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Explorer 130.     Photo: Courtesy of Exped

Q:

The Best Trekking Poles: Exped Explorer 130

I see people using increasingly high-tech hiking poles. What’s the deal?

A:Light weight is key when hiking for miles in the wilderness, so trekking pole manufacturers are pioneering specialized materials that keep weight to a minimum. Aluminum is usually heavier than carbon fiber, but Swiss company Exped has designed the $130 Explorer model to use an aluminum alloy called TH72M, for a 4.5-ounce pole that’s one of the lightest in the group we've reviewed here. Grips are soft foam with adjustable wrist straps covered in a quick-drying padding to reduce friction and protect bare skin. The Explorers adjust from 41 to 51 inches, and pack down to the smallest of the group, a mere 19.3 inches.

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