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Vango Basho Walking Poles

Vango Basho Walking Poles coming in very handy while descending a rocky Dartmoor gully [© Jean Gormley]

Up your pace and walk safer with the Basho lightweight folding walking poles from Vango, writes Mike Gormley.

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Those who have read my kit reviews, either on here or before that over many years in COMBAT SURVIVAL Magazine, may recall I am a long term user of walking poles. I find them a real benefit in many ways.

Walking poles are definitely not just for the older and less firm walkers. For me they help me to add some pace and, especially, help keep me safer across tricky terrain. Brilliant for water crossings, and in particular rocky streams, they also help power up hills and be more secure on the downhills. Poles also, of course, spread the load to arms and upper body.

Vango Basho Poles when new ~ this shows how they can be folded down to be compact with the baskets removed [©MG]

This said you don’t always want them, or need them, so it is good to be able to have lighter and easy to stow poles that can be easily taken off your pack and put to use when needed. When I noticed these Basho Poles at the Outdoor Trade Show they immediately caught my eye as something to try. Since then, they have covered a lot of miles with me.

When walking over soft muddy conditions poles with baskets fitted are a great asset [©JG]

For me poles are always used as a pair as I find them far more beneficial like this. You can really get a rhythm going and they help you to cover the miles much easier. Also, if you are unfortunate to hurt yourself in some way, say pull a muscle or get a blister and so on they can be invaluable. Another benefit of a pair is that if someone you are walking with gets hurt you can lend one and still have one for yourself.

The Basho Poles loosely folded to slip into my rucksack ~ they reduce from around 132cm to 43cm [©MG]

These duralumin Basho poles fold down to about 43cm or 17 inches and if you really need to be compact you can remove the anti-sink baskets, but generally I find it best to have these if there is any sort of soft ground to cover. The Basho design means you have only one place to adjust the length of the pole. I find this really good and much more convenient and quick to use. This adjustment can stay set for you when you fold away the poles so is ready to go next time with minimal faff.

Seen here are the good grippy handles and adjustable support straps of the Vango Bashos ~ note the lower grip section which comes in handy at times [©JG]

The Bashos are three-part poles. To assemble or fold them you just need to screw in or unscrew the two folding sections, which are kept together by internal shock cords. A few twists and they are secured together and no need for adjustment here. It is wise to check when in use that the screw fixings are tight every now and again, as they can work a bit loose as you negotiate the terrain; the same goes for most trekking poles. Worthy of note here is that the design of these means they naturally stay together under load and only can pull apart if they come loose, so must safer than those simpler designs that can easily collapse on you under load if they come a bit loose.

The adjustable lever lock which is used to lengthen or shorten the poles to personal preference [©JG]

Length adjustment is a simple job. A clamp lock is used to secure the adjustment which is in itself adjustable to secure a good clamp. The pole can be extended to match your height and the type of conditions you are covering. Perhaps shortened for uphill and lengthened for down. This can be achieved very easily when on the go. The pole extends to 132cm overall by my reckoning (a slightly different measurements to that shown online).

I was camped in the woods in the mid ground with my son Angus many years ago when we did out very first major kit review about Vango gear so perhaps appropriate to focus on the locking feature here [©MG]

I find the handle very good and comfortable, with a soft and durable well-shaped grip, with a lower area as well which comes in handy sometimes. The handles have a sprung shock absorber if you like this. I had some poles with this long ago and didn’t like them as they made the poles feel a bit insecure. However, these are quite firm and much better. This function can easily be ‘turned off’ by a quarter turn of the top of the pole.

Jean making good use of the Bashos while ascending the steeper side of Hay Tor on Dartmoor [©MG]
In mid walk in stunning Lakeland where many years ago my association with Vango began [©JG]

These Bashos are good and I feel we will cover many more miles together.

[images © Jean or Mike or Gormley]

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