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Of the dozens of poles, stoves, multitools, and other essentials we tested this year, we kept reaching for these six, from the Brunton Get-Back GPS, which stores up to three waypoints and steers you to the trailhead, to MSR SureLock TR-3s, which, at 20 ounces a pair, aren't ultralight, but they are quite sturdy and strong.
No cranking required to loosen and tighten the super-secure twist locks on these aluminum poles. And, as with the others, long foam grips let you instantly adjust to frequently changing terrain. 18 oz per pair; leki.com…
The Contour is light and strong—made with a tough aluminum alloy—and the new Airshock cushioning system (which can be turned off if more stiffness is required) serves up a soft ride. 15.8 oz per pair; komperdell.com…
They’re extremely light (carbon-fiber shafts), comfy (cork grips with foam extensions), and easy to adjust. Come winter, swap out the trekking baskets for the included powder versions. 1 lb; bdel.com…
Swift Sticks Three things we look for in trekking poles: light weight, comfy grip, and easy length adjustment. The new Aergons hit the trifecta. At 17 ounces, they’re respectably light. The mostly cork grip is ergonomic, and the newly designed locking levers are strong and simple to use—even with gloves…
Hiking up may be hard, but it’s the downhill that your joints will really feel. Bring along a pair of trekking poles so they can take the brunt of the impact instead of your knees. The thermofoam-handled Aergons are lightweight and easy to adjust on the fly.
WHERE TO USE IT: One glimpse of Longs Peak’s 1,500-foot vertical east face and you’ll know why you came: This 14,259-foot Colorado mountain is no mellow slag heap. The 15-mile round-trip hike gains 5,000 feet and demands an alpine start; afternoon lightning storms are a given. You can also tackle…
I have bad knees from running and think that poles might help with my hiking. I doing the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim this fall and want your opinion on a good mid-range trekking pole. What do you recommend? Heidi Chicago, Illinois