Hiking long distances is hard work, and this difficulty is amplified by steep inclines, uneven terrain, or a heavy pack. Each time you hit the trail, you depend on your legs to do a whole lot of heavy lifting and carry you to your destination. Rather than letting your arms flop along at your sides, you can get a whole-body workout and take some of the strain off your legs by using trekking poles. As we've said in the past, they're not just for hiking — they make a huge difference by supporting your body and reducing the risk of twisting an ankle or spraining a knee.
Most trekking poles are telescoping, meaning they can be adjusted in length. Some collapse or can be disassembled for easier transit, but they can still be tricky to fit into a small backpack. Mountainsmith has released a new set of trekking poles which compress down to just 16 inches long, so they can even fit into carry-on luggage.
Each new Mountainsmith Halite trekking pole is made of five segments of 7075 aluminum, and snaps together like a set of tent poles. Vinyl-coated cables make sure the collapsed poles don't get separated in your pack. They offer carbide tips, as well as included rubber tip covers, hiking baskets, and wide snow baskets for terrain ranging from hard to soft.
The Halite's grip covers are a combination of natural cork and EVA polymer, with adjustable neoprene wrist straps. Height is adjustable, and load capacity is up to 160 pounds.
The pair of poles weighs 1 pound 5 ounces. MSRP is $80 for the pair. For more information, go to Mountainsmith.com.