If you’ve never used a trekking pole before, and you ever walk up steep inclines or down unstable paths then you might want to give them a look. I used poles properly for the first time last year, having regarded them as the preserve of the elderly and wonky-ankled, but it actually feels really good as a work-out to use your upper body to help haul you up a hill. And they’ll put an end to having to extend your arms like a worried Weeble on descents.
Let’s put these trekking poles into context. They each weight 158g, which is the same as 10 McVities Digestive biscuits. That’s sod all. My house keys weigh more than that. In fact, they claim to be the lightest 3-section (telescopic) trekking poles in the world.
In your hand, they feel less like something that would help pull you up a hill and keep your balance, and more like something that would cast a spell or conduct an orchestra. When compacted to under 60cm, they’ll fit neatly into a backpack’s side pocket or hang out of the way.
They extend to 132cm, which is plenty long enough for someone over 6ft to use comfortably, and the three sections are held securely in place with internal twist-grips. Despite the incredibly thin aluminium walls of the pole I couldn’t get the extensions to slip into each other using a fair bit of my weight – they’re very secure indeed. To save some weight, the Fizan Compact poles don’t have what are called ferrules; the plastic dirt guards that cover the ends of each pole section. There’s a small risk of getting dirt and dust up between the sections and scratching and impeeding the pole’s use. However, the Compact’s come apart easily for washing and drying.
The poles are supplied with carbide tips, which are very hard and sharp, and bite into chalk, dirt and gravel very well indeed. For hard ground the Fizan’s are supplied with a rubber tip (takes the weight up to 200g). And there’s a little snow-shoe included too, for, er, snow.
The firm EVA foam hand-grip isn’t immediately comfortable, although it is contoured. After some use though, the firmness seems to be a bonus rather than a problem because it offers a reassuring grip when you’re really putting your weight through the pole.
There’s a very comfortable, wide strap for your wrist which helps with the grip when your hand is cold or fatigued. It’s foam-covered and a little sweaty when the weather is hot, but never slipped. Adjusting it is a bit of a bugger unless you work out the knack.
At £50, they’re very aggressively priced indeed. The quality of manufacture is superb; they feel exquisitely finished and look great.
SUMMARY: Priced very well indeed for a high-quality pole, the Fizan Compacts are a great trekking pole for small people, newcomers to pole use and pretty much everyone except the most extreme user in need of suspension and an angled grip. I really enjoyed using them and couldn’t even feel the difference when they were stuffed in my pack.
Price: £50 rrp (£38.50 online)
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