Probably the most common complaint walkers have with trekking poles is that the internal locking mechanism becomes impossible to lock or unlock and is difficult at the best of times with wet, cold or gloved hands. A popular alternative to the internal expansion lock is an external snaplock, where a lever is flipped closed to lock the pole sections in place. This is the system used in the Pennine Fastlock and it appears well-designed too as it features a large screw head that can be adjusted easily when you want a little more power on the cam action, which is sometimes needed over time. The remainder of the pole is fairly standard. The handle of the Pennine Fastlock 260 is not as well-padded as on higher-priced poles. There is no additional grip on the shaft, and the overall weight of this pole is about 100g per pair more than many others. There are more compact poles available too. But for this price tag this pole is excellent value and as external locking mechanisms tend to last longer than internal locking systems, this could be an outstanding long-term investment as long as weight and comfort are not your top priorities.
Shaft material aluminium alloy
Handle material rubber grip, neoprene strap
Maximum length 135cm
Packed length 61cm
Weight 564g per pair
Anti-shock cushioning no
The Pennine Fastlock 260 is an incredibly well-priced pole with the benefit of an external locking system for length adjustment. The drawbacks are weight and comfort. It won the ‘Best Value’ accolade in our test.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2012