Walk fast and further with a pair of Raidlight Carbon Trail Poles.
My partner, G, enjoys Munro bagging but he has a dodgy ankle. He also needs to be fit enough to walk seven Munros in a row as part of my two-man team in the forthcoming Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon. So he needed a smart solution.
Thankfully, walking poles, especially the super lightweight kind, can be a godsend, whether you have a bad ankle, need to walk long and far or simply like to take the weight off your feet when out for a dayâ€™s hike.
Poles are proven to take the weight off your feet and offer greater endurance when running and walking long distances.
The search for a lightweight pair of walking poles took us to the Raidlight Carbon Trail Poles.
Raidlight is a French company, based in the Grenoble area, which specialises in ultra-light trail running and ski-touring accessories.
On test: Raidlight Carbon poles
G reports that he wouldnâ€™t normally bother with the â€œfaffâ€ and â€œextra weightâ€ of walking poles for an event such as the Quadrathlon, but needs must.
He was impressed right away with the weight of the Raidlight Carbon poles. They tip the scales at just 165g each, However, G was also worried that the lightness of the poles would mean they were a bit weak and not very robust.
Several long walks later and he had changed his opinion. He says: â€œWhile the poles are super light they are also very strong. I am impressed by how strong they feel and I really enjoy how easy it feels to walk with these poles over long and hilly routes.â€
The design of the poles is similar to tent poles. There is a cord running down the centre of the poles, which are in three parts. When the cord is drawn taut the poles are rigid. When you want to fold up the poles the cord is loosened off.
The poles fold down into a very compact size (only 30cm in length), which means they are very easy to carry in a walking rucksack. This is a huge advantage over many other walking poles, which do not break down into such a short length. Again, G was worried that the light and seemingly thin cord would not last. However, the poles are still going strong and have withstood some rough handling from him.
He says: â€œI am impressed by the poles after my initial hesitancy. I thought they looked a bit weak and that they would not be as durable as other makes of poles but I have been proved wrong so far.
“They are also comfortable to walk with and I like the wrist strap and handles. These make it easy to walk Nordic style, which is a big benefit when the aim is to cover the ground as fast as possible.”
G does have one criticism. He says: â€œWhen I plant each pole I can feel a tiny bit of play. I think this is because it is only the cord keeping the poles taut. This hasnâ€™t caused a problem yet but I wonder how long the poles will last.
â€œI have read other reviews that report that the poles do not last more than one walking season but I am proving this wrong so far.â€
G concludes: â€œIt you want very hard wearing and durable walking poles, or you are heavy yourself, then go for weightier walking poles. However, if you want to walk fast and light, the Raidlights are a great compromise.â€
For more information visitÂ Raidlight website RRP Â£129
First Ascent sell Raidlight Carbon Trail Poles for Â£125