like "Does anyone NOT like PacerPoles?" They are made in the UK, and there is a 30 day trial period. Learning to use them is relatively easy. The instructions and the videos are reasonably straight-forward. With their special, angled grips for the left and right hands it is difficult to use them improperly."

In short, I think PacerPoles are worth considering.
 

barbaravan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy en Velay, Arles, Future plans Vezelay
Another note on trekking poles.. I just completed 450 miles on the southwest coast path of England -- a route with steep up hills and downhills that puts quite a demand on trekking poles.. I used my old black diamond trekking poles which brings their total mileage up to about 3000 miles. I have never once had to tighten or adjust the flip lock mechanism as one would do frequently with the REI poles. I am not recommending the black diamond poles as I am only talking about the flip lock mechanism but to anyone else out there who has used Trekking poles that never need tightening and switch to poles that always need tightening .. Please aware of this difference...collapsing poles last year were devastating for me. I have unsuccessfully searched for reviews of various flip lock mechanisms and have found none but obviously there are design differences for even experienced Trekkers to be aware.
 
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