OUR TAKE For trails with tricky footing, our testers appreciated the biting grip of these telescoping poles. “I used them on about a hundred crossings of New Mexico’s Gila River on the Continental Divide Trail, and the grooved tungsten-carbide tips stuck to the slick underwater rocks at every angle, every time,” one tester notes. She also lauded their durability, saying the tips never chipped, even after doing battle with sharp volcanic stone. (Other poles use tungsten-carbide, but design and material sourcing differs.) The two carbon upper sections and lower aluminum section survived as well. Gripe: The cam locks gum up (lube them often).
TRAIL CRED “I thought the foam handles would deteriorate after smashing them into frozen ground to pitch my tent, but they held up just fine,” our tester says.