The perfect pole, part 2

A follow up to this post: I always intended to make a pair, and to use the Gossamer Gear grips, which are the best. At first I thought I’d source tubing for the uppers myself, but couldn’t find an affordable small quantity of good aluminum in a thin enough wall, and the relatively small ID of 16.5mm (approximately). I’ve also been impressed with the new style flicklocks on M’s Carbon Corks, I retract my previous comment on them being fashion-only. So I bought a pair of this years Boundary ski poles and got to work.


Weights, as follows, are per individual piece.

BD powder baskets: .6 oz

BD trekking baskets: .1 oz

Gossamer Gear grips: .8 oz

BD Boundary grips (with straps): 3 oz

BD Boundary upper section (sans grip): 3.6 oz

BD Boundary lower section (sans basket): 3.8 oz

BD carbon probe pole lower section (sans basket): 4.4 oz

BD carbon probe lower section is 105cm.  Boundary lower is 86 cm.  Boundary upper is 61 cm (aka 24 inches).

Boundary upper OD is 18 mm.  GG grip ID is 14 mm.

First I removed the Boundary grips by boiling them in water.  Be aggressive about this, as it takes quite a lot of heat to soften the glue enough to get them off.

Next, prep the GG grips for insertion.  I sanded the first 2/3s out a decent bit, put some Gorilla glue in the bottom of the grip, and then with a bit of mineral spirits on the shaft got everything together with minimal fuss.  Be gentle, and make sure the pole seats symmetrically in the grip, and makes it all the way to the end (about 5.5″ of insertion).  The glue is crucial, you need it to keep the pole in place so it doesn’t punch out the end of the grip, and you need it to form a hard plug so the male end of the probe pole doesn’t punch out the end of the grip.  Dribble a bit of water down the inside of the shaft to activate the glue, and let the whole thing dry upside down.  Do not use too much glue, a little is more than adequate.


Now I have a 9 oz/per pole which extends from 108cm to 156cm, and is very stiff throughout.  Short enough for hiking, long enough for skating (and pitching the Megalight).  The foam grips are light, don’t conduct cold, and are very comfortable.  I didn’t add any provision for straps, as I never use them.  The relative heft and lack of short collapsible length are the only downsides, and leave a space in the quiver for a good-trails-only summer pole.  These are as unbreakable as usable poles can currently get, and their rigidity is something I hate to not have anymore.

One more box checked.

14 responses to “The perfect pole, part 2”

  1. Good combination of items to make a superb pole. Contact Gossamer Gear and work with Grant to see if you/they can bring one like yours to market. I also find no need, or place for straps on a pole in real use out on the trail. I have a friend who got injured due to his arm being locked onto the pole by using straps. I also cannot see how straps give any noticeable benefit over poles without for hiking. Interesting as always Dave.

    1. Straps sketch me out while skiing. Between avys and snagging a basket skiing trees they just seem like a bad idea. I occasionally drop a pole, usually while double poling in crust, but that is a small price to pay.

  2. “…and the relatively small ID of 16.5″…”

    ummm… maybe the decimal is in the wrong place?

    1. Nope, I just meant mm rather than inches. Douh.

  3. I did the same thing at the beginning of the summer, but with the slightly thinner Traverse poles instead of the Boundary poles and the longer, stock lower section–largely inspired by your original post. Funnily enough, I have barely used them for my primary purpose in making them, as the center pole for my Duomid. I haven’t been solo in the backcountry all summer. Even so, at 8 ozs. they’re lighter than anything else I have right now, and the performance has been pretty stellar.

    I’m with Martin–I’d love to see Gossamer Gear provide something like this. A tall, stiff pole is perfect for ‘mids.

  4. Looks like a pair of great poles, though as along guy (6’1″ in your units) I’d prefer poles up to 160-165cm range. Did you shorten the pieces or is the 156cm longest possible with them?

    Though I have to say I’d prefer having straps, especially in winter. I don’t (typically) travel in avalanche prone terrain and for ski touring on flat or rolling terrain straps are, in my opinion, key to efficient travel. There is a reason why competitive skiers use straps… But I do agree on the safety aspect if down hill skiing dense woods or avalanche terrain.

    1. 156 is the longest possible.

  5. GG LT4 grips are the best. I tossed some on my Locus Gear FL2 poles (3 section, flick locks, 5oz/pole). One thing to watch is the LT4 grips have quite a bit of longitudinal stretch potential – especially when working them onto larger diameter poles. I wiggled the grips onto the wide (~18mm) upper FL2 poles and then noticed one grip was nearly as inch longer than the other because I had pulled it longer and the tight fit was holding it like that. Thankfully I noticed and evened things out before the Gorilla Glue dried.

  6. Excellent combination of the best attributes of three poles. I have the GG poles, some Traverse and some regular BD trail poles all sitting next to me and want their bastard offspring!

    Now, can we get a manufacturer to put this into production so I don’t have to go out, buy two more pairs of poles and then start pulling them apart?! ;)

  7. […] the GGear grips to other poles in the way to go. I’ve been exceedingly pleased with the ones I made last year. A proper glue plug as mentioned in that post is crucial to long term viability. If you’re […]

  8. […] perfect trekking poles are hanging tough, but the grips are going to have to be replaced well before anything else.  […]

  9. […] context is in order here. For the last four years I’ve almost exclusively used these frankenpoles, which are both fairly light and exceptionally stiff and strong, considerably stiffer than any […]

  10. […] These poles have worked very well in the 5.5 years since I put them together.  They’ve been light enough, bomber, and the ability to swap lowers and have a pole longer enough for nordic skiing (or pitching a mid with a single pole) has been very handy. […]

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