Eurohike Expedition Anti-Shock Walking Pole review
I've had my Eurohike Expedition Anti-Shock Walking Poles for a couple of years now. I bought them for a hiking trip through Snowdonia; we were only going for a few days and I didn't know if I really needed poles so didn't want to spend a fortune on them. As a teenager, I used to find it funny watching people hiking up mountains in the UK with their poles. I'd never used them and was young and fit enough that I never felt achy after exercise. It wasn't until we started doing multi-day hikes with heavy backpacks and camping gear that I started to feel it in my knees. We'd been reading a few books about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and poles were spoken about fondly, and as being a necessity.
Now that I've used poles, I would never do a long-distance hike without them; I am fully converted! My hips and knees aren't as soft and springy as they used to be, especially if I'm wearing a heavy pack for several days. Not only do they take some of the pressure off my joints as I'm climbing up and down mountains, but poles have saved me from many painful falls. My balance isn't great at the best of times, but wearing a large backpack has the effect of swinging one's centre of gravity about and reducing dynamic balance. There have been several occasions where I've slipped or tripped and have been able to successfully remain upright with the aid of my poles. Towards the end of our Appalachian Trail thru-hike attempt, they quite literally became crutches for me and I lent on them heavy as I hobbled into camp each night.
My Eurohike Expedition Anti-Shock's have hiked nearly 800 miles with me now and they're still going strong! With that in mind, I've analysed them against their construction, comfort, cost and comparison to other brands, which you can see below.
There are three parts to the pole, which twist together and contain a spring anti-shock system, meaning they're great on both soft and hard ground. Height can be adjusted in two places and the measurements are clearly written on the pole, although this has worn off both my poles now so adjusting them takes a bit of guesswork. To adjust the height, the poles twist and then tighten into place. On one occasion my pole untwisted and I was left holding just the top half. Considering this has only happened once in my 800 miles with them, this isn't too bad!
The tip is steel, which grips well on most surfaces, including dry rocks and boulders. In wet, slippery conditions it's better to keep the rubber tips on for a bit more grip. The rubber tips are a standard size, so if you do lose these they can be easily replace. They fit on quite tightly, so shouldn't fall off unless you get your pole stuck in tree roots (this is how I lost a rubber tip). One of my steel tips has worn right down and no longer exists, but the other still has a tiny bit there. I noticed the tips wear out after about 600 miles on them. Despite this, they are still gripping the floor quite well so I'll continue using them until they wear out further.
The main body of the poles are made from aluminium, which means they're pretty sturdy. The handles are made from a hard plastic material and have adjustable straps for a more secure hold. The overall weight of a pole is 305g. They extend to 135cm and pack down to 67cm, so were able to fit neatly into my backpack for our flight to the USA.
The anti-shock system was great for my knees, hips and shoulders whilst hiking over tough terrain. I felt comfortable putting my full weight through the poles on some rather large steps up and down boulders, and they felt sturdy enough that I could trust they'd hold me. The handles are easy to grip until they get wet and then there's very little grip at all and I rely mainly on the straps. I also found that my hands started to develop little calluses within a few days of hiking because the handles were rubbing on my palms.
These are some of the cheapest hiking poles you can find online and are great value for money. One pole costs between £7-12, depending on the store you get them from, coming to a maximum of £24 for a pair. That's much cheaper than rival brands! Considering how many miles I have hiked with these poles, and the conditions I have put them through, I think they have lasted a surprisingly long time.
COMPARISON TO OTHER BRANDS
It's hard to compare these poles to other brands because they're just so much cheaper than anything of a similar quality. A friend we made on the Appalachian Trail had some supermarket-brand hiking poles for the same price as mine, but his broke within about 300 miles. Most rival-brand hiking poles have a clip-lock system to adjust their height, which is much quicker and easier to use than the twist system of these. However Eurohike also make clip-lock adjustable poles for just £12 per pole, still half the price of high-end poles such as Black Diamond. The Eurohike Expedition Anti-Shock Poles are not the lightest poles around and may not appeal to an ultra-lighter who's desperate to save weight on everything. I personally liked having heavier poles though and found it easier to control them when trying to cross rivers; the weight helps to keep them from being dragged away by the water. The Eurohike Traverse Poles, which a clip-lock height adjusting system, are 270g in weight and the Eurohike Odyssey Poles (which cost £15 each) only weigh 260g.
I would highly recommend Eurohike when considering which hiking poles to buy. If you need a cheap and cheerful option, then the Expedition Poles are fantastic. Mine are still usable after 800 miles on tough terrains, but when they get wet there's very little grip in the handles. If you want a bit more comfort for your hands and quicker height adjustment, then their Traverse and Odyssey Poles may be better. Although the Expedition Poles may not be as slender and aesthetically pleasing as some of the other available poles, I like the colour and never had to worry about losing them when I put them down because they were so bright!
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