Keep yourself upright with the light and minimal Ergo Trekking Pole.
It’s one of the last pieces you might buy when it comes to hiking gear and while opinions are mixed, trekking poles are definitely useful. They offer a third or fourth ‘leg’ of support when backpacking or day hiking, taking off noticeable amounts of strain from your legs.
When a few gift cards from Christmas found themselves into my pocket, I thought it was time to upgrade from my cheapo, nearly broken walking sticks that smelt of petroleum and fertilizer. (Amazon.com if you’re interested)
For $120, the Black Diamond Ergo Trekking Poles seemed like a solid option in the middle range for simple but sturdy sticks. With two sections of legs (adjustable from 74-140 cm), changeable tips, and cork handles, the Ergo poles are basic, but every feature is in the right place.
The biggest draw for me was the cork handles. My previous sticks were plastic, which slicked with sweat after extended use. The cork absorbs sweat, breaths well, and hold nicely without too much shape. After a few hours of use, I found my favorite grip and didn’t have to think much after that.
An extended foam area below the cork handles like you grip up and down the stick, to help with quick adjustments for rapid declines and inclines.
The second best part is the soft and adjustable wrist straps. A simple pull in either direction makes the loops big or small, great for wearing bare-palmed or with gloves. While I like the shape and feel of the straps, they aren’t removable, which makes me worried for when they wear out. Not sure when that will be, but would have been nice to know I could replace them if I wanted.
The poles are meant for backpacking or hiking but Black Diamond also includes full sized snow baskets that screw on to the bottom of the pole for snowshoeing. It’s always nice to see companies that throw in widgets rather than charging extra.
The Ergo Cork Poles are made of aluminum and rugged-feeling matte finish, one that seems like it would stand up to years of being banged around on the trail. Add in the flip locks that feel even tougher (no pole slippage yet!) and the lightweight build of 1.2 pounds per pair and you’ve got yourself one great set of walking sticks.
Disclosure: The review was done independently of any contribution by Black Diamond.