Back when I got back into hiking a number of years ago the third thing I bought was a pair of Gossamer Gear LT4 Trekking Poles and I still have them to this day. They are the only piece of gear I still have from my first three seasons of hiking put together. I have a few thousand miles of use on them.
There is not a lot to say about the LT4 poles that have not already been said by other hikers for years. They stand as a pedestal in the long distance and ultra light hiking world, much like the ULA Backpacks do on the PCT, where well over 50% of the hikers are using a ULA pack of some sort. The amount of hikers you see these days with the GG LT4s is just amazing. It is a testament to their strength and weight.
As a Trail Ambassador of Gossamer Gear I was asked what my favorite piece of gear that Gossamer Gear makes and without any doubt or hesitation at all, the LT4 Trekking Poles are my favorite! I bought the pair of mine years ago, back before I was a long distance hiker, back before I was posting videos on youtube, and back before I was writing articles about hiking gear.
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. Without a doubt I prefer the Gossamer Gear LT4 poles over the Yana Poles, but it sort of goes without saying that somewhere along the way they need to be compared to each other, so I will do so a few times within this article.
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 – verses 238 grams for the LT4’s – that is 254 grams / 8.95 ounces heavier!) but there are some aspects about them that really appeal to me. That includes: the locking mechanism, the three piece design, and the locking mechanism. yes, i said that twice.
Onto My Thoughts:
So onto my thoughts on the LT4 Trekking Poles made by Gossmaer Gear. I do want to preface this with a brief usage: I have thousands of miles with my LT4. I have used my single and only pair in the deserts of California, in the mountains of Northern California, in Death Valley, in the Redwood forest where I live. From 120+ degrees Fahrenheit temperatures to very deep snow in the winter time and well over at least 200 days/nights spent hiking in the rain.
The LT4 poles do a very good job at not suffering from vibrations on almost all terrain. When moving fast on black top roads I have noticed some vibrations, but that is rare for me to be doing. I have used them on granite mountains, very rocky/boulder’y beach hikes, and on root infested rain forests. Rarely has there been a time when I noticed vibrations with the Gossamer Gear LT4 poles.
Both negatives and positives here in this section.
The positive is that they are fairly easy to maintain and almost impossible to break.
They have been known to freeze up at night if you use them as support for your shelter and it is raining and cold. They have also been known to have issues with suction and trying to pull them apart if it is raining a lot and you do not dry them out regularly. Gossamer Gear advises that you take them apart at night and wipe them dry. Very sound advice, trust me, I have had to send one pole back that got locked up because of this. It was my stupid mistake and I take full responsibility for causing it. Lesson learned.
Compared to the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles the locking mechanism can be extremely frustrating at times. 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. There are some tricks to getting them to lock up and it would be awesome if Gossamer Gear were to put some of these tips on their website page for the LT4s.
When they do work (which is most of the time) the locking mechanisms on the LT4 are very nice, very lightweight, impossible to break, something you will never loose even if you do take the poles apart at night, and have never ever slipped on me, even when I had to put my full weight on a single pole.
Gossamer Gear has put a lot of work into the design and construction of the LT4 poles over the years and it really shows for it. They add extra wrapping to the carbon fiber shafts in the places that need it the most.
The handles by which all other hiking pole handles are judged by. No too soft, not to hard. Not plastic. Absorbs a very mi·nute amount of water even if you leave them stuck in muddy wet ground upside down as a shelter support. Even in the muddiest yuckiest of ground conditions (when used as a shelter support) my original pair are still pretty much the same color they originally were. One turned a little black on me when I was in some truly nasty muck on night and had no other option than to setup where I did. All in all, the handles are very comfortable in both palm-on-top mode and when holding them normally.
The Gossamer Gear LT4’s are at the very top of the cost for hiking poles at $160 bucks. Both the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and the Ruta Locura Yana Poles are $150. I am sure there are most expensive poles out there, but for the ones that matter, the LT4 poles are the most expensive ones.
Amazingly light weight at 119 grams (4.1 oz) per pole.
The most comfortable handle out there.
Tough enough for me (and thousands of other long distance hikers)
Very easy to replace any part of them from the Gossamer Gear Store.
Sometimes the locking mechanisms can be frustrating.
I thought long-and-hard for a second Con and nothing comes to mind.
Three piece poles
Better locking mechanisms
For the record I am 6 feet tall, 205 pounds, and I have an average base pack weight of 4.8 pounds in the shoulder season and sub three pounds in the summer, so I am not somebody out there hiking with a 60 pound pack putting a lot of strain on these poles. I am not saying they cannot but I have no experience with that so it would be unfair of me to comment about such hiking conditions.
The locking mechanisms leaves myself and a lot of other hikes rather frustrated at times. I know a lot of guys that firmly believe the LT4 poles are not a four season pole because of the locking mechanism and trying to get them to lock while using gloves. Most of those guys believe that the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles are the way to go. I do not have a lot of winter hiking experience with the LT4 poles so I am also limited in my ability to comment about that. I do have a few thousand miles of use with the LT4 poles in typical summer and shoulder season conditions. Both in the hotest place in the USA, Death Valley, and in the month-after-month raining conditions of the Redwood rain forests of Northern California. In these conditions that I hike in I can absolutely say that the Gossamer Gear LT4 Trekking Poles excel and there is no other hiking pole I would rather be out there with in those conditions.
In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that I am a “Trail Ambassador” of Gossamer Gear. 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.