Easton Carbon 5 Trekking Pole
$149, 1 lb. (pair)
One size adjustable 100 to 120 cm
On a three-day, mostly off-trail traverse of the canyons of Capitol Reef National Park’s Waterpocket Fold formation, frequently scrambling up and down very steep talus or slickrock, I needed poles that assemble and collapse easily while remaining flawlessly secure when assembled; and are widely adjustable, to help me ascending and descending in such vertiginous terrain with consistently poor footing. These poles delivered on all counts, as well as collapsing to less than 16 inches in length, short enough to easily stow even on a small daypack or hydration pack.
These three-section poles assemble instantly, with two bottom sections joined by an internal spectra cord, like a tent pole, locked in place by a metal pin; and a fully adjustable top section with a lever that flips easily and locks securely. The removable rubber tips, which I used the entire time in Capitol Reef because we were often traversing rock (which the carbide tips would easily skate off), never popped off over three days of hard use. The EVA grips felt comfortable for several hours a day, and the wrist strap is easily adjustable. The carbon fiber construction is indestructible and reasonably lightweight, although there are lighter models out there.
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.