Open main menu

Leki Wanderfreund can grip poles.

Many years ago, when I first decided to try trekking poles.  I analyzed how I would use them and decided that I would prefer cane grip poles.  I've never regretted that decision.  I've tried regular, straight grip poles, I have several pair, but I've never found them as functional as cane or T-grip poles.

Recently I upgraded to some newer Leki Wanderfreund poles.

These are fantastic poles.

For hundreds, probably thousands, of years, when the elderly or infirm needed a balance/support aid, they most likely reached for a cane, not a long, straight shaft.  There is a reason for that.  I don't understand why so few people have tried can grip trekking poles.  Way, way, superior.

You can adjust them similarly to regular poles.  With your hands on top of the grip, your elbow would be about 90 degrees.

More recently, I've been sizing them like you would a cane.  Standing erect, with your arms hanging at your side, the pole should come up to the bone protuberance on your wrist.  I kind of like this.  You can put more downward weight on them.  Don't believe me?  Try lifting your body off the ground with your elbows at 90 degrees.  Then try doing it when they are nearly straight.  Uh, huh.  See.

As a fairly experienced hiker and an archaeologist, I will bet that nearly everyone reached for long, straight poles initially.  Think of Robin Hood, his Merrie Men, and their quarter staffs (long, straight, and impromptu weapons - quite versatile!)

I am quite content with my Costco specials, two poles for less than half the price of the Leki.  For that matter, I was quite content with the broom handle I found on the beach and the pole I fashioned from cut shrubbery lieing along the trail.  The all gave welcome support - it's not that complicated.

If you learn to use the straps correctly on standard hiking poles this will not be a problem or an issue of any kind. Thread your hand up through the strap and then when walking your palm pushes down on the straps. You don’t grip the pole much at all. As I said on your previous thread on the Wanderfreund I have had one for 15 years or more. I don’t find it near as good as a standard pair of good Black Diamond or Leki poles in my southwestern terrain. I do know f one other guy who uses a   Wanderfreund out of  hordes of folks who use two poles and I’ve seen dozens who prefer one staff. 

For that matter, using the straps as you describe, it is second nature to release your grip on the pole and grab a branch, handhold, errant tennis ball, whatever, and still retain the pole which is now hanging from   your wrist.  Not so easy with the "old folks cane...."

The grips on Leki poles have a kind of knob on top that is made for a top grip. You can hook a finger or thumb under it for better control. I use it all the time, with my wrist still in the strap. The second video in my review of the Leki Vario Carbon Max demonstrates this. Leki used to have video saying the grip design was inspired by "an egg on top of banana" but I can't find it now. Maybe no need to go for a full cane grip with that option.

Pole, cane, staff and alpenstock and size selection of each, are a function of intended use.  The length of each of these implements and type of grip used offers different heights off the ground the user exploits, to gain maximum leverage and stability.  Terrain predicates which is best suited; none of these tools are superior in every terrain category.  

  • Short canes typically used by the infirm are good gentle grades, like sidewalks.  But not so good when it comes to steps and steep inclines, or terrain with uneven surfaces.  
  • Trekking poles  (descended from alpine ski poles) are suited for rugged, unbroken terrain, scree other loose terrain, snow and hard pack.  The length of the pole, and whether its length is adjustable determine how effective a pole is on steep terrain.  
  • Staffs are suited for rugged but consolidated terrain, such as well maintained trails, and negotiating the tall steps one may encounter along such a route.   Their length permits the user to remain up right while placing the pole tip on a landing below, that otherwise requires users of other devices to bend over and to reach.
  • Alpenstocks are the forerunner of the modern ice axe.  Alpenstocks are half ice axe, half walking staff.  Alpenstocks are considered archaic nowadays, replaced by the shorter ice axe and crampons while on snow and ice, or by the other aforementioned devices on terrain free of snow and ice. 

I mostly use a UL staff made of carbon tubes, while on a trail, and on day hikes off trail.  It's just under six feet tall, has an excellent grip that runs the top half of the staff, It serves as the mast pole for my pyramid tarp, and weighs less than half the mass of a pair of the lightest trekking poles currently on the market.  But I also have trekking/ski poles for use on snow, or shouldering heavy packs off-trail.  And in steep snow and ice I'll resort to an ice axe.


If you learn to use the straps correctly on standard hiking poles this will not be a problem or an issue of any kind. Thread your hand up through the strap and then when walking your palm pushes down on the straps.

I learned this the hard way!  Fell down and broke my thumb.  Was watching some videos about it and the guy tells how to put your hand through properly.  He points out if you don't, you can break your thumb!

I've done a lot of Nordic skiing, both skating and classical.  I know how to use the straps.  Never said the straps were an issue.   It's the straight grip that's the issue. 

I've also used both types of trekking poles extensively.  The ones with the straight grips just aren't as good for downhill.  Not even as good for uphill.

You probably can't do this test because you don't have cane grip trekking poles.  But I can.  Put a book or block of wood on some bathroom scales to distribute the load.  Adjust some regular trekking poles so that when the tip is placed on the book and your elbow is about 90 degrees and adjust some cane (T-grip) poles so your elbow is bent about 20 degrees (straighter).  Then push down on the scale with both.  The scale will read much higher with the cane grip poles.

Stepping off rocks, you can support your whole body weight on cane grip poles.  Let's you lower your body down easy so you don't put so much strain on your joints.

I guess I need to take some photos to demonstrate the difference.  Wish I could do a video.  Cane (T-grip) poles are vastly superior.  

How to adjust and use the straps on your trekking poles.

Don't need straps with cane grip poles.

October 17, 2021
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply