Please note: The Deploy TR-2 winter poles are no longer available. A newer, updated alternative is MSR’s DynaLock Trail Backcountry Poles.
When you’re in the sticks, it’s best to have a reliable pair with you.
I’ve been testing out a pair of MSR Deploy TR-2 Adjustable Winter Poles for a few months now, and I am convinced they’re among the best products on the market.
I’ve used Nordic Walking poles, walking sticks, and trekking poles for many years now. I’ve always had a preference for solid, one-piece poles instead of the more convenient-to-transport collapsible poles.
Collapsible poles, I’ve found to my chagrin numerous times, are aptly named. I don’t know how many times I’ve had one suddenly retract under me at inopportune moments when too much pressure is placed on it.
While I still use them because they’re easier to carry, and I have a handful of sets, I always look longingly at my set of one-piece poles that served me well on multiple trips, including hiking in Newfoundland with two injured knees.
The MSR Deploy poles have solved that problem and then some. I would rate them as the best poles I’ve tried.
They feature an innovative spring-lock trigger system rather than the standard twist-tightening that works amazingly well.
You can use the trigger system with one hand, but with two hands adjusting and retracting the poles are about as simple and fast as you can imagine, even in bitterly-cold weather. You can also use the system conveniently with gloves or mitts on, which is always a plus and isn’t an option sometimes with twist-lock poles.
The straps are also well-designed, although for winter conditions I find nothing works much better than the old-style, simple leather ones that just slip you hand through and go. The grips are good and comfortable as well.
If there’s any kind of minor complaint, it might be that the poles come with a fixed basket that’s intermediate in size between what you might use in warm weather and a true snow basket.
These poles are so good that the only way I get to use them is if my wife isn’t out with me.
“They match my snowshoes,” she says smugly, pointing to the white shoes she normally wears. “And I love them!”
There just isn’t a valid counter-argument against that rationale, so go get your own pair.
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