Gear review: Walking poles
The range of walking poles for sale is impressive, from budget prices to top-of-the-range titanium poles with shock absorbency. The money you spend will probably depend on how often you walk. When buying poles you should consider your budget, how often and where you will use them, size, comfort and durability. If you plan to travel with your walking poles make sure you can shorten them or fold them up so they are small enough to fit inside a suitcase or rucksack. You can check out our blog about the Benefits of Walking Poles
Other questions to ask yourself when buying walking poles:
- Will I use them in summer or winter, or both? The most important feature to look for is the basket (the wider round section near the bottom of the pole). You’ll need a larger diameter basket for snow in winter.
- If using in winter can I hold the handles with gloves?
- What sort of terrain will the poles be used on?
- Should I buy fixed or adjustable poles?
Walking poles: The locking system
Most poles have a locking system that allows you to adjust a smaller or greater length of the walking poles. But these locking systems vary and you will find some are easier than others to work. Make sure you try out the locking system before heading to the hills or on a walking holiday. And see how easy it is to adjust the poles while wearing gloves, for example on a winter’s day.
Guide to some of the best walking poles
On a budget
Weight: 540g pair. Compact size: 60cm Length: More than one metre. Price: £11 per pair www.sportsdirect.com Made from lightweight aluminium and with a three-section telescopic design, these poles make a great budget buy for leisure walkers.
Weight: 560g pair. Compact size: 61cm Max length: 134cm Price: £9.99 each. See Decathlon These three-section poles come with changeable baskets, for summer and winter hiking. They boast rubber handles and durable tungsten carbide tips.
Mid range poles
Fizan Compact 4 trekking poles Weight: 338g pair. Compact size: 49cm Length: 49cm to 125cm Price: £69.99, see Ultra Light Outdoor Gear Claimed as the world’s lightest four-section poles, this Fizan compact version also packs to a very neat 49cm. They are also strong and well-built. Craghoppers Super Lite Shock Absorber Poles
Weight: 485g per pair Length: 60cm to 125cm Price: £40 to £50 per pair. See Craghoppers Made with Aircraft grade Aluminium, the lightweight poles also come with a comfortable composite cork handle. Features include a foot basket for off-road trails and an alternative foot for use on harder surfaces. They also have a padded adjustable strap.
Vipole Carbon Trek EVA Poles
Weight: 366g per pair Length: 64cm to 138cm Price: Around £75 from The Climbers Shop Carbon fibre replaces the aluminium alloys often used in walking poles tom create a lightweight but very strong pole. Carbon fibre also has a natural shock-absorbing ability so these poles do not have the need for an anti-shock system. Taller walkers will welcome the extension to 138c, while the poles still pack away to a reasonable 64cm. A sound and sensible choice if you will be doing a lot of walking.
Money to spend
Black Diamond Contour Elliptic Shock Compact Pole
Weight: 316g Compact size: 62cm Length: 70cm to 125cm Price: £99.99 RRP. See Black Diamond The poles boast strength and stability thanks to elliptic-shaped shafts. They also feature offer comfort via the Black Diamond trademarked Control Shock Technology™ (terrain-absorption, in other words). The poles are suitable for use year-round.
Weight: 436g pair Compact size: 39cm Comes in two fixed lengths: 115 and 125cm Price: £80 RRP. See Grivel A good quality pole that folds up to only 39cm in length. This is a great set of poles for travelling with.
Leki Carbon Titanium Antishock poles
Weight: 490g per pair Length: 69 -135cm Price: £135. See www.leki.co.uk Leki are a byword in good quality walking poles and these offer some of the best features you can buy. The poles are super-light and tough and include a Speedlock locking system for easy height adjustment. These also have an interchangeable Basket System and “Soft Antishock Lite” system
Leki Micro Stick carbon poles
Weight: 396g per pair Length: Sold in different sizes, from 110cm to 130cm Price: Around £90 The main benefit of the Micro sticks is that they pack up small enough to fit in a rucksack or small suitcase. They are also quick and easy to assemble the lightweight carbon poles are suitable for hiking and trail running. They come with a comfortable and warm-to-feel Aergon grip handle.
This is a small selection of the many walking poles on sale. Tell us about your favourite walking poles.