Are trekking poles essential? That’s debatable. But many of our testers won’t go hiking without them. And this pair just shot to the top of the heap. “The best grip I’ve ever used,” raves one editor. “It changed the way I hold trekking poles by allowing me to comfortably palm the top of handle.” Testers say the Aergon grip’s egg-shaped top is better for striding across rolling terrain and more confidence-inspiring when descending.
The three-section, carbon-fiber poles lock together via an internal Kevlar-reinforced tension cord. The Speed Lock below the handle, which is easily operable even with gloves on, allows for up to 20 centimeters of on-the-fly adjustment. The tough-but-light carbon-fiber shafts were strong enough to support 275-plus-pounds of hiker and gear, but the swing weight—how the pole feels as you swing it back and forth—was light enough for all-day comfort. $200; 1 lb. 1 oz. (pair); leki.com
A versatile, extremely stable pole with our game-changing Z-Pole technology, the Black Diamond Distance meets the everyday demands of day hikers, backpackers, thru hikers and trail runners. The sturdy 3-piece aluminum shaft aligns in a flash thanks to our speed cone deployment, which secures like an avalanche probe for increased rigidity. The Distance features a lightweight EVA grip with a mini-extension for choking up on steep terrain, and interchangeable rubber and carbide tips.
3-section Z-Pole folding design with speed cone deployment
Lightweight EVA foam grip and breathable, moisture-wicking strap
Non-slip foam mini grip extension for secure choke ups
Includes interchangeable, non-marking Z-Pole Rubber Tips, Z-pole Carbide Tips and stow bag
Stopper basket with shaft catcher secures folded sections
NOTE: Z-Poles do not accept, or have fittings for snow or powder baskets