Trekking poles have a host of benefits when it comes to backpacking, especially when it comes to carrying that loaded pack across steep gradients. A trekking pole is useless if you can’t depend on it, however.
The Helinox Ridgeline Series offer light weight, stability, and most importantly, durability.
About the Poles
The ridgeline series come in three different variations, mostly coming down to locking mechanisms: LB, DL, and FL. These are lever locks, cam locks, and twist locks respectively. The FL locking variation is what we’ve tested here, as they provide easy locking and the most adjust-ability.
The Ridgeline series is built from a high quality aluminum shaft (DAC TH72M alloy), and has a long soft foam grip, molded to the contours of your hand. Solid carbide tips provide wear resistance, and rubber tip covers (removable) are provided to improve concrete performance. The poles range in weight, from 13.1 oz on the DL135 model (DL lock with 135 inch length), to 16.6 oz for the LB135 variation (LB lock, 135 length). Included also are light weight snow baskets for those wintry explorations.
What I liked
The poles took everything I could throw at them: High compression under a heavy loads, caught between rocks and being ripped loose during quick descents, being torqued across sloping landscapes, getting hung on roots, holding up my trekking pole tents during storms, and even being kidnapped by a large dog. Nothing was able to put a dent in them.
The poles supplied ample support when I needed them, and reliably stayed in whatever length I set them. The twist locks grip tight, with minimal effort, and have yet to slip even once.
The light weight, combined with soft grips, padded straps and the contoured handles helped to alleviate the impacts of hard, long backpacking trips through the steepest of climbs and descents. The long grips provide a quick way to move your hands around, producing an on the run adjustment to the length of your stride, without actually adjusting the poles themselves.
The foam grips keep your hands warm when it’s cold, without getting hot when the temperatures soar. They dry quickly, and I’m yet to develop any sort of blister or hot spot from using them.
Build quality is excellent all around. High quality materials are used exclusively, and I always felt secure in them without worrying that they would give out under the heavy use that I put them through.
What I didn’t like
The wrist straps feel pretty good overall, but even with all the technology out there no one has figured out how to eliminate the twisting of the strap at the entrance of the shaft. It’s not terribly noticeable, less so than most, but still a pet peeve of mine. I reroute these to alleviate the problem.
Adjusting the straps to your wrist length could be easier.
The foam grips aren’t dog proof, if that can be a complaint.
Excellent trekking poles can make a huge impact over the course of a long, brutal backpacking trip, or even a gentle stroll around your local park. They reduce impact, distribute the workout more evenly, and provide additional stability in those tricky sections. The helinox Ridgeline series fall neatly into that category of excellent trekking poles.
They’re comfortable, very light weight, extremely durable, and they’re adjustable in all the right places. You can’t go wrong with these nearly flawless trekking poles.
Thanks to Helinox for providing this product for review. For full disclosure and our polices, see our about me page.