Trekking Poles
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles
$60, 1 lb. 3 oz. (with trekking baskets)
One size, adjustable
montemlife.com

Despite how useful they are at reducing impact on leg and back muscles and joints, letting you hike farther with noticeably less fatigue, trekking poles are often one of the last pieces of gear that hikers and backpackers acquire. I suspect that has to do with cost almost as much as the time lag between becoming a hiker and discovering the utility of poles. But what if poles were cheaper? Seeing the Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles priced one-third to one-quarter the cost of many leading, popular pole models, I had try them out.

I used them backpacking the rugged, 25-mile Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop in the Grand Canyon, a four-day trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, and dayhiking in Zion National Park to see how they measure up.

The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles.
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles.

My wife also used them on a four-day backpacking trip in Yosemite in July, and I used them on winter days of resort skiing. The three-section, adjustable Ultra Strong poles use the same materials you’ll find in pricier poles: highly durable 7075 aluminum shafts that suffered no damage in testing, even on the steep and rocky paths of the Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop; flick-lock levers for adjusting the length (similar to those used on Black Diamond poles); carbide tips; comfortably wide and easily adjustable hand straps; and EVA foam grips that extend down the shaft, useful when hiking very steep terrain or backcountry skiing.

The foam grips are among the softest I’ve ever held—the foam actually depresses under pressure from a finger (and rebounds instantly). The flick-lock levers require no tool to easily and quickly adjust pole length. With an impressively broad adjustment range of 61-135cm (24-53 inches), these poles are good for most hikers and backpackers.

The poles collapse to a packed length of 61cm (24 ins.), putting them near the least-packable end of the trekking poles spectrum, but comparable to other, sturdier and heavier models


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Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles.
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles.

The locking levers occasionally loosened and collapsed when weighted—although not very many times, and not a single time on my most-recent backpacking trip with them. While it’s very easy to tighten them up again, that slippage doesn’t tend to happen with high-end adjustable poles. While the poles seem strong enough for skiing, random slipping may be more annoying for on-snow users than hikers and backpackers.

Another demerit: I lost one of the trekking baskets in the Grand Canyon, and I’m not sure how—which means it wasn’t some noticeable event, so it came off too easily.

At a few ounces over a pound per pair, the Ultra Strong poles are heavier than most poles for hiking, but not much heavier than other, more-durable poles, making them ideal for many dayhikers and backpackers.

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The Verdict

The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles.
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles.

While these aren’t the lightest or most compact model available, for many hikers and backpackers on a budget, who don’t mind having to readjust the poles occasionally when they slip, the Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles represent a super value.

BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking any of this link to purchase the Montem Ultra Strong trekking poles at montemlife.com.

I almost never hike without poles. Read why in my “10 Tricks For Making Hiking and Backpacking Easier.”

See my picks for “The Best Trekking Poles” and my stories “How to Choose Trekking Poles” and “10 Best Expert Tips for Hiking With Trekking Poles,” and all of my reviews of backpacking gear, ultralight backpacking gear, and hiking gear.

NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all my gear reviews at The Big Outside.

—Michael Lanza

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