Fizan Compact Walking Poles
I guess it’s a sign of getting older, but I’m finding that I am using poles more and more often when out in the hills. I’m running a lot which means my knees are taking a hammering so the poles are a welcome addition on steep descents. I also have a perpetually weak ankle and poles are a massive weight off my mind (‘scuse the pun) when crossing grassy / tussocky terrain, providing what is effectively a 3rd and 4th leg to stop me twisting the ankle as readily. I’m also a bit of a sucker for light weight kit. The only downside to it, as far as I can see, is that it wears out a little more quickly. The plus side of course, is that you put less strain on your joints. Ganted, a few grams on one item isn’t going to make a world of difference, but if you apply the principle across all your kit it can make a HUGE difference.
I was quite excited then when Fizan brought out these babies, hailed as some of the world’s lightest poles. Dropping in at a teeny weeny 158g per pole they just go to show how light aluminium is! I have just come back from a hard three days in Scotland – three times up and down Ben Nevis in three days – and took the poles with me the entire way. They spent a good portion of the time on the side of my pack where they were barely noticeable. Each bar ways a little less than the combined weight of 3 regular sized mars bars! When I needed them they were very welcome. Coming down steep path-less descents in tussocky bogs I was able to plant the poles below me, and literally drop onto them. In deep snow on uneven screes they enable me to travel literally twice as fast as companions without them. If a foot slips between boulders under the snow it’s no problem as you automatically transfer body weight onto the poles, lift the foot, and carry on. It requires a bit of practice to get the rhythm, but it’s well worth it.
I guess the only downside to their light weight is that they flex a little when I weight them fully. I have other poles which don’t do this, but weigh twice as much. That said they only flex. They do not bend. Perhaps this is part of the patented Antishick system that Fizan claim? There’s not much to say about the operation of the poles. The comprise three sections which stack inside each other telescopically. It’s no sweat to pull each section out and twist it to lock it. That said, in gloved hands when the metal is very cold and slippery, perhaps even icy, it can be tricky to get the purchase on each section to twist together. The handles have comfortable grips and adjustable straps. Took me a while to get used to the operation of the adjustable straps, but once I have figured them out they were pretty straight forward to operate.
All in all, at £55 a pair, there are definitely cheaper models out there, but none so light, and I suspect not as well engineered. A must-buy if you value your knees.
More info at Allcord.