Alpine Summit Trekking Poles: QUICK OVERVIEW
What We Like
What We Don't Like
A handful of stalwarts may still prefer the tried-and-tested wooden hiking stick, but these days many hikers and backpackers absolutely swear by modern adjustable trekking poles.
These support aids take strain off your lower body and can reduce overall fatigue, allowing you to hike farther and faster with (hopefully) fewer aches and pains. They also provide a critical extra pair of legs when you're dealing with tricky terrain: river-crossings, boulderfields, slushy snow, severe slopes, and the like.
A fine choice for a reliable pair of trekking poles is this offering from Alpine Summit: remarkably inexpensive for the quality. Read on for more details!
Alpine Summit Trekking Pole Review
Who Is This Product For?
Alpine Summit Explorer Edition Trekking Poles are meant for just about anybody who spends much time on the hiking trail--day hikers, backpackers, hunters, mountaineers navigating to the start of their climbs--as well as people who might want or need walking support for paved paths or sidewalks.
Certainly backpackers and climbers who carry heavy loads will appreciate the reduced strain on hips and legs that can result from using trekking poles.
Casual day hikers, though, can also get plenty of benefit: not least when contending with steep ascents or descents, hard switchbacks, or simply unstable footing, from mud to gloppy snow.
This package includes a pair of telescopic Alpine Summit Explorer Edition Trekking Poles as well as accessories for the tungsten tips:
- a pair each of removable anti-shock rubber tips
- more rugged and robust "Monster" tips
- broad and slotted snow baskets
- narrower, solid mud and snow combo baskets
The whole shebang comes with a 30-day return window and a one-year warranty against manufacturer defects as well.
Overview of the Features
The Alpine Summit Explorer Edition Trekking Poles are telescopic poles made from 7075 aerospace-grade aluminum.
Though aluminum is the slightly heavier of the two most common trekking-pole materials--carbon-fiber is the other--these Explorer Editions are quite lightweight at 8.8 ounces each, and they're less prone to shattering than carbon-fiber alternatives.
Two telescoping sections allow you to adjust the length of these Alpine Summit poles between 25 and 53 inches. This means you can collapse them for compact storage inside a pack or strapped on the outside of one, and adjust the length to respond to different grades.
The locking mechanism is lever-based: a fliplock you snap open and closed and adjust with an easy-to-twist nut. This provides quite a reliable lock as compared with those telescoping poles that twist to tighten or loosen.
The Alpine Summit Explorer Edition poles' handles are made from cork, which makes for an ergonomic grip that wicks away perspiration and insulates your hands.
The handle straps are adjustable as well so you can support your wrist in a comfortable position; a poor grip may not seem like a big deal, but across extended hikes it can lead to major hand and wrist soreness.
These trekking poles boast tungsten tips for firm traction as well as a variety of tip accessories for different substrates.
The shock-absorbing rubber tips cushion the poles (and your arms) when you're using them on hard-packed surfaces, bare rock, or pavement.
The rubber Monster tips serve as a more beefed-up anti-shock option.
Broad baskets provide a snowshoe effect on snowpack, while the solid mud and snow combo baskets improve purchase on muddy or sloppy trails.
How to Use
While choosing the proper trekking-pole length is partly about personal preference and a bit of trial-and-error, there are certainly some basic principles to it.
Generally you'll be lengthening them when going downhill, shortening them when going uphill. On level trails, you'll usually want to keep the poles at a length that sees your forearms in parallel with the ground--your elbows at a right angle, in other words.
The most natural way to use Alpine Summit or any other trekking poles is via an alternating pattern, with the left-hand pole advancing with the right leg, and vice versa.
When going uphill or downhill, you may end up double-planting the poles and then taking steps braced by both pole-tips on the ground.
Besides serving as general walking aids, trekking poles provide all kinds of additional uses in the wilderness: from probing the depth of streams and snowpacks to supporting tarp shelters.
As we've mentioned, carbon-fiber poles tend to weigh less than aluminum ones, which is a particular advantage for ultra-light hikers and backpackers.
For these pared-down ultra-light trekkers, the Alpine Summit Explorer Edition poles, light as they are, may be unreasonably heavy.
While we tend to find lever-lock poles more reliable than twist-lock versions, you may prefer the latter.
You might also opt for trekking poles with handles of different construction than the Explorer Edition cork: Rubber is another possibility--a great insulator for cold-season hiking--while foam can be ultra-comfortable and moisture-resistant.
Alpine Summit Trekking Poles are a super-solid and enticingly inexpensive option for any hiker, backpacker, or around-the-town walker looking to improve their balance and footing while reducing lower-body strain.
Their relatively light weight, easy adjustability, comfortable cork grips, and various tip accessories make them a great choice for everything from front-country rambles to extended wilderness adventures.