There’s nothing quite like getting outdoors and enjoying some fresh air, right? You can take in all the beauty of the world around you and work off that burrito while you’re at it. However, when you want to go for a long hike over rough terrain, it can be quite taxing and you could need some help—especially if you’re going uphill.
In instances like that, you’ll benefit from having the best trekking poles in your gear.
But, how do you know what poles are worthy of that title? Well, we’re here to shed some light on what trekking poles are and what you should look for when you’re shopping for them. We also have a five products that we feel live up to the claims of being the best trekking poles and we’ll give you a quick glimpse at why they are on our list.
Best Shock Absorbing Trekking Poles
Best Lightweight Trekking Poles
Best Ergonomic Trekking Poles
Best Carbon Trekking Poles
Trekking poles are poles that many people use when they are hiking, backpacking, walking through snow, or just walking around. These poles are used to provide you with stability while navigating your way around the terrain, they reduce the impact on your knees and hips while hiking, and they can help you maintain muscle function.
When you begin searching for trekking poles, you should be aware that there are three types: (2)
The trekking pole is usually made from one of two materials:
When you’re looking for the best trekking pole for your next trip, it’s important that you consider these factors for your safety:
When you’re using the pole, your elbow should be at a 90 degree angle with your hand resting on the grip and the tip of the pole is on the ground. We recommend getting a pole that can be adjusted, however, here is a generalized guide to help you determine the right pole for you:
Recommended Pole Length
Less than 5’1”
5’ 1” – 5’ 7”
5’ 8” – 5’ 11”
The weight of the pole is something you’ll want to take into consideration because you’re the one that’s going to be carrying it over long distances. You don’t want something that is too heavy because it’s going to stress your wrist and eat up all your energy lifting and moving the pole.
The pole that you choose will have a mechanism where you can adjust the length. It’s always a good idea to choose a lever locking mechanism because it’s more durable and it’s easier to use.
Unlike Gandalf, poles used today will have some kind of grip that will make the experience better. These grips are going to be made from one of three materials:
This feature will absorb the shock when you’re making your way downhill. It isn’t uncommon to find poles where you can turn this feature off when you’re going uphill. This is a nice feature for those whose joints are unstable due to injuries, or if you have arthritis but you don’t want to let that stop you from enjoying the great outdoors.
Now that you know what to look for in the best trekking poles, let’s take a look at our top five choices.
In our opinion the best shock absorbing trekking poles:
People who are looking for a year round trekking poles, you will appreciate the Black Diamond trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles. These poles are incredibly light, weighing in at 20 ounces for the pair. These three piece poles are made from a durable aluminum alloy and they can be adjusted from 27 inches up to 57 inches. Because they have range of adjustability, it makes them the perfect pole for anyone looking to try Nordic walking.
The poles feature dual density foam grips that are designed to be comfortable for the user, despite the rough exterior. The poles also feature padded wrist straps, which are much more comfortable for the user. When you don’t want to use the poles anymore, you can use the lower grip area to comfortably transport the pole.
Notable features of the Black Diamond trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles include:
When looking at what people had to say about the Black Diamond trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles they had great things to say. Many customers were quite impressed by how comfortable the poles were in the hand.
They enjoyed the padded wrist straps and the ergonomic foam grips. What really stood out was how many people commented on the durability of the poles. A few people said they took a nasty spill and instead of the pole snapping in half, it just bent a little.
As much as we’d like to say there weren’t any complaints about the poles, that wouldn’t be true. There were a very small amount of critical reviews left by people who were less than impressed with their purchase. These customers felt like the locking mechanism was nearly impossible to use and the anti-shock system on their poles barely worked and when it did, it wasn’t very effective.
In our opinion the best lightweight trekking poles:
If you’re looking for the best trekking poles for the money, you’re in for a treat with the Foxelli Trekking Poles. These poles have been created with 100% carbon fiber, use a carbon fiber cork foam handle, and a tungsten carbide tip. All of these materials make it possible for you to use these poles in all seasons. The additional tips are made of thermoplastic rubber, which also help to make these poles capable of being used on a variety of terrains, too.
These poles are can be used by the whole family, whether you are short, tall, young, or old because they can be adjusted from 24 inches up to 55 inches when fully extended. The lightweight poles can be used by hikers of all skill levels, whether you’re a beginner, someone who just wants to burn more calories, or someone who is an avid climber without being cumbersome.
Notable features of the Foxelli Trekking Poles include:
When looking at what people had to say about the Foxelli Trekking Poles they had great things to say. Customers were pleased by the price of these poles and the accessories that you get with them. People felt that for the price of these poles, they were very high quality, strong, and suited their needs perfectly. They liked the poles came with a variety accessories that truly makes these poles perfect for all seasons.
There were a few people who didn’t like these trekking poles and they left critical reviews about them. These customers felt that the tips on the poles weren’t very durable. Several of them were disappointed that the tips broke after a some use. One customer even said the tip on one of their poles broke only after three uses! A few people were also disappointed that the poles don’t seem to absorb shock as well as other poles they have tried in the past.
In our opinion the best ergonomic trekking poles:
The Leki Micro Vario Ti Cortec Trekking Poles have been designed for those who enjoy nature but don’t want to lug around a case specifically for their trekking poles. These aluminum fiber poles have the ability to collapse down to a meager 15 inches, but they can also extend to just slightly over 51 inches.
The locking mechanism that holds these five section poles together can be found right under the handle, which allows for quick and easy adjustments. Why, you can adjust the length of the pole as little as 20 centimeters even while hiking!
The handle of these poles have been designed to fit into your hand and allows your wrists to rest naturally while holding it. The lightweight aergon thermos grips have an ovoid shape that makes downhill hiking a little more comfortable for the user. The rubberized dimpled top gives you a textured grip so you can hold onto it better, while the easy to adjust straps reduces stress on your wrists, while providing you with extra security and even comfort.
Notable features of the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cortec Trekking Poles include:
When looking at what people had to say about the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cortec Trekking Poles they had great things to say. Customers enjoyed how lightweight the poles were, but also how nice and compact they can get—much more compact than others they have tried.
People also mentioned that they were surprised by how strong and durable the poles were as well. Many customers reported that they have tried other trekking poles in the past, but these were the best trekking poles they’ve tried.
With that said, there were some problems with the poles as well. One customer stated that because of the location of the locking mechanism, these poles should have been labeled for light hiking only.
This person felt this way because of the location of the locking mechanisms. They go on to say that if you’re hiking in the woods and bump into something, it could disengage the locks, making the poles collapse. If you’re walking or flat ground, that isn’t a problem, but if you are going downhill or if you are on slippery terrain, that can be a serious safety concern.
In our opinion these two are the best carbon trekking poles:
Carbon is the best material to use when you want durability. So it should be no surprise that these poles are considered the best ultralight trekking poles, as they weigh a total of 15.2 ounces for the pair. The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Pole are made from 100% carbon—not a carbon aluminum alloy like you’ll find with other poles. The tips for these poles are made from a durable tungsten carbide, making it suitable to use on a variety of terrains.
These poles can be adjusted from 24 inches up to 54 inches in a snap, thanks to the quick flip lock mechanism. This locking mechanism allows you to adjust the length of the pole quickly and easily—even if you’re in the middle of a hike!
Notable features of the Hike Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles include:
When looking at what people had to say about the Hike Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles they had great things to say.
Customers were most impressed by how lightweight the set of poles were, but they also appreciated the quick lock mechanism. They reported that they were able to adjust the length of the poles quickly and easily with a simple flip of the lock.
While there were many positive reviews for these poles, there were some customers who had a few concerns. The most common complaint was that the tip of their pole snapped. Fortunately, they were able to contact the manufacturer and have a replacement sent out to them.
Other customers reported that the locking mechanism on their set of poles didn’t keep the poles locked at all times, making them afraid to use the poles when going down hills or on slippery terrain.
Customers who are looking for the best budget trekking poles that are on par in terms of quality with more expensive poles will appreciate the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles.
These poles are made from 100% carbon fiber, making them incredibly durable, but also really light weight, as the poles weigh a total of 15.6 ounces. The poles also feature a tungsten carbide tip that will be able to last many long hikes. To increase the versatility of the poles, you can attach separate tips that are suitable for use on pavement, snow, and asphalt.
The locking mechanism for these poles have been designed to give you that stability to go uphill or down with ease, while maintaining your balance. You can quickly and easily adjust the length of these poles, whether you want to collapse it down to a modest 26 inches or extend it to 54.5 inches. When you aren’t using the poles, you can tuck them away in the carrying case that is included with this set.
Notable features of the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles include:
When looking at what people had to say about the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles they had great things to say.
Customers feel that these durable carbon fiber poles are a steal because they are capable of getting a lot of use and going many miles with these poles without ever experiencing any problems or difficulty with the locking mechanisms, the tips, or the pole not being strong enough.
Several customers mentioned potential customers should opt for the cork handles because they are much better at absorbing moisture from your hands and you can get a much better grip on the cord than foam handles.
Though there were numerous positive reviews, there were still some people who were less than pleased with their purchase. These customers seemed to have the opposite feelings as those who liked the pole. These small handful of customers said the tips of their poles broke only after a few uses.
Some even said that the pole didn’t feel sturdy when it was being used—it would wobble and slip or slide on certain surfaces while walking. This, as you can imagine, poses a safety concern, especially if you’re hiking through rough or slippery terrain.
As an avid hiker, it’s understandable that you’re going to want to have the best trekking poles so you can hike the mountain tops if you so desired.
All of these poles are definitely worthy of consideration, but we understand that some people will have different needs. If you’re looking for the best affordable trekking poles, we fully recommend the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles and the Foxelli Trekking Poles.
If you don’t mind spending a little more money and you want the top of the line poles that are lightweight compact, then we recommend the Black Diamond trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles and the Hike Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles.
Whichever poles you do decide to purchase, we certainly hope this guide was able to help you make that decision. Leave us a comment below and tell us what poles you ended up choosing! We’d love to know!