Note: LEKI provided samples to us at no cost for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Mara here. I never thought I would use trekking pole unless I was injured. But then I bought a pair for an epic hike, and have never looked back. There are so many uses for them, and they help you distribute some of your weight from you legw to arms. Ambassador Christina had the chance to review a pair of LEKI’s Aergonlite 2 Vertical Lady. Below are her thoughts.
Have you jumped on the trekking pole train yet? If you still aren’t sold on the idea, check out this Hike Like a Woman article on the perks of trekking poles. There really are any number of reasons to give them a try. They help protect your knees and joints, keep your hands from swelling (um, hello sausage fingers!), and provide you with an excellent extendable arm with which to check piles of leaves for snakes or other small creatures (shudder).
I’ve also found trekking poles useful when it comes to my unholy reluctance at the prospect of actually going uphill (hey, we all have our favorite and least favorite parts of hiking). As long as I have sturdy poles, I can use them to help schlep my grumbling self up the side of a hill or mountain, leveraging the poles so that I’m utilizing both my arm and leg strength. Luckily for me, the LEKI Aergonlite 2 Vertical Lady backcountry touring poles that I reviewed for Hike Like a Woman are perfect for such a use.
While technically not “trekking poles,” (they are branded and marketed as Backcountry Touring poles) these pink and black accessories remind me of the quintessential HLAW hiker: stands tall, doesn’t bow or break under pressure, constantly offers support to girlfriends, doesn’t mind getting muddy, is low-maintenance, and has a secret love of hot pink.
There are oodles of options on the market for trekking poles, but LEKI’s Vertical Lady is a solid choice. Here are some of the reasons why:
• They’re infinitely adjustable, meaning you can make them the perfect height for you.
• The handgrips are some of the most comfortable I’ve used. I’m not a fan of cork, or the too hard foam. The Vertical Lady is surprisingly grippable and soft on my hand joints. My hands also don’t sweat profusely when using these poles, which is a welcome relief.
• While a hard fall or slip may cause the adjustable piece to shift slightly, I found that just general wear and use (even lugging up mountains) did not affect the adjustable height of my poles.
• Call me shallow, but I really love that they’re hot pink and black.
• Making height adjustments is easy, even in thick gloves.
• They come with a number of accessories, including baskets and hand straps.
• Both the hand straps and the baskets are easily removable for customization.
• They’re pretty lightweight at only 266 grams per pole.
Some other considerations and observations I had were:
• The hand straps are thick and include a thumb hole. This is not my preference, so I simply removed them from the poles. However, for others looking for greater comfort and stability, it’s a great option.
• These are backcountry poles technically, so they are meant for longer trips and hikes. I only note this because these are adjustable, but not collapsible. So, on shorter hikes where you might want to collapse them and put them into your pack, it is not easily done. While they do get smaller (adjusting down to the shortest height), and can be strapped to a pack, they aren’t as convenient as fully collapsible poles. However, neither are they as inconvenient as poles that do not adjust at all.
• I recommend getting a set of rubber pole caps. The bottoms of the trekking poles are metal and will clack clack clack on rocks or hard surfaces. If you are somewhere where you want greater purchase with your pole, this is a great thing. If you are hiking over rocky terrain in Maryland, you are soon looking for the nearest cliff to throw yourself over to escape the clacking. This is true of any hiking pole with a solid tip – just pick up some LEKI covers at your nearest REI for about $4.
Overall, I recommend LEKI’s Aergonlite 2 Vertical Lady, but most strongly to those looking to complete longer hikes or continually use poles even on shorter hikes. For those who are looking to go back and forth in using the poles, a fully collapsible option is likely the better choice for you. For those of you who are looking for a constant companion, these are an excellent choice.