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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > Exped Alpine 140 Trekking Poles > Owner Review by Seth Quistad

Exped Alpine 140 Trekking Poles
Owner Review by Seth Quistad
May 22, 2011

Personal Details and Backpacking Background
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
Weight: 176 lb (80 kg)
Email address: squistad at hotmail dot com
City, State, Country: Zürich, Switzerland
Backpacking Background: I spend most of my backpacking time in terrain ranging from treks in the Alps, to Mediterranean coastal trips, with the main emphasis being on family adventure trekking. We always hike as three, with my wife and now 7-year old son. That leads to a very special kind of ultralight backpacking, Exped Alpine 140 (left) with its smaller cousin, the Alpine 125where the emphasis is on light weight and full protection from the elements.



Product

Manufacturer: Exped AG (Switzerland)

Website:  www.exped.com
Year of manufacture: 2009
Year of Purchase: 2009
MSRP: CHF 139
Material: DAC Featherlight TH72M aluminum, ecologically anodized
Included Baskets: 2.2“ / 55 mm summer, 3.1“ / 80 mm all round and 4.3“ / 110 mm winter powder basket
Length: Packed 24” / 61 cm. Extended length between 41-55” / 105-140 cm.
Weight: Listed: 7.23 oz / 205 g per pole. Measured: 7.58 oz / 215 gram per pole with no basket.
Basket weight per pair: small: 1.06 oz / 30 g, medium: 1.76 oz / 50 g, large: 2.65 oz / 75 g.



Brief description

The Exped Alpine 140 trekking poles are extremely lightweight and robust trekking poles with anodized aluminum shafts, foam grip handles, and microfiber backed wrist straps. They are collapsible in three sections. The locking mechanism, unique to Exped, consists of spring loaded pins that click into slots for the first two pole sections, and, and more traditional screw locking system between the top two. This screw lock is graduated in 5 cm / 2” increments, with noticeable clicks on each line. Exped claims that this also acts as a safety feature in the event of a loose screw lock, so the pole will only collapse 5 cm / 2”.

Exped is an innovative Swiss company that in addition to a thoughtfully varied line of very light trekking poles, offer a variety of backcountry products.

When looking for trekking poles, I tried to find the lightest poles possible that would extend to the length I needed, and be rugged enough for me to not worry about banging them around a little. I was also happy to find the price of the Expeds, at least in Switzerland, to be very competitive.

The click lock system of the bottom pole

Field use:

I have used the Alpine 140 in several day hikes in the Swiss Alps, and most notably on a five day coastal hike along the Amalfi Coast just south of Naples, Italy. This route consists of literally tens of thousands of stairs snaking up and down through various villages built into the cliffs.
In the winter, I have used them with snowshoes on several occasions, for day hikes and the occasional overnighter. I have also used the Alpine 140 as a support for a small poncho tarp, mostly for short stops where a temporary shelter is needed.



Observations


Let me start this review with a short ode to trekking poles in general. Here in Switzerland, everyone from children to grandmothers use them on a daily basis, not only in the mountains, but around the town as well. In a country that is dominated by the Alps, I find this to be a strong testimony to the added stability and comfort that trekking poles provide. I find my balance and endurance to be improved with the use of poles, and also have a set of very grateful knees. Also a word to parents: my 7 year old son and his junior trekking partners love having hiking poles, and seem to walk much better and more rhythmically with them. I have found, however, that swinging heavy poles, or worse yet, carrying the heavy poles for both my son and myself when not in use, is a very big nuisance.

The Expeds are definitely one solution to this problem. They are light enough that I really notice the difference in swing weights, and don't mind strapping sticks for the whole family on my back. I can now finish a long day without tired arms, a problem with previous poles I have used.  I was initially concerned about the durability of the click system, but have not had any problems yet with the three pairs that are in our family. The click system does have the advantage of being very easy to deploy, while saving weight. Often in the field, I will leave the upper screw adjustment in place, and only collapse the push button bottom section to stow the poles. Taking them back out is a simple click, click. The upper screw lock system also generally works well, although I have occasionally not tightened it enough, and it has slipped. I also suspect that it may work itself loose occasionally.
The adjustment section.  There is a definite click at each demarcation line.
I have also found that I can collapse the click lock section of the pole and extend only the upper adjustable section to make a shorter pole for my son, or in the event that I need a shorter support for my tarp. In this way I have the full range between 24” / 61 cm and 55” /140 cm. I have not noticed any undue wear and tear due to use in this manner.

I find the foam handles very comfortable, and good with sweating hands. They also extend down the body of the Alpine 140's to facilitate different had positions without having to readjust the length of the pole. I especially like the comfort of the wrist straps. They are lined with a padded microfiber, and very accommodating. I do wish that the wrist straps could adjust to be a little smaller. I seem to always have them tightened down to the maximum, and I am a relatively large person. The large wrist straps do accommodate gloves very well.

The 3 different size baskets provided with the Alpine 140 (and with all Exped poles) provide a solution for most situations. Although in general, I hike with no baskets at all, I can attest at least that the snow baskets do their job. They do add a significant amount of weight to the bottom of the pole, but I must admit it has been the least of my worries when in the backcountry on snowshoes.  The smaller basket sizes could be good for walking in sandy/muddy conditions, while the middle size could provide a good all around support, or be used on packed snow.


The Exped 140's are definitely a solid trekking pole. They are very rigid, and have supported my weight through several falls, even at strange angles. Exped claims on their website that these poles are also for backcountry skiing. I am not a skier, so cannot comment on the forces a ski pole undergoes, but I would hesitate before doing anything really extreme with them as with any lightweight equipment.

As a general summary of the Exped Alpine 140 Trekking Poles, I would say that I like:

The light weight
The quick click system
The comfort of the foam handles and wrist strap
The price

I like less:

The screw adjustment comes loose unless I really tighten it well
The wrist strap is a little large for my hands
The fact that the listed weight is less than the actual, usable weight for these poles, especially with a basket attached.

I have been very happy with all aspects of these poles overall, and look forward to using them for many treks to come.  They have convinced me that the benefits to my knees and added stability more than compensates for the minimal extra weight that they add to my kit.



Read more reviews of Exped gear
Read more gear reviews by Seth Quistad

Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > Exped Alpine 140 Trekking Poles > Owner Review by Seth Quistad



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