These durable aluminum poles kept us stable while sidehilling in steep terrain in Montana’s Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, and resisted dents from close encounters with rocks and trees. The BC’s 16mm-wide tube and one-piece construction make them strong (fewer parts means fewer failure points), but not adjustable. There are lighter carbon-fiber poles available, but they cost more.
Large, touring-style baskets held up well in packed or slushy snow, but, according to one tester, “didn’t have enough grab” in deeper powder. The cushy, adjustable wrist straps were some of the most comfortable we’ve tried, and hugged our hands and added support for more aggressive poling. Tougher-than-steel carbide tips held up well on hardpacked snow and ice.
“The cork grips were stickier than plastic and easy to hold on to, even when I ditched my gloves on a warm spring day in Glacier National Park,” our tester says.