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Gossamer Gear has built an entire business around going lighter, and going farther. They make gear for the hiker that wants to shave every gram possible off their kit, in order to cover more distance and/or elevation. An example is their ingenious Mariposa™Plus Ultralight backpack with a featherweight aluminum stay that is designed to allow the wearer to utilize unused clothing for padding in the straps and hip belt. This results in a 59 liter backpack that weighs less than 1.5 pounds for the largest model.
All their products share this same “lighter is better” philosophy, without sacrificing comfort or quality, and their LT (Lightrek™) series trekking poles are no exception. The fixed length 110cm LT3C weigh as little as 2.7 oz each, without baskets, while the longest one (130cm) comes in at 3.3 oz with trekking baskets. That’s under a half pound for the pair. Their LT4 poles are adjustable, and at 7.2 oz for the pair, still manage to stay under that half pound mark. The key to this extreme light weight is their carbon fiber tubing and EVA “Kork-O-Lon” foam grips. By specifying the exact diameter, wall thickness, and taper for their tubing, they are able to offer a very high strength-to-weight ratio. Additional spiral wrapping on the lower section further enhances durability. The grips appear to be a single piece molded into an ergonomic shape, without a rigid plastic frame that would only add weight. They have the added benefit of providing the small amount of buoyancy necessary to keep the poles from sinking, should you drop them during a water crossing.
With either trekking pole set weighing less than half what a typical set weighs, there’s already a substantial savings. Factor in using them to replace the poles in your shelter, and it’s easy to see how you could reduce your load by a full pound or more, without giving up any reliability. Gossamer Gear recognizes that many users will go this route, and thoughtfully provides o-rings to be used when the poles are upside down, to avoid contamination of the LT4’s adjustment mechanism by dirt or other foreign matter. Speaking of which, you’ll notice there’s no visible lever or any sort of method for changing the length. That’s because it’s all accomplished by an internal expander that’s both simple and effective. Just set the appropriate length, and give the upper section a clockwise twist. This will cause the neoprene expander to snug up against an aluminum insert. Reverse the procedure to change the length again. It all happens internally, but the result is a solid connection between the two parts, with the tiny bit of added weight providing maximum versatility. Of course, that also sums up Gossamer Gear’s philosophy of “take less. do more.” quite well.
If you’re looking for the lightest trekking poles available, or the lightest hiking gear for that matter, check out GossamerGear.com