View Full Version : Hiking Poles and Rain Gear

2005-12-02, 14:31
i normally hike with a single elm staff i've had for about 30 years. but i saw a set of hiking poles at walmart the other day for about $10. 'swiss-something or other' i think was the brand name. anyone have any experience, good or bad, with these things?

my second question is about a set of rain gear i found on the internet:


other than price, what's the difference between drop stoppers and dri ducks and rainshield O2?

what's the difference between all of them and frogg toggs?

i'm mostly interested in wear/durability, fit/comfort, and overall performance experience, as the cost and weight figures are fairly obvious... i understand lighter means less durable, but for 1/3 or 1/2 the cost, the cheaper stuff just might be worth it.

and if there are no replies, i may just become a guinea pig...

2005-12-02, 16:43
Im not familier with the rain gear brands you mention but have found that the middle of the road priced items using gore tex have always met my requirements and thats because unless your doing certain activites the higher priced stuff is too techniqual and not needed for what im doing. thats the rule of thumb i go by.

2005-12-02, 20:39
I've thought of getting the Walmart trek poles too. The thing that has stopped me is worries about how good the locks for varying the poles height are. My experience with this type of locks on cheap equipment (several different tripods) hasn't been good.
--If I'm supporting myself with the poles I'm going to be very unhappy if one of them suddenly decreases in height.

I don't have first hand experience with any of these (I use a poncho), but I've heard many people recommend Frogg Toggs and Dri Ducks.
I also trust the Backpacking light reviews.
so for the price I would try the Drop Stoppers.

Just my 2 cents.

2005-12-02, 21:50
the swiss gear poles seem pretty sturdy (I bought one), they're typically $10/each... I wish I had bought a second.

2005-12-03, 03:25
My $10 Swiss poles work great. I suppose that if it ever goes FUBAR I can always make use of my 100 MPH tape.

2005-12-04, 08:45
I just finished Neels Gap through the approach trail - started last Wensday. The last two days was cold rain and sleet. I used the Frogg Toggs and they worked great. I don't think they will last long but for $60-$70 bucks a pair I'll just replace as needed or repair with duck tape. I initially bought them becasue of price and weight thinking I would upgrade later -- they are a keeper in my book. Also, I sleep in the bottoms and always stay warm. For the poles I bought the REI Traverse. They are middle of the road in price and I have about 150 AT miles on them and no problems at all..

2005-12-04, 15:27
I got my daughter a set and they work well for her. You can use them together or separate, which is nice. They are, compared to my Lekis, much like swinging a baseball bat. For people who have never used poles before, they really make a difference. So at $10, grab a pair.

2005-12-04, 20:23

May I pick your brain about that stretch of trail, and how to get TO Neel's Gap? Water? Trail conditions?



The Wild Turkey
2005-12-05, 12:17
Take it from an old man, the new twin trekking poles will help you. I use Kompeerdells that cost about $50/pair andd am very satisfied. There isn't any rain gear that really works. above 40 degrees it's best to just walk in your shirt & shorts. Below 40 degrees you need something that will stop the wind, you'll still get wet underneath fro sweating , but at least you won't freeze. Neel's Gap is where the AT crosses U.S.Highway 19 in North Ga. Look at Ga. AT website or ThruHiker's guide on ALDHA website.. [

2005-12-06, 10:27
I recently bought some budget hiking poles from a supermarket in the UK called Aldi and they've been excellent, particularly in hilly and mountainous areas where 2 are required. They reduce the strain on your legs and knees when ascending and descending slopes and also for crossing rocks, streams and rivers - I wouldn't be without them now! You can probably get away with 1 on flat ground.

This link has lots of information on poles, how to use them etc, for anyone who's not used them before:


2005-12-06, 13:27
i've heard of Aldi... they have one in Syracuse, NY, where my parents live... they go all the time... sort of like a Big Lots, but for food.

thanks all for the advice.

bird dog
2005-12-14, 23:39
SEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKER - Im back. Check your email. As for the poles, I have a pair of some cheap ones that are sold at Target (not sure if you have those in LA, but I think so). I have used them on several AT hikes and one in Linville Gorge and had no problems. A buddy of mine has a pair of expensive LEKI poles and we compared ours on a trip together. His are much lighter, but the locks are equally strong. I dont mind spending money for proper equipment, but these work for a 1/10th of the price. BD

2005-12-15, 11:54
Dawg! where've you been? been awhile... glad your back... been kinda slow around here lately... rock's been absent, for obvious reasons... guess he won't be going with us now...

yeah, we have target here... well, in lake charles... not deridder... just wally world here... but i'll check it out next week when i'm down there christmas shopping... still not convinced i need two poles though... i've had my staff for such a long time... since i was 11 or 12...

bird dog
2005-12-16, 20:14
Since I have been using them, I have always used two. IMO, two work great for taking the pressure off of my weary knees and ankles, especially when going down steep hills. Two also work well in places like Mt. Rogers around Wilburn Ridge where its wide open. Pound two of em in the ground and you can tie your HH tarp off on either side in the event of inclement weather. The poles at Target are a little heavier than the ones ten times more expensive but I can handle a few ounces for a hundred dollars savings. I cant believe that Lake Charles has a Target now. I guess that DeCridder (ooops) I mean DeRidder hasnt changed that much since I was there. All of the local kids used to go out on dates to wally world on the weekends. Still have to go to Sleesville (ooooopps) I mean Leesville to watch a movie? Man, I miss the Army, but NOT Ft. Polk!!!!! BD

2005-12-19, 12:55
yep... still a small town.. but getting bigger... we're no longer dry! hell finally froze over. big outrage locally, but the state AG decreed that when they did some sort of redistricting (is that a word), the old law was tossed,and the town and parish are both supposed to be wet. no liquor at walmart yet, but it's coming. and with it, hopefully some restaurants will open. kids still go to wally world on dates... that and football are the only things 'happnin'... and leesville is still the only place to watch a movie.

bird dog
2005-12-19, 19:14
Doesnt sound like too awful much has changed. I remember when I first moved back here...Had like six theatres in town to chose from to watch a movie....I love small towns, but just not those two! The mountains are too far away, and the skeeters are too big. BD

2006-01-12, 14:48
Wal-Mart has the Swiss Gear Hiking Poles for less than $10 a piece in the camping section. Looks like the superstores have a set layout and they are on a wall with other hanging items. I had to check 3 stores before I found them in stock, but my friend found a pair on her first try.

2006-01-12, 18:14
I've been using the Swiss Gear poles for about a year now, with good results. Sure I'd love to be able to afford the hi-test poles, but. . . .

They are strong enough that I can lift myself from sitting on the ground to full standing without using my legs (except to balance). I've done this a few times when my legs would quit working for a bit (medical crap, long story), and I wuold have otherwise been low crawling. I've also put a lot of stress on them using them as crutches replacements. In fact, they remain my daily use walking canes, and so may be getting a bit more of a workout than hiking poles are intended for. BTW, the only time I've had the locks fail is when I failed to twist them closed. Believe that falling scares the stuffing out of me, so if I couldn't trust these things they'd be in the trash.

They also serve me quite well on the local short trails for their intended use, and as tarp poles.

My biggest (only) complaint so far is that the marking wear off at the length where I usually keep them set. Still, that's not a big problem, since it's pretty much second nature to set them where I need them for various uses without the markers.

How do they hold up on the long trails, or the hills? Don't know---haven't been able to test that yet. I can't walk that far yet, and South Florida is kind of flat.

Would I buy another pair? You bet. At $10 a pop, and as well as they've served me, that's a no-brainer. Just remember, YMMV! The best gear is the gear that works best for you.


2006-01-12, 22:55
Just today I saw the Swiss hiking poles in Walmart for $9.xx each and wondered about their utility/durability. They seemed stout enough but cheaply finished. (Most of my gear is on the stout/cheaply finished side) One of my XC-ski poles (20years old) crapped out on me over Xmas is why I stopped to look. The alternative is a $80.xx pair of "trekking poles" that I can manage without, so far, anyway. Or a similar pair of adjustable ski poles.
Handles seemed heavy some, not bad. I'd like to be able to put big bails on them in winter, for snow...probably too much to ask.
I may give them another look. Thanks all, for the report.

2006-01-15, 18:48
I was curious how the Swiss-gear poles compare weight-wise to the more expensive ones, so my friend weighed them at the Post Office. A single pole is 12.1 ounces, so that is 24.2 ounces a pair. Compared to the expensive poles on the REI Trekking Pole info sheet, they are a bit heavier; however, I don't think the weight savings is worth the extra hundred dollars for people doing shorter hikes. In response to "Mal the Elder": You do have to be careful to tighten the locks sufficiently. I tried tightening them with gloves on and one started growing ever shorter. I took my gloves off, tightened it again, and had no further problems. The poles REALLY helped this weekend while hiking in the first good rain we've had in almost a year.

2006-02-10, 21:27
My Lekis weight 24oz with about 6ft 200MPH tape wrapped around each one, so your 12.1 oz is fine.

2006-02-10, 23:32
well, i finally broke down and bought the DropStoppers i started this thread about... they went on sale in my size, so i got them...

man, are they light... top is 7oz, bottoms are 5... put them on and wore them out in the rain for a bit today... breathe nicely, repel everything, nice hood... wrists are elasticized. no zippered pant cuffs, so they were a little tight even over my street shoes... should be fine though...

i'll try them out next time i'm out hiking, to see how they 'wear' (or not) while being worn under a pack...