PCT Thru Hike – Trekking Poles

This is a brief video comparing the trekking poles I used on the Appalachian Trail, Black Diamond Trail Shock Poles, to the poles I will be using on the Pacific Crest Trail, Leki Thermolite XL Poles. In this video I explain why I made the switch from Black Diamond to Leki and reasons why i use trekking poles.


crazykev5 says:

What kind of grip did you get and why. It dont looked corked and everyone on the forums talk about those.

OldePete says:

I’ve heard the same about these manufacturers. Leki customer service GREAT!, Black Diamond, NOT!!

Devon Outdoors says:

Hey Will, do you have any updates about your trekking poles post-PCT? Or perhaps any differences now that you are in Florida?

PJ P says:

Could you please make a video about the hygine regime at AT through hike? What are the options for taking a shower and washing up your stuff.

Ronald Bigbie says:

Customer service is everything with any product when you have a problem. Shame on Black Diamond! Will look at Leki on next set of poles. You have talked about you Brooks shoes, could you do a vid on more of a foot system you used and will be using? Shoe, socks, etc. thanks!

orion1820 says:

The difference between left and right has to due with the wrist straps. If you put the straps on correctly, up through the bottom, you will notice that if you have the correct side it covers the thumb with padding. If you do it on the wrong side, the pad stops and you have a raw strap on top of your thumb.

MUDplug says:

Well thats good to here just got.I was going to go with BD..but I liked the handle better on the leki cork light speed locks..I didn’t no it had a life time warranty. .so thanks for the info red..good video

Peter Yurkins says:

Will TY once again for your time in making theses reviews they are very informative. P

laughter95 says:

I have the same Thermolite XL poles, been using them for over a year. There’s no anti shock mechanism built into the pole.

One recurring problem I had with them was that the pieces were difficult to collapse. They get stuck just like you demonstrated in your video. LEKI sent me replacement sections and a whole new pair. Obviously the new pair solved the issue. But the problem redeveloped with the replacement pair. I sent it in again, and this time they repaired them.

Hopefully they don’t cause you too many issues. The lifetime warranty has me still using them, but if it gets too annoying then I’m going to switch to the BD carbon corks which practically weigh the same but have a very smooth telescoping and locking mechanism.

Will For You says:

Thanks for the video, I started shopping at REI so I can return stuff at anytime over a one year period.

Mike Sides says:

Heard same complaints about BD from one of my other favorite YT hikers, Joe Brewer. Apache had run ins with them and switched to Leki as well. I use a pair of Mike Sides’ Spirit Maples! Hand wrought from a tree that went down in the back, The include copper tips and a wax finish. Maker offers a lifetime guarantee.

Shane DeKin says:

Would you recommend either a carbon fibre or an aluminium pole.. Regardless of make or warrenty

Beyond The Veil says:

Will, I gave up on the adjustable trekking poles, they tend to fail when you get into rough places. I prefer the tall ski poles they a stronger and can take more punishment on the trail. The standard trekking poles are good on level ground but when climbing on high mountain trails you need something that want break. Having said that any kind of trekking poles are better than none, all good hikers know the value of taking trekking poles. I just want go without mine. Also good review on the poles most hikers don’t talk about that subject very much and they are as important as a good backpack.

Shane DeKin says:

What would you say is better carbon fibre or aluminium poles regardless of make or warrenty

Nature Calls Backpacking says:

Another great review. I am looking forward to how the Lekis’ perform for you.  My poles are not ready to be replace yet but will take your recommendations when the time comes.  Will you need to get a different Stikpic? See you in Washington hopefully. Bruce

snower13 says:

Everything you buy at REI has a lifetime warranty. Take anything that breaks back to REI for a full refund no questions asked.

Stephen Ross says:

Excellent video.

Richard Moran says:

Surprised about ur experience w BD…. I broke a pair of carbon zpoles..they replaced w better mod..carbon cork…actually sent wrong replacement and told me to keep and sent correct ones…took care of me very well…best of luck…goes to show how important a good customer service team is….

DAS says:

I enjoy your videos, and you do a great job. Did you consider REI poles. I know if you are a member, its pretty much a life time warranty too

Northern Wayfarer says:

how are/were they for length?

adenblake1 says:

Are you still liking these poles?

GSXRcschlack says:

Redbeard, great videos man.  I through hiked the AT in 2014 as well, my trail name was Six Slash.  I started later than the normal rush, April 25th, so I actually watched your videos before I even left down south to get a good idea on what the terrain and trail actually looked like.  I am surprised we didn’t cross paths on the trail as I finished on Sept 25th, I was keeping an eye out for ya.

Regarding the video, I went through two pair of trekking poles from Black Diamond.  I used an aluminum BD Trail Ergo Cork pair up to Duncannon PA and had bent/broke both of the tips, all the cork grips were cracked and loose and also severely bent the one middle section.  BD gave me a run around and would not help regarding the replacement parts but would give me a % discount off new poles.  So I bought the BD Alpine Carbon Cork Ergo poles and within a matter of 9 days, both grips had broke loose and were falling apart.  Got a hold of BD again and I told them what POS pole they were and I got my money back.  I had to fully tape up both grips in order to use them safely for the remainder of the trip; I proceeded to break both tips off as well. Will never buy another BD product because of my experience.

GL on the PCT man.  I hope to get the JMT done sometime in the future but don’t think i’ll ever embark on a thru hike of either the PCT or CDT because of how hard the AT was on me physically 

HaasGrotesk says:

I bought a pair of Black Diamond Trail trekking poles and it was the best piece of hiking equipment I’ve ever bought! I can’t believe I used to hike without poles! Going up the Swedish mountains feels like standing in an elevator now! I weigh 105kg (230lb) and my pack with water weighs 16kg (35) and the poles took that like it was nothing!

SmackNC says:

Once I started hiking with poles, I didn’t go back.  It really helps with distributing weight and saving some wear and tear on the body.   I’ve always had good luck with BD equipment.  I also found they stick by their warranties.  Leki seems like a good brand as well.   Thank you for another great review.  I know there are literally hundreds of hikers reviewing your videos getting ready for their 2015 AT hike.   

lisa mallard says:

Hey will what do u think of the komperdell vario 4 that zpacks sells?

Patriot36 says:

Thanks for sharing about your sub-standard warranty experience with BD.

Appalachian Snapshot says:

Hey Will, I love Leki trekking poles. Have used them for years and am on my second pair of the twist lock kind. One question though, did the flick lock levers ever come undone when rubbing up against brush? If yes can they be turned rearward?

Guy Mooglie says:

thanks for your take on trekking poles….particularly the two pairs you used.

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