Gossamer Gear’s LT 4 Carbon Fiber trekking poles match my backpacking and hiking needs perfectly. I used to own another pair of fixed length carbon fiber poles from Komperdell, but I like the LT 4’s much better because they’re lighter, they have better grips, they don’t have hand straps and they are adjustable for pitching a tent or tarp. They also aren’t as brittle as my old Komperdell’s, which used to vibrate up the shaft when the tip hit rock.
My Gossamer Gear LT 4’s replaced a pair of Black Diamond Trail hiking poles that I’ve been using for the past two years. I’m on my second pair of these after snapping one while climbing Camel’s Hump in Vermont over the summer and accidentally dropping the other off a bridge at the end of a 50 mile section hike.
The Black Diamonds (left, above) have been reliable, but have some inconveniences that I’ve just put up with. I’ll still keep them around for snowshoeing, but I’ve switched to the LT 4’s full time (right, above) for day hiking and backpacking use.
As you can see, there are no hand straps on the LT 4’s. This is by design and helps keep their weight down to just 6.8 oz. per pair. They are adjustable to 140 cm in length (longer than most mainstream poles), and come with EVA molded grips that have a slight give if your squeeze them. The pole tips are made out of carbon fiber and they accept Leki replacement baskets.
The lack of hand straps is not an issue at all. I think a lot of hikers bear down too hard on their straps and that this style of hiking is inefficient: It’s also a great way to snap a pole. Instead, I try to use my poles as lateral stabilizers or probes with about the same force that a visually impaired person might use a white walking cane. You only need to touch the ground gently to stabilize your center of gravity.
When I received the LT4s I was a little concerned about the robustness of the adjustment locking system. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve hiked with that have adjustable poles that won’t stay locked, unless they are Black Diamonds.
So far, I haven’t has any problems with the LT4s maintaining their length properly which is a huge relief. In fact the internal mechanism is simple and requires just one or two turns to lock into place.
There is no need to be too gentle with these poles: they are rock solid and will easily support your weight or a tarp/tent when used as part of your shelter system. You just want to avoid leaning on them too much in a boulder field, because they will snap and not just bend.
Disclosure: Gossamer Gear provided SectionHiker.com with a complementary pair of trekking poles for product testing.