The Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

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Gossamer Gear LT5 Review: Best Ultralight Telescopic Pole

Best Ultralight Telescopic Pole

  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 50% 50%
  • Durability 30% 30%
  • Locking/Adjustability 80% 80%

Price: $195

Length: Can Be Adjusted From 137.16cm to 66cm

Weight: 442g

What We Like: Incredibly Light. Highly Adjustable. Comfortable Grip/Strap

What We Don’t: Expensive. Could Be More Durable. Twist Locks Could Be More Elegant

These three-piece telescopic trekking poles are the more compact version of GG’s famous twist-lock Lightrek (LT4/LT3) poles. Gossamer Gear’s “take less, do more” motto is in full effect with these incredibly light poles, which weigh in at only 10.6oz (300g). With a design that makes these poles easy to unpack and adjust, they’ve quickly become our favorite ultralight telescopic trekking pole.

Don’t be fooled by the grips at first glance – even though they look like cork, they are definitely EVA foam. While there is no traditional grip extension like what you’ll find on all our other trekking poles, the LT5s do sport a decently long grip that should cater to a variety of grip styles and hopefully circumvent the need for constant height adjustments to the shaft. The length of the LT5s is adjusted via a relatively simple internal twist lock system; all you’ll need to do is extend each section to your desired height and then using two hands, grasp both sections and twist them together to tighten.

The LT5s are certainly a competitor amongst the top-end trekking poles on this list, and if shedding every ounce possible is a major priority for you, these lightweight and versatile poles should be at the top of your shopping list. However, in terms of value for money, you may be better off with the slightly heavier but more durable and packable LEKI Micro Vario Carbon poles, which will set you back about the same amount of money, or the Distance Carbon Zs, which will save you enough to buy a couple of freeze-dried meals to boot. It’s worth noting that these were slightly difficult to purchase outside of the Gossamer Gear website; I couldn’t even find them for purchase on Amazon.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

Compare to Similar Products

See Our Best Trekking Poles of 2021 HERE!

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine FLZ - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 90% 90%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 90% 90%

Pros

Combination-style pole makes them adjustable and pack small durable and versatile enough to handle all four seasons

Cons

Slightly heavy for the price

Not as adjustable as purely telescopic poles

Weight: [95-110cm] 482g (17oz), [105-125cm] 510g (18oz), [120-140cm] 567g (1lb 4oz)

Length: 95-110cm, 105-125cm, 120-140cm

Collapsed Length: [95-110cm] 34cm (13.4in), [105-125cm] 37c (14.6in), [120-140cm] 40cm (15.7in)

Shaft Comp.: Aluminum

Grip Comp.: Cork

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Adjustable

Collapse Style: Combination (SlideLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Carbide

Locking Mechanism: FlickLock Pro

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Z - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight 90% 90%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 100% 100%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 40% 40%

Pros

Excellent price for folding poles

Very light for aluminum poles

Collapse down small, pack/unpack easily

Cons

Only three-season support, unlike the Alpine series

Lack of adjustment for changing hiking styles

May not be sturdy enough for extra-heavy loads

Weight: [100cm] 323g (11.4oz), [110cm] 343g (12.1oz), [120cm] 362g (12.8oz), [130cm] 402g (14.2oz)

Length: 100, 110, 120, 130cm (39, 43, 47, 51in)

Collapsed Length: [100cm] 33cm (13in), [110cm] 36cm (14in), [120cm] 40cm (16in), [130cm] 43cm (17in)

Shaft Comp.: Aluminum

Grip Comp.: Foam

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Distance

Collapse Style: Folding (SlideLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Fixed

Tips: Carbide, Rubber

Locking Mechanism: Speed-Cone

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: LEKI Micro Vario Carbon - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 80% 80%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 90% 90%

Pros

Highly adjustable and packable

Comfortable grips/straps

Very durable for carbon fiber

Cons

A bit pricey

Weight: Men's - 481g (1lb 1oz), Women's - 459g (16.2oz)

Length: Men's - 110-130cm, Women's - 100-120cm

Collapsed Length: Men's - 40cm (16in), Women's - 40cm (16in)

Shaft Comp.: Pure Carbon

Grip Comp.: Foam

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Men's - Lock Security Strap (Skin), Women's - LEKI Skin Strap

Collapse Style: Combination (ELD)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Flex Tip (Short)

Locking Mechanism: Speed Lock 2

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 50% 50%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 90% 90%

Pros

Incredibly comfortable grip and wrist strap

Telescopic design and thicker carbon makes them both adjustable and durable

Cons

Not as light as other carbon fiber poles

Larger pack size

A bit pricey

Weight: 486g (1lb 1.1oz)

Length: 100-130cm

Collapsed Length: 61cm (24in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Cork

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: 360° nubuck

Collapse Style: Telescopic (FlickLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Carbide

Locking Mechanism: FlickLock

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z - Gear Hacker
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 100% 100%
  • Durability 70% 70%
  • Locking/Adjustability 40% 40%

Pros

Lightweight, great for trail running

Easy to unpack

Cons

Only 3 oz. lighter than the distance Zs at almost double the price

Similar price to the Alpine series but with only three-season support

Lack of adjustment for changing hiking styles

May not be sturdy enough for extra-heavy loads

Weight: [100cm] 263g (9.3oz), [110cm] 275g (9.7oz), [120cm] 283g (10oz), [130cm] 295g (10.4oz)

Length: 100, 110, 120, 130cm (39, 43, 47, 51in)

Collapsed Length: [100cm] 33cm (13in), [110cm] 36cm (14in), [120cm] 40cm (16in), [130cm] 43cm (17in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Foam

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Distance

Collapse Style: Folding

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Fixed

Tips: Carbide, Rubber

Locking Mechanism: Speed-Cone

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight 30% 30%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 40% 40%
  • Durability 100% 100%
  • Locking/Adjustability 80% 80%

Pros

Excellent value at a low price

Very durable, great for heavy backpacking

Cons

Large pack size due to telescopic design

Heavy

Weight: 624g (1lb 6oz)

Length: 100-140cm

Collapsed Length: 64cm (25in)

Shaft Comp.: Aluminum

Grip Comp.: Rubber

Grip Extensions: Rubber

Strap Style: Vari-width nylon webbing

Collapse Style: Telescopic (FlickLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Flex Tip

Locking Mechanism: FlickLock

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock Cork - Gear Hacker
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 30% 30%
  • Durability 40% 40%
  • Locking/Adjustability 70% 70%

Pros

Incredible price for carbon fiber and cork

Comes With An Impressive Number Of Accessories

Cons

Doesn’t pack down small unless disassembled

Quick lock mechanism can complicate packing/unpacking

Could be more durable; entry-level hikers may want to opt for aluminum

Weight: 442g (15.6oz)

Length: 66-137cm

Collapsed Length: 66cm (26in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Cork

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Adjustable

Collapse Style: Telescopic (Quick Lock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Tungsten Carbide

Locking Mechanism: Quick Lock

Included Baskets: Boots, Mud, Snow and Small Tips

The Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Gossamergear.com

  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 50% 50%
  • Durability 30% 30%
  • Locking/Adjustability 80% 80%

Pros

Incredibly light

Highly adjustable

Comfortable grip/strap

Cons

Could be more durable

Expensive

Twist locks could be more elegant

Weight: 300g (10.6oz)

Length: 60-130cm

Collapsed Length: 60cm (23in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Foam

Grip Extensions: N/A

Strap Style: Adjustable

Collapse Style: Telescopic (twist-lock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Carbide, Rubber

Locking Mechanism: Twist lock

Included Baskets: Standard

Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

These three-piece telescopic trekking poles are the more compact version of GG’s famous twist-lock Lightrek (LT4/LT3) poles. Gossamer Gear’s “take less, do more” motto is in full effect with these incredibly light poles, which weigh in at only 10.6oz (300g). With a design that makes these poles easy to unpack and adjust, they’ve quickly become our favorite ultralight telescopic trekking pole.

Gossamer Gear is the brainchild of Glen Van Peski, a civil engineer and backpacker who was dissatisfied with the heavyweight of his bag and felt he could build a better one. With the help of his wife Francie and other women in the neighborhood, he was able to construct the G1 bag, and by the time they’d reached the G4, the increased demand for his lightweight bags required a larger operation. In 2004, GVP Gear became Gossamer Gear, and the product line expanded into shelters, stoves, trekking poles, and rain gear. The company’s fabrics “are all custom-made and custom-designed with a keen eye on minimal weight and maximum comfort.” They’ve been featured in Backpacker Magazine, MSNBC, The New York Times, and many more publications.

Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

Comfort

Don’t be fooled by the grips at first glance. Even though they look like cork, they are definitely EVA foam. While there is no traditional grip extension like what you’ll find on all our other trekking poles, the LT5s do sport a decently long grip that should cater to a variety of grip styles and hopefully circumvent the need for constant height adjustments to the shaft.

The adjustable wrist straps are soft and easy to adjust. They’re made of a thin material to reduce weight, which does cause you to sacrifice a bit of comfort. Be sure to insert your hand up through the bottom of the strap to make sure you’re utilizing them as intended. They’ll be more comfortable.

The Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

Weight

At only 300g (10.6oz) for the pair, the Gossamer LT5s are some of the lightest trekking poles on our list. While that’s already rather light for a folding pole, this is especially impressive for a telescopic pole since these typically require more material. Of the 5.3oz that makes up each pole, the pole alone is about 4.6oz while the strap, screw, and basket combined makeup 0.7oz—just in case you’re interested in removing all the accessories to save on weight.

The LT5s are essentially tied in weight with the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Zs, since the 110cm Carbon Zs are lighter but the 130cm are heavier. The Distance Carbon Zs also cost $25 less, however, I’d prefer the versatility of the telescopic LT5s over the fixed-length construction of the Distance Carbon Zs. I think a more fair comparison would be to the LEKI Micro Vario Carbons, which will cost you only $5 more but are about 50% heavier (5g more).

The Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

Packing

You’ll always be compromising your pack size when you opt for telescopic over folding trekking poles, however, at a 60cm (23in) collapsed length the LT5s do pack down smaller than most three-piece telescopic poles. In addition, they can be packed down even smaller if you decide to disassemble. If you take that route, you may want to buy them with their companion bungee cords, sold for $5 on the Gossamer Gear website.

The Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

Adjustability

The LT5s are adjusted via a relatively simple internal twist lock system. All you’ll need to do is extend each section to your desired height, and then, using two hands, grasp both sections and twist them together to tighten. There are definitely some pros and cons to consider with the LT5’s twist locks. They’re very light and unobtrusive, however, some hikers find themselves having trouble getting them to work just right. They don’t feel quite as secure as the lever locks found on most poles, and you’ll want to make sure you twist these tightly in order to avoid any slippage. However, they are quite reliable once tightly screwed into place. There’s a common complaint that with no length-adjustment marks on the bottom shaft, it can be difficult to nail down the correct height.

Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

Durability

The LT5s are built more for the ultralight set than those planning to do some heavy backpacking, but they also have a decent amount of flex and will take a surprising degree of punishment. The “cork” handle is hydrophobic and won’t absorb moisture, which should help it hold up long-term.

Price

The LT5s will run you around $195, which means that for almost the same price you could get a pair of the highly-rated LEKI Micro Vario Carbons. If losing a few ounces is the name of the game for you, it’s well worth the price, however, if you’re looking for a light all-around pole, there are certainly cheaper options out there. What you’re also paying for is the quality of Gossamer Gear products, which is well regarded.

Other Features

You won’t find any extra accessories with these trekking poles. Unfortunately, there are no alternate tips, snow baskets, or even a carrying case. I was also unable to find any interchangeable baskets for purchase on the Gossamer Gear website.

The Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

The LT5s are certainly a competitor amongst the top-end trekking poles on this list, and if shedding every ounce possible is a major priority for you, these lightweight and versatile poles should be at the top of your shopping list.

However, in terms of value for money, you may be better off with the slightly heavier but more durable and packable LEKI Micro Vario Carbon poles, which will set you back about the same amount of money, or the Distance Carbon Zs, which will save you enough to buy a couple of freeze-dried meals to boot. It’s worth noting that these were slightly difficult to purchase outside of the Gossamer Gear website. I couldn’t even find them for purchase on Amazon.

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!