Leki: The Trekking Pole of Choice

You're decending from a tough climb, you're tired, sweaty, and excited to get into camp... which is just a mile away; needless to say, you're moving as quickly as you can. As you're coming down, your toe catches on a root you couldn't see and SMACK! The weight from your pack pushes you into the ground face first. Wouldn't have happened if you had trekking poles! And which ones should you get? I had the Thermolite Aeregon Antishock, but really, any from Leki will do.

When I first started the Appalachian Trail, I went without poles thinking I am a fit, young guy, I'll be alright. However, the third day I got myself a pair at Mountain Crossings in Georgia. When climbing, it takes about 15% of your pack weight off your back and funnels it through your arms and poles. However, the most important (in my opinion) part of having these poles is the stability you get from it. Four legs are more stable than two, and thats what these do for you -- become an extension of your arm. I can't tell you how many times they saved my behind from meeting the ground because of a hidden slippery root, some ice, or just flat out negligence.

With Leki, you get a great product, but more so, great customer service. If they ever break, crack, or bend, all you have to do is send them back and you will get a brand spankin new set. Most outfitters even carry spare parts for Leki near trails so theres no waiting involved. One of my poles bent after getting trapped between two rocks, and I was able to go to the next outfitter and get a replacement piece for free.

On my set, there were small shock absorbers -- to be honest, not really sure if they did all that much, so I wouldn't pay an extra fee for that unless you really pound them in the ground often. They were easy to open and close, store, and comfortable in the hand. While $120 can seem steep for a pair of trekking poles, Andy tried taking the cheap way out. Lets just say his trekking poles looked like a car that was in a 20 car pileup halfway into the trip while mine looked like one off the lot new. Plus, with a lifetime warranty, you'll never need to pay for new ones anyway!

All in all, Leki is a great brand and great people. Their products work, and end up becoming a part of your body... hiking without them now is just weird.