Holiday Which? has tested 12 of the UK’s top-selling trekking poles to find the best poles fit for the job.
Researchers simulated walking a total of 149,189 miles – almost six times the circumference of the earth – across every type of terrain.
They assessed the poles for strength of their shaft, joints and strap; their durability; the effectiveness of the shock absorbency system if they had one; and their ease of use.
Expert hikers also walked with the poles on a mixed terrain of agricultural fields, woodland, limestone, pavements and moorland, including steep ascents and descents in winter conditions of ice, snow and mud.
An ergonomics expert was consulted for his opinion about handle design.
The Eurohike Walker, Field and Trek Stormlite Trail and Mountain King Anti-shock lived up to their powerful names and achieved the best scores.
Comfortable and easy to use, they all proved to be good value for money at around £30.
If trekkers are looking for poles they can pack up in their rucksack, the Brasher Compact and Kohla Evo Micro Tour have the shortest contracted lengths.
However, although they are more than adequate for their intended purpose they were the weakest of the poles tested and get the lowest overall scores.
Holiday Which? Editor Lorna Cowan said: ‘It’s wonderful to see so many people picking up their poles and taking advantage of the great British countryside – it seems that walking has become the new running.
‘Even better news is that you don’t have to dig deep to afford the best poles, as the best of the ones we tested are all at the affordable end of the price range.’