4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
simple but quality trekking pole,
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This review is from: Gabel Mont Blanc Expert Trekking Poles (Sports)
I am surprised that no one has left reviews on these poles so far. I've never heard about Gabel myself but some quick Google search revealed that Gabel is a well-established Italian ski/trekking pole manufacture since 1950s. Although Leki is much more famous in US Leki also started around 50s so these company's profiles look comparable.
I've never used trekking poles and wanted to try them out but I did not want to spend $100 for Leki or Black Diamond. Even cheapest REI poles cost around $70. But I did not want to go with Chinese ones either. So I was quite happy when I found these poles by Gabel for $38. I am glad that a reputable European pole company like Gabel supplies trekking poles for such an affordable price.
Still, I was a bit hesitant to order these poles but after reading a detailed review on a Polish outdoor forum site by a couple of people who used Gabel Mont Blanc poles over a year I was quite sure I was getting good, sturdy, and reliable trekking poles. The only problem one of the reviewers encountered was that the rough edges of the webbing straps slightly grazed the skin of his wrists after few days of hike. I hope this won't happen with me but if this happens I probably just sew some protective fabric on the straps.
Unfortunately the first pair I received was defective but Amazon sent me replacement promptly. I haven't had a chance to use these poles on a trail yet but I tested them out around my house. These are simple but appear to be high quality poles. Locks work smoothly and hold my weight quite well. According to Gabel website each pole weigh 9.17oz (260g) which is average for aluminum poles and there is not much difference from more expensive models in this regard. In fact, besides being simple, I can't tell much difference in quality from over $100 models I saw at REI store. I would say these poles are about the same build, design and quality with REI brand poles that are sold for almost twice as expensive as these poles. These Gabel poles are even made in Italy. Leki poles I saw at REI were made in Czech Republic. To me, "made in Italy" somehow sounds nicer than "made in Czech republic".
The only caveat is that the handles of the poles I received look different from the one in the picture on Amazon. They are plain old black soft plastic (or hard rubber?) and not "gummy" grips in any respect. My guess is Amazon posts picture of current model while sending out older model to us. I don't care about "gummy grip or more sporty looking handles but when I pointed out this discrepancy to Amazon customer service I was told they did not see any need to change the picture. WTF!?
Fitting the basket into the poles was a challenge. I called Gabel distributor in Canada for help and the problem was quickly solved. This is the trick they told me. First, insert the pole tip into the basket. Then find a little hole on the floor (or any solid object that has hole or small gaps that can lay stably on the floor). Put the pole tip through the whole (or gap). The basket should be held at the edge of the hole/gap. Hold the handle and put your weight on the pole to push down the basket and at the same time twist the pole clockwise. This trick worked beautifully. The basket fits very tight and another obvious question is how to remove the basket. They told me to place the pole tip and the basket into a hot water to soften the plastic basket, and then you should be able to turn the basket to remove. I haven't tried this myself yet.
Overall, the communication with the Gabel customer service was very pleasant and helpful. When I asked where I could find snow baskets for my poles they even sent me a pair of snow baskets for free. Amazing customer service!
Well, these poles don't come with flick locks of higher end models. But flick locks tend to add bulk and weight. I kind of like the simplicity of these poles' classic twist lock system. Yes, these are not carbon fiber model and not feather light but these are ten times cheaper and should be more durable and last longer than carbon fiber. If you are looking for a simple, affordable, and quality trekking poles by a reputable trekking pole manufacture these are the poles for you.