Leki Corklite ReviewPrice: $140 List | $104.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Most comfortable grips in our review, nice locking mechanisms, quite durable, solid easy to use locking mechanisms
Cons: Little heavy, not as compact
Bottom line: A Top Pick because of its performance as an all-arounder.
Min Length: 67cm, 26.5 in
Max Length: 135cm, 53 in
The Leki Corklite is a solid all-around pole that will stand up to heavier duty use and because it has our absolute favorite handle. Testers put this grip into their hand and just plain loved it. The Speedlock adjustment mechanism was comparable to Black Diamond's FlickLock and was easy to use and durable. The Corklite as a whole, is a little heavier and less compact than many poles in this review, but it is more versatile and scored tougher than average in off-trail use and will give nearly any trekker or backpacker many years of enjoyment.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Leki Corklite had our favorite handle in this review, even more than the overall higher scoring and Editors' Choice award winner the, Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork or Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork. We thought the Corklite's handle shape just plain had the best ergonomics, and was the unanimous Top Pick in this category. The cork handle was also well treated and even after 28 days of use in mostly mountainous terrain it still wasn't absorbing water. On top of having superior ergonomics, it also had a marginally smaller diameter grip that nearly all of our testers enjoyed and we think that all but the biggest folks (bigger than 6'5" or dudes with monster hands) will like the slightly smaller diameter. Its oversized palming surface was also the largest and had the best shape for people who use trekking poles more like canes. It was easily noticeable for "palmers" and they loved it more than any other pole.
The Leki Corklite uses what Leki calls the Speedlock system, it's an external lever lock style closure similar to the Black Diamond Flicklock system. We really liked the Speedlock and thought it was as good or nearly as good as the tried and true Flicklock in terms of durability and ease of use. We did think the Speedlock was better than Komperdell's Power lock system in most ways, and thought the Speedlock was far better than all the internal traditional twist lock mechanisms.
The Leki Corklites weigh in at 19 ounces making them on the lighter side of the aluminum traditionally designed telescoping poles in our review. The Corklite is still three ounces heavier than our carbon fiber Editors' Choice, the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork, but the Corklite is a little more durable. The Corklite wasn't even close to as light as any of the folding "tent pole" style trekking poles like the Leki Micro Stick or the Ultra Distance.
The Leki Corklite packs down to 26" (67 cm) and has a maximum length of 53" (135 cm) The minimum size of 67 cm is, along with the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork, the longest minimum length among poles that don't have an anti-shock mechanism. With those poles still packing down an average of 103" longer. The Corklite does still pack small enough to fit onto the outside of most backpacking packs, so for most trekkers and hikers the Corklite's packability is okay and won't be an issue, but they don't fit inside most alpine packs or medium to smaller sized luggage pieces making them less ideal for frequent travelers or climbers. Similar to our weight comparison, the Corklite's compactness isn't even close to many of the folding "tent pole" style trekking poles like the Black Diamond Ultra Distance, Distance FL or the Leki Micro Stick.
The Leki Corklite despite its repetitively thin shaft and the fact that it is sporting one of the narrowest grips in our reviews, is easily one of the most durable poles we tested. We think the Corklite is more durable than any of the carbon fiber poles we tested like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork or the Komperdell C3 Carbon Powerlock Compact, and appears to be more resistant to bending than the Black Diamond Trail Back and its cork grip was more durable than all the foam grips.
The Leki Corklite is one of the most versatile poles in our review and this was another one of the leading factors contributing to helping it win our Top Pick award for the best heavier duty all-around pole. We would easily recommend the Corklite for any use we could expect out of a three section telescoping pole. We think the Corklite is beefy enough for off trail adventures, but light enough for most trekkers and day hikers. We also think the Corklite is light enough and the grip is versatile enough, that it could be used for cold weather mountaineering or hot weather desert hiking.
The Corklite has the nicest grip in our review and while its grip wasn't way, way better than the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork, or Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork, it was better. Most users liked the shape a little better and appreciated its slightly smaller diameter. We also thought Leki's grip was a little more durable and less prone to chipping than either of the above mentioned poles. The Corklite is one of the least compact poles, but like we talked about in our overall review, that feature matters less to most people. While it isn't super light, it isn't that heavy either for a durable aluminum pole, and you at least get a lot for a little extra weight.
— Ian Nicholson
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