Hiking Gear Review: Leki Khumbu Antishock Trekking Poles

As part of our Beginning Hiking Series for Preppers, we will review gear that we feel is beneficial to our readers who are interested in hiking the trails. The unique part of this series is that I am beginner at recreational hiking as well, so these reviews will be from a fresh (and unbiased) perspective. Now enough blabbing and onto the topic at hand.

Just like any other consumer, I like to do research on products that I consider using. Though I try not to jump on the bandwagon for most things, I thoroughly researched the use of trekking poles for hiking and the pros outweighed the cons. Preserving my back and knees was an argument that did not take much convincing. So I had to find out for myself.

After researching the many companies that offer trekking poles, I chose to go with a company which had not only a good reputation for their products, but also the experience to back it up. I chose the Khumbu Antishock trekking poles from Leki. Leki has been in the business of trekking, skiing, and Nordic pole manufacturing since 1948.

Leki KhumbuWhen the package arrived I was nervous that it was only one pole and not two because the box was so light. Once I opened the box, I was happy to find the Khumbu poles. My first impression was that I could not believe how lightweight but yet solid the poles felt. At 21.4 ounces, these are extremely light. The simple packaging was very informative on the poles’ construction and operation. So I had to get them out of the packaging and look them over. The handles feel solid and grippy. I had to inspect the locking mechanisms, which Leki refers to them as Speed Locks. The quick adjusting system was not only convenient but also solid. Do not let the light weight material fool you.

While the multiple adjustments are simple to use and the locking system is self explanatory, I was intrigued by the construction of theLeki Khumbu carbide tips and basket. These poles are also know for their anti-shock technology. It appeared that with the combination of the form fitted grip and solid construction that these poles were going to give me a run for my money on the trails. I could not wait to put them to the test!

My first outing was a ten mile hike on intermediate trails with varying elevation and terrain. An added element to the mix was that it had rained heavily the day before so there was a generous amount of mud. After getting the poles adjusted to a comfortable height and securing the safety straps to a comfortable position, we hit the trail. Since this was my first time using poles, it took the first couple of miles to get used to the poles. The poles light weight and ergonomic design allowed me to find a rhythm and get on task quickly. It did take some time to get used to the safety straps, but I eventually did.

Once I built up the confidence; I began to put them through a stress test. I have a medium to large build and weigh over 200 pounds, so I was nervous to put my weight into them. To my surprise, they did not falter. If you do decide to use poles, you will learn quickly that they will dig into the ground and have some resistance coming back up. Though it was muddy on the trail, the baskets did not allow the poles to sink too deep in the mud. The tip design allowed for the poles to come out of whatever trouble I faced that day. At the end of the ten miles I did not have sore arms or hands. I was impressed, but we still needed to try them elsewhere.

Leki KhumbuThe second trip was to the mountains and six miles on a strenuous trail. I chose this trail as it had some drastic elevation changes and obstacles (rocks, hills, etc.). It was time to put the Khumbu’s to the test. Keep in mind this is a beginners hiking series, I do not advocate going above your abilities on the trail. My first encounter with some steep hills were very easy once I used the poles to help with weight distribution. This goes for ascending and descending and the poles did not skip a beat. On some parts of the trail there were large and small rocks. Even though I accidentally hit some of these rocks, the carbide tips held up and allowed forgiveness. Sometimes the sound was scary and I thought I broke something; but surprisingly there wasn’t any damage to the pole.

After making it up to the peak, I was able to examine the poles and there was no sign of damage or wear. It was nice to collapse them (in seconds) and stick them in my pack so I could enjoy the scenic view. The trip back down the mountain was actually fun because I utilized the poles a lot more and they held up very well. There were a few instances where I thought I was going to take a dive, but they saved me some embarrassment. Going home unscathed was an accomplishment.

Now for my final thoughts. I am very impressed with the Khumbu’s overall construction and performance. Here are my pros and cons:

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Solid Construction
  • Ergonomic Grip
  • Shock Absorbing / Speed Locks

Cons

  • Price

As you see, the pros outweigh the cons in this review. The only reason I placed price as a con was due to the fact that if this will be your first pair of trekking poles, you will be looking at spending over $100.00. The Khumbu’s MSRP sits at $139.95. If you are looking for quality and performance, you will pay for it. I believe these poles will provide years of service so the price is justified. By using European engineering and of course the some of the best landscapes in the world, the folks at Leki have a large selection of tools to choose from. So before your next hike, do yourself (and your body) a favor and visit Leki’s website. You won’t be disappointed.

Leki Khumbu

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