OUR TAKE If a pair of three-section carbon poles can survive an Appalachian Trail thru-hike, they’ve earned our trust. Locking devices are the most common failure points on poles, but LEKI’s Core Locking Device internalizes the mechanism: You pull the pole down from the handle to engage it, and pull it again to release (like a retractable vacuum cord), which gets rid of the exposed release buttons most poles have on their locks. The result? It’s less vulnerable to wear and tear. Caveat: That tech ain’t cheap.
TRAIL CRED “Once the poles were locked, it was impossible to accidentally release them, even while descending the 45-degree backside of Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine with a 40-pound pack,” our 200-pound AT tester reports.