If you prefer to stash your poles while scrambling, get the Leki Micro Stick. “It’s the fastest, easiest assembly of any pole I’ve used,” declares our tester, who carried it through 10,000 feet of relief in Chile’s central Andes. Available in three models (for a max length of 51 inches), the Micro Stick collapses and expands like a tent pole, with a Kevlar cord running through each aluminum shaft: Just fit the lower sections over the aluminum connectors and close the lever-lock at the top, beneath the grip.
Although length isn’t adjustable, a foam extension let our tester change grip when climbing or sidehilling. That, plus the supershort packed length (16 inches) lead her to this conclusion: “The ideal blend of weight savings, strength, and packability.” $150; 1 lb. 2 oz.; leki.com