The best classic two-part touring poles

Martin Chester picks touring poles for every occasion. Here’s his favourite classic two-part poles

Out in the wilderness, faced with a long track, road or poling flat (like a lake) I am likely to wind my poles up 10-15cm. This is also about the only time I ever (yes really) put leashes on. You feel like a right muppet skating off and leaving a pole behind you. And going back can be a heartbreaking waste of effort!

Armada Carbon TL adjustable, £95

Armada 1516_poles_carbon-tl-adjustable_black

Weight: not specified

These are a thing of beauty. When you first pick them up, they are disturbingly light, and I expected to break them in no time. In reality, they have taken all I can throw at them. Armada have added an extra long tungsten-carbide tip for getting a proper grip of the mountain. They also have an extra long foam touring grip, with a great leash, and are adjustable from 110cm to 145cm.

Life-Link Carbon Pro, £85

Life Link Carbon Pro

Weight: 255g per pole

Life-Link are the first people to realise that you only need a bit of adjustment, so they put it near the top. In fact, the ovalized non-slip adjustment system means this pole acts and feels like a one-piece pole once locked. I never have (and never could imagine) turning them into a probe. It would take too long and I carry a 3m carbon probe at all times. But the handles are ace, the leashes are spot on and they swing beautifully.

Black Diamond, Expedition 2


Weight: 487g per pair

These BD poles really are designed for expedition use. Make them longer for towing all that clobber to base-camp, then shorten them down for the skiing. The BD Flicklock is one of the few systems of external length adjustment that I really trust. Put the ample powder baskets on these and you will be poling in to the Chugach mountains in no time.

See our complete guide to touring poles here