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January 2018 Issue
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2018’s best walking poles

Featured pole: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z ($259.99). Distributed by
Want to still be tramping well into your golden years? Get some walking poles – they’ll reduce the stress on your knees and lessen the chance of injury by providing stability on uneven ground. 

How poles help

Over a day’s tramping, walking poles can reduce the weight put on your knees by several tonnes. Correctly adjusted, they improve posture, breathing, speed and stability. Ascents, descents and river crossings are safer. Fatigue is reduced.

One or two?

Two poles are best – they help with balance, stride and reduce the load on both your legs.


The shaft is generally composed of three or four telescoping or folding sections and made of aluminium (cheaper) or carbon (lighter, more expensive).

Length adjustment

Some poles are fixed length – offering extra strength and durability, but requiring careful selection to ensure the correct size is bought. Variable length poles can be adjusted to suit the terrain or the user. Each pole section is secured with external clamps or internal expanders. Clamps are more secure because expanders can sometimes slip when there is a lot of twisting on uneven surfaces.

Shock absorbers

Not as common as they once were, spring-loaded shock absorbers reduce impact on elbows and shoulders. They create a slightly heavier pole.


It should be ergonomically-shaped for comfort and made from foam, which is soft and grippy even when wet. Some grips extend to the pole – allowing a quick change of grip.


Made from a breathable, moisture-wicking material, the strap allows the pole to be carried without using a muscle-tiring grip.

Baskets and tips

A hard-wearing carbide tip provides secure placement on all surfaces. When walking on soft trails use the rubber end cap to avoid damaging the track. A snow basket prevents the pole from sinking into soft ground or snow.

Now you know what to look for, it’s time to choose a pole…

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z $259.99
EVA foam grip with moisture-wicking strap, mini-grip extension, three-section foldable shaft with speed cone deployment and FlickLock length adjustability, carbon fibre construction, carbide tips, rubber tips, stopper basket. Length 95-110cm, 105-125cm, 120-140cm Collapsed length 34cm, 37cm, 40cm Weight 345g, 355g, 365g/pair.

Helinox LBB135 $196
Four-section pole with one-touch lever length adjustment, auto-locking lower sections, DAC TH72M aluminium alloy construction, foam grip with wicking wrist straps, extended grip tungsten carbide tips, rubber tip covers. Length 112-135cm Collapsed length 54cm Weight 476g/pair.

Gabel Trekking Revo $199.99
Italian-made with Ergo Lite grip, patented shock-cord lower section, twist-lock height adjustment on top section, snow and all-terrain baskets supplied, tungsten carbide tips. Length 105-121cm Collapsed length 52cm Weight 456g/pair.

Helinox GL145 $174
Adjustable pole with ‘groove-lock’ system for better load carrying capacity, twist-lock operation, foam grips and wicking wrist straps, DAC TH72M aluminium construction, tungsten carbide tips, rubber tip covers. Length 90-145cm Collapsed length 64cm Weight 432g/pair.

Helinox TL Series Folding Poles $156
Fixed-length folding poles constructed from DAC TH72M aluminium alloy, one press button operation, foam grip with wicking wrist straps, extended grip, tungsten carbide tips, rubber tip covers. Length 105cm, 115cm, 125cm Collapsed length 33cm, 35cm, 37cm Weight 304g, 312g, 328g/pair.

Gabel Quad 4-Piece $139.99
Italian-made four-piece design with twist-lock fastening, Ergo Dual Gummy grip, tungsten carbide tips, snow and all-terrain baskets, removable anti-bacterial wrist strap with Top Click System for quick adjustment and auto release in avalanche. Length 50-121cm Collapsed length 50cm Weight 586g/pair.

Macpac P3 Monopod Trekking Pole $59.99
Lever lock adjustment system, extended EVA grip, seamless wrist strap, camera mount, 6061 aluminium construction, carbon steel tip, rubber end cap, trekking basket included. Length 95-160cm Collapsed length 69cm Weight 295g/pole.