trekking poles reviews

Backpackers on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2021

By Michael Lanza

The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. The Wonderland Trail. The Teton Crest Trail. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. Glacier National Park. The Ruby Crest Trail. Yellowstone. The Wind River Range. The North Cascades. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. The High Uintas Wilderness. The Tour du Mont Blanc. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking gear you see reviewed at The Big Outside. I treat gear roughly in places that are hard on outdoor gear and apparel so that I can give you brutally honest and thorough, field-tested opinions that help you make the best gear choices for your adventures.

And that’s exactly how I came up with these picks for today’s best backpacking gear.

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Backpackers hiking the Titcomb Basin Trail, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The Best Trekking Poles of 2021

By Michael Lanza One of the most immutable truisms about hiking is this: Backpackers, dayhikers, climbers, mountain runners, and others who start using trekking poles almost never hit the trail without them again. No matter how much weight you’re carrying—from an ultralight daypack to a godawful heavy monster backpack—using poles will lessen your chances of an accidental fall and your …

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Leki MC 12 Vario trekking and running poles.

Review: Leki MC 12 Vario Trekking and Running Poles

Trekking and Running Poles
Leki MC 12 Vario
$250, 15 oz./pair (men’s 110-130cm pair, without stuff sack)
Sizes: men’s 110-130cm, women’s 100-120cm
backcountry.com

If you think that nerding out on the “performance” aspect of trekking and trail-running poles just goes too over the top for you, don’t bother reading any further. But if you’re a serious hiker, trail runner, or backpacker who likes the idea of light, strong, adjustable, and very packable poles designed to help you conserve energy and possibly even move faster and go farther, you need to know about Leki’s innovative MC 12 Vario.

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A backpacker hiking the Piegan Pass Trail in Glacier National Park.

10 Expert Tips for Hiking With Trekking Poles

By Michael Lanza If you’ve opened this story, you probably already recognize this truth: For backpackers, dayhikers, climbers, mountain runners, and others, trekking poles noticeably reduce strain, fatigue, and impact on leg muscles and joints, feet, back—and really on your entire body. And that’s true no matter how much weight you’re carrying, whether a daypack, an ultralight backpack, or a …

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Backpackers hiking the Pole Creek Trail in the Wind River Range, Wyoming.

How to Choose Trekking Poles

By Michael Lanza You want trekking poles for backpacking, dayhiking, running mountain trails, ski touring, or other backcountry activities, but the abundance of models and designs out there can seem overwhelming. Collapsible or folding, ultralight or heavier and sturdier, adjustable or not—which style is best for you? Save yourself a lot of time and the expense of making the wrong …

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