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#73740 - 08/21/07 03:28 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Bearpaw]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Just an update on the Black Diamond Spires. Except for the weight of 20 ounces, these are the best trekking poles I have ever used. They seem dramatically sturdier than any poles I have ever used. They are exceedingly smooth to extend or scope down. The absolutely best I have tried.
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#73741 - 09/03/07 12:44 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Pika]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
Hmmm, I use a wooden staff myself. I don't think it's long enough to be considered a true staff, but I won't go on the trail without it. More times than I can count, it has steadied me, tested potentially faulty ground, propped up my chin, etc.

Earlier this summer, my sister and I were in the Shenandoah and came upon a very hard-working PATC team. These folks were seriously putting in a hard day's work repairing and developing a steep portion of a side trail. However, one senior member of the team admonished my sister and me to get rid of our sticks and get trekking poles. His tone and demeaner were so pompous and superior he turned me off of trying poles for a long time!

Conversely, a grand fellow named Jim who was working last year at our local Gander Mountain in Fredericksburg, Virginia, told my sister and I that "two poles or staffs were like four-wheel drive to hiker." Amen to that.

As for sales staff that will sell anything and everything without so much as a "have you ever heard of this before?", well, I'm sure we've all come across more than our share of them. Occasionally though, we come across some really helpful folks like the guy at REI in Fairfax, Virginia, who measured me for a pack and we "discovered" that I'm "vertically torso challenged" (aka super short torso). Actually getting a measurement made it a lot easier to shop for a new pack because I finally knew what size range to look for! He eventually stopped laughing . . .
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#73742 - 09/03/07 07:51 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: azcanyon]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Ahh.. The Summit Hut, one of the very best gear stores around. Sounds like they haven't changed a bit from the old days

Not an employee, just a satisfied customer from the 70's.

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#73743 - 09/05/07 12:41 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: azcanyon]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Quote:
Pika wrote
Quote:
I wonder how many of them went to a gear store and just said "give me what I need to do the Canyon". I suspect a lot of them did and as part of the package were sold a set of high-profit poles that they did not know how to use. Are members of the backpacking community really being well served by salespeople in outdoor stores selling stuff this way?


I hear what you're saying, but as a general rule, I think it would be unfair to blame outdoor stores and salespeople for every act of idiocy you can witness daily on the main corridor trails of the Grand Canyon. We can blame them a little, I guess; there's plenty to spread around. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

For what it's worth, some friends of mine went to Summit Hut (here in Tucson) before a GC trip last year. They were going to look into renting some trekking poles, but the staff insisted they could try out a used pair for no charge--just return them and if they wanted to buy a pair in the future the store could help with that. They also took the three minutes necessary to explain the basics of how to use the poles.

az-"not-a-Summit-Hut-employee--really!"-canyon


Would that be the Summit Hut on Speedway, down towards the Wild Oats AZ? To me the place had more of a 'we want to be like REI' than like say Campmor. I actually liked the Sportsman's Warehouse up past Oracle Rd better IME. I may have encountered the 3 employees who were latte queens, as opposed to the hiking crowd staff though <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
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#73744 - 10/06/07 02:33 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Earthling]
tchiker Offline
member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Atlanta, GA, USA
I've converted at least 5 people to the Church of Trekking Poles. I can't imagine hiking hilly terrain without them. They just take so much pressure off your knees, especially going downhill and they provide two more "legs" for balance. They've saved me from falling countless times. I love them.

I have some Leki poles that I bought a couple of years ago and my only "complaint" with them is that they don't telescope down as much as newer models. So that makes it more difficult to stow them in my pack or travel with them (when I have to fit them in a suitcase).

But I love the cork grip and the 10 degree angled handles...they are great and every hiker should have a pair.

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#73745 - 10/06/07 02:38 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: BarryP]
tchiker Offline
member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Atlanta, GA, USA
Quote:
I I noticed my 3-section-pole partners set their height once and don’t touch it for the next several weeks. They hate messing with it. I tease them and tell them “you might as well get a fixed pole.” <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Other bonuses of all poles/staffs:
1. You can go longer miles because now your upper body is helping with the distance; even on level terrain.
2. Your knee life is extended
3. falls are minimized
4. crossing streams are much easier
5. If you get a twisted ankle or swollen foot, the poles will help minimize weight there.
6. For the 1st hiker on the trail, they make good spider web cleaners <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
7. My daughter also uses them to keep the stray dogs at bay.


I usually adjust my poles to be a good inch or more longer on extended downhills. This way, it will just "catch" you more quickly if you start to fall and just works better in general. If I was going up a very steep uphill, I would make them much shorter too.

Great list of bonuses...I've used mine to find off a couple of mean dogs a couple of times. They may not be the best weapon, but they are better to have in your hands than nothing if a dog or bear or whatever attacks.

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#73746 - 10/06/07 03:14 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: tchiker]
Paddy_Crow Offline
member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
Poles don't work well when hiking with a dog on a leash. I prefer to use a single staff, keeping one hand free.

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#73747 - 10/07/07 06:38 AM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Paddy_Crow]
tchiker Offline
member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Atlanta, GA, USA
Quote:
Poles don't work well when hiking with a dog on a leash. I prefer to use a single staff, keeping one hand free.


Yes the biggest drawback of poles is that obviously your hands are otherwise occupied. It makes it more difficult to take a quick photo or anything else like that. You have to put your poles down sometimes and I've almost lost them over a cliff a couple of times by doing it too carelessly. So there are minor drawbacks, but many more positives to using them.

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#73748 - 10/07/07 12:31 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Paddy_Crow]
paulj Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 1603
Loc: Seattle
When using poles I either loop the dog's leash around my waist, or clip it to my backpack, preferably some point on the hip belt. My preferred leash is a retractable one with webbing and carabiner looped through the handle.

paulj

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#73749 - 10/07/07 02:49 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: tchiker]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
[
Yes the biggest drawback of poles is that obviously your hands are otherwise occupied. It makes it more difficult to take a quick photo or anything else like that. .


I don't mind the minor annoyance when snapping pics, but the biggest thing I find is now I *really* miss them when I'm big game hunting. There's just no good way to deal with a rifle *and* trekking poles.
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#73750 - 10/07/07 03:58 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: phat]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Phat
quickly now - you have to make a tripod of the poles with your left hand while swinging you rifle over your right shoulder to land squarely in the notch between the poles. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
OR
You could tape one pole to your rifle... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

OR you could put a carbide tip on your rifle so it becomes dual use.

Hope this helps... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#73751 - 10/07/07 08:11 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Jimshaw]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Phat
OR you could put a carbide tip on your rifle so it becomes dual use.
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />


Well, that would make it quadruple use. It has already been used for getting meat (many times) an emergency signalling device (lost idiots. more times than I'd like), and a tarp pole a-la-trekking pole (once). It almost got used as bear repellent once, but that was a near overreaction on my part (grizzly scared the brown organic matter out of me the dumb 14 year old kid).

I've yet to try starting a fire with it. I'll leave that for Les Stroud. I'm smart enough to carry matches and a firesteel - guess I'll never have a TV show <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#73752 - 10/09/07 05:45 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Earthling]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
Quote:
Would that be the Summit Hut on Speedway, down towards the Wild Oats AZ? To me the place had more of a 'we want to be like REI' than like say Campmor. I actually liked the Sportsman's Warehouse up past Oracle Rd better IME. I may have encountered the 3 employees who were latte queens, as opposed to the hiking crowd staff though


Somehow I missed this post.

Actually I think this was the Summit Hut on Wetmore and 1st Ave, but yes, same store as the one on Speedway. And yes, Summit Hut is definitely cast in the mold of REI, geared to the "high end" of the camping/outdoor market. I like Summit Hut okay, but I kind of wish REI would move into town to compete. The one thing Summit Hut can't offer is the purchasing power to bring their own "brand" to the store, the way REI does. I think the REI branded stuff is often an excellent value.

When I go looking for something in particular at Summit Hut, I'm often better informed about the products available than are the salespeople, but that's just the way things go. Most of their customers are not avid backpackers.

I haven't been to the Sportsman's Warehouse; I'll check it out. Popular Outdoor Outfitters (a sort of vaguely Campmor-like chain that used to be here) has hit the end of the trail. They were done in, I think, by the expansion of big box store camping departments.

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#73753 - 10/09/07 07:46 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: azcanyon]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I love the Sportsman's Warehouse. So far, every big piece of gear I have bought in the last year and a half has been there. I am one of those people that look at EVERY store to get the best deal. They don't have EVERYTHING, and they aren't as big as Cabelas, but they usually have what I want at a better price. They even beat REI with the membership discount stuff, and Campmor with the free shipping over $100.
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#73754 - 10/10/07 09:07 AM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: azcanyon]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
OK, throw another log on the fire. Time to recount some history.

Summit Hut (AKA Smut Hut) began in 1969, basically as a scam for Dave Baker and his cohorts to buy gear at wholesale prices- they crossed their fingers and opened a retail hovel, about the size of your average broom closet just across the street from Catalina High School. I had just moved back to town, and one of my SAR buddies said, "There's a climbing shop in town; try and buy something there so we won't have to depend on mail order for everything." I and many others did just that, and Smut Hut grew and grew and grew, changing locations many times.

At least through the mid 80's, the employees were active rock climbers, backpackers, and SAR participants (one died in a climbing accident during that period) and it was a place where you could go for the straight scoop on the outdoors. For many years, the informal rock climbing guide was kept in a notebook at the checkout counter, whipped out whenever information was requested.

Like everyone else, they have found that clothes bring in more revenue than carabiners, and so they are on the same slippery slope as REI and Papagonia, but I suspect that some of the old culture persists - unfortunately, I haven't been back to Tucson lately. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#73755 - 10/10/07 11:34 AM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: oldranger]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1736
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
OR,
I go to Summit Hut periodically when I make it to Tucson. The folks there are pleasant, enthusiastic, polite and typically young and inexperienced about most stuff. They do know the stock however. Unfortunately, a lot of the staff are more than willing to give you the benefit of their inexperience. My nephew bought a pack there for a two week trip we had planned in the Sierra. The pack turned out to be poorly fitted and the poor guy suffered for two weeks with raw spots on his hipbones. The climbing section occupies about 5% of the total floorspace. Clothing occupies probably 40% of the floorspace. I never plan on going there for advice, just to buy stuff I have already researched. Their prices aren't bad and like I said, the staff are eager to help.

Summit Hut has evolved the same as REI. I lived in the Seattle area for about 35 years. When I first joined REI (or the Co-op as it was called back then) in the early 50's they had one store about the size of a two car garage on the second floor of a building above the Green Apple Pie restaurant on Pike Street in Seattle. They had recently moved there from a defunct service station just up the street. At the time I joined, there were just over 5000 members nation wide who had joined to purchase good climbing gear. I have seen it morph into the WalMart of outdoor gear and loose its central position as a climbing gear shop. The membership is now literally greater than the population of Seattle.
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#73756 - 10/11/07 01:49 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: azcanyon]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Quote:
Quote:
Would that be the Summit Hut on Speedway, down towards the Wild Oats AZ? To me the place had more of a 'we want to be like REI' than like say Campmor. I actually liked the Sportsman's Warehouse up past Oracle Rd better IME. I may have encountered the 3 employees who were latte queens, as opposed to the hiking crowd staff though


Somehow I missed this post.

Actually I think this was the Summit Hut on Wetmore and 1st Ave, but yes, same store as the one on Speedway. And yes, Summit Hut is definitely cast in the mold of REI, geared to the "high end" of the camping/outdoor market. I like Summit Hut okay, but I kind of wish REI would move into town to compete. The one thing Summit Hut can't offer is the purchasing power to bring their own "brand" to the store, the way REI does. I think the REI branded stuff is often an excellent value.

When I go looking for something in particular at Summit Hut, I'm often better informed about the products available than are the salespeople, but that's just the way things go. Most of their customers are not avid backpackers.

I haven't been to the Sportsman's Warehouse; I'll check it out. Popular Outdoor Outfitters (a sort of vaguely Campmor-like chain that used to be here) has hit the end of the trail. They were done in, I think, by the expansion of big box store camping departments.


Yeah AZ, I had'nt gone over to the one on Wetmore & 1st Ave; but I went to the one on Speedway a few times. I really think Popular Outdoor was a better backpacking store in it's heyday, whne I lived in AZ back in the early 90's. Their prices were great, selection was very good; and the folks were knowledgeable enough, or got someone who was.

There in lies the key, if i walk into any store and get BS'd by the salestaff I call 'em on it right off. These outdoor stores really need to either hire genuinely experienced folks or train them to know what they are babbling about.

I became an REI member in 71', and have watched it become the Wally World of camping sadly too. Though the staff remains as affable as any I've yet to meet in an outdoor store. I've enjoyed travelling and living around the Country; and that has afforded me the opportunity to visist lots of regional outdoor stores. Cabela's and Sportsmans' Warehouse in the West and Southwest are huge stores that take me most of a day to find the exit once inside <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> A brand new Cabela's 'just' opened in East Hartford CT (ok it opens NEXT Friday Oct 19th at 0800hrs but who's counting <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />)

I passed a closed Popular Outdoors store while driving in Tucson, after still seeing it listed in a brand new phonebook <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> A stop at the new In & Out Burger cured those sorrows real fast <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> Now all those folks in Tucson can stop driving to Phoenix for their fix! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#73757 - 10/11/07 04:15 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Earthling]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
Thanks oldranger, Pika, and Earthling for that background and history on Smut Hut, REI, In-N-Out Burger. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Here's one good thing to say about REI (still) and Summit Hut: When you walk in, you may not bump into a salesperson with a lot of knowledge or experience in the area you want immediately. But if you ask around and are patient, there's usually someone who does have an answer.

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#73758 - 10/17/07 05:34 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: azcanyon]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
AZ,

Heck, if I don't keep recounting my memories here they'll be lost to eternity in the future <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Besides it keeps me up to date on what's happening in my past haunts <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
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#73759 - 01/11/08 12:34 PM Re: Hiking poles. [Re: Pika]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 254
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
Hi Pika.
Yes, we had a similar experience. The Grand Canyon hikers we saw were way behind the curve somehow. They carried packs in hot weather heavier than I would take on a snow camping trip. Some of the sleeping bags I saw strapped below external frame packs must have weighed 4 pounds or more, twice what is needed there. When we talked to some of the hikers it was evident that while they were really liking the trip, that they had little experience. It is interesting that a trend (like lighter weight backpacking) takes so long to develop. Many manufacturers still sell 6 and 7 pound packs and tents for example.
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