Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning & Trail Running in 2021

Ultrarunners have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to buying a GPS running watch. Our shortlist of top GPS running watches will help you decide which one is best for you.

The Best Trail Running Shoes [2021 Buyer’s Guide]

These are the best trail running shoes we've tried this year! Find the right trail shoes for ultramarathons, marathons, 20k, 5k, Spartan/Tough Mudder, Swim-run

Chirp Wheel Review: How Well Does It Relieve Back Pain?

In this Chirp Wheel review, we cover the key features, pros, cons and our thoughts on using this back pain relief wheel to relieve tension in our aching backs.

5 Best Running Hydration Packs for Ultrarunning & Trail Running [Buyer’s Guide]

Find the best running hydration pack for trail running with this 2021 Buyer's Guide. Also learn when, why, and how to use a running vest/pack.

On Cloud Review [On’s Most Popular Lightweight Running Shoes]

Tried & Tested by our in-house On Running expert! In this On Cloud review, find out how well they perform and how they compare to other On running shoes.

Best Running Hats 2021: Top 5 Technical Caps for Trail & Ultrarunners

5 best running hats/technical caps that: wick sweat away from your face/eyes, keep your head/face/neck protected from the sun, look awesome!

Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning & Trail Running in 2021

Ultrarunners have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to buying a GPS running watch. Our shortlist of top GPS running watches will help you decide which one is best for you.

The Best Trail Running Shoes [2021 Buyer’s Guide]

These are the best trail running shoes we've tried this year! Find the right trail shoes for ultramarathons, marathons, 20k, 5k, Spartan/Tough Mudder, Swim-run

5 Best Trail Running Poles [For Ultrarunning & Hiking too!]

Welcome to our Best Trail Running Poles guide which features 5 of the top trekking poles for trail runners and ultrarunners. If you’re training for a mountain race and think you’ll be needing poles on race-day too, then you’ve come to the right place.

Generally, I would recommend going for the lightest running poles you can afford, which are typically made from carbon (rather than aluminium). Consider folding/collapsible poles too, if you plan to stow them in a running hydration vest while not in use. All poles in this list are made from carbon and have a foldable/collapsible mechanism because I believe the best running poles should have these features as standard.

This guide is regularly updated so remember to check back before buying your next pair of trail running or hiking poles.

What are the Benefits of using Trail Running Poles?

Below are some of the main reasons why you may want to consider using poles while running.

  • They make light work of uphill climbs on steep (eg mountainous) trails.
  • They save your legs on long, hilly races.
  • They allow you to get into a rhythm!
  • They help with balance on steep descents by allowing you to probe for stable ground.
  • They allow for space (and self) preservation during busy races.

RUNNING WITH POLES GUIDE: If you haven’t used trail running poles before, have a read of our Trail Running with Poles advice guide which explains in depth, how best to use them while running in the mountains, plus their pros and cons.

What to consider when choosing trail running poles.

  • Weight – Go for as lightweight as you can afford.
  • Durability – When running with poles, they can get bashed
  • Length – As a general guide, while holding the pole with your arm at your side and elbow at a 90-degree angle, your forearm should be parallel the ground. Have your shoes on while measuring.
  • Folding or fixed length

Now you know what to look out for, have a browse through our 5 best trail running poles below.

The 5 Best Trail Running Poles for Mountain Running

1. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z

distance carbon z folding poles best trail running poles trail and kale

At 10 oz. for a pair, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles are the gold standard for lightweight, collapsible trail running poles which is why they earn the ‘best trail running poles’ title. Similar to the other best running poles on this list, the Distance Carbon Z poles are made with carbon, which is why they’re so lightweight. They are also designed to fold up into 3 small pieces, which is important if you need to store them back in your hydration pack while not in use.

Black Diamond‘s latest Distance Carbon Z’s joint support has been further improved, making them 30% stiffer, and they’re now more durable with reinforcements around the locking mechanism and upper shaft. There are also non-scarring rubber tips and a lightweight EVA foam grip. With a reasonable price point too, these are our current top-pick for the best lightweight running poles.

Weight: 10 oz. (pair)

2. LEKI Micro Flash Carbon

LEKI Flash Carbon trekking Poles best trail running poles trail and kale

The LEKI Micro Flash Carbon Trekking Poles are great for quick transitions when running long, ultra-distance races. The push button breaks down the poles quickly and once you stow them away in your bag they’ll weigh even less than your water.

The breathable, lightweight mesh in the wrist strap offers support and closes around the hand securely so you can focus more on the terrain and less on your grip as you maneuver on scree and technical steeps. Whether you’re training for the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) or the local steeplechase you don’t want your trekking poles weighing you down, weighing in at around 12 ounces, these certainly won’t!

Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)

Broken Top 22km with Kepler trail and kale IG 2

FOLLOW @TRAILANDKALE ON INSTAGRAM...

To get to know us both better, and learn more about the latest trail running and adventure gear that we are testing. We also share our DIY Camper Van adventures and lots of Kepler's best traildog moments! Don't forget to say hello! 🙂 CLICK TO FOLLOW


Weight: 12 oz. (pair)

3. KOMPERDELL Carbon Ultralite Vario 4

Komperdell Carbon Ultralite Vario 4 best trail running poles trail and kale

The Komperdell Carbon Ultralite Vario 4 Compact Trekking Poles have a four-section folding system that minimizes extra material and allows the pole to pack down to just over a foot in length, excellent for storage! And at just over six ounces per pole, the Carbon Ultralite Vario 4 is Komperdell’s lightest running pole, so it won’t weigh you down on ultramarathons or multi-day treks.

Carbon keeps the poles light, yet extremely stiff for reliable support. Carbon is also corrosion resistant which means these poles, as with the others on this list, won’t stick when you’re trying to adjust them. The padded straps and extended handles will help you keep a secure, comfortable grip on steep and rocky sections, which is really important when navigating technical terrain. The tungsten and carbide tip is also hard enough to use on tough glacier snow and packed dirt trails, while the Ice Flex baskets will prevent your poles from sinking too deep.

Weight: 12 oz. (pair)

Backcountry.com $164.96
out of stock
See Deal
Amazon.com See Deal
Last Amazon price update was: 21st February 2021 10:00 am

4. LEKI Micro Vario Carbon

LEKI Micro Vario Carbon trekking Poles best trail running poles trail and kale

The LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles are made with an ultralight carbon construction and feature a collapsible folding design.

They adjust within an 8-inch range, and also feature an extended grip that helps you take on steep pitches. Having a wider range of height adjustment does mean a little extra weight if the size you require sits at the lower end because you’ll have extra hidden tubing that’s effectively deadweight.

The normal hand grip features a comfortable foam material and secure strap to ensure a steady grip on the trail, while their carbide flex tips provide a reliable hold on the varying trail surfaces you’ll encounter as you run through the mountains.

Weight: 16 oz. (pair)

Rei.com $199.95 See Deal
Amazon.com $249.95
6 new from $249.95
See Deal
Last Amazon price update was: 21st February 2021 10:00 am

5. REI Co-op Flash Carbon

REI Co Op Flash Carbon trekking Poles best trail running poles trail and kale

The REI Co-op Flash Carbon trekking poles are ideal for quick-moving trips along troublesome trails. They are lightweight, easily adjustable in length and have versatile grips that fit a variety of hand positions.

Constructed with a 3-section design that offers just enough sturdiness, these poles collapse down rather than fold which means they don’t go as short in length when collapsed, check your hydration pack can carry these before purchasing. The handle grips are nice and light and are made from breathable EVA foam, while the adjustable wrist-straps help you control your poles. The REI Co-Op Flash Carbon is a great entry level running pole.

Weight: 14.8 oz. (pair)

I hope you enjoyed reading this best trail running poles buyer’s guide, if you have any questions, please drop me a comment below.


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hey, I'm Alastair. I started Trail & Kale to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. This site now inspires hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle. It's also a place to learn how to chase your dreams, untether from convention and live more self-sustainably.

Don't Miss Out!

Subscribe to our Newsletter to get more trail running & outdoor adventure advice, gear reviews, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

- Advertisement -

TRENDING NOW

latest Gear Reviews/Guides

The Ultimate Fastpacking Gear Guide [Ultralight Backpacking Starts Here!]

Everything you need to know about Fastpacking and the Ultimate Gear Guide to make ultralight backpacking adventures as fun, safe, and comfortable as possible.