Leki Micro Stick Review
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The Leki Micro Stick Trekking Poles are geared for those that are weight conscious, or always looking to shave a few ounces from their gear to get to their destination faster. The Micro Sticks do this by adding a new spin on an old concept. The Micro Stick’s are not your standard telescoping trekking, rather these aluminum poles can be folded/collapsed down into 3 small segments. This feature makes it easy to find a place for your poles when they are not in use; strap them under your pack lid, bungee them the outside, packed inside, or place them along the side of your pack. They will fit just about anywhere because they pack down to about 15 inches and weigh a mere 8.8 ounces/pole, or a little over 1 lb for the set.
The folding design helps save on weight, however, these poles cannot be adjusted to varying lengths. Rather, the Micro Sticks’ come in 3 set lengths: 110, 120, and 130 cm. I always dial mine to 115 cm, so the fact that I couldn’t adjust these was a bit of a bummer for me. I tested the 120’s and made due with them, but would prefer to have the ability to adjust them as they were a wee bit too tall for me. With that said, I don’t typically do a lot of adjusting when on the go, so if they made lengths in between their current offering, I would be a huge fan of the Micro Sticks.
The Micro Stick Trekking Poles may offer a new design, but they pack the same great features that you come to expect from Leki. For starters, the Micro Sticks feature the SpeedLock system, which is touted as 10 times stronger than external locking systems. To get the trekking poles ready to go, simply take them from your pack, unfold them by shaking the pole a bit, slip the segments of the pole together (kind of like a tent pole) and move the red locking lever to the closed position. Viola, you are done and it takes only about 5 seconds per pole. The lock forces an increase amount of tension on the internal cord that runs the length of the trekking poles. Once in the locked position, the pole segments look and feel like they are one. If you feel that the terrain is going to be even more challenging and you wish to tighten the lock a bit more (increased tension on the cord), you can use the Speed Dial, located on the SpeedLock. You can use the Speed Dial with your bare hands or use a hex tool, knife, etc.
Other features worth mentioning include the Aergon Thermo XL grip. The grip provides a large surface area to help great a secure grip for hands of all sizes. The grip does this without adding a ton of weight, and offers the user the ability to safely adjust the security strap when on the move. The cam lock and release system, featured at the top of the grip, can be operated easily, even with heavy winter gloves or mittens on, by simply lifting up on the cam and adjusting the strap with the other hand. The poles also feature a carbide tip that provided excellent grip while scaling some of Colorado’s rockier terrain. The carbide tip can be replaced pretty easily if it wears out and can be covered with a rubber end cap for use when hiking in fragile terrain or sand. The baskets are on the smaller side, once again saving weight, and weren’t really a problem for me. However, hiking in Colorado’s mud season could pose a problem with the small size, the tip and basket could easily sink into the mud a tad more than traditional larger baskets. In the dry summer months, however, these baskets were perfect.
Overall, Leki’s Micro Stick Trekking Poles offer a new twist on an old concept-while remaining super light and easy to pack. However, I do wish they would entertain the possibility of adding more sizes or making them adjustable in future additions.
For more info on the Micro Stick and other Leki products, visit www.backcountry.com.