Regatta have a reputation for making solid, budget friendly products, and the Ultralight Walking Poles live up to this. They are a great option for those who want a fuss-free yet solid set of hiking poles.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Fantastic price
- Solid build
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Twist locks can be fiddly
- Not the lightest
Regatta have a strong reputation for offering competitively priced yet solid outdoor gear and their Ultralite Walking Poles do not disappoint. They are not the lightest or most compact poles that we have assessed, but they also offer a very compelling complete package that doesn’t make any major concessions on specifications, but which still comes in at a very keen price. We think that as an all-round proposition, these poles from Regatta are a fantastic choice. They may be a no-frills product, but if you want a solid, reliable, fuss-free pole that could potentially give many long years of service – and all at an incredibly budget-friendly price point, then it’s hard to beat these.
Compare to Similar Products
- Trekology TREK-Z Walking Poles
- TheFitLife Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
- Black Diamond Trail Back Poles
- Our full guide: 12 Best Trekking Poles of 2023
Analysis and Test Results
Regatta are a very well-known and long established manufacturer of budget-friendly outdoors gear in the UK. The fact is, that if you’re based in the UK and are into hiking, you’ve almost certainly owned a piece of Regatta equipment or clothing at some point. These poles have really impressed us and whilst they don’t have the same level of fit, finish and finesse as some of the more expensive poles we’ve assessed, they are still solid, comfortable, and very keenly priced – in fact, they are the cheapest poles in our round up by a comfortable margin – all of which makes them an excellent choice in our opinion. Whilst Regatta don’t have the same market presence in the US as they do in the UK, their products are available there, though at the time or writing, we’re not sure if these poles are offered in the US market. If not, this is a real shame as we’ve been very impressed by their performance and very attractive price.
These Regatta poles feature an ergonomic high density foam grip with a wide wrist strap. Whilst the grip is comfortable and posed no problems over long hikes, the grip material does not feel quite as comfortable as what you’ll find on some competitors models (which, also tend to be much more expensive). To be clear, we think this is a small difference and given the very low price point of these poles, we think that many potential buyers will be more than happy to make this concession. The twist locks used on the pole extensions also impact the comfort: Extending and collapsing the lower pole section means you have to handle the end of the pole more – which, if it’s muddy, can be a messy experience. There’s also a noticeable springiness in the pole when weight is put on them which will certainly absorb vibrations on the trail but which could be a little disconcerting if you regularly need to put a lot of your body weight on the poles.
Whilst they are at the heavier end of the poles in our round up, coming in at 540g/1lb 3oz for a pair, the Regatta Ultralite Walking Poles are also far from the heaviest poles we’ve looked at and we can report that they don’t feel excessively heavy in use. Indeed, our top pick of pole in this round up – the Leki Makalu FX Carbon AS – has less than a 10% weight advantage over these poles and is substantially more expensive. That these Regatta poles hold up so well in terms of their weight next to substantially more expensive competition is another major point in their favor, in our opinion.
The Regatta Ultralite Walking Poles make use of aluminum for their main shaft sections. Given the very low price of these poles, this isn’t surprising as aluminum is a cheaper material than carbon fiber and, with the notable exception of the Carbon Fiber Trekking poles from TheFitLife, it’s the material used in all the lower cost offerings in this round up. Whilst carbon fiber can be viewed as a more desirable material, and is used in pretty much all of the ‘premium’ poles in this round up, there’s still plenty of reasons why aluminum is a great material choice: for starters, it bends rather than cracks when pushed past its limits, and it will likely do better in extremely cold conditions too. Now, these are all extreme usage cases, and they are unlikely to factor into the way the vast majority of hikers will use their poles, but when these factors are taken together, we can broadly say that aluminum poles will have better long-term durability than carbon fiber poles.
The Regatta Ultralite Walking Poles utilize a three-section telescopic design, so, the fact is that they are never going to be as compact as a folding pole when packed down. When we compare them to the other telescopic poles in our round up, their packed length of 65cm/25.6in puts them squarely in the middle – with the shortest packed telescopic poles coming in a few cm or roughly an inch shorter and the longest coming in at 5cm or roughly 2in longer when packed. Whilst the length differences here may not seem like much, when compared to the longest pole sin our round up – the Leki Sherpa – the Regatta Ultralites protrude noticeably less over the top of a medium sized backpack and this makes a noticeable difference if you’re on the sort of trail where you’ll need to duck under branches.
Pole Adjustment Mechanism
The Regatta Ultralite Walking Poles utilize a twist lock on their telescopic sections. Twist locks were once very common on walking poles, especially at the budget end of the market, but it seems their use is in terminal decline and these Regatta Poles are the only models in our round up to feature twist locks (indeed, looking at other poles beyond our round up, it’s harder and harder to find models that use twist locks). Why is this? Well, frankly, a lot of the twist locks we encountered on older walking poles were not very good: They could bind up if sand or grit got into the mechanism, were fiddly to use with cold and numb or wet and slippery fingers and sometimes they simply wouldn’t hold the pole extended when you put weight on them. We’re pleased to report, however, that the twist locks used on these Regatta poles are much more sturdy and do a great job of keeping the poles extended even under heavy strain. Personally, we still favor flip locks (and this is a very subjective choice), as their locking action is more ‘positive’ and they are easier to use with the aforementioned numb or slippery fingers, however we have to admit that the twist locks on these Regatta Poles have gone a long way to rehabilitating this type of leg lock for us! In their favor when compared to flip locks, the Regatta’s twist locks have a much lower profile relative to the rest of the pole’s shaft – so they are unlikely to catch on other parts of your gear and they have also surely allowed Regatta to keep the weight of the pole down. There’s a length scale marked on the mid-section of the pole to help quickly set the desired length. It’s worth noting that other manufacturers use a scale on both the mid and lower section of their poles. That means you need to make two adjustments to set the length of each pole. On these Regatta poles, you fully extend the lower section – being careful not to exceed the maximum marker – and then fine tune the length on the mid section. The Regatta poles are potentially very slightly quicker to set up because of this, but, on the flip side, it means the lower section is always fully extended and, in principle, this would make the poles less sturdy than a competitor’s pole where each section only remains partly extended. In practice, we doubt this will make any difference to most hikers, but, if you routinely carry very heavy packs or feel you need to put your full body weight on the poles, you may want to bear this in mind.
The Regatta Ultralite Walking Poles are supplied with a small screw-in trekking basket and a rubber foot that’s held tightly in place by friction of the hardened metal tip. Regatta themselves do not offer a wider accessory snow basket, though baskets from other manufacturers could be compatible – though some testing would be advised to find a snow basket that fits these poles snuggly should you require one.
Grip Ergonomics and Material
The Regatta Ultralite Walking Poles have an ergonomic high density foam hand grip which extends down the upper section of the shaft to give a comfortable grip when using the poles on steep ascents. The grip is comfortable, but does not feel quite as high quality as or comfortable as the grip on some competitor’s poles. However, these competitors typically cost several orders of magnitude more than these Regatta poles, and we think that many potential buyers will happily overlook this when considering the Regatta pole’s very keen price point.
The Regatta Ultralite Walking Poles have a list price of £40, but they can be routinely found for well below this and, at the time of writing, they can be purchased for £25.52 making them the least expensive poles in our round up by a comfortable margin. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the poles appear to be unavailable in the US market and, whilst they could likely be shipped to the US from a UK based store, shipping costs and potential import duty charges would surely wipe out their competitive price advantage. For US buyers, this is a real shame, as these poles are an exceptional value proposition when their price is considered alongside their specification.
We’ve been very impressed by the Regatta Ultralite Walking Poles. The come in at a very aggressive price point – indeed, they are the cheapest poles in our round up – but they also seem to get the balance of features and durability versus price just right. Invariably, some concessions have bene made by Regatta to hit this price point and there are other poles in this round up that are ‘better’ in many ways. But these poles also cost more than the Regatta Ultralites – sometimes way more! Simply put, we don’t feel like Regatta have made too many concessions in order to offer these budget-priced poles and whether you need to work to a tight budget, simply don’t want to spend much on poles or just want to try a pair out, we think that these are an excellent choice that will surely provide many long years of use.
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