David Lintern headshot

Tested by David Lintern

David tested these poles on a wide mix of ground, from multiday backpacks to his local trails on days out with the kids, right across Scotland from Spring through to Autumn. Weights are from his digital scales and for individual poles (not pairs). 

This review first appeared in the January 2023 issue of The Great Outdoors.

A good budget option, the Trekmates Fold lock trekking pole get the thumbs up from our gear tester – but there are some issues.

The Trekmates fold lock are a budget option and would be my personal choice when it comes to poles that incorporate a folding lock system. It’s advertised as a five-section unit, but in practical use it’s four.

  • Rating: 3.5/5
  • Pros: Cost, small size when packed, solid aluminium shaft
  • Cons: Small lower handle, fold lock system not as durable
  • Price: £30 (single)
  • Buy now from gooutdoors.co.uk
  • Weight: 269g each

Materials: aluminium, foam handle | Features: 3-section pole, fabric strap, fold lock system with flick lock height adjuster, 3-season basket supplied. | Sizes: packed length 35cm, fully extended 125cm

The pole sections are ‘aircraft grade’ aluminium (marketing speak for ‘tough’?) and the unit is held together by a plastic-coated wire cord that, when tensioned, allows the third unit to clip into a small push button and make the pole rigid. The upper section is adjusted by flick lock, based on a dial rather than recessed screw, and this is the only means of changing the height. The measurements are in metric and easy to read. The handle is foam, made for smaller hands, and is moulded for an index (trigger) finger. There is a lower section designed for changing hand position on the move, but it’s small and separate to the main handle, so it doesn’t feel intuitive. The baskets are small compared to the others here, and the strap is basic and not padded.

I confess to not being a huge fan of folding lock poles, except perhaps for running. I dislike the relative lack of height adjustability, find them fiddly to use and prone to failure. However, the use of aluminium (of whatever grade) in the Trekmates model goes some way to mitigating any other downsides. In use, it surprised me by being very rigid and giving a reassuring amount of support. Folding lock poles also collapse down very small, and so are favoured by those who want to pack their kit for plane journeys.

See more trekking poles in our guide to the best trekking poles.