Meet Leki’s Lhasa poles for hiking and the Ultratrail FX One Superlite poles for running!
While I’ve been hiking with running poles for a long time, there are definitely reasons you might want to have both! Poles are kind of like skis. What’s the right number of skis at any time? One more pair than you currently have!
While both poles are lightweight and collapsible there are big differences too! Let’s get into the details of each pole.
As the name says, these are super light. No joke. They come in around 137 grams. And with that lightness, you’d think there would be some kind of sacrifice. I couldn’t find one! They are super durable and have tagged along on hundreds of miles with me. Although they are designed for trail running, I have used them just as much for day hiking and backpacking. I would have thought they were too technical or unnecessary for just hiking, but it turns out they are perfect for almost every situation.
Here’s what I love about them:
The Trail Shark grips and straps
I don’t know if these first came out in the alpine ski world, which is how I first learned about them, but they’ve been on running poles too for quite a while now. The idea is that you wear a strap on your hand that has a loop of cord in between your pointer finger and thumb. This loop attaches to the pole by sliding it into a slot on the pole. It then gets securely trapped in there until you release it. It releases easily. Just use the thumb of the hand it’s on to press on the release trigger and you’re free.
The Trail shark strap has come a long way from the first generation. It’s now a mostly mesh construction making it lightweight and breathable. And like always, it’s super comfortable and no chafe!
The super light weight makes a world of difference when running. They feel more like they are a part of me versus me dragging them along due to the carbon construction. And on my longer 15-mile days, I have zero tolerance for any gear that is not doing what it’s supposed to or making it harder for me to accomplish my goals. I would call this pole pretty much perfect in the weight department!
For day hiking, the question of whether I should bring my poles or not is no longer up for debate on these. The answer is always yes since they hardly add anything to my pack and stow away easily.
They fold up so small!
They quickly and easily fold into 3 segments in a z-like fashion. They store easily with all my gear and they are no hassle to toss in the back of the car.
For day hiking, they fit perfectly in what is supposed to be meant for a water bottle in my small say pack. And when shoved in there, they don’t poke up past the pack, so it makes hiking with them on my pack manageable, especially when they are in their carrying bag.
Tip: leave the straps on the trigger grips for the quickest and easiest transitions.
These are a great all-around pole for the avid hiker or backpacker. Take them miles and miles with the comfortable grip and strap – no blisters! And then fold them up when you’re done and stow them away.
Here’s what I love about the Lhasa:
Comfy grip and strap
Grips and straps have a come a long way over the past several years. The ultra-soft yet durable strap means all-day comfort, no matter how many miles you put in. Part of its design is its breathability, so I think less sweating also helps eliminate the chafe factor. The grip itself is designed ergonomically and it fits my hand perfectly. Having my gear feel like it’s part of me versus something I’m dragging along is important and these definitely fit the bill.
If you’re not ready to spend for a carbon pole, this one still comes in very light at 234 grams with an aluminum construction. Although I hike a lot with the Ultratrail Fx.one Superlites, they are not for everything. I switch to the Lhasas for anything early or late season since the presence of a basket is very important for walking on snow. The basket is also important for sand so these are coming with me on the Lost Coast trail, which has plenty of beach walking.
Since these fold up into 3 parts they are very packable. While they are not meant to be attached to the smallest of day packs, they will stow perfectly on any type of climbing or backpacking pack and won’t take up half of the car when your group jumps in at the trailhead.
All in All
Either of these pairs of poles are a great lightweight option. As with choosing most of your gear, it really depends on what your main objective is. Which is why some folks choose to have more than one option in their arsenal! But, if you have to go with just one, either the Lhasa or the Ultratrail FX One Superlite would be fantastic choices.