Best Backcountry Ski Poles

Cori Gramms
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If you like to get out into the backcountry for your skiing, you know that you need poles that are light, easy to manage and that you can really rely on to get you home if things go wrong. Ideally, your ski poles should be light enough that you can use them for running as well.

Dynafit Speed Vario 2.0 PolesBest OverallDynafit Speed Vario 2.0 Poles
Black Diamond Vapor Carbon Ski PolesBudget PickBlack Diamond Vapor Carbon Ski Poles

1. Dynafit Speed Vario 2.0 Poles

Our rating: 9 / 10

Dynafit Speed Vario 2.0 Poles

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The Dynafit Speed Vario are versatile mountain skis and ski poles.

If you’re looking for trekking poles for your next adventure, the Speed Vario 2.0 adjustable pole is the way to go.

When assembled, the Speed Vario poles are 45” long and weigh 8.2 oz each. The classic version is 43” long and weighs 7.6 oz.

2. Atomic Backland FR Ski Poles 2019

Our rating: 6 / 10

Atomic Backland FR Ski Poles 2019

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Atomic Backland (Trail) poles are made of cork and fiberglass. The poles feature a stick type handle and an ergonomic grip for lateral movements.

The pole length ranges from 120 to 140cm, and they weigh from about 520 grams (pair) up to 522 grams.

Atomic Backland (Trail) models have adjustable length system, which is super easy to handle and can be adjusted for adjustable length settings. They have four size settings marked by hand and color-coded indicators.

3. Black Diamond Vapor Carbon Ski Poles

Our rating: 1 / 10

Black Diamond Vapor Carbon Ski Poles

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  • Strong and durable
  • Lightweight
  • Adaptable length
  • Comfortable grip
  • Collapsible
  • Single push button adjustable hand strap
  • EVA foam grip
  • Quick release baskets
  • Very strong and durable quick release basket
  • Adjustable available sizes

These poles are some of the best you can buy. They are some of the best poles for beginners. They are very easy to use.

These are extremely easy to adjust. They are great poles and have multiple features which are convenient to the skiier.

These are really great poles for the price. They work great for downhill skiing and even better for uphill.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it easier to ski with or without poles?

The ease of skiing with or without poles is a tricky question. It depends on your skiing style, experience and terrain. If you are a beginner, I would always recommend using ski poles for any forested trails. In the beginning, you’ll most likely struggle with balance and being able to focus on learning the sport. Without poles, you’ll have to put more of your energy into staying straight and downhill. Your knee strength and stability may not be sufficient enough to keep you in a straight line. If you can afford it, you can buy skis with poles mounted to them. They are much easier to control than buying poles separately and attaching them. In this type of ski, the poles are just there for stability and balance. You wouldn’t be using them much for propulsion.

How do I choose ski poles?

Ski poles are one of the cheaper items you can purchase. But some of the more expensive options, can add up. If you’re on a budget, consider purchasing a set of cheaper poles or you’ll end up spending a lot of money on these essential pieces.

What are the best backcountry skis?

Skiing pow is one of the most exhilarating experiences in life. Aside from the adrenaline rush, skiing powder snow is unparalleled. So, really, any backcountry setup is better than none. But because I am a shop-aholic, I am going to recommend a setup that will give you the best experience and maximize the fun factor.

What length ski pole should I use?

There is no hard and fast rule as to what length ski poles you should use, but for most people the longer ski poles are better. Shorter poles tend to work well for children and for people with shorter legs. If you’re one of these people, you may want to look towards skis designed for shorter people.

If you have longer legs for your height, or if you already have a tall body, one of the longer poles may actually be better for you. Keep in mind that the longer your pole is the greater lever it will provide you with. This means it takes more weight to get the pole to do what you want. If you’re just hiking up the slopes you may never notice this, but if you plan on using those poles on the backside of the mountain, the extra weight will give you a tremendous advantage.


The top ski poles for backcountry enthusiasts will allow for maximum control and dexterity, and can also replace the need for an avalanche probe and possibly a shovel.

On the other hand, ski poles for front country skiing also have their own benefits, such as providing additional leverage during kick turns, protecting the skier’s legs from tree branches and other obstacles, and using them as a walking aid.

Most backcountry ski poles have wrist straps and baskets as standard features, but front country ski poles can come with other convenient features such as anti-shock systems and safety locks.

Our Recommendation

Dynafit Speed Vario 2.0 PolesBest OverallDynafit Speed Vario 2.0 Poles
Black Diamond Vapor Carbon Ski PolesBudget PickBlack Diamond Vapor Carbon Ski Poles