Image of the January 2019 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more articles from the
January 2019 Issue
Home / Articles / Gear Guides

2019 guide to walking poles

Featured poles: Black Diamond Trail Pro Trek $239.99. Distributed by www.southernapproach.co.nz
Do your knees a favour and get a pair of walking poles – they’ll help you walk further, faster and for longer.

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

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

Grip
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.

One or two?
Two poles is best – they help with balance, stride and reduce the load on both your legs. (Prices and weights for all poles in this feature are for pairs).

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.

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

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 and a less secure grip.

Strap
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.

MSR Dynalock Ascent $349.99
Kevlar-reinforced carbon fibre pole with quick-deploy design, DynaLock locking mechanism, EVA extended foam grip. Winter and summer baskets included. Length 100-120cm Collapsed length 36.2cm Weight 482g.

 

Gabel TransAlp NZ Parks $89.99
Three-piece pole featuring a map of NZ National Parks, tungsten carbide tips, Ergo Classic grip with adjustable strap, 54mm basket included. Length 64-144cm Collapsed length 64m Weight 566g.

 

Macpac C3 Hiking Pole $199.99
Carbon fibre pole, fully adjustable with a lever lock system, extended EVA grip, seamless adjustable wrist strap, tungsten titanium tip, trekking baskets included. Length 105-135cm Collapsed length 65cm Weight 480g.

Black Diamond Trail Pro Trek $239.99
FlickLock Pro secure locking system, SmashLock quick-release technology, dual-density grip with foam extension, padded webbing strap, interchangeable carbide tech tips and low-profile trekking baskets. Men’s and women’s. Available March 2019. Length 95-140cm Collapsed length 65cm Weight 520g.

Subscribe and save 61% for the first five months

$2.50/per month

Gain instant access to all stories, trips and gear reviews for the super low price of $2.50/month (normally $6.50/month) for the first five months. You’ll also get the Wilderness Wildcard, which offers discounts at more than 20 partners around New Zealand.

Just choose a monthly website-only subscription and use coupon code ‘2fifty’ to receive this special price.

Or view all our subscription options.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.

Discount applies to the first five monthly payments after which time the subscription price will revert to the current $6.50/month. Cancel your next payment at any time in your ‘My Account’ page. NZ subscribers only receive WildCard.