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Trekology Trek-Z Review

A highly affordable pair of poles with all of the features of more expensive models
Trekology Trek-Z
Photo: Trekology
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $40 List | $38.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Durable, comfortable grip, packs small
Cons:  Heavy, less versatile due to weight
Manufacturer:   Trekology
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 25, 2021
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 16
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Locking and Adjustability - 15% 7
  • Packed Size - 15% 8
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Trekology Trek-Z is a foldable and adjustable trekking pole that comes at a very attractive price. For a fraction of the cost of more expensive models, it provides a comfortable grip and handle, a secure locking mechanism, and some length adjustment. The aluminum construction is durable and guarantees this pole will last a long time, but the heavy weight also means it is less suitable for weight-conscious activities like mountaineering and mountain running. Still, these poles are a great deal for users who want a foldable and adjustable pair of trekking poles but who don't want to break the bank.

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Trekology Trek-Z
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Trekology Trek-Z
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $38.99 at AmazonCheck Price at Backcountry
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Pros Durable, comfortable grip, packs smallComfortable grip, locks securely, packs small, highly versatileComfortable, easy to adjust, small packed size, lightweight, versatilePacks compactly, relatively lightweight, easily disassembledFairly lightweight, packable, adjust and collapse easily, durable for a lightweight pole
Cons Heavy, less versatile due to weightCarbon is less durable than aluminum, on the expensive sideExpensiveExpensive, heavy swing weight, grip is oddly contouredSpendy, only slightly above-average comfort
Bottom Line A highly affordable pair of poles with all of the features of more expensive modelsA simple, elegant, and well-built trekking pole with versatility for all usesThis pole is comfortable, easy to adjust, lightweight, and highly packableA high-performing, easily packable, and lightweight pole that comes with great featuresA lightweight but durable pole that is highly packable and features easy adjustment and collapsibility
Rating Categories Trekology Trek-Z MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon Women's Micro Vario Carbon Leki Micro Vario Carbon Black Diamond Distance FLZ
Comfort (20%)
8
9
9
8
6
Weight (20%)
4
8
6
6
6
Locking And Adjustability (15%)
7
9
10
10
9
Packed Size (15%)
8
9
8
8
9
Durability (15%)
9
7
9
8
8
Versatility (15%)
6
9
9
9
8
Specs Trekology Trek-Z MSR DynaLock... Women's Micro... Leki Micro Vario... Black Diamond...
Measured Weight Per Pair (ounces) 26.0 oz 17.0 oz 16.0 oz 17.0 oz 16.0 oz
Shaft Material Aluminum Carbon fiber Carbon Carbon Aluminum
Collapsed Length (inches) 15 in 14.25 in 15.5 in 15.5 in 14/15 in
Max Length (inches) 47 in 47 in 51 in 47 in 49.2 in
Pole Design Foldable Collapsible Foldable Foldable Foldable
Grip Material Foam Rubber / Plastic / Foam Foam Foam Foam
Locking Mechanism Lever lock DynaLock Speed​​Lock 2 Speed​​Lock 2 External Lever Lock
Baskets? Tip Attachments? Yes, powder and trail baskets, boots, and narrow tips Yes, winter and summer baskets Yes, tips and baskets Yes, tips and baskets Yes, rubber and carbide tips and trail baskets
Size Tested 100-120 cm 100-120 cm One size One size 105-125 cm

Our Analysis and Test Results

Foldable poles are taking over the trekking pole market, and the Trekology Trek-Z is the first truly affordable pair that uses this design configuration. It scores well across almost all of our metrics and comes with powder and trail baskets, boots, and narrow tips.

Performance Comparison


The Trekology Trek-Z is a good choice for rugged trails and...
The Trekology Trek-Z is a good choice for rugged trails and budget-minded hikers.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Comfort


The Trek-Z features a soft foam grip that is lightly contoured and very comfortable to hold. The top of the grip handle is rounded and coated with rubber, making these poles easy to grasp in any configuration. The wrist strap is silky and soft, for added comfort when carrying heavy packs or hiking up steep hills. This pole ticks all of the boxes for a modern, comfortable pole.


The only downside to the comfort of these poles is their weight. It isn't a deal-breaker, but our experienced testers noticed the heavy weight after just hours on the trail. They are both heavy to pick up and heavy to swing forward with each step. If stowed in a backpack, they add considerable heft to the user's load. Still, these are comfortable poles overall, thanks to their grip design.

The foam grips on the Trek-Z are colored to look like cork, and are...
The foam grips on the Trek-Z are colored to look like cork, and are comfortable to hold in any orientation.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Weight


Tipping the scales at 26.0 ounces per pair, the Trek-Z is one of the heaviest pairs of poles that we've ever tested. This weight comes from the solid aluminum construction of the shaft sections, additional metal reinforcements at the shaft joints, and a vinyl protector for the inner tightening cord. These touches add to the product's durability, but also make it an unwieldy pole to use for more than a couple of hours.


At more than twice the weight of some lightweight poles on the market, the Trek-Z feels heavy to experienced users and isn't suitable for missions where light weight is important. We wouldn't carry these up and over an alpine climb, or take hiking when trying to move quickly. But to inexperienced users or those who spend all of their time on trail, the additional weight might not be noticeable.

The thick metal lever lock and aluminum joint reinforcements add...
The thick metal lever lock and aluminum joint reinforcements add considerable weight to the Trek-Z.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Locking and Adjustability


The Trekology Trek-Z extends easily and then locks into place with a satisfying click as the snap button pops out through the shaft sections. The aluminum lever lock is easy to adjust and manipulate, but the pole only affords 7 inches (17cm) of length adjustment, which is less than other products on the market. In general, however, we like the locking mechanisms on this pole.


When it is time to disassemble the pole, the shaft sections can be released by firmly pushing on the lock button. This intuitive design is what we prefer. The length adjustment lever is easily tightened by hand by spinning an aluminum dial. As previously mentioned, the length of the Trek-Z can only be adjusted by 7 inches, which is low compared to other poles on the market, but still enough to cover most lengths that users want.

A simple button keeps the Trek-Z's foldable pole sections extended...
A simple button keeps the Trek-Z's foldable pole sections extended, and a durable lever lock with hand-tightening dial keep the pole's length steady.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Packed Size


The Trek-Z packs down to 15 inches when folded and collapsed completely. This is about average for the foldable poles and much shorter than the packed size of all of the telescoping collapsible poles on the market. This makes it suitable for use when traveling, scrambling, mountaineering, or for winter snow travel.


We also like how the Trek-Z comes with a drawstring bag. This helps you keep the poles tidy and folded when packed, and prevents the sharp tips from damaging other items in your pack or from snagging and unfolding when you pull them out of a pack. The bag is also nice for keeping all of the included tip and basket attachments together.

The Trek-Z packs down as small as most other foldable poles on the...
The Trek-Z packs down as small as most other foldable poles on the market.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Durability


The Trek-Z stands out for durability. All shaft sections, reinforcements, and locking mechanisms are constructed with aluminum, which makes this pole bombproof. In our testing, we couldn't get it to show any sign of weakness. We backpacked with heavy packs, crossed streams with slippery rocks, and used it to pitch lightweight tents, and this pole never gave us cause for concern.


Aluminum construction comes with the major downside of heavy weight, compared to carbon. This pole takes durable construction to the extreme, and we aren't sure that the pole needs to be as robust as it is, except for use in rugged trekking to remote destinations. If you need a durable pole when venturing to parts of the world where a replacement pole will be hard to find, this pole is a great choice. But for most casual uses, this pole's durable construction is overkill.

Aluminum joint reinforcements, aluminum shaft ends, and a vinyl...
Aluminum joint reinforcements, aluminum shaft ends, and a vinyl sheath for the tension cord make the Trek-Z a very durable pole.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Versatility


With a foldable design, small packed size, comfortable grip, and a plethora of tip and basket attachments, this pole is relatively versatile. However, some uses like alpine climbing and mountain running require a pole that is lightweight, rendering this pole unsuitable for these activities. Long-distance speed hikers and thru-hikers will also find this pole too heavy to be used for day after day.


The Trek-Z strikes an interesting balance between durability and versatility. Most foldable poles are designed for lightweight missions and versatility in mind. This pole retains the foldable design but sacrifices some versatility for extreme durability gains. Most users won't be affected by the pole's heavy weight, but users on the extreme sides of the spectrum, like day-mission alpinists and month-or-more thru-hikers will certainly want a lighter pole.

The Trek-Z comes with two sets of baskets and two tip attachments...
The Trek-Z comes with two sets of baskets and two tip attachments, adding versatility for a variety of trail surfaces.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Value


The Trek-Z is a fantastic value considering the features that it provides. It is the first truly affordable foldable pole that we have tested, and also proves its value with a bombproof construction, trail and powder baskets, and rock and asphalt rubber tip attachments. Despite the heavy weight, the pole is still versatile enough for most users, and can also be used for winter sports like backcountry splitboarding and snowshoeing.

Conclusion


The Trekology Trek-Z is an affordable and comfortable trekking pole loaded with advanced features. It is also one of the only foldable poles on the "budget" side of the spectrum. It has everything you need for any mountain adventure, but its aluminum construction, while durable, has major weight implications. If you are looking for a lightweight, foldable pole, you'll have to look elsewhere and spend more. But if you are an average user who spends a lot of time on the trail and also dabbles in the occasional bushwhack or mountaineering mission, this pole is a great deal.

The Trekology Trek-Z at home on the trails in Hawaii.
The Trekology Trek-Z at home on the trails in Hawaii.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Jeff Dobronyi