Helinox Featherlite Trekking Poles

Trekking Poles
Helinox Featherlite
$120, 10 oz. (120 cm)
Sizes: 120 and 135 cm (adjustable)
bigagnes.com

There’s a new ultralight standard in adjustable trekking poles. At 10 oz. for a pair, these sticks weigh in at less than half of many competing models. On a 17-mile dayhike of New Hampshire’s Franconia Ridge in July, I had Appalachian Trail thru-hikers comparing these against their own poles and growing wide-eyed with envy.

Distributed in North America by Big Agnes, the poles are made by the cutting-edge tent-pole manufacturer DAC with exclusive use of the company’s proprietary, lightweight aluminum alloy (produced using recycled water and no nitric or phosphoric acid). I also used these poles this summer on dayhikes in the Columbia Gorge, backpacking for four days in the Tetons and twice in Idaho’s Sawtooths, and for cross-country and trail hiking on the Ptarmigan Traverse in the North Cascades. Despite their negligible weight whether you’re swinging them or carrying them on your pack, they have a sturdy feel. When I fell against one, it flexed slightly but returned to its shape and showed no visible damage. The screw-locking mechanisms proved very reliable, loosening maybe twice in many miles of hiking. For a long time to come, I expect I’ll be grabbing these whenever I want adjustable poles.

—Michael Lanza