The biggest recent advance in Nordic walking poles is the advent of the folding Nordic walking pole.  Leki, one of the leading manufacturers of Nordic walking poles, now has four different types of folding pole on the market.  They are used by trail runners as well as Nordic walkers and are currently the most popular Nordic walking pole on the market.  But are they any good:

 

  1. As travel poles?
  2. For all year-round Nordic walking on grass, tracks, and mud?

 

What do they look like and how do they work?

 

Folding poles break into three pieces with a cord running through, like modern tent poles.  Most styles use a button to lock them into place.  The newest Leki folding pole (RRP of £194.95, making it the most expensive Nordic walking pole currently on the market) has a snap lock system.  Here’s a short video showing how this newest pole – the Micro Trail Vario - works.  Folding poles also usually come with a handy carry-bag, but not paws (the stopper on the end which you use when walking on tarmac).  

 

Folding Nordic walking poles as travel poles

 

Folding poles make excellent travel poles.  They are light, fold down to as little as 34cm, and have their own carry-bag.  They easily fit into a back-pack, travel bag or suitcase.  In contrast the telescope style travel poles collapse down to between 60 and 70cm long.
If you are flying, the only caution is that there’s no guarantee they will pass through security as hand luggage.  Even though the tip is bevelled (rounded) some airlines may consider them a potential risk and confiscate them.  This is true of all Nordic walking poles.

Can I use folding poles all year round?
I used to say no, but I have recently been trialling both the Leki Micro Flash Carbon and the Leki Micro Trail Vario with great results.  
They no longer bounce or twist on muddy ground.  Plus these two models now have a full basket at the bottom which stops them pugging in soft ground.  
One drawback is that (for obvious reasons) they come with a bevelled tip which doesn’t grip into the ground as effectively as the sharply pointed speed spike tip.  But this is no different from any other pole with a bevelled end.
I have not tested how these Leki poles work for heavy walkers so I can’t advise on how they’d work for you if you fall into this camp.  I did though ask one of our tall walkers to trial the poles at full length as they can behave differently at full extension.  Whilst there was some wobble, he enjoyed using the poles, which felt light and the same as the telescopic travel poles for robustness.

Poles, prices and verdit

Pole Name

Pole Description

RRP (Recommended Retail Price)

Verdict 

MICRO FLASH CARBON **

Green/ Yellow

 

100% carbon

Press button lock system

Pole weight 197g each

Fixed length when extended.
Comes in 5cm intervals 105-130cm 

Comes with round paws

Click here for further description

Click here for video

 

£134.95

This is the best value folding pole on the market plus the only one to come with paws.  My top buy.

MICRO TRAIL PRO

Red/Yellow

 

100% Carbon

Press button lock system

Pole weight 197g each

Fixed length when extended.
Comes in 5cm intervals 105-130cm 

Click here for further description and 3D video

 

£144.95

An extra long cork handle for mountain climbing. This pole is mostly aimed at trail runners so unless you're Nordic walking lots of mountains it's not worth the extra price.

MICRO TRAIL RACE

Red/Black

 

100% Carbon

press button lock system

Aimed at trail runners

172g each

Fixed length when extended.
Comes in 5cm intervals 105-130cm 

Click here for further description and 3D video

£154.95

The lightest of all the folding poles. This pole is also mostly aimed at trail runners and unless you need a super light pole it's not worth the extra price.

MICRO VARIO **

 

 

100% Carbon

Snap lock system.

Adjustable when extended

Sizes: 
100-120cm (neon red) or

110-130cm (neon green)

Click here for further info and 3D video

 

£194.95

The most expensive pole but it's very useful to have an adjustable folding pole. The snap lock system makes this a sturdy option.  Highly recommended.

** My recommendations

 

 

 

I hope that helps with your choice and contact us on info@bristolnordicwalking.co.uk if you have any questions or would like to buy.

Vicky

 

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