Gear reviews

Leki Micro Sticks

Provenance: purchased from Web

Review: Long Term Testing

There’s nothing like knee surgery to make you re-evaluate the basics! After having most of my right knee reconstructed in 2013 I spent 6 months learning to walk again and to adapt to a new, correct, gait & posture. During this process I finally admitted to myself what many many seasoned walkers have known for a long time – walking with two poles is highly beneficial.

Like many before me I started with a couple of cheap varieties – they either collapsed on me when it mattered or jammed up if I tried to use then – quickly I discovered that in the world of poles cheapest most definitely is not best.

& then I found the Leki Micro Sticks – mine are the aluminium variety – they now do an even lighter carbon variety – I found in practical terms I couldn’t feel the difference in the poles – but I could in my wallet – the advent of the carbon option means that you can now find the originals for sale (£rrp 120) for under £60 from several retailers.

So how have they been?

The Micro Sticks aren’t like many other poles on the market – they come in three fixed sizes (110, 120, 130cm) but make up for that by having a 150mm extended grip section underneath the main handle – I’ve found this superb to use in practice as it means no faffing about changing the length – I just move my hand if I’m on a steep incline and want my uphill pole to effectively be shorter – the (red in the picture above) grip lock doubles as a second hand stop.

The poles lock together much like an avalanche probe or a tent pole – they’re the fasted to put together poles I’ve encountered, and they’re very easy to use in big gloves (compared to the Black Diamond poles with the little spring knob). Once together they feel very sturdy & well made – yet still only weigh 510g for the pair.

This simple design gives the poles the feature which I initially found most attractive and which has gone on to prove most useful – they fold up really small! So if you’re trekking in to a climb – or in a group of clients and need your hands free – or just trying to pack them into your luggage – these are great – they pack back into the little tough bag they came with and at only 40cm long you can store them inside your sack – or even (if the airline allows) in your hand luggage.

Being made by Leki you get superb build quality:

  • The strap adjustment is fantastically simple – use the strap as a lever to lift the mechanism, set to length & and then lock in place – super secure. After a long day in typical Lake District weather I particularly appreciate the soft strap lining – no chaffing or sore hands.
  • The butt joints on the pole are tapered – this means that with a bit of practice you can just shake the poles into place and the tapering acts as a guide – my poles are usually out of my bag and set in under ten seconds.
  • Leki’s innovative camera monopod adapter can be fitted – a quick tripod for the special wildlife shot.
  • Mine came with small light weight walking bales & snow bales – these simply screw on & off & replacements are cheap should you lose one.
Pro’s – Price, build quality, so easy to use
Cons –  Genuinely not found any yet – I’ve bought my partner a pair & we’ve both bought second pairs to leave in France – I’m never in the hills without them!

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