By Valeraine Dufour. Trekking Poles. Published at Monday, March 04th, 2019 - 10:50:15 AM.
Given current pole technology and availability, I would rule out any pole that weighs more than nine ounces each or 18 ounces for the pair. People with less arm strength (or scrawny runner arms like me) may want to set an even lower threshold. To keep weight to a minimum, avoid “anti-shock” models, remove the mud/trekking baskets, and consider models with shorter shaft lengths.
When evaluating poles, I start with the shafts. They need to be stiff, free of vibration on impact, and able to endure reasonable contact with rocks and vegetation without fracturing. Next, I look at the hand grips, which should be soft on the hands but still responsive, meaning not mushy. I also really like extension grips. Finally, the locks need to be secure and reliable and easy to use and repair. Only some of the poles I tested met those criteria.
The deal breaker is the price. Ultimately, I don’t feel that these poles are $70 nicer than the Alpine Carbon Corks, and in general I can’t recommend spending more than $200 on trekking poles when a very decent option is available for less than $45.
Trekking poles effectively turn a two-legged animal into a four-legged one, spreading the load, improving endurance and reducing stress on the knees by up to 40%. Weighing in at only 530g for the pair, the bargain Forclaz 500 is the ideal choice for the weekend walker, with an extra-long soft foam grip, neoprene-lined wrist loops, an antishock bush and a telescopic aluminium construction.
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