Gossamer Gear LT5 Review
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Gossamer Gear LT5
|Price||$195 List||$170 List|
$135.89 at Amazon
|$150 List||$104.89 at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
$42.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Light, comfortable||Comfortable grip, locks securely, packs small, highly versatile||Comfortable grips, versatile, packable, relatively affordable||Lightweight, short collapsed length, durable||Durable, comfortable grip, packs small|
|Cons||Expensive, break easily, not made for backcountry use||Carbon is less durable than aluminum, on the expensive side||Difficult locking mechanism, heavier than comparable poles||No length adjustability, average grip comfort||Heavy, less versatile due to weight|
|Bottom Line||These lightweight and expensive poles are great for easy walks around the neighborhood, but not much more||A simple, elegant, and well-built trekking pole with versatility for all uses||Burly folding trekking poles with comfortable grips that are great for everything from hiking and backpacking to climbing and mountaineering||Durable with a short collapsed length, this is a fantastic value for a lightweight pole||A highly affordable pair of poles with all of the features of more expensive models|
|Rating Categories||Gossamer Gear LT5||MSR DynaLock Ascent...||Leki Jannu FX TA||Black Diamond Dista...||Trekology Trek-Z 2.0|
|Locking and Adjustability (15%)|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Construction Quality (10%)|
|Specs||Gossamer Gear LT5||MSR DynaLock Ascent...||Leki Jannu FX TA||Black Diamond Dista...||Trekology Trek-Z 2.0|
|Measured Weight (per pair)||10.0 oz||17.0 oz||19.0 oz||12.5 oz||26.0 oz|
|Shaft Material||Carbon Fiber||Carbon fiber||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Collapsed Length||24 In||14.25 in||15 in||13/14/16/17 in||15 in|
|Max Length||51 in||47 in||47 in||39/43/47/51 in||47 in|
|Grip Material||EVA Foam||Rubber, plastic, foam||Aergon Cor-Tec||EVA foam||Foam|
|Locking Mechanism||Twist lock||DynaLock||Speed Lock plus||Speed Cone Deployment||Lever lock|
|Baskets/Tip Attachments?||Yes, carbide tips, trail baskets, rubber tips||Yes, winter and summer baskets||Yes, trekking 2.0 basket||Yes, rubber and carbide tips||Yes, powder and trail baskets, boots, and narrow tips|
|Size Tested||One size||100-120 cm||One size||110 cm||100-120 cm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
These poles deliver good comfort in a lightweight package, but they don't hold up to heavy-duty use.
The Gossamer Gear LT5 has a comfortable foam grip that is well-contoured and fits easily into any hand size. The foam is relatively soft, making it easy to hold these poles all day long, but they don't offer much precision or support for rugged terrain. The top of the grip is firm enough to push down upon, but it's a bit floppy around the edges. The wrist strap is soft, supple nylon that fits comfortably around the wrists.
At 10 ounces per pair, the Gossamer LT5 is one of the lightest trekking poles on the market. This is achieved with carbon shaft construction, foam grips, and plastic twist-lock components. These poles are easy to hike and walk with, swinging comfortably from our hands. If you need a lightweight pole for your daily fitness walk or suffer from chronic pain in your wrists, these poles are a lightweight delight. However, the same lightweight components also make them too delicate for backcountry use.
The Gossamer LT5 poles come with mud baskets and rubber tip attachments. While these are appreciated, they don't add much versatility since the construction of these poles is their main limiting factor. They are light enough for casual hikes and fitness walks and are even suitable for light trail running. However, they are not durable enough to be used on long backcountry hikes where support is needed in remote terrain, and they are definitely not strong enough to be trusted for overnight trips or in talus fields.
Locking and Adjustability
The LT5 uses the antiquated twist-lock system to secure the shaft sections into place at the chosen length. Most other poles have moved away from this technology and towards lever lock adjustment mechanisms, which are easier to adjust and provide a more secure length lock. The twist locks on the LT5 are easy to manipulate, but they take a good deal of effort to tighten fully. There is 25 centimeters (10 inches) of length adjustment, which isn't as much as most other poles on the market. If you have to adjust the length of your poles regularly, or collapse and extend your poles every time you use them, the Gossamer LT5 will be annoying to use.
These poles are three-section telescoping poles, meaning they don't collapse as small as foldable poles. The LT5 collapses to a minimum length of 24 inches (60 centimeters), which is about as small as telescoping poles get, but this is still much longer than the minimum length of folding trekking poles. If you plan on stowing your poles on the inside of your backpack, these won't work. They will, however, fit into most luggage.
With carbon shafts and plastic length locks, the LT5 does not promise longevity. In fact, we broke our poles during the test period! The twist locks work by expanding a small plastic sleeve over a screw at the end of a shaft section, and that plastic sleeve tightens against the inside of the next larger shaft section. Since the shafts are made of carbon, which is not strong in shear (bending), the expanding plastic sleeve easily shatters the carbon shaft sections if they are overtightened. This is easy to do since twist lock poles invite overtightening. If you want poles that will last, look elsewhere.
Should You Buy the Gossamer Gear LT5?
These poles are light, but we don't think they are worth the price. Other lightweight poles are much more durable and cost less. For the price, these poles lack the versatility, durability, and locking security that we would expect. The brand motto on the pole instructs you to "take less," and we agree: don't take these poles at all.
What Other Trekking Poles Should You Consider?
If you are enticed by the light weight of the LT5 poles, check out our favorite lightweight pole, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z, which weighs the same as the LT5 but doesn't have an adjustable length. If you want that feature, you'll have to opt for the Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ, which costs about as much as the LT5 but performs much better. Our favorite trekking poles on the market are the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon, which also feature carbon construction, adjustable length, tons of versatility, and cost a bit less.
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