LEKI ULTRALITE TI ERGOMETRIC POLES
BY MATT MIODUSZEWSKI
March 04, 2008
Mattanuska AT gmail DOT com
5' 8" (1.73 m)
145 lb (65.80 kg)
I have done small weekend trips in Michigan, in addition to a 5 month section hike on the AT. I am new to the Portland area and have been doing lots of hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. I generally do day hikes with 5-10 lbs (2.3 - 4.5 kg), but carry 25-30 lbs (11.3 - 13.6 kg) on multi-day trips. I like doing the steepest climbs, 2000-5000 ft (610 - 1524 m) I can find. I am a 3 season hiker who would like to add snowshoeing to my activities. I plan to do many more day and weekend trips around Oregon in the coming year.
Made in: 2007
Manufacturer’s URL: http://www.leki.com
Listed weight: 15.8 oz / 447.9 g
Weight as delivered: 16 oz / 453.6 g
Current Weight: 14.8 oz / 420 g
Length of handle: 5 in / 12.7 cm
diameter of main handle area: 3.5 in / 8.9 cm
MSRP: $109.95 USD
Length: 24.4 in – 51.2 in / 62 cm - 130 cm (Stowed / Fully Extended)
Leki Ultralite Ti Ergometric Poles are intended to offer weight savings,
strength, and comfort, at a reasonable cost. They are a great mid-level
trekking pole, balancing the line between comfort and support, and weight
and simplicity. Adding spring shock absorbers would add weight, and making
them out of carbon fiber would increase the cost greatly. The handle is at
a slight tilt, providing an ergometric design for use. They are a 3 section
pole, allowing it to collapse quite small when needed.
These poles arrived with small plastic caps to protect the tips and any
objects the tips may contact during shipping and storage. These easily
remove. The poles also come with baskets near each tip. The baskets are
interchangeable with other baskets, as are the tips. The tip material is
"Carbide Flex" as per the Leki website.
The handles are "ErgoMetric Compact" as defined on Leki's website. Handles
are made of a neoprene foam type material which appears to be robust and
hardy. The foam does not extend down beyond the hand area, onto the upper
shaft like some other poles. Loops are a mix of canvas and soft synthetic
water-resistant type material that has reflective Leki logo printed on it.
Poles lock using Leki's Super Lock System (SLS) which twists to lock at any
level of desired extension.
These poles have been used for about 1,600 miles / 2,560 km. I used them
first during small day hikes in Southeastern Michigan while preparing for a long
Appalachian Trial section hike. They were then used for 1,550 miles / 2,480 km
of the Appalachian Trail from Southern Virginia to the Northern Terminus at Mt.
Katahdin, Maine. They have additionally been used while hiking in the
Columbia River Gorge, and in the Cascade mountains in Oregon.
These poles have seen a great variety of terrain and weather. They have
been used on or in sand, snow, sheet rock, streams, ice, concrete, grass,
dirt, mud, bog, pebbles, talus, and leaf and pine-needle covered ground.
I have used them in temperatures ranging from 35º F to 95º F / 1.6º C to
35º C, in light, heavy, and intermittent rain, light snow, mist, and of course clear
These poles held up very well for the majority of my hiking on the
Appalachian Trail. I treated these poles very harshly overall and put a
lot of faith in their durability, which I feel they held up to. I removed
the baskets and did not use them during my hike to save the small amount of
weight. I often experienced the "klingon" effect of a leaf getting caught
on the pole tip. I was ambivalent about this as it did not impact
performance. Both poles had a minor amount of vibration when greater force
was used to plant the tips. I did notice that my right pole seemed to have
a bit more vibration in the middle section than the left pole. This was
the case from the start, but only bothered me when I paid it attention,
which was infrequent. I have tried to investigate this but am unable to
see based upon the mechanics the cause for such. I used my poles very
rigorously and heavily, needing to replace the tips after 1,200 miles / 1,920 km,
of hiking. At this point the tips were scuffed into dull points and the
plastic around them was degraded greatly. Keeping in mind I frequently
slammed my pole tips against pavement, chipped at rocks, and put lots of
force on them while hiking uphill and often running down hills, I felt the
tips held up great. New generic tips cost me $12 USD, so $6 USD each.
During the last 300 miles / 480 km, of my hiking on the Appalachian Trail,
I caught myself on my left pole and subsequently bent the lowest shaft a minor
amount. This was corrected in the field by bending it back into a straight
position. It could use to be replaced but has not noticeably impacted
performance during hiking after this event. Again, my treatment of the
poles overall should be kept in mind, as I had frequently slapped the sides
of the poles against rocks and trees, while trying to remove 'klingons',
kill invasive caterpillars, and scare away a bear. None of these
non-standard uses seemed to impact the poles at all, only putting my weight
on it while falling and it being stuck between a rock and a downed tree was
able to cause damage.
The hand grips held up great, and are fine today. They have some scratches
in the material, but again it is not even noticeable to tactile sensation,
only visible. When it would rain I found the grips to generally be good,
but would absorb some water, and then I would see and feel a bit of slime
on them, the accumulation of dirt and sweat on them from day after day use.
This 'grime' or gross feel was only a factor during consistent rain.
Holding them on a dry day, even when my hands were sweating, was a pleasant
experience as the foam seemed to absorb sweat and keep my hands dry. The
handles dried quickly, once exposed to dry conditions.
Hand loops performed as expected. They are adjustable and controls on the
top of the pole can be used to cinch and maintain the desired handloop
length. These felt fine on my wrists/hands from the start, causing no
irritation after extended use. They took longer to dry, once wet, than the
hand grips, but this was not an issue or a problem for me.
My use of these poles in snow and on ice was limited, but with the baskets
attached I was able to gain additional support on the snow pack to keep me
from sinking in (did not have snowshoes on). I would use these poles, with
baskets, for future snowshoe endeavors. On ice they were able to grip
pretty well with new tips.
After the duration (6 months) and miles/km these have been used, I now
occasionally have difficulty when trying to lock the pole at an extended length, after
it has been collapsed for storage, due to dust and grit inside the pole locking mechanisms.
Sometimes this requires removal from the upper shaft (depending on section) and
being blown on a bit, or just a bit more effort in trying to tighten them. I rarely adjust my
poles so this has not been an on going or specifically problematic issue for me.
|Poles in Action!|
I feel I put these poles to full use and beyond, and they were always able
to meet my expectations and hold up to whatever I needed. I never felt any 'tennis
elbow' or any other repetitive stress injury due to them not having a shock
absorber. My wrists, hands, and arms always felt okay, and never fatigued
by the holding/wrist wrap of the poles, thus I assume the Ergonomic design
was successful for me.
THINGS I LIKE
Strength, tenacity to hold up, durable
Small handles (great for me, I have small hands)
Leki Warranty on all pole sections
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Miniscule vibration in right pole (probably an anomaly)
Not as light as Carbon Fiber
Dust/Grit after extended use causes some minor adjustment issues.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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Read more gear reviews by Matthew Mioduszewski