Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sticks For Chicks

There was an interesting post over on Two Heel Drive today debating whether there was any reason to make "women's" hiking poles (other than trying to expand the market), and how they might differ from men's.

It seems that women's poles are available from Leki, who are arguably the top company for hiking poles. They have something called the Wildflower Series, which, thankfully, don't actually have flowers on them! That would just be sad. The poles are about 10cm shorter and 15% smaller in every dimension according to an old article from Backpacking Light. Komperdell says their women's poles are slightly shorter and lighter than men's.

So what would a woman want in hiking poles that would be different from men? For me, the biggest problem I have with my poles (which I don't always use) is that they hurt my hands after a day or two. This could be party due to the grips being man-sized. If there were a shorter, narrower grip on the poles, it would fit my little hands better. According to MEC, the Komperdell poles have this feature. Unfortunately, the pole didn't score well with many reviewers for other reasons.

I expect that women's poles would actually need to be less shock-absorbent than men's poles, since women are smaller and lighter, therefore putting less pressure on their poles. Since the length of all metal poles is adjustable, there shouldn't be any issue with height, no matter how short a woman is. (I have experience with this!)

So all I can think of is the grip. If you have any other suggestions on what you would do differently on a women's pole design leave a comment. Maybe we can shoot some suggestions off to Leki for next year's models!


Frank and Sue said...

Nice post Michelle,
Sue has used "normal" Leki poles for our last few trips and finds them excellent.
She struggles with going down steep hills and the poles have been a great addition. They give her more confidence and speed her up a lot.
Not sure if "women's" poles are necessarily the best selection criteria, would suggest poles that they feel right for the person (depending on size, not sex) would be more important.

Anonymous said...

Um, they should come in a variety of designer colours? LOL G