The jury is no longer out on walking poles. They add a great amount of stability over rough and snowy terrain as well as saving a few bumps on the knees and hips. In winter, stability becomes much more important, and that's what these poles are designed for. Good poles need to strike a balance between strength and durability on the one hand, and being lightweight on the other. This is one of the reasons carbon has become such a popular material for poles.

Leki’s pedigree couldn’t be better when it comes to making poles for walking and skiing. It wasn’t until 1970 that ‘Leki’ became a brand in its own right, but they’ve been in the business for far longer - since 1948 in fact. In 1960, the company became the first to use a fibreglass composite for the shafts of ski poles. Today, it's their carbon fibre poles that have become much sought after for their lightness and durability.

“Leki’s pedigree couldn’t be better when it comes to making poles for walking and skiing."

Leki’s Tour Stick Vario Carbon poles are exceptionally lightweight at 253g each, easily light enough to throw in the backpack and they come in a handy bag that can be strapped to the outside. The folding mechanism means these poles can be broken into three parts. To assemble, simply thread the poles together and pull the lower sprung segment until a push button pops out.

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They are extremely well-engineered, fitting together perfectly; we didn’t experience any rattles or squeaks. Leki’s Speedlock system very easily allows you to adjust the height (115-135cm). One added advantage of such an easy system is that it encourages you to lengthen and shorten the poles when you start to descend or ascend. They are also designed to work well in cold weather - they won’t freeze at low temperatures, and are easily manageable with gloves on.

The comfy foam grip never caused us any problems over weeks of use. The strap is easy to adjust and has a fleece feel against the skin (we’re sometimes reluctant to use straps on poles in case of falls, but if you do like loops then these are good ones). There are removable snow baskets, which while weren’t the easiest things to get on (especially on the first threading), certainly remained firmly in place.

Poles are here to stay, and as far as we’re concerned, are an essential addition on any hiking or trekking trip, particularly in winter. These are our pick of the bunch.

Leki Tour Stick Vario Carbon Walking Poles Stats:

The 100 Best Outdoor Products for Winter 2016 View them all

Shot on location in Chamonix