Trekking pole users rejoice, at last someone has designed a

useable, quick stowage system for poles, step forward Osprey

Packs with the new Kestrel Series.

We've been using a Kestrel 38 - think Talon-based all-round pack -

regularly over the holiday period and there'll be a full test on the

site shortly, but it's great to see one of the pack brands finally

get to grips with the pole issue.

For some users it's not a problem, but if, like us, you're the

sort of walker or mountaineer who uses poles say on steep climbs or

descents or for balance on really rough ground, but stows them away

on flatter easier terrain, the process of taking poles on and off

your pack has always been irrititatingly slow and normally involved

removing the pack or enlisting the help of a friendly passer by or

walking buddy.

polehold01.jpg

Not any more. The Kestrel has a cunning 's 'Stow-On-The-Go'

pole holder that allows you to stow and remove poles in seconds. It's

actually quite simple - the handles are gripped by an adjustable

shock cord loop on your lefthand shoulder strap, while the tips slot

into another loop on the side of the pack.

polehold02.jpg

Clipped in like this the poles are tucked away neatly between your

arm and your pack where they don't rub or catch during normal walking

use. The top loop is adjustable to hold things tight, the bottom loop

is just a guide. Both have plastic reinforcement tubes as well.

polehold03.jpg

OK, in certain circumstances and particularly with longer poles,

we the ends could catch on rougher terrain, but with shorter poles

and easier ground, the system seems to work really well and takes 90

per-cent of the faff out of poling and de-poling and we reckon that's

got to be a good thing.

Hats off to Osprey for a job well done. More about the Kestrel

shortly, in the mean time you can find more details at www.ospreypacks.com.