Hands-on Gear Review

Leki Corklite DSS Antishock Review

Leki Corklite DSS Antishock
Top Pick Award
Price:  $160 List | $143.96 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Incredibly comfortable, cork grips, anti-shock system, great locking mechanism
Cons:  Not as packable as other options
Bottom line:  The Corklite DSS Anti-Shock pole is the Cadillac of our trekking pole reviews, ultra comfortable cork grips, subtle anti-shock, and great ergonomics make for a killer pole.
Editors' Rating:   
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Measured Weight Per Pair (Ounces):  18 oz
Shaft Material:  Aluminum
Min Length (inches):  26 in
Manufacturer:   Leki

Our Verdict

The Leki Corklite DSS Antishock is a new pole in our review this year, and it earned top marks thanks to its ultra-comfortable cork grips and subtle anti-shock system. DSS is Leki's anti-shock system, which stands for Dynamic Suspension System. We liked it so much that we gave it a Top Pick for the most comfortable pole in our review this year. Last year we reviewed the Leki Corklite, which earned high marks for being a reliable all-around pole. This year is no different, as it performed exceptionally; so much so that it was on the line for the Editors' Choice award. It didn't pack down quite as small as other telescoping poles and weighed in at 18 ounces, which is pretty standard for most mid-weight poles.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Graham Williams

Last Updated:
Thursday
October 19, 2017

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The Leki Corklite DSS Antishock is our Top Pick this year for Comfort. This high level of comfort is thanks to Leki's impressive handle technology and low-key anti-shock technology. Although there are poles that are more packable in our review, the Corklite DSS Antishock is an excellent choice for those looking for mega comfort in most situations.

Performance Comparison


Leki DSS Anti-Shock Trekking Poles
Leki DSS Anti-Shock Trekking Poles

Comfort


The Leki Corklite DSS Antishock took our Top Pick for the comfort metric. This is thanks to Leki's awesome cork handles, which can also be found on the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec.


These grips were a favorite of ours in our testing this year and felt the most comfortable without any break in period. We thought they couldn't get any better, but with more time, they started to mold to our hands. We also found that the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and the Black Diamond Alpine FLZ, which both featured Black Diamond's cork handle, weren't as comfortable without a break in period.

The Corklite DSS Anti-shock cork handle is the most comfortable cork grip we've tested.
The Corklite DSS Anti-shock cork handle is the most comfortable cork grip we've tested.

Another cool feature of the Corklite DSS Antishock is, as the name implies, the anti-shock system that is found in them. It was the only pole that featured an antishock system this year in our lineup. Although we know that antishock is a bit of a controversial subject, Leki's technology is a little different than most. The antishock system is located in the lower portion of the pole, just above the tip. A small grey rubber washer covers the shock absorber, and when pressure is put on the pole, the anti-shock system depresses. We thought that this was a great subtle addition, though we found that it added just a bit of noise to the pole when hiking.

Leki DSS anti-shock found on the Corklite Pole  the small rubber section at the end of the pole compresses when pressure is applied to pole.
Leki DSS anti-shock depressed with pressure.

Locking Mechanism and Adjustability


The Corklite DSS Antishock features Leki's Speedlock 2 system, which we found to be one of the better outside lever locks in our review this year.


It's similar to the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork or the Black Diamond Alpine FLZ lever lock system, but instead of needing a coin or specialized tool to tighten or loosen the mechanism, it featured a simple dial. This made it easy to adjust while on the trail without needing to pack extra tools. Because the locking mechanism was absolutely bomber, we doubt you would ever need to adjust on the trail, but if you did, Leki has you covered. The mechanism itself is mostly metal with a sturdy plastic lever that felt strong and sturdy to us. The Black Diamond's FlickLock Pro's lever was a bit sturdier, as it was almost entirely made of metal.

Lever Locking Mechanisms found on the Black Diamond Trail Back (FlickLock)  Alpine Carbon Cork (FlickLock Pro)  and the Leki Corklite DSS Anti-Shock (SpeedLock 2).
Lever Locking Mechanisms found on the Black Diamond Trail Back (FlickLock), Alpine Carbon Cork (FlickLock Pro), and the Leki Corklite DSS Anti-Shock (SpeedLock 2).

Concerning adjustability, the Corklite DSS Antishock is one of the more adjustable poles in our review. Its makeup consists of a three section telescoping style pole and 35 centimeters of adjustment, which is considerably more than any of our break apart style poles. The Leki poles also feature five centimeters more of adjustability compared to a pole like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork, which only goes up to 130 cm.

The SpeedLock 2 mechanism in open position.
The SpeedLock 2 dial mechanism on the lever lock.


Weight


The Corklite DSS Antishock weighs in at 18 ounces, which thanks to recent updates in trekking pole technology, is an ounce lighter than last year's standard (without antishock) Corklite model.


This puts it in the lighter range of aluminum telescoping poles, just one ounce more than the Editors' Choice Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork(17 ounces), and even lighter than some of the break apart style poles like the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec. That being said, this was an exception, as other break apart style poles, like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z at 10 ounces, absolutely crushes the Corklite DSS Antishock's 18 ounces. However, the REI Co-op Flash Carbon was a traditional telescoping pole that came in at 14.6 ounces, thanks to its carbon fiber construction, which was significantly lighter than the Corklite DSS Antishock, albeit a little less durable.

Packability


The Corklite DSS Antishock measured out to about 67 centimeters when fully packed, which for a standard telescoping pole, was definitely in the longer range of our review this year.


This makes it shorter than our two REI poles, the Co-op Passage and the Co-op Flash Carbon, at 69 centimeter and 68.5 centimeters respectively. However, there are much shorter options for telescoping poles, such as the Black Diamond Trail Back at 63.5 centimeters, or the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork at 61 centimeters. If you want to go even shorter, then we would suggest looking at a break apart pole, which is known for their packability, like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z at 37 centimeters or the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec at 36 centimeters.

The Leki Corklite DSS Anti-Shock trekking poles collapsed
The Leki Corklite DSS Anti-Shock trekking poles collapsed

Durability


The Corklite DSS Antishock were some of the more durable poles that we tested this year. Thanks to Leki's aluminum construction and durable SpeedLock 2 locking mechanisms. It's a slim pole, but we found it to be quite burly.


Although it does feature antishock technology, it's low profile enough that we don't think that there will be any issue with it breaking. When putting in the miles, we didn't find any problems with the system. Although we wouldn't use it for heavy duty off-trail use and bushwhacking, we think that it would suffice on occasion. If you're looking for a burlier pole, we like the Black Diamond Trail Back or the REI Co-op Passage which both feature standard Aluminum construction and earned top marks in our durability metric. That said, the Corklite DSS Antishock is tougher than many of the break apart style poles like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z.

Versatility


The Corklite DSS Antishock is a relatively versatile pole, and we thought that it would make a great all-around four-season pole. We would recommend the Corklite DSS Antishock for any use we could expect out of a three section telescoping pole. It handled pretty much everything we threw at it, like off-trail adventures, day hikes, and more. It's light enough for mountaineering as well, although due to it's lack of packability, we think that there are better options for climbing and splitboarding, like the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec or the Leki Micro Vario Carbon.


Best Applications


The Corklite DSS Antishock is a great choice for a multitude of applications, from day hiking to multiple day backpacking trips. We wouldn't suggest it if packability and weight are your top priority, or if you're alpine climbing or thru-hiking.

Value


At $160 the Corklite DSS Antishock is an upper to mid-range priced pole. We think that for Leki's awesome cork handles and great anti-shock system that $160 is a small price to pay.

Conclusion


All in all, the Corklite DSS Antishock is a great all-around pole that has loads of great usable features like it's awesome cork handles, low profile antishock system, and durable aluminum construction. Although the cork handle wasn't that much better than the Black Diamond handles, it definitely had the edge, especially with no break-in period. The lowest score that the Corklite DSS Antishock received was in packability range, which unless you're a climber, splitboarder, or heavy traveler, probably isn't as big of an issue, especially when compared to the comfort of the pole. Although it wasn't the lightest pole in our review, it weighed in at an average range for an aluminum pole and has the addition of an antishock system.
Graham Williams

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Most recent review: October 19, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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5 star: 100%  (1)
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