Gear review: Walking poles

6 Feb , 2014  

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

Karrimor Explore Trekking Poles 

imgres-67Weight: 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.

QUECHUA Forclaz 300

imgres-66Weight: 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

imgres-68Fizan 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 

imgres-69Weight: 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

imgres-70Weight: 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

imgres-71Weight: 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.

Grivel Trail Pole 

161540Weight: 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

imgres-73Weight: 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 has an interchangable Basket System and “Soft Antishock Lite” system

Leki Micro Stick carbon poles

images-25Weight: 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.

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A journalist, web copywriter blogger and social media chatterbox, Fiona combines her love of the outdoors – especially Scotland – with a diverse freelance work life. If she's not at her desk writing about the outdoors, she'll be outside cycling, running, kayaking, snowboarding and walking Munros. She shares her outdoors passion with partner, the G-Force. Sometimes her teenage daughter Little Miss Outdoors tags along, too.