Whew! That’s a mouthful! The subject of my inaugural product review are the Super Makalu CORE-TEC Antishock Trekking Poles by Leki. These Leki poles were a gift from my wife 5 years ago. Their first service was on a hike of the Upper Skyline Trail at Mt. Rainier National Park in July 2004. They proved invaluable in varied terrain.
Prior to getting these poles I was one of those, “You guys with poles all look like dorks” kind of hikers. Now, I sing a different tune. These poles have traveled with us on all sorts of hikes, all around the country. I find that they keep me more upright, improving my breathing. They also help me balance when carrying a heavy backpack. I usually rest standing up and these poles help make that more enjoyable. Now that I usually hike with trekking poles, I tell those without them that they are missing out.
They can be a hindrance when your hiking involves a lot of scrambling or downclimbing. I have taken them in some slot canyons when the approach hike was long enough to justify the hassle once in the canyon, but it’s usually easier to leave them at home on these trips. I bring them on all other hikes. They were such a ubiquitous feature of our hikes that our kids all wanted poles. Now everyone has a chuckle when they see us on a hike, 6 pairs of poles walking down the trail.
From the beginning though, they had one annoying feature. The antishock feature in one of the poles never worked as it should. One of the poles was always stiffer than the other. The spring just never quite worked, but I never bothered with it. Fast forward 5 years. My poles are still going strong, but on an overnight to Mt. Charleston. Coming down, the difference finally bugged me enough to do something.
I came home and looked up the Leki website. Encouraged by the information that they sold individual leg sections, I investigated further. Turns out they have updated the poles in the intervening 5 years. The antishock design in my poles has been upgraded. I wrote a message to their customer support address, explaining the situation. I asked if the old ones were still available for sale. The reply I got back was a shocker.
Send me your shipping address and I will send out new middle sections to you under warranty.
Seriously!? Even though they are 5 years old and not “broken,” Leki came through with great customer service. It took a little while for the new sections to come, but come they did. With about 5 minutes of time, I had replaced the middle sections of both my poles.
As you can see, the design was changed slightly. To me it is an improvement, as it is now less likely to accidentally engage the antishock. The version that is current is different from this. I haven’t been on any long hikes yet with the new poles, but look forward to it. Leki is a winner in my book and will continue to get my business and my recommendation!