These full-suspension trekking poles don’t just take the weight off when you’re hiking with a pack, they also reduce the impact of repeated foot placement on technical trails.
Built-in shock absorbers
Heavier than some other poles
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Leki Makalu Lite COR-TEC AS trekking poles: first impressions
Tipping the scales at 493g / 1lb 1.4oz, these Leki Makalu Lite poles certainly aren’t the lightest trekking poles on the market, but they will dramatically reduce the strain on your body, thanks to built-in shock absorbers.
The poles, which are made from 7075-series aluminum that’s been heat treated for strength, have Leki’s Dynamic Suspension System inside. It’s an elastomer-based antishock system that reduces the impact of each pole plant by around 40%, absorbing vibration and protecting your muscles, joints and ligaments from fatigue and overuse syndrome.
The poles adjust with Leki’s SpeedLock Plus system, which uses clips that flip open, and press shut to keep the poles the length you choose. You can also adjust how tightly the sections lock.
Grips made from 80% natural, ground cork and 20% rubber absorb sweat to keep the grip from feeling slippery. They’re positioned at an 8° angle to keep wrists neutral when you’re walking.
Wicking, buckle-free wrist straps are easy to adjust and super supportive. Carbide Flextips bite into terrain, and though they’re long lasting, they can be replaced. The poles come with three season baskets. Snow baskets are sold separately.
• RRP: $140 (US) / £95 (UK)
• Shaft: Aluminum
• Grip: Aergon 2k Coretec (cork, rubber)
• Tip: Carbide
• Gender: Unisex
• Operational length: 100–135cm / 40–54in
• Pack size: 68cm / 27in
• Weight (per pair): 493g / 1lb 1.4oz
• Compatibility: Hiking, backpacking and day walking
Leki Makalu Lite COR-TEC AS trekking poles: on the trails
When I am backpacking, at the end of the day my neck and shoulders always feel the hours and miles on the trail. Having trekking poles that dampened vibration reduced the strain. (Learn how to use trekking pole in our expert guide.)
These poles were easy to adjust, even with my gloves on. They compact well for travel, and easily fit inside a suitcase. They also stuffed inside my backpack when I didn’t need them for some stretches of the trail.
The combined cork/rubber handles were both comfortable and secure to hold onto. While they’re not as light as carbon poles, the vibration dampening made a notable difference.
Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.