If you’re looking for collapsible, travel-friendly trekking poles that won’t break the bank, then Mountainsmith’s new Halite 7075 poles for women will be right up your alley. Made out of durable 7075 aluminum with cork handles and a women-specific design, these babies upgrade the lightweight, collapsible features of the popular Halite poles for men. I took them out on a 17-mile day in the high country of Yosemite National Park with a fully loaded pack to test out just how well they hold up in the wild.
The Halite WSD poles are a little tricky to set up at first glance. There’s a specific section at the top that you have to pull tightly to snap the connective cables into place. Once you figure it out and adjust to the proper height, the poles stay locked in place for a full day of backpacking and are easy to snap up or down to a different length.
I weigh 125 pounds, and I tested the poles carrying a massive pack weighing in at 35 pounds to see how they performed with 160 pounds of working load (the maximum weight listed on the package). I was pleasantly surprised to notice no bending or slippage of the outerlock system as I trekked for 17 miles up switchbacks and large, granite steps. The poles held their height firmly and really kept my knees safe from the extra pressure of the weight on my back. After two full days of backcountry hiking in varied terrain with a big backpack on, my knees felt fresh and ready for more.
Due to the construction of the different connecting sections, the poles do not allow for much height variance when altering the length, and I really feel this is the only major drawback to the Halite 7075 WSD poles. With women-focused design at the center, Mountainsmith could have incorporated sizing options for all women, or produced the poles in two different sizes. I wish they adjusted 6 inches shorter or so for easy uphill use. At my height, the poles were only good for use while descending. This worked out great for me, since I prefer to only use trekking poles on downhill slopes, but many trail runners and outdoor enthusiasts I know use them on the ascent as well, especially in snow. Many of my badass, female hiker friends are even shorter than I am, and I know a short-people option would make a lot of women happy!
The Halite 7075 WSD trekking poles also come with a great array of baskets and toppers, making this set a fantastic and versatile option if you know you’ll be taking them out in snow or mixed terrain. I used the rubber boot toppers while crossing granite slabs in the high alpine areas of Yosemite, and they provided excellent traction on slick rock. The pair also includes a set of hiking baskets for dirt or sand and a set of snow baskets for winter exploring.
The most important aspects of any set of trekking poles are their weight, comfort, ease of adjustability, and compressed size. Mountainsmith’s Halite 7075 WSD hits high marks in each of these areas, making them an awesome set of lightweight, aluminum poles for the weekend warrior and the rugged outdoorswoman alike.
Black Diamond Trail Women’s Trekking Poles ($99.95 at REI)
REI Co-op Traverse Power Lock Cork Trekking Poles ($99.95 at REI)
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles – Women’s ($119.95 at REI)