We’ve received several emails recently asking for advice on which Nordic walking travel pole to buy.  The new stock of Nordic walking poles is now in so it seems a good time to update you on the travel pole options available.  Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Can I use my travel poles all the time?
Yes - but it's a compromise.  If you are a keen Nordic walker and walk frequently the best pole to have is a fixed length or adjustable pole.  The fewer adjustment points on a pole the less that can go wrong with it and the more robust it is.  However, many Nordic walkers carry their poles on their bikes and also want the flexibility to take their poles in day packs when travelling out and about.
Some travel poles are sufficiently robust in their design to be used as a day to day pole.  The Leki Traveller Carbon 2017 for instance and the Exel Pro Travel Alis.  Others are definitely best kept for occasional use (such as the Gabel Tour XT).  For everyday use you need a quality travel pole which is 100% carbon.  This minimises the feeling of vibration you can get at the adjustment points.  The new style foldable poles are not designed for daily use (see below).

What’s the difference between the collapsible and folding travel poles?
Most travel poles are made up of three sections and collapse down, telescope style to somewhere between 60 and 70cm long.  This is usually small enough to fit comfortably into a suitcase or down the side of a medium sized day pack.  They can go smaller if you take them apart.  To set them at your required height you slide the sections out and ‘lock’ them (via a twist or clip lock system) at your desired height.
The folding travel poles have an elastic cord running through them, much like tent poles.  With one button you can collapse the poles down in a few seconds.  They have an adjustment point beneath the handle.  These poles are super light and are smaller (less than 40cm) when folded than the telescope style travel pole.  They are not designed for regular use though.  The design of the pole means that the elastic twists and bounces and they are not as robust as the collapsible poles.  They are extremely popular however and demand is outstripping supply with the Leki Trail Stick Vario 2017.

Can I take my poles in hand luggage?
No. Unless you are prepared to run the risk of them being confiscated.  Some airports (not UK ones so far as I can gather) consider the bevelled tip to be a security risk.  If your Nordic walking pole is a walking aid however…

Which travel pole would you recommend and why?
I have not tried out all the travel poles on the market but, based on my own experience and having spoken to the main suppliers of travel Nordic walking poles to gauge what sells best and why, here’s a table of the top travel pole picks for 2017

Gabel Tour XT

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The cheapest travel pole on the market so perfect if you are only wanting occasional use from your travel poles.

Collapses down to 62 cm

Gabel are improving the quality of their manufacturing the whole time so their straps and general craftsmanship is now more reliable.





Cost: £59.95

Leki Traveller Carbon 2017

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Quality travel pole - 100% carbon.

Uses the new quick lock system so very quick and easy to adjust to your required height.  It won’t get stuck.



Cost: £125

Exel Nordic Walker Pro Travel ALIS

 Exel Nordic Walker Pro Travel ALIS



Quality travel pole - 100% carbon.

Extends to 135cm – the longest travel pole on the market.

Now has a bevelled tip (not the speed spike) and a removable paw making it lighter and less awkward to adjust.



Cost: £129.95

Leki Trail Stick Vario 2017

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Folding trail stick.

Extremely light, very portable.

Doesn’t come with a removable paw although you can buy one separately.



Cost: £135

Main Travel pole suppliers


Exel Poles UK

Nordic Walking UK