Gear Review: Helinox Ridgeline Trekking Poles
Helinox Ridgeline – Lightweight trekking poles for any environment
Pro: One-lever system makes adjustments simple and easy
Con: Can be a bit burdensome to carry when not using
Overall: A solid trekking pole for any environment
Anyone who has used trekking poles can quickly identify their Achilles Heel: the twist-to-lock mechanisms. There have been many times when I’ve used my trekking pole to catch my balance, and all of the sudden the twist lock slips and my trekking pole is instantly a foot shorter. The result is either awkward stumbling to catch my balance (at best) or a tumble down the trail.
Helinox Ridgeline has solved this problem with their lever locking system. The system allows you to simply flip a lever to securely lock your trekking pole at your desired height – no more over tightening your twist lock poles, which over time can strip the lock. The Helinox Ridgeline lever lock uses a dual “cam” mechanism to increase locking security (translated: there are two pressure points on the lever, which means the pole is more secure).
The Helinox Ridgeway LB 130 trekking pole uses a lock-and-button (the “LB” part of the name) system that only has one locking point – a small lever. To adjust the pole, you simply flip open the lever and extend the pole. The bottom section locks into place with its “button” and you lock everything in place by closing the lever. This makes on-the-trail adjustments quick and easy – I routinely adjust the poles without stopping, it’s that easy.
Additionally, the Helinox Ridgeline trekking pole comes with an extra-long foam grip, which allows you to move your hand along the grip when you need a slightly longer or shorter pole. This means you don’t have to unlock the pole to adjust the height – you simply move your hand up or down. This is great when climbing a small hill or crossing a stream, where you need to adjust your pole by a few inches but only for a short distance.
The biggest downside to using these – and most – trekking poles is that there are times when you will want to carry the pole, but not use it. At nearly 2 feet long, it can be awkward and burdensome to find a place on your pack that can easily accommodate it. Most people will stow their trekking poles in the bottle-holder side pocket of their packs, but the poles are typically taller than your pack, causing them to snag on branches. This isn’t much of a burden, but can be highly annoying when you are unexpectedly whacked in the head by a branch – and easily solved by using your trekking poles.
The pole material itself is a DAC TH72M alloy, which is billed as the lightest and strongest metal alloy in the world. This alloy was developed to prevent stress-cracking while preserving strength. What this means for you is that you will get a lightweight trekking pole that is strong and durable – so you will likely own this trekking pole for years (and hundreds of miles!) to come.
Max length: 53.1 inches
Length when folded: 23.8 inches
Weight (1 pole): 7.9 ounces
Weight (2 poles): 15.9 ounces
Handle length: 10.5 inches
Number of sections: 3
Price: $170 for the pair