A quick look at Go Outdoors reveals pairs of walking poles from £30 a pair, or £40 for OEX carbon, up to £148 for some flash Leki folding carbon ones.
Any pointers what to look out for? These will primarily be for Mrs Chaos to help with relieving pressure on her knees when walking downhill on walks like the South West Coastal Path where it can get quite steep and loose.
If I ever get round to bikepacking/touring I might want to pinch one for a tarp/tent support but that’s not a major consideration.Posted 7 months ago
Avoid any that need rotated/screwed to adjust. Something with a click-lock is far superior.Posted 7 months agodafydd17Free Member
I assumed you meant gastarbeiter who didn’t have train fare home…Posted 7 months ago
+1 on scotroutes click lock is much better.
I’ve had a couple of issues with mine being quite long – stowing them on my pack and then being on steeper hills near other people…If I bought again I would buy shorter section ones that go inside a pack.
Fwiw, my cheap Vango ones are fine.
Mrs_oab’s cheap carbon Sprayway poles are noticeably nicer – they are lighter and flex/absorb bumps in a nicer way.
Alpkit do some good ones Iirc.Posted 7 months agoRustySpannerFull Member
The midrange Black Diamond ones (click lock, about £70) are sooo much better than the Leki twist locks they replaced.
Go for simple and light.Posted 7 months agobentandbrokenFull Member
I have inherited two of different styles. Both are old and budget.
They are both screw-lock and work fine. The click lock one I used for a while failed, but was also vintage
I prefer the one with a bit of suspension (spring) and a handgrip that is shaped and leans forward slightly.
I suspect that Carbon V Aluminium does not matter that much for the average punter
Hope that helpsPosted 7 months ago
Some tips over using them:
Either make sure you can get spare baskets and/or, just pop a tiny dab of superglue on them.
On cold days I find I need thicker gloves when using poles
Learn to size and use the wrist straps.
Learn to size the poles properly.
Watch a couple of YouTube videos on good pole technique (fnarr) – they really can propel you or slow you down, without you realising.
Wash them off if they get muddy.Posted 7 months agoCountZeroFull Member
I used to use actual walking sticks that I made myself, from holly, yew and hazel, but the boot on my car doesn’t accommodate those particularly well, so I use a Eurohike pole someone left in a car, a twist-lock one, basic aluminium, but it works perfectly fine, I’ve been using it for over a year and a half, and had no issues. It’s got a certain amount of spring in it, and the plastic foot twists off to give a carbide tip for slippery stuff.Posted 7 months agoshermer75Free Member
I used some cheap twist lock Trekmates (£15) for years and they were fine, heavy but robust. I now have some more expensive carbon click lock ones (Black Diamond), they are great because they are lightweight but the click lock does rattle a bit which is annoying. The main thing I leanrned is that you def don’t need suspension!Posted 7 months agodidnthurtFull Member
We bought some cheap twist lock ones from Mountain Warehouse for wife to help mostly on descending hills. As well as adding a bit of additional stability.
They’ve been fine for the last couple of years, they’re used semi regularly.
I was tempted to get some fancy ones that I could then borrow for bike packing, they work great with a tarp.Posted 7 months agoduckmanFull Member
I have a pair of black diamond ones that are like triggers broom, they must be 4 different pairs now. I have always used them in Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer when the hills were wet. But use them all the time in the last year( auld age and a useless ankle) you get used to them.Posted 7 months ago13thfloormonkFull Member
The main thing I leanrned is that you def don’t need suspension
I don’t disagree, I’m sure nobody really NEEDS suspension, but my favourite poles were my original twist lock aluminium Lekis with the sprung tips. I don’t know why it should matter but they always just felt nicer to use, perhaps on a long walk there is an element of jarring or vibration through the pole to the hands?Posted 7 months agosmiffyFull Member
+1 vote for Alpkit.Posted 7 months agodownshepFull Member
Been using cheap twist lock & sprung Decathlon ones for a couple of years now. I leave them extended as the twist locks have loosened off in the past. Click locks would probs be more secure. The spring does ease jarring on the wrists and shoulders on descents but is less efficient on level ground or climbs. They are great for yomping along and getting a good rhythm going. Also reassuring on boggy or steep / uneven ground, I worry less about twisted ankles as my weight is spread over more contact points. I’ve lent mine to friends with mixed views, some hate them and don’t see the point. Others ‘get’ the benefits straight away.
Buy a cheap set to see if she likes them before investing in posh ones.Posted 7 months agoconvertFull Member
Bit of a pole convert here after years of thinking they were for crumbly red socks only. Most of the much younger (than me) mountain leader I work with use them pretty much constantly.
Whilst I like my leki micro vario strong poles, one of them has developed an annoying amount of play on one of the joints. Nothing like enough to ditch it but I can still feel it which aggravates me. No idea if it was my fault getting it snagged in a rock pocket or manufacture error. There is no visible sign of issue but also no obvious way to adjust the tension of the aramid cord that runs through it.
Walking with poles is definitely a skill. I’d question if your wife will plan to just walk with them (using them, stored in her pack, whatever) for most of the journey and then ‘use’ them for these descents. From a mindset perspective I guess that’s effectively thinking of it as a stick. I’d encourage her to think of them as an aid for the whole journey akin to nordic walking. To a certain extent relieving pressure from her knees through the journey gives her less sore knees when you get to the descent.
I quite often adjust the lengths of mine. Shorter on the uphills (mine are very mountain specific so you can hold them lower down too for this) and longer on the downs. Even differing lengths on the traverses.
The loops are key – again like nordic walking a well adjusted loop and good technique means that most weight is on the write and you are holding the poles with the lightest of touches.
Saying all this I covet my mates grivel super light poles for stuffing in your pack when climbing etc. Must less tough and functional but the weight and packability looks awesome.Posted 7 months agokormoranFree Member
lots of good advice so far, I’d add go and handle a few before you buy. The grips are all different and some you just won’t like. Also get a feel for the swing of the pole, some are better than others and it isn’t always down to price or weight
Personally I like to just use one and swap it from side to side as I negotiate obstacles. They can be a total hinderance on technical sections and get jammed in chossy boulder fields so easy packing is important. I find they do tend to change the way you descend as you place the pole before stepping down, and that can slow you
You can add a small grip below the handle made from tape to give you an extra purchase on steep or heavily cambered terrain when you don’t want to adjust the pole length but need a ‘shorter’ pole
Lastly I have had twist lock and cam lock styles. The twists have always given up in the end but I have just carried on with them as a solid pole til they finally wore out the tip or got bent beyond repair.Posted 7 months agosofamanFull Member
> The midrange Black Diamond ones (click lock, about £70) are sooo much better than the Leki twist locks they replaced
I’ve just snapped my 20 years old, very battered Black Diamond Expedition FlickLock poles 🙁
Not from any damage in use, but because they’d corroded shut being packed wet too many times and not used during covid.
No luck with the vice, so off to buy another pair of Black Diamonds 🙂Posted 7 months ago
Thanks all, plenty of food for thought.
They’ll be a present so no realistic chance to try before buying unfortunately so will just make sure there’s a good return policy.Posted 7 months agoSuperficialFree Member
up to £148 for some flash Leki folding carbon ones.
That’s possibly what Mrs Superficial has. She has issues with her knee after doing ligament damage and has lost some joint position sense. The poles seem to work well for her, particularly on loose rocky descents. Obviously it’s a lot of money, but the ones she has are nicely made, and fold down into thirds very quickly – easy to shove in a bag which also means they actually get used. She’s a bit self-conscious about using them so the ability to stow them is useful.Posted 7 months agoPhilOFree Member
I’m another that prefers flick-lock over twist. Both work fine, but you need a reasonable grip to operate the latter, and if they slip while tightened up it can be a real struggle to release them again without pliers.
I’ve recently switched from using three-section telescopic BDs to a cheap 4-part sectional one a bit like this.. These pack down significantly smaller (enough to go in some trouser pockets) but have more limited length adjustment and are a bit fiddly to handle when folded. The choice really depends on how you intend to use them.Posted 7 months agoElShalimoFree Member
@chaos – where are you? Surely someone on here can loan you a pair for a weekend?Posted 7 months agosofaboy73Free Member
are you going to be carrying them in your pack or on the outside of your pack when not in use. if inside the pack, the 3 part Z type poles are good as pack down shorter, if on the outside the normal telescopic type are probably easier to secure.
another vote for the flick lock type poles if you go for telescopic, and as above, the black diamond trail poles (if you shop around you can normally find them for c £60-65) are great – nice and sturdy with comfy foam handle and good strapsPosted 7 months agop7eavenFree Member
Really happy with my black diamond trails, as sofaboy says They have a good foam grip (which extends down double-length for switching position on ascents)and really comfortable easy to adjust straps (which are key). Nice easy-to-spot metallic orange colour too – if that makes any difference!
I see a few brand new pairs on eBay going for 49 quid + postage, which is a bargain? I got mine as new for 20 of Facebook market place but I’d happily spend 50.
The Nordic walking learning curve is fun IME, And I definitely cover more ground in less time (and less discomfort) when using them.Posted 7 months agokennypFree Member
Avoid any that need rotated/screwed to adjust. Something with a click-lock is far superior.
100% this. Leki make a good variety. Worth paying to get something half decent, but unless weight is a major issue I’d avoid the carbon ones. I have Leki ones which were about £70 and have had them for years now.Posted 7 months agocastaneaFree Member
Leki Micro Vario here. Have snapped 2 in the last 5 years, mainly when they should have been put away for scramble bits and then I didn’t bother and got them jammed in behind a rock, both times they have been replaced free of charge.
The handle is good. They fold down small enough to go into the vertical pockets on the side of my day pack. The swing weight and feel is pretty optimal, they mentally disappear after the first few minutes of walking. They come in most handy for me when crossing rivers, ascending snow covered terrain and steep descents to take some load off the knee. I’d recommend spending the extra, my old man has a set that are woeful, feels like it takes twice the effort of the lekis to swing them.Posted 7 months ago
I have had a few pairs. Never had any trouble with twist locks and I prefer them as they don’t get snagged and are lighter. I am currently using some cheap carbon ones – some of the best weight saving per £ – £50 to save over 300 Grammes compared to alloy leki poles. I do not notice the lack of suspension
As matt says tho – learning to use them properly is key – the vast majority of folk don’t use the straps properly or size them correctlyPosted 7 months agooldblokeFree Member
Another Alpkit user – carbon marathons – which are something like £80/pair and a decent balance of light and robust. They’ve taken more abuse than my wife’s previous Leki poles that I tried briefly.Posted 7 months agoEdukatorFree Member
Touristick AA Made in Austria 220gm alloy quick lock two piece are my favourites. I’ve got a variety including twist lock at the same weight which work fine. My carbon sticks have poor points that need regular regrinding. The Touristicks have the nicest grips and bite well on ice.
I have had a few pairs.
Genuine question – why did you have to replace any?
In my experience the steel screw in the twist lock mechanism gets corroded and the plastic bushing stops rotating.Posted 7 months ago
first I had some old skool wooden poles then very cheap and nasty ones – then a pair of leki poles now some CF ones (upgraditis). i have been using them for 35+ years
Never had any issues with the twist locks but like all my kit I am a bit obsessive so they are never put away wet – dismantled and left to dry.Posted 7 months agokaiserFree Member
If it’s any use to people who may want to use their stick as a tarp pole etc you can buy extension pieces in various different sizes and locking types ( depends on the stick you have )Posted 7 months ago
You simply insert the extension inline and hey presto you have a longer pole!
I guess you could link numerous extensions together and have a 20ft pole if required ! Just thought that info might be of use to someone ..somewhere!
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