The best poles for backcountry access

Martin Chester picks touring poles for every occasion. Here’s his favourite three for accessing the backcountry

You need a trusty pole that wont let you down (literally). So a one-piece construction rules here, and collapsing extendables are out. Given that we are going to be doing a bit of uphill, the handle is everything. Sturdy is more important than lightweight.

Scott Riot pole, £85

Scott Riot

Weight: 340g per pole

Scott invented ski poles, didn’t they? It’s an association that is hard to shift. Still as robust as ever, this uses quality tubing that will withstand the odd bit of battering through a cornice. The handle is ideal, the leash is decidedly average, and the baskets? Swap them! All-in-all an ideal pole, let down by the fittings, but you can sort that in a jiffy!

Black Crows Oxus pole, £70


Weight: 215g per pole

Dare to be different? Black Crows have realised that you can have a smooth 33cm grip on a pole, and just hold it where you want. Elegant in its simplicity, this is the smaller and lighter baby brother to the Furtis. As you would expect, this sleek design is set off with nifty graphics, a great leash, and Black Crows freeride baskets. Pure function.

Black Diamond Vapor Carbon 1, £100


Weight: 310g per pair

These are the mutt’s nuts. Weighing in at just 310g per pair, they are a sleek and shiny piece of carbon beauty. The foam handle is long enough to be effective, but not too bulky or OTT. The leashes are simple but effective, without adding too much weight or bulk. They come with a set of powder baskets, which are not as good as the compactors, but perfectly functional, and a weird set of tiny baskets which are… a complete mystery.

Find out how to pick the right touring pole here