Trekology Trek-Z Review
Cons: Heavy, less versatile due to weight
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|Pros||Durable, comfortable grip, packs small||Comfortable grip, locks securely, packs small, highly versatile||Comfortable, easy to adjust, small packed size, lightweight, versatile||Lightweight, short collapsed length, surprisingly durable||Medium weight, versatile, inexpensive|
|Cons||Heavy, less versatile due to weight||Carbon is less durable than aluminum, on the expensive side||Expensive||No length adjustability, average grip comfort||Bulky quick lock levers|
|Bottom Line||A highly affordable pair of poles with all of the features of more expensive models||A simple, elegant, and well-built trekking pole with versatility for all uses||This pole is comfortable, easy to adjust, lightweight, and highly packable, easily rising to the top in our tests||Durable with a short collapsed length, this is a fantastic value for a lightweight pole||A good pole for entry-level users with some great features at an excellent price|
|Rating Categories||Trekology Trek-Z||MSR DynaLock Ascent...||Leki Women's Micro...||Black Diamond Dista...||Cascade Mountain Te...|
|Locking and Adjustability (15%)|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Construction Quality (10%)|
|Specs||Trekology Trek-Z||MSR DynaLock Ascent...||Leki Women's Micro...||Black Diamond Dista...||Cascade Mountain Te...|
|Measured Weight (per pair)||26 oz||17 oz||16 oz||12.5 oz||16 oz|
|Shaft Material||Aluminum||Carbon fiber||Carbon||Aluminum||Carbon|
|Collapsed Length||15 in||14.25 in||15.5 in||13/14/16/17 in||26 in|
|Max Length||47 in||47 in||51 in||39/43/47/51 in||53 in|
|Grip Material||Foam||Rubber, plastic, foam||Foam||EVA foam||Cork|
|Locking Mechanism||Lever lock||DynaLock||SpeedLock 2||Speed Cone Deployment||Quick Lock|
|Baskets/Tip Attachments?||Yes, powder and trail baskets, boots, and narrow tips||Yes, winter and summer baskets||Yes, tips and baskets||Yes, rubber and carbide tips||Boots, mud baskets, snow baskets and small tips|
|Size Tested||100-120 cm||100-120 cm||One size||110 cm||One size|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
— Jeff Dobronyi
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