Gear of the Week: REI Co-op Flash Folding Trekking Poles

These fixed-length poles stay sturdy in steep terrain.

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Our take Don’t be fooled by these poles’ light weight: They can handle some serious steeps. Our 6’1″, 180-pound tester leaned hard on the Flash while ascending 45-degree slopes in New Mexico’s Santa Fe National Forest and never felt anything less than secure. Carbon-composite material makes the poles strong for their weight, and the tungsten-carbide tips bit and held fast on frozen soil and volcanic rock.

The details These three-section folding poles deploy and release with a single push button. Our tester reports that the lock is still going strong after four months of rigorous use. Tradeoff: No adjustment mechanism keeps weight and cost down, but some hikers might find themselves between sizes.

Trail cred “The foam grip is comfortable and never chafed, even when it got soaked when I sloshed through river crossings,” our tester says.

$149; 13.5 oz. for a pair (41 in.); 41, 45, 49, 53 in.; 14.5 in. collapsed length (41 in.); Buy REI Co-op Flash Folding Trekking Poles