For long distance hiking, trekking poles are a very wise thing to bring with you, especially if you’re carrying a decent load. Using poles improves your balance – you’ve four legs now – and takes pressure off your joints, especially when you’re trotting down a long Lake District mountain.
Appropriately used, walking poles are a great tool that will help you walk further and faster. But buying them can be a bit of a minefield.
The most important thing to bear in mind is what you’ll be using them for. Will it be short runs, your Nordic walking group sprinting around the park, long, single days on the mountains, or multi-day backpacking expeditions?
Once you’ve worked that out, you need to factor in the price you’re willing to spend on quality. Will you tolerate cheap ones like scaffolding poles or will only accept eye-wateringly expensive ultralighters?
It’s also worth thinking about how much you’ll actually be using them; if it’s just those endless downhills on stone paths you need them for, then you want a pair that will stow away easily. Oh, and it is a pair you need; one pole is little more than pointless if you’re trying to help your joints.
“The Leki Thermolite XL strike the perfect balance for all of our needs.”
We also recommend anti-shock poles – these alleviate the sharp vibrations through your arms when you plant the pole down. Beyond these main aspects it is down to personal preference of the handle, adjustments and locking.
We’ve found the Leki Thermolite XL the perfect balance for all of our needs, that’s to say long day hikes or backpacking trips with our house on our back.