In my experience walking poles tend to divide the walking world. There are some people who love them, and some people who don’t. For a long time, I’ve been in the not liking camp, but I have been curious as to why some are so set on carrying some extra weight with them.
First things first, they actually aren’t that heavy. These Anatom Explorer Trekking Poles come in at 245g each. That makes a pair just under the weight of one of those small bags of sugar. Because they are so light, I didn’t really notice that I was carrying them, and when you use them it doesn’t take much effort to lift them up as you are walking. Anatom have made these poles from Aircraft Grade Alloy, which apart from being quite cool, helps keep the weight down.
My favourite thing about these poles though, is how easy they are to adjust to the right height. For quite a long time, many poles used a simple twist action that loosened or tightened the poles, which allowed you to adjust the poles. Although simple, it was not exactly foolproof. Anatom use a similarly simple way to allow you to adjust the height. Simply flip a lever out to loosen the grip, pull the section out to the desired height, then flip the lever back into the pole and you’re done. And the good news is that it works! I had to put a lot of pressure on the pole to make it shrink whilst the levers were doing their gripping job. And you can twist a little screw to make it tighter if you need to.
If using poles properly, you are meant to adjust their length as you go up and downhill. The flip lever system (or ‘Easy quick-lock adjustment’ as Anatom call it) made it easy to do, until I got bored of it. The Explorer Trekking Poles have 3 sections to them, with two adjustments. The top adjustable section has handy height markings to help with your set up, or if you like to measure things whilst you walk!
You can also pull the sections apart. This is handy because it allows you to dry your poles out if you need to. Anatom have capped the sections, which means that no water or humidity gets into the poles and eats them from the inside out. They also use brass screws to stop them corroding over time. Which is good, because no one likes a broken pole whilst out walking. Apparently the poles are also self-lubricating, but I’m not sure how that works. All I can say is, that the sections haven’t glued together yet.
That is all well and good, but it doesn’t really matter if the handle isn’t comfortable. There are countless different materials and shapes for handles on walking poles. Anatom have opted for an EVA Foam handle, which extends straight up from the pole. I found it comfortable, and it didn’t seem to make my hands go all sweaty. There is also an easy to adjust soft strap, which act a bit like those strings that connected your mittens through your coat as a child, ensuring you don’t lose your poles.
For grip in soft terrain the poles have a carbon tip (don’t try giving people encouraging pokes – they don’t like it), and a removable rubber tip for hard/paved surfaces. There is also a removable plastic basket, which helps prevent your poles sinking into bogs.
Anatom, known for their boots, have created a nice lightweight and simple pair of walking poles. They are comfortable both when in use, and when stowed away on your bag. They definitely haven’t put me off using poles, now I just need to convince the other half to be seen in public with me and the poles!