Trekking Poles and Hiking | All Things Trekking Pole | Story Time With Chris

We are talking all things trekking pole in this one folks! The 4 trekking pole models I have the most experience with, the poles I used on the AT, how I have managed to break trekking poles, how carbon fiber handles bashed against a tree, what I look for in a trekking pole, tips tricks, cork or foam, aluminum or carbon fiber, etc etc.

If you want to know about trekking poles this video is right up your alley.

If you want a video about trekking pole technique I may make a follow up as far as how I use them. Drop it in the comments if you would like to see it.

Table of contents:
00:06 Intro
00:44 Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Flip Lock Poles
05:23 How I Snapped My First Pole
06:46 Cork vs Foam Grip Comparison
07:30 How I Broke a Pole on the Appalachian Trail
10:05 Leki Journey Trekking Poles
13:50 Issues on the AT with the Leki Journeys / Leki’s Lifetime Warranty
18:54 Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
23:35 Cascade Mountain Tech 3k Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
26:34 Things I look For In Trekking Poles and A Comparison of the Poles Shown

I would also like to state that I do not necessarily recommend any of these poles nor do I not recommend these poles. Take the information you have seen here, do your own research and purchase what you think is best for your own situation.

The links below are Amazon affiliate links. If you buy through them I make a small percentage from the sale. As much as I like money I recommend asking yourself if you genuinely NEED the item you are purchasing and wait 24 hours. If you still find yourself saying yes, shop around for the best deal for you.

Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Flip Lock Poles –

Leki Journey Trekking Poles –
or at Backcountry –

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles –
at REI –
at Backcountry –

Cascade Mountain Tech 3K Carbon Fiber Poles –

Interested in how what I use to record these videos?
Current Cam –
Most Frequently Used Lens –

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Full disclosure – Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you click on them and end up making a purchase a small portion will go to me, at no additional cost to you, and thus back into this channel.


Wade Schwartz says:

I used a pair of Black Diamond trail ergo cork on my section hike on the AT but after falling on them they are trash but I really liked the poles I picked up a pair of REI poles cork handles for $25 on sale the cork feels waxy but I find the rubber tips worth using no debrief on the tips. Give them the tree test and see which one holds up the best lol

flashman V says:

Great talk about the different poles, thanks. I currently use the Cascade Mountain and really like them so far. I have the cork grips, my choice for grips for sure. I’m not a big pole user, they spend a bit of time strapped to my pack so I’m not a real good gauge for how good poles are. I did use them a few months ago doing the rim to rim in the grand canyon and I had rolled my ankle right before the trip so I used them very heavily on that trip. In fact putting more weight then you would normally put on them because of my injury and they worked fine. I had a pair of twist lock poles before that, will not go back to twist locks. Only real plus to twist lock is they easily slip in a loop to stow on your pack without the bulky locks catching on the loop.

Nomad827 says:

Great video – check out Pacer Poles, they are amazing.

Ted Staples says:

I always have an issue adjusting the flip lock, I think its because i don’t use them that much, I have Black Diamond which are in sections, great for breaking down but not so good adjusting.

spikester40 says:

Good information for this newbie!! Thank you!!

Austin Dory says:

Just curious if you have any feedback or if you’ve heard anything about Leki Antishock poles. Sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me when shopping for hiking equipment. 🙂 Yeah, they seemed like a good idea at first, but now I’m kind of wondering how well they’d work on a complete thru hike. For instance, does the shock mechanism start sticking after a while (I’ve heard they do) and if so wouldn’t that be a no go? Also, if you’re using them as a tent pole, such as with a ZP Duplex, does the spring in the pole create problems in trying to keep the tent taut?

Warren Davidson says:

Hi Chris I liked your video. I have a pair of the Cascade Mountain Design Carbon Fiber Poles and have had very good success with them and still like them after about 600 miles of section hiking and they have saved my butt a number of times. I run between 230 and 250 pounds and they have taken my full weight without breaking. With that said the carbide tip wore out and instead of purchasing the bottom section I purchased a pair of the aluminum poles which I took on a recent section and they preformed quite well. My plan is to purchase the bottom section for my carbon poles. I do agree that they strap adjustment leaves something to be desired but I love the poles. Thanks again for a great review.

Ray Kroebl says:

Two things I’d like to venture from my alpine standpoint: 

I can relate to the fact that you don’t feel comfortable with the straps on the poles. The three times you put a hand through the straps in the video, you did it the wrong way. You need to come through the straps buttom up and not straight through. Using properly adjusted straps that way will make a huge difference in what you can do with the poles, the downward force you can pass on to them etc. With the straps in correct use, you will hardly ever really have to grab the grips tightly, which is a huge relief on your hands if you use the poles climbing for hours. Also, using the straps correctly is a safety issue and precautionary as far as slips and falls are concerned.Your hands will be free immediately if one of the poles gets stuck in the ground etc. I think Leki (best poles in my 40-year experience) have a video somewhere that covers this strap issue, how to and why..

The other thing just for info: the extensions on the grips down the pole are essential (I would never use poles without those!) because their main purpose is to allow you to have two poles of massively different length when horizontally traversing steep slopes in ice, gravel or snow.

Happy trails,
Ray from Switzerland

The Resistance Outfitters says:

Thanks for the vid man! Nice thorough review

Hiking Herbivore says:

5 secs in and I see you are holding the best trekking poles around! None related question (well kinda lol) What settings are you using on your camera to film? I have been using Aperture priority and auto iso, but been playing around with shutter speed, but found in the snow and sun Im always over or under exposed.

Caretaker AT says:

Just picked up the Gossamer Gear LT5 carbon/cork poles.. I love the grips…

Meg Hikes says:

Please do do a video on the new Cascade Mountain Tech Poles if you get the chance.

They’re one of the ones available from in my price range (Black Diamond with nice handles are too expensive and anything else you have to pay HUGE customs charges for importing from outside EU)

David says:

Thanks for this comprehensive talk on poles Chris! Just wanted to add that I had a bad experience with Black Diamond poles. I had the Black Diamond alpine ergo cork and I broke the two carbon fiber bottom sections of one poles (in the same fall!). I contacted Black Diamond and, not only did they not want to replace the parts on warranty, they would not even sell them to me! They just offered me to buy a whole new pair with a discount, which was not at all what I wanted since I still had 3/4 of a good pair with me. They would not not even sell me only one pole. It is a shame that they don’t offer replacement parts on such pricey poles. Personally, I would never buy Black Diamond poles again. Thanks again for your videos Chris, keep up the good work!

Todd Kepler says:

Clam Hands is the worst

T Morgan says:

Straps….NO BUENO. I almost rolled my ankle. Didn’t want to be stuck out there with a bum ankle so I overcompensated to avoid ankle injury. I lost my balance and couldn’t get my hand out of the straps fast enough to catch myself and landed on my left eyebrow bone. Luckily for some reason I wore my safety sunglasses that section hike. Put a huge scrape on my glasses, but saved me from getting cut up. I had a bruised eyebrow bone, but ankle was fine. Haven’t used the straps since. Guess I should take them off.

Benjamin Hauber says:

Chris, all of the poles you showcased here are telescoping poles. What are your feelings on trifold?

BTW, thanks for such a good thorough video!

adonai cooper says:

Thank you for your information.

Todd Kepler says:

Glad to see you back

L G says:

Pole size matters! Great video! Another economy one to look at is Ryno Tuff from Amazon.

Michael Salmon says:

Great video as usual. Hope you have more gear videos to come. I use the Walmart poles, a set for $26. They weigh about 9 oz per pole. They have flip locks that have never slipped on me. They have foam-like grips that I like, although I have never used cork grips. The straps leave something to be desired. They don’t really bother me, but I can see them bothering someone who is a little more picky about that part. One down side is that you cannot get spare parts for it and they do not have a warranty. I have used the same pair for 3 years now. I have not done a thru-hike, but I have done section hikes of around 150 miles each on the AT in addition to many weekend backpacking trips and day hikes on my local trail. I have used them in all weather conditions. I’m a larger guy and I’m not afraid to put my weight on these poles. Say what you will, I would definitely not pay the $80 plus for trekking poles just to get the name brand. Don’t get me wrong, I have a very expressive tent and pack, etc., because they perform better then the less expensive items. I guess the point is, don’t just buy the expensive gear without at least looking at the cheaper items.

yemrot1 says:

I use the rubber tips in the spring and fall because I hate picking leaves off of the metal tips. Just old guy craziness. I’ve done maintenance and repair on my Black Diamond Carbon/Cork handle Trekkers for five years and they still do what they’re supposed to do. I am thinking of upgrading to the Black Diamond ergo cork handle. I’m hoping it helps with my arthritic wrists.

Grumpy Old Curmudgeon says:

I don’t think you can beat the price on those Cascade Mountain Tech Poles

That Larry Guy says:

I have the carbon cork CMT poles and really like them. Added bonus, when using your mp3 in fm mode, the pole works great as an antenna. Best reception ever.

mars_hikes says:

This year on my 1.5 k on the PCT I used Leki Traveller Carbon. Leki says, it is a pole for nordic walking. The strap system needs some care but you will be rewarded with breathtaking power transmission. If you are into hygiene you can wash the straps twice a day, it gives you the sharpest tan lines ever and you look like an expert…

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