Now’s a great time to save a few bucks on hiking gear
A new review sifts through the evidence for and against hiking with poles
Packed full of dependability, the no-frills Trail trekking poles offer easy-to-use FlickLock adjustment points that promise no slipping while you’re hiking. The poles collapse from 49 inches down to 23 inches and stow easily into a suitcase or strap onto the exterior of a packs.
Be prepared for every obstacle, and save a ton of money by making your own equipment and learning how to fix your stuff when it breaks in the backcountry
The Alpine Carbon Corks aren't cheap, but they're the best collapsible poles for rugged use
An argument for supported hiking
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After several months and thousands of miles, Outside's Taylor Gee knows what works and what doesn't
Stay comfortable on the trail, whether you're out for two days or ten
Gear hacks for a good backpacking trip when the weather goes bad
Stuff to keep you comfortable for a day (or a month) on the trail
Poles seem simple, but they're an important part of your hiking or backpacking kit. Here are our all-time favorites.
These are an absolute joy to use, despite some inherent limitations
These innovative products are worth the investment
At prices that won't break the bank
High-mileage trail-running tackle
Even when weight is at a premium, don't skip these items
Here's some key equipment and planning advice from a first-timer who just completed the Appalachian Trail
The perfect assortment for all manner of out-and-backs
Here's the kit one of the country's most ambitious FKT chasers uses when he heads out into the backcountry
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The Ultralight Trail Running Essentials of 2015
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Say goodbye to your grandpa’s hiking stick
Of the dozens of poles, stoves, multitools, and other essentials we tested this year, we kept reaching for these six, from the Brunton Get-Back GPS, which stores up to three waypoints and steers you to the trailhead, to MSR SureLock TR-3s, which, at 20 ounces a pair, aren't ultralight, but they are quite sturdy and strong.
Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Summer Buyer's Guide, including the Merrell Mariposa waterproof jacket.
Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the CAMP Xenon Trek pole.
Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Pole.
Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Exped Explorer 120 trekking pole.
Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles.
Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Black Diamond Distance FL Poles.
No cranking required to loosen and tighten the super-secure twist locks on these aluminum poles. And, as with the others, long foam grips let you instantly adjust to frequently changing terrain. 18 oz per pair; leki.com…
BD’s signature FlickLock mechanism makes adjusting these sticks literally a snap (no twisting required). The oval-shaped, aluminum shafts are the stiffest we tested, and the grips nest perfectly in hand. 20 oz per pair; bdel.com…
The Contour is light and strong—made with a tough aluminum alloy—and the new Airshock cushioning system (which can be turned off if more stiffness is required) serves up a soft ride. 15.8 oz per pair; komperdell.com…
A carbon lower shaft and aluminum upper section mean you save weight and money with this utility pole. But you give up the more comfortable ergonomic grips of pricier sticks. 19.2 oz per pair; exelsportsna.com…
They’re extremely light (carbon-fiber shafts), comfy (cork grips with foam extensions), and easy to adjust. Come winter, swap out the trekking baskets for the included powder versions. 1 lb; bdel.com…
Swift Sticks Three things we look for in trekking poles: light weight, comfy grip, and easy length adjustment. The new Aergons hit the trifecta. At 17 ounces, they’re respectably light. The mostly cork grip is ergonomic, and the newly designed locking levers are strong and simple to use—even with gloves…
Hiking up may be hard, but it’s the downhill that your joints will really feel. Bring along a pair of trekking poles so they can take the brunt of the impact instead of your knees. The thermofoam-handled Aergons are lightweight and easy to adjust on the fly.
From game-changing new materials (like moisture-wicking cotton) to evolutionary leaps in engineering (like a rotating helmet for extreme crashes), the avant-garde of 21st-century gear has just one thing in common: a total disregard for the status quo.
WHERE TO USE IT: One glimpse of Longs Peak’s 1,500-foot vertical east face and you’ll know why you came: This 14,259-foot Colorado mountain is no mellow slag heap. The 15-mile round-trip hike gains 5,000 feet and demands an alpine start; afternoon lightning storms are a given. You can also tackle…
Get a lift with the best new peak-bagging gear
I have bad knees from running and think that poles might help with my hiking. I doing the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim this fall and want your opinion on a good mid-range trekking pole. What do you recommend? Heidi Chicago, Illinois