If there ever was a true gemstone of an outdoor gear company, Alpkit must surly be a contender. They are a small UK based company run by four young outdoorsy chaps. They get kit manufactured in the far east and sell it directly from their website. This means no middle man and seriously cheap gear. What’s more, it’s good gear, very good in fact. I have two of their sleeping mats, one of their titanium spoon-forks and a pair of their walking poles.
Their poles are terrific value: made of carbon fibre (like your fishing rod!), very lightweight, and reassuringly sturdy. I used to be a bit skeptical about walking poles, but these guys now see use every time I’m in the hills. There’s no question that walking poles help folks with dodgy knees, and since I’ve got a nice pair of those, they’re essential gear.
The Alpkit offerings swing beautifully in the hands. They feel perfectly balanced for hillwalking, and for the price they’re simply unbeatable. The only downsides I’ve come across are that the hand straps have a tendency to work a little loose during use, and that the joints are sometimes a bit stiff to undo when it’s very cold. However, neither of these have ever seriously hindered my use of the poles.
A final point here, Alpkit have the best customer service of any company I’ve ever encountered. A pal of mine broke one of my poles last winter, and a replacement section was in my hands a couple of days later, and for a reasonable price. All their prices include delivery (this is a real bug-bear of mine..), which in my experience has been extremely prompt. You’ll even get a little handwritten note to say ‘cheers’.
Buy yours from..well, Alpkit!
See also: my Alpkit Sleeping Mat review.