These four-section aluminum poles were perfect for my Long Trail thru-hike, because they’re lighter than many carbon-fiber models and collapse to a mere 20.5 inches. The adjustments are rock-solid, with a push-button on the bottom section and twist-locks on top. The long foam grip let me adjust my hand position during steep traverses. Pros: bomber, ultralight, and green, thanks to DAC Featherlight aluminum. Cons: The push-button is tough to operate with cold fingers. outdoorresearch.com.
Taller hikers, ultralighters
> Berne Broudy
> Other Testers Aaron Loomis, Emily Steers
> Duration May to Nov.
> Locales/conditions VT, Alps, on and off trail
> ”They come with wide winter baskets, so I get more for my money come ski season.”
> 15 oz.
> adjusts from 20.5 to 51 inchesLife-Link Guide is a feature-packed Aluminum/Carbon adjustable pole for the year round mountain adventurer. Includes both trekking and ski baskets and a built in avalanche probe. Oval Aluminum upper combined with Life-Link's patented locking mechanism prevents the poles from slipping once adjusted to length. Carbon lower keeps swing weight low. Grips have shock-absorbing foam. Straps are padded for comfort with bare hands in the summer. Carbide flex tip allows the tip to flex under pressure rather than breaking the shaft.