A new pair of folding walking polesAugust 25th, 2018
One of the reasons for acquired a large wheeled duffel bag for trips overseas was the length of Leki walking poles. During my recent career break, I added the idea of buying a pair of folding walking poles to my wish list. Needing to keep spending under control meant that such acquisitions were placed on the long finger but that changed two weeks ago.
Ahead of a walking trip to Ireland, I ordered a pair of Compact Ultra II Single walking poles from Alpkit. Though I made my order on the preceding Saturday in hope that they would be dispatched to arrive in time before leaving home on Thursday, that was not the case because of a Tuesday dispatch and subsequent attempted delivery on my day of departure. The result was that they needed collecting from the nearest Royal Mail depot (less than ten minutes walk from my house so it was no nuisance) on my return. Going on a trip away with untried items would have been foolish anyway so my tried and trusted Lekis did faithful service as they have done for the last fifteen years or so.
The newer items certainly are more compact when folded and have leashed handles that are soft to touch; the latter were changed in the latest version and were criticised in a UKC gear test that included their previous incarnations. The walking tips are topped with removable rubber ferrules and there are baskets included too. The assembly mechanism works well once you realise that you need to extend the bottom section to pull everything together and releasing a clip allows for added extension for taller people. Pressing a push button release is all that is needed to make the poles foldable again and there is a Velcro strap to keep everything together while folded.
My next steps are to test out the durability of these lightweight items. Initial impressions are promising so if they perform as hoped, they could change how I pack for overseas trips. Coupled with a different rucksack, the need for the duffel bag could be reduced or even eliminated. It might be that I could get away with carrying the poles in hand luggage but that would need a further leap of courage. Of course, it’s best to take things step by step.