Our 86-Mile Test with the A6 Trekking Poles by TerraTHEO
Before we dive into the review... Why use Trekking Poles to begin with?
Hiking puts a strain on your legs and knees and therefore trekking poles can be helpful when doing long trips or ascending steep slopes. Experts claim that trekking poles reduce the strain on your legs by up to 25% on average. Furthermore, they increase traction since it provides more points of contact with the ground. They're are also very useful for probing the terrain (to check how deep snow or mud is before stepping into it, for example). For those who use tarps for spending the night outdoors, an alternative use for trekking poles is to suspend a tarp so that it forms a shelter in the traditional A-shape. You can find out more about the benefits of Trekking Poles in our previous article. Heck, they might even save your life!
Here's our in-depth test and review of the A6 Trekking Poles by TerraTHEO. TerraTHEO is an emerging Hiking and Camping Gear Brand who's mission and vision is to fix the annoyances and issues that the community has with their gear and really listen to what the consumer has to say. Now we're taking it to the test!!
We used several criteria for this review:
Lightweight equipment is essential to allow you to hike faster and easier. The A6 Trekking Poles are made of lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum which keep it very lightweight but also sturdy. During our 86-mile test hike through Upstate New York, using these trekking poles we found that they held up very well and we found them to be sufficiently durable through all the tough terrain (it snowed heavily in the middle of our test hike). The poles are just about 1 lb each which is standard among trekking poles. Many trekking pole manufacturers like to use premium quality materials like carbon fiber which is slightly lighter than aluminum, however the trade off for the slightly lighter poles is the less sturdy construction of carbon fiber when compared to aluminum (not to mention the premium price tag for carbon fiber). More on the durability in the Shaft Material section below!
The length of hiking poles is especially important for hiking up and down steep trails. The TerraTHEO A6 is a telescopic pole, which makes it easily adjustable to properly fit the height of any hiker. Your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle when holding the poles at the grip. The maximum length of the pole is 135cm (just about 4'5") when fully extended. To put this into perspective, a person with a height of 6'2" - 6'4" would use these poles at the fully extended length. The packaging includes a quick guide to adjust the poles to your individual height.
The locking mechanism secures the hiking pole at the desired length. These TerraTHEO A6 poles use TerraTREK UltraLock Technology which the company guarantees that the poles will never collapse accidentally. We found this held true during our test. The locks can be easily tightened using the rotary knob, then the flap locks the poles in place. We even tried to put all of our entire weight (I weigh 230lbs, my hiking buddy was 205lbs) onto the poles to see if TerraTHEO's guarantee of 330lbs was true. And sure enough, the trekking poles came out of the test unscathed and didn't collapse!
Trekking pole shafts are typically made of aluminum or carbon fiber. Both materials have advantages and shortcomings. Carbon fiber shafts are usually lighter than aluminum shafts. However, carbon fiber hiking poles are also much more expensive and less durable; when major force is applied to a carbon fiber shaft, it will essentially crumble and snap. An aluminum shaft will typically bend rather than break. We found that the A6 poles were very durable and never gave us any issues. These are exceptional quality poles!
The Grips on these trekking poles are made of EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam in order to provide good comfort and a firm grip even when your hands are sweaty. Some trekking poles have grips made of cork which is very light and provides fairly good comfort, but dry up quickly and begin to crumble and render the trekking pole utterly useless. This is not the case on these poles, we felt that TerraTHEO did a good job in choosing a comfortable and breathable grip material.
The Tungsten-Carbide tip has become an industry standard and never gave us any issues in our tests. We found they held up just as well as the some of the better known brands.
Mud and Snow Baskets + Accessories:
The round rings at the bottom of the hiking poles are called baskets and prevent the poles from getting stuck between rocks, roots etc. These poles include a pair of mud/snow baskets as well as rubber tip covers for added traction. The A6 also come with a handy carrying bag for safe storage of the trekking poles when they're not in use. The packaging also includes a small clip to hold both poles together during storage so they don't constantly bump into each other.
- We'd like to see an additional carbon fiber model in the future
- Durable Aluminum build
- Strong locking mechanism
- Comfortable grip handles
- Great Value compared to other larger brands
- Lifetime Guarantee when purchased through Amazon
The TerraTHEO A6 Trekking Poles are some of the best quality trekking poles we've seen on the market. I've tested quite a few trekking poles throughout hundreds of miles, but there was always at least one flaw that I found in most poles. I appreciate what TerraTHEO has created with the A6 poles and I can confidently say these are the best pair of trekking poles we've ever tested. And that includes the big brands like Black Diamond and Leki which can cost upwards of $150! I never thought a pair of trekking poles would "wow" me after all my hiking experience, but these poles are a must have for beginners and experts alike. Check out the link below for a Special Offer from TerraTHEO exclusively for AlpineExpert Readers and Subscribers!