Trekking Poles: Helinox Passport Tension Lock Adjustable

Improve your balance and save your knees.

[ultralight and packable]

“My carry-on bag swallowed these poles,” says a tester of the Passports, which collapse down to 14 inches (10 inches shorter than other poles tested). An attached Velcro strap keeps the collapsed shafts together and the poles stow neatly in an included mesh bag. The aluminum Passports proved sturdy on big-load, rim-to-river trips in Grand Canyon, yet still weigh less than a pound. Assembly is a snap. The three sections lock with tension via an elastic shock cord (like tent poles). Bushwhackers beware: While the half-inch diameter shafts (at least a quarter-inch smaller than other poles) save weight, the skinny poles felt a bit wobbly on steep, off-trail terrain. Fit gripe: The length adjusts from 46 to 51 inches, which worked for our 6’ tester but proved too long for a 5’4” hiker. $149 (snow baskets $9); 13 oz.; helinox.com

Interchangeable trail and snow baskets are included in price unless noted. Weights are per pair (with trail baskets) on BACKPACKER scales.