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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > LEKI Ultralite Ti AirErgo SAS PA 2003 > Owner Review by Larry KirschnerOWNER REVIEW
Leki Ultralite Ti AirErgo Trekking Poles
Date of Review: 27 March 2007
Name: Larry Kirschner
Gender: M Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg) and falling (I hope)
Email address: email@example.com
City, State, Country: Columbus, OH USA
I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but now that my kids are avid Boy Scouts, I've caught the backpacking bug. I typically do a few weekend hikes per year, and have recently spent 2 weeks backpacking at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmarron, New Mexico. I like to travel "in comfort", so I often pack a little heavier than needed, but I'm trying to cut down. With all of my investment into this trip, I expect my wife and I will continue to trek long after the kids are gone…
Manufacturer: LEKI (www.leki.com)
Model: Ultralite Ti AirErgo PA AS
Year of manufacture: 2005
Listed weight: 18.5 oz (524 g)
Weight as delivered: 19 oz (540 g)
Length (for use): 110 - 135 cm (43 - 53 in)
Length (collapsed): 31 in (79 cm)
LEKI Ultralite Ti AirErgo PA AS Trekking Poles are a 2-year old version of LEKI's current versions, but they have the advantage of having many of the features that were incorporated into newer versions. Specifically, these are lightweight aluminum poles that weigh 19 oz (for the pair), and feature a rubberized grip over a cork underlayer on the handle. There is an adjustable strap about the handle, which can be shortened or lengthened depending on hand/wrist size. The foam grip extends approximately 10 inches (25 cm) down the top of the shaft of the pole, providing extra gripping surface in the event of the need for shortened poles. The handle also has a positive angle (PA) for comfort while hiking. Other notable features of these poles include the soft anti-shock system (SAS) and the easy lock system for height adjustment. On the bottom, the they come with a carbide flextips and small baskets. The poles themselves have three sections, and the height is adjusted by the easy lock system, which is a screw-driven expanding gasket to hold the poles at the proper setting. The LEKI website and printed materials encourages users to disassemble the poles after usage for cleaning purposes. The poles come with a lifetime warranty covering shaft breakage.
I have used my Leki Ultralite Ti AirErgo Trekking Poles (which I will henceforth refer to as "Ti AirErgos") on multiple weekend hikes in Ohio, where the terrain tends to be comprised of muddy trails and soft camp areas. I have also taken these poles to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, which has a wide variety of terrain including packed dirt, mud, rocky scree, and moderate-large rock scrambling. The weather was typically dry, but I've also done plenty of miles in the rain. The poles were mostly used for trekking, but have also doubled as shelter supports, tripod legs, and hat holder.
When I am on the trail, I follow the advice from Pete's Pole Page and use the poles for rhythmic striding, where every step is accompanied by a pole plant. (As a side note, I highly recommend that everyone starting out using poles visit this page for guidance.) Compared to my style BP (before poles), I have found that I am able to cover much better distance with much less exertion. When I get to camp at night, my knees do not creak and moan, particularly after a downhill trek. Also, I appreciate the additional stability when hopping rock to rock for crossing streams, or just on rocky parts of the trail (again, particularly on the downhill slopes). The forward-tilted handles (now called the positive angle, or "PA" system) make a dramatic improvement on the comfort of the poles, such that I have never had any issues with my hands or shoulders after a day on the trail. The grip also has some contour to it, so that my hands easily fit. Although the anti-shock feature of the poles can be disabled, I have found in practice that I leave it on all the time. As I said, my back and knees appreciate the extra shock-damping on downhill runs, and it does not appreciably change the function of the poles on uphills or flat surfaces. The trade-off is that the spring in my poles tends to be a little squeaky, so it will frequently make a 'sproing'ing noise with every step. When I first got the poles, I didn't like the noise, but I soon became quite accustomed to it and now I hardly notice it.
One thing that is nice about the Ti AirErgos is the fact that the shafts of the poles are marked in 5 cm increments from a range of 110-135 cm. This enabled me to easily reset the poles to the proper hiking height when they had been used for other purposes in the interim. Although I was a little worried about the stability of the easy lock system (ELS), I did not experience any troubles with the poles sliding once they had been properly fixed.
In terms of other features, I found that the carbide tips supplied with the pole provided good stability on a variety of surfaces. The baskets prevented the tips from sinking into the mud in places where it was overly soft. Although this pole style has the long grips, I never actually slid my hand off the handle. As I used the pole strap quite extensively for leverage on the pole, I felt that using the extended grip would place all the burden on my grip, which seemed an unnecessary trade-off. I never really felt the need to slide my hand down (although this might have been my natural stubbornness, too.)
After hiking both without and with trekking poles, I can first say that I would never want to hike without them again! The LEKI Ultralite Ti AirErgo Trekking Poles provided excellent stability and function, at a fairly modest cost in weight.
Things I like about the TiAirErgos:
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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > LEKI Ultralite Ti AirErgo SAS PA 2003 > Owner Review by Larry Kirschner