Martin Chester picks touring poles for every occasion. Here’s his favourite compacting poles
This is a relatively new category of pole, and should appeal to ski mountaineers, and only them if we are honest. If you need to pack your poles away in order to use your axes, or to climb, then these are the poles for you. If not, take a look at these alternatives!
Black Diamond Compactor, £90
Weight: 625g per pair
The BD Compactor set the bar here with one of the first poles of this type. You have to accept a little extra weight for all that function, but this is a fully collapsible pole when required, and a pole that will never collapse when you don’t want it to. Offering a full 20cm of adjustment, the engineering is first rate, the quality of the fittings superb. I also think the half moon compactor powder baskets are the best baskets in the world. So I have put them on most other poles I own!
Scott Cascade C, £130
Weight: 300g per pole
This is a radical departure from the norm for Scott, and they have done a great job. It is a four-section carbon pole with a fantastic grippy handle, and 15cm of extension. The leash is a bit OTT, but really comfortable on long hauls, and easily removed if needs be. The adjustment systems are sleek and efficient, and time will tell on reliability, but so far, so good. They have even put a better basket on these than most other poles in the range, but I’d still swap a pair of BD compactor baskets on, just to be sure.
Leki Tour Stick Vario Carbon, £150
Weight: 506g per pair
This is the pole that packs more features than any other. The Aergon Thermo Tour grips offer various gripping options and the Speed Lock mechanism allows a 110-135cm length adjustment range. The really wacky thing is that the upper segment is carbon for optimal weight performance; while the lower section is made of high-strength aluminium, and provides protection against sharp ski edges/cornice whacking etc. Plus it weighs in at only 506g per pair.