I have been a huge supporter of the Gossamer Gear LT4’s since the year I first started hiking so buying another pair of hiking poles was not an easy decision. It really came down to two reasons why I went ahead and bought these Yana Poles: First is that I have become rather frustrated with the locking mechanisms of the LT4’s and second is because they are 99 grams, verses 119 grams for the LT4 poles.
Given the fact that I decided at the start of the 2012 hiking season not to use hiking poles this year to see if they really were helping me or if they were just a “thing” within part of the present day fad within hiking. Given the fact that I slipped and fell (for the first time in over 1,500+ miles) on my last hike, which resulted in a knee injury that basically ended my 2012 hiking season, it has left me wondering if that c/would have been prevented if I had been using hiking poles, and my honest belief is that I still likely would have slipped, but there is a very good chance I would not have actually fallen if I had been using poles.
For my shelters I have been using dedicated custom-made Carbon Fiber tent poles which are 62 grams for the pair of them. It was hard to ignore the fact that 62 grams for holding up my shelter was a lot better than 238 grams (8.39 ounces) when I was almost never using the LT4’s anyway while hiking for most of the previous hiking season.
So all of that is the reasoning for why I decided to order up a pair of the Yana Poles and see how they were.
If you are a hiker who follows my articles you know I am not a fan of putting competing products up against each other, but it would be very difficult to talk about either the LT4s or the Yana Poles without comparing them to each other – they are the defacto lightest hiking poles we can buy.
I do want to start off by saying that I have never snapped a single Gossamer Gear LT4 hiking pole. I do not use wrist straps and have taught myself to instantly and automatically let go of my hiking poles if I sense they have gotten stuck in rocks, roots, logs, or whatever. I am pretty sure that this training on my part has saved me from shattering a few of them over the years.
I will also say that I am very much attracted to the “Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles” the more that I hike. They are significantly heavier (492 grams for a pair – twice the weight of the LT4’s, and 294 grams heavier than the Yana Poles – that is 10 ounces heavier!) but there are some aspects about them that really appeal to me. That includes: the locking mechanism, the durability, the three piece design, and the locking mechanism. yes, i said that twice.
Onto My Thoughts:
So onto my thoughts on the Ruta Locura made Yana Poles. I do want to preface this with a brief usage: I have thousands of miles with my LT4. I have less than 10 miles with the Yana Poles. Simply put, when you hike a lot it does not take all that long of using something to know how something is going to work out and if you will like it or not. Very much the case with the Yana Poles for me.
The Yana Poles suffer pretty badly from vibrations on hard ground or dreaded road hiking. Every time you put them down there is major vibrations on them just above the union joint. On the road or in rocky areas it gets very bad. Hand numbing did not happen to me, but I only used them for about four miles on the a hard packed trail and a mile or so on a road. It was noticeable and that annoyed me. I cannot remember a time when I felt vibrations from the GG LT4’s while road hiking or on rocky terrain or hard packed trails.
Both a negative and a positive here in this section.
The positive is that they work a lot better than the GG LT4’s do at locking. Pig Monkey said it oh so well over at his blog, “the twist-lock isn’t really that bad. It works most of the time — but we’re talking like 75% of the time, not 99%. Sometimes it made me want to beat the poles against a tree.” I cannot count the amount of times I was all packed up early in the morning and ready to hit the trail for some big miles and those blasted locking mechanisms of the LT4’s would just not lock up. I honestly do think that this is what eventually lead to me not using them this year. Now granted I have not had the Yana Poles long enough for them to degrade but having used the LT4’s long enough, the Yana Poles just feel like they are going to lock up every single time I go to adjust them. No worries about if they will or not, just confidence that they will. That said, there are a whole lot of people on the internet (too many for me to reference) that say that they end up buying a fair number of replacement parts because the locking mechanisms tend to fail with the Yana Poles.
The negative aspect is that the little locking mechanisms are not one solid piece, such as with the GG LT4’s. The first time I pulled the tubes apart I had little pieces go flying everywhere. Thankfully I was in my house and not out on the trail in a deep matted forest where I would have never been able to find the pieces. For this reason alone I decided I would never ever use these poles on a long distance hike, where I would be using the poles for both hiking and for shelter support. The chances of loosing something so important because its not all one piece is simply unacceptable to me and the style of hiking that I do.
Very nice design. Not as beefy as the GG LT4’s but I am very impressed with the design.
The handles took some getting use too. I would say somewhere around the 5 or 6 mile mark of my 10 mile hike I finally figured out how to hold the handles in both modes. They are a straight tapped design rather than the hand-forming style that the GG LT4’s have. I really found myself “palming” them for the first four or so miles. Eventually I increased the height of the poles and discovered a rather comfortable area to hold them – much higher than what I would have used with the LT4’s. For the last 4 or 5 miles of my hike I discovered the same level of comfort, stability and support that I have with the LT4’s.
I will say that I like the handle design of these better than the LT4 when it comes to using them as structural support for my Six Moon Design Skyscape X shelter! The smooth design causes less rubbing against the inner sidewalls of the cuben fiber and the floor of the shelter.
$150 dollars put them in the top pricing tier of today’s hiking poles. The Gossamer Gear LT4’s are $160 and the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork are $150.
The lightest weight manufactured hiking poles on the planet as far as I know of.
Comfortable once you get use to them.
My sister likes them (giggle, my sister is not a hiker, she just happened to try them out while we were out on a walk last week)
Vibrations on hard packed trails, rocks and the road.
Very risky multi-part locking mechanisms.
Compared to heavier poles, these are expensive hiking poles.
Future Wish List:
A better locking mechanisms that does not have pieces I might loose while taking them apart.
Additional reinforcements to help reduce the vibrations.
For the record I am 6 feet tall, 205 pounds, and had a base pack weight of 4.8 pounds on the ten mile hike I was on while using these.
Sadly these are not poles I am going to be taking with me on any long distance trails. Less than 10 miles on them and I already know this. I will still use them for local trails, but they will just probably never go with me on any hike when I need them as support for my shelter. The potential for little parts to go flying into the deep undergrowth of the Redwood forest feels too risky to me as a SUL/XUL hiker who does not carry redundant backup items – and something I should not have too. As with many things there comes a point where going too light becomes a problem, and the lack of extra wrapping on the carbon fiber shafts leads to excessive vibrations that left me wishing for something that was stronger.
In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that I am a “Trail Ambassador” of Gossamer Gear. The Ruta Locura products mentioned within the content of this review were purchased by myself and were not supplied to me free of charge, or in exchange for services, by Ruta Locura. The Gossamer Gear products mentioned within the content of this review where purchased by myself and were not supplied to me free of charge, or in exchange for services, by Gossamer Gear. Any other product(s) mentioned within the content of this review is free of endorsement(s) between myself and the manufacturer(s) and meets all FTC 16 CFR.255 compliance requirements.