A few weeks ago, I received a pretty rad little package in the mail from Brian at Pacemaker Stix. Inside was a pair of their Expedition trekking poles. This has been a busy time of year for me, but I finally managed to find a time to get out in the woods and put them to use.
I used to hike without poles, but after I started backpacking (instead of only dayhiking) and carrying heavy stuff on my back, I noticed how quickly my knees started to ache when tackling hills. So, I started using poles and quickly saw the benefits of them. Now, I never hike without them.
My first pair was some cheapo poles I bought at Walmart. After one of them failed and nearly sent me toppling over a steep bluff, I got something a little better. I picked up some Mountainsmith poles that I’ve been using for a while and never had a problem with. They were kinda heavy, though, and were the ‘twist lock’ type of poles. These Expedition poles have a great feel to them and seem to be a much higher quality product, based on my initial impression, which was very positive.
Also, Pacemaker Stix is a US-based company, which I really love. They stand behind their product with a one year ‘Tip to Grip’ guarantee and include replacement accessories with every pole order. At the time this review is being written, they offer free shipping on orders of $50 0r more.
These are the ‘flick lock’ type, which are really quick and easy to adjust the length with, which I can appreciate. These telescope from 27 inches out to 54 inches.
One thing I like about the Expedition pole is the weight. Only 10.5 ounces per pole. The shaft is constructed of aircraft grade 7075 aluminum. The cork grips are ergonomically designed and comfortable and I like them better than a molded plastic or rubber handle, personally. I usually take the straps off of my poles because I don’t really use them much. Anybody else do that?
The tips are tungsten steel with a removable vulcanized rubber boot. Mine came with an alternate set of boots that look really weird, but help to grip the ground even better. ( They kinda remind me of that strange looking monster that appears to Freck in ‘A Scanner Darkly’, with all the eyes on his head. You’ve seen that, right? )
Also, there are two different baskets you can attach, a small one and a larger one, that are much easier to detach and reattach than other ones I’ve messed with. Rather than slipping the basket on, then twisting it into a locked position, like my other poles, you can just push them on and they are held in place by three little ridges. I really like this, because I can easily take them off when I use my trekking poles to support my tent. I normally don’t put the baskets on my poles unless I know I’m going to be stomping through water or mud, but since they are easy to take on and off, I’ll probably keep them on now.
I try to cut weight where I can , and had tossed around the idea of going with some UL poles like those made by Gossamer Gear. However, I have read more than a few reviews that mention how they are somewhat easy to snap if you are rough on them or fall on them…which I am prone to do. So, I believe I’ll stick with these. After a few uses, they have been durable and dependable. As with anything, time will tell how well they stand up to use and abuse, but these poles feel anything but cheap to me. And, should I ever need to dispatch zombies that I meet on the trail, perhaps they will keep me alive.
Disclaimer thingy: Pacemaker Stix provided me with a set of Expedition trekking poles to review with no obligation. They didn’t ask me to say positive things about their product, nor did I promise them I would. My thoughts expressed in this review are my own opinions. Have a nice day.
About ‘The Hiking Dead’ comic….
First of all, let me say that these poles are to never, ever, ever be used to as a weapon against any living thing. Or dead thing for that matter. Okay?
I really wanted to have some fun with this GearToon, so I drew myself into a TWD style comic. I probably spent close to 20 hours on this one. A lot of it was experimenting and goofing off, but I’m happy with the way it turned out. I’d like to do another one like this but will probably wait and see how the response is. There’s no feeling quite like working on something for a week and getting a lukewarm response to it. So, if you enjoyed the comic and would like to see ‘Part Two’, send me some feedback. As always, thanks for reading my blog.