OUR TAKE The best poles can cost more than your pack—so pay for a pair you can use year-round. The three-section, telescoping Carbon Forces served us as well on summer hikes as they did on winter adventures. Two f lip locks never seized up in the cold, and the adjustable straps expand to 16 inches in diameter, allowing gloved hands to glide in and out. “The bottom section has an ultratough Kevlar covering, so these poles shrugged off rocks during late-spring backcountry skiing,” our tester says.
TRAIL CRED “When I was climbing snow slopes in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness, the snow baskets never sunk in too deep,” our tester says. (It’s easy to switch to summer baskets for dirt trails.)