/ Folding walking pole for balance on approaches..
I went up Tryfan the other day and found my leki walking pole invaluable (to help with my poor balance) on the non scrambly bits but didn't like the way it stuck out of the top of my rucksack when not in use.
So I'm so looking for advice on a folding pole that will be strong enough to take a bit of weight a times. It would be great to find one I could use if I was doing a climb and could just fold it up in my bag.
Black Diamond Compactor poles fold down small enough to fit in a rucksack and still have a bit of adjustment.
Thanks they look good. I'd been searching online shops but hadn't spotted them.
Leki do various similar ones in their "Micro Vario" range with various alloy, titanium and carbon fibre options.
I've been using Micro Vario Carbon for several years and they are superb, although they do break if you do silly things like slip on ice, do a somersault and land across one of them.
Alpkit do some good, cheap ones. I've had a pair for a couple of years and they're decent. Mine had the old cross country skiing wrist strap which were bobbins and I had to Jerry rig some big standard ones instead.
The new ones come with the normal straps.
I would strongly recommend avoiding the CAMP Sonic Aluminium Folding Trekking Poles. Flimsy as anything, each pole of the pair had a different thing wrong with them. I'm going for heavier, beefier poles as replacements in the hope that they will last for more than a couple of outings.
thanks for all the replies everyone.
The alpkit look very good but don't seem to have any of the folding ones in stock. Maybe its just temporary
The BD Compactor poles appear to be ski poles I think... Do they differ much from walking poles?
There are so many poles with similar names it starts to get a bit confusing
Compactors are a little stronger than those only designed for walking. I've broken many folding poles (about 6 now but i'm a big chap and use them for work year round) but find these the toughest of the bunch.
Check out poles aimed at trail runners - I have the Black Diamond Distance Z which are pretty sturdy (they are the aluminium ones; they also do more expensive, lighter, carbon ones) but aren't adjustable so you need to get the right size.
They look good thanks. Hard to decide which size though. I'll have to test the sizes out using my existing poles tomorrow. Not sure how much of a limitation it would be as I recall adjusting the length a few times on the way down Tryfan. Is too long better than too short?
Thanks. they look good and durable but maybe a bit heavy for me.
Personally I find non-adjustable poles fine, constantly varying the length is a pain anyway. I've got BD ultra distance carbon, about 10cm shorter than is recommended for my height. They're fine uphill and down.
Your OP refers to pole in the singular, is that right? A single pole is a walking stick. A pair is more versatile with a little practise
Yes I've been using just the one in recent years to free up a hand and it seemed easier to travel with but I'll have to give 2 a go again as I've probably been missing out on something. I haven't an awful lot of experience using poles on walks but on the occasions I have done its been very helpful crossing streams, going down steep uneven steps etc. My Balance is poor so on sections that aren't so steep and hands on or flat ,I find myself bent down a lot using my hands for support. Its pretty tiring especially with a heavy rucksack.
I like the look of the BD poles but might go for aluminium which seems to be stronger I think.
Unless you're using a really small rucksack a standard pole split into it's individual sections will usually fit inside IME.
I used a 25 litre bag but my current old leki poles stick out by 7 inches. I've taken the same bag up multi pitch climbs and scrambles when being guided and its been great, but so far I haven't needed the poles for walk ins. I don't fancy climbing with them sticking out of the bag though for the times when I do want them with me. I have got a bigger bag but don't want to use it in these instances.
25 litres is surely a little tight for rope, rack, harness, helmet and the usual essentials for a day in the hills?
Yes but I wasn't carrying a rope and rack so 25 litres was all I needed on those occasions.
> Unless you're using a really small rucksack a standard pole split into it's individual sections will usually fit inside IME.
Not in my experience; and certainly not in a daysack.
I'd also like to get a single pole that collapses into short sections so that I can keep it stashed in my sack for river crossings.
> The BD Compactor poles appear to be ski poles I think... Do they differ much from walking poles?
> There are so many poles with similar names it starts to get a bit confusing
They're not a ski pole although there is some cross over between ski and walking poles.
If you want something lighter then these are really good, they go down to 49cm and even smaller if you separate the sections. I've been using them for running recently and they're really well made.
+1 for Dave's recommendation re the Fizan Compact 4. I have a pair of these for general trekking and winter approach walks. Pack down to a compact size and fit neatly inside a number of my daypacks. also good for packing into hold luggage when travelling to avoid pokey poles pushing into the fabric of the holdall I use.
for something lighter and slightly more compact, the Mountain King Trail Blaze is a good choice. I've used these on a number of ultra marathons, and for approach walks when climbing. I did manage to bend one during a slip on the Fellsman the other weekend, but I did go down hard! They are a lightweight set of poles, but not as robust as the Fizans.
I've used the BD Alpine FLZ poles, and unfortunately had 2 x poles fail (the first had the plastic coated cable fail, and the second the latch jammed inside the pole). Gave up on BD poles and currently using the Alpkit ones as they are at least cheap if they break! Build quality is definitely lower, with a rattle fit on one pole, but after a winter of use they are still working. Also the latch is on the bottom section of pole and I've a slight concern that it could be pushed in by rocks etc, but not had it happen.
I've a set of Carbon leki poles as well - v. light, but broke one when it snagged on a tree root. Leki in fairness offered a free replacement pole when I got in touch to ask if I could buy a new section and fit it. Not a new pole, but happy to get it for free!!
If you don't need it urgently i'd go with the Alpkit ones. Just don't buy the ones with the nordic grip - it's too small for me to get on over gloves (size M) and a PITA if you're wanting to go hands free for Nav etc.
A folding model is likely to be more compact than a traditional telescopic design - a good model should be easily short enough to fit inside a daypack with nothing poking out the top.
Our lightweight compact poles group test from last year might be useful: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/walking/hiking_poles/lightweight_compact_trekking_poles-8866
There was no clear winner in that review - they're all a compromise in one way or another (cost/lightness/toughness...) so it's a question of what best suits your brief. As a rule carbon poles are nice and light but alu ones will generally last better
I've been using Mountain King Trail Blaze poles and think they are excellent. Very light, pack down tiny, made in the UK with replacement parts available if necessary. I put a few wraps of grip tape just under the handle to make them more versatile. Plus much cheaper and about the same weight as carbon poles!
I'll check it out. Thanks for all the replies everyone. I'm undecided as to which to get at present. Being short limits my choices a little.
> Our lightweight compact poles group test from last year might be useful: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/walking/hiking_poles/lightweight_compact_trekking_poles-8866
> There was no clear winner in that review - they're all a compromise in one way or another (cost/lightness/toughness...) so it's a question of what best suits your brief. As a rule carbon poles are nice and light but alu ones will generally last better
Kate - I reviewed the Fizan ones in the test above. They worked very well through the testing period but last summer when they were less than a year old two sections of pole jammed inside each other - just seized up totally. I actually damaged the pole trying to un-seize it. I've been using walking poles for the best part of three decades and had never had this happen before, despite being less careful about pulling apart and drying off poles in the past when I get home. I'm not sure I would recommend the Fizans now.
This winter I wanted a collapsible poles that would go in my winter climbing pack more easily and eventually went for the Alpkit ones purely because of the price. I'm very happy with them and they've been used regularly and in tough conditions over the last 5 months. They're not perfect, but at the price I don't think you'll get anything better. They now have a normal wrist loop on them, not the Nordic ski pole type that Dan hated so much in the review!
> I would strongly recommend avoiding the CAMP Sonic Aluminium Folding Trekking Poles. Flimsy as anything, each pole of the pair had a different thing wrong with them. I'm going for heavier, beefier poles as replacements in the hope that they will last for more than a couple of outings.
I agree: they aren't as sturdy, and are quite bendy. They are vastly inferior to the Black Diamond and Leki equivalents.
Thanks everyone. I'm going to get the new Alpkit ones when available
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