In our early days of hiking we hit the trails without poles. As time wore on, we picked up some poles online. Surely they would be good enough. They lasted about 4 hikes. As I planted my pole for a step, "SNAP!" and there it was. Broken in two pieces at the beginning of my day.
We began doing a "gear overhaul" last Fall to get our gear up to date. The folks at New England Backpacker helped us out again, and went over the features of each pole and how we could best use them. I decided on the Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles.
Priced at $99, they come in on the lower end of the trekking poles out there. Weighing in at just over a pound for the pair, they are not the lightest poles on the market. The telescoping flip-lock was very tight the first few times I used the poles, but did open easier with continued use. The height adjustments are flexible enough to be short enough for my diminutive size and they adjust quickly on the trail in varying terrain.
Michael got the Trail Ergo Cork trekking poles, which give a better grip if your hands sweat a lot. I opted out of that option since hand sweat is not an issue for me.
These poles are not the most compact to carry, which is a downsize when attaching them to my pack. I've also had some difficulty keeping them secure on my pack, though that seems to be something I am doing wrong; Mike hasn't had that problem with his [similar] poles and pack.
Looking back, these poles were fine for what I wanted to spend at the time. I'm wondering how I will feel about my purchase after our multi-day hike at the beginning of August. I'm jonesing on the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z's as a lighter (just 9 ounces) and more compact option (collapsing to 14 inches).