While we are always weary of antishock tech being a bit gimmicky and cumbersome to use, we found the DSS on the Leki Corklite DSS Antishock to be the best of the bunch.
It definitely contributed to the pole scoring highest in the comfort category in our Top 10 Review. At a glance, this aluminium pole with cork grips outperformed the rest of the top 10 in terms of comfort.
For these reasons we gave the Leki Corklite DSS Antishock 3.5 our of 5 stars.
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The Leki Corklite DSS Antishock is a new pole on the market and follows on from the Leki Corklite, which was one of the best all-round poles of 2017.
The Corklite DSS Antishock improves on its predecessor with a unique antishock system pioneered by Leki called Dynamic Suspension System (DSS).
The grips were some of the best tested and we found the antishock technology to be a worthy addition to an already solid pole.
The aluminium build ensured the pole scored well in the durability section and we found it to be relatively more versatile than most carbon fibre poles.
Where the Leki Corklite DSS Antishock did fall short was in its portability, largely due to its weight and packable size.
Being an aluminium pole obviously means being heavier than almost all carbon counterparts. Although, at just over 500g per pair, the Corklite DSS Antishock is a pretty standard mid-weight pole.
The pole has a telescoping mechanism meaning it doesn’t quite pack down to the same length as foldable tent-like poles. So it might not be the pole of choice for light hikers.
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Thanks to its aluminium shaft, the Leki Corklite DSS Antishock is more durable than most carbon poles, which tend to be brittle on impact.
The slightly heavier but more malleable aluminium means the pole can survive a few dents, drops and slight bends without becoming completely unusable. It may be suitable for a hiker who knows his poles will be bashed around a bit by the terrain or when travelling.
Being a telescoping pole also means there are fewer points at which the integrity of the shaft could be compromised. We found the addition of antishock technology makes the pole a little more cumbersome and less slim, but did not detract from the durability whatsoever.
The high-quality locking mechanisms used by Leki are also some of the best on the market and didn’t give any issues when tested for strength. We wouldn’t advise using the pole on very heavy off-trail terrains, although it should hold up well in most off-trail situations.
The Leki Corklite DSS Antishock ripped apart the rest of the field in the comfort metric. We focused on the comfortability of the grip as well as how the pole feels on impact with the ground to develop a conclusion.
Out of all the cork grips tested, Leki’s proved to be the best. They have a uniquely moulded design that fits all hands well, but also moulds to your hand after use, improving in comfort over time. The small rubber inlays in the side of the grip boost its durability, a common disadvantage of all-cork grips.
The antishock tech used in this pole is unlike most in that it is situated just above the basket and tip. A small rubber washer compresses when the pole hits the ground, absorbing the shock usually felt in the hands.
We found this addition to add in the comfort of using the pole, but there wasn’t the option to disable it and so gave an odd feeling when climbing.
As mentioned before, the pole was a touch on the heavy side. Partly due to being aluminium but also because of the locking mechanisms required on the telescoping pole. However, at 520g, the pole is in the middle of the range we tested, behind most carbon pole but above some aluminium break-apart poles.
A weight difference of 100g may be difficult to determine at the store, but it becomes noticeable on long hikes where you are raising and lowering your pole hundreds, even thousands of times.
Despite having the obvious effect of causing fatigue in the arms, heavier poles can be an issue if you are travelling with your hiking gear, or if you only need poles at certain points in the hike and need to pack them away at others.
While weight plays a small role in the portability of a pole, it is mainly the packable length that determines how the pole can be transported. The Leki Corklite DSS Antishock was one of the longest poles tested in our top 10 coming in at 26.4"(67cm).
This longer than most telescoping poles and significantly longer than break-apart poles which can fold down to 15"(38cm).
Therefore, the pole is not suitable for packing into daypacks and so is more suited to hikes where the poles will be used at all times. However, the poles can easily be packed into most duffle bags or suitcases for travelling over longer distances.
The Corklite DSS Antishock isn’t limited to one type of terrain and can be used for both on-trail and off-trail hiking, making it more versatile than most carbon poles which struggle off-trail.
The pole is suitable for use in all four seasons and for most types of hiking thanks to its durable build.
Where the pole isn’t so suitable is for situation where the poles need to be easily packed and carried for section and easily deployed and used in sections.
Therefore, for thru-hiking or alpine climbing we would recommend a lighter, break-apart carbon pole.