Imagine adventuring in the great outdoors, the fresh wind on your face, taking in the sights, when all of a sudden you roll your ankle. Now you are miles from help and it is difficult to move. Do not let this be you.
Since the dawn of hiking, people have used hiking sticks to aid them on their walk. Whether it is for balance along the trail, support in ascending a particular hill or saving your knee joints on a downhill, hiking sticks or good trekking poles are necessary for any good hike.
Recent innovations and technologies have made trekking poles sturdier and more lightweight than ever. With various sizes, features, and designs, the world of trekking poles has exploded in recent years and it is hard to know where to start.
We have chosen a few of our favorite to review and highlight for you. We will cover the pros and cons of each, the key features that stand out, and who the poles may be most useful for. We also have included a few questions at the end that you may find useful.
Before you set out on your adventure, take the time and stroll through this guide first.
TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
Made from aluminum, these poles are lightweight and extremely tough. The aluminum is a stronger substance than carbon fiber so those rocky mountainsides are no longer an issue for your poles. Made for strength for the trail, they provide a tremendous amount of comfort and cushion for you. The handles are made of moisture-wicking cork that can mold to your hand. Even the strap itself is padded and cushioned so you no longer have uncomfortable chaffing.
They are adjustable to different sizes and telescope to between 24.5 to 54 inches so you can match it to your comfort level. Trailbuddy recognized that sometimes twist lock is hard if the pole is wet and so they have easy to use lever-locks instead.
- Lightweight aluminum is more durable than competitors too
- Lever-locked telescoping system
- Comfortable for the hands
- Fits in a backpack for storage and travel
- Tips do not screw in and fall off easily on a hike
- Handles can be a bit thick
Why We Recommend Them: Complete with rubber tips, mud baskets, and light snow baskets, the TrailBuddy is top of our list for trekking poles.
Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles
When you are on the trail, it can get rocky and the terrain changes quickly. The Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles have a 4-stage shock absorbing system built into the poles. With most of the shock absorbers built into the grip handles, your walk will be smooth while the trail gets rough. The shock system is designed to rebound some of your downward energy back into your step and give you extra energy.
The dual density, non-slip foam handles add extra comfort. The FlickLock adjustment systems all for your pole to telescope to your desired height without accidentally giving way if you apply too much pressure on a particular step. This pole is designed for all 4 weather systems and has interchangeable plates as part of the pole to be prepared for any terrain.
- Shock absorption technology
- Dual-density grip and a padded strap
- Ready for all seasons and terrain
- Aluminum poles for extra strength
- Only collapse down to 26 inches so storage is a little harder
- They weigh quite a bit
Why we recommend them: The shock absorption technology is really quite something. It can add an extra bounce to your step, shelter you from a jostle, and provide a gentler experience. These poles are heavy though so you must be aware of that.
Foxelli Trekking Poles
These lightweight poles are made from carbon fiber. Carbon fiber helps reduce shock and absorbs the noise of the pole on the hike. This all-season trekking pole is a great middle of the road option. The carbon fiber itself absorbs shocks so no need to pay for fancier shock absorption technology.
It is very lightweight at only 7 ounces so you can carry and trek with it without the arm workout. The Tungsten tips are integrated into the bottom of the poles so you can handle any type of trail. All of the accessories screw on so you will not need to worry about losing them. Equipped with cork handles, and air ventilated wrist straps, you may hardly remember you are holding anything.
- 120 day no questions asked money back guarantee
- 3-year parts warranty
- Carbon fiber build
- FlickLock telescoping so no more twisting
- Extreme heat may melt the glue that holds pole elements together
- Straps may be ill-positioned
Trekology Trek-Z Hiking Poles
These trekking poles are highly portable. They can collapse down to just 15 inches due to their tri-fold design. These can travel with you anywhere you need to go as it can fit into any luggage or backpack.
Do not take their small size for weakness though. Made from aircraft grade aluminum, they are meant for tough terrain and to help support heavy loads. The folding joints, often a weak point, are enhanced with metal caps and double strengthened.
The cork grips provide comfort and wick moisture away quickly. Meanwhile, the shafts have EVA foam which allows you to grip the shaft as well. At only 9.5 ounces, these are lightweight and heavy duty at the same time.
- 5 ounces
- Lightweight aluminum
- Folds down to 15 inches
- Locking mechanism can stick or be hard to operate
- Easy to store, but read instructions for how to assemble
Why We Recommend Them: The collapsible features here make this an attractive recommendation for anyone who needs to travel first before they hike. Easy to store, and lightweight to carry, these are great poles for the globe trotter.
HealthPro MBC-M361Q Professional Weather-Resistant Duralumin Trekking Poles
You never quite know what the weather will bring and it is best to be prepared. The HealthPro trekking poles are designed to withstand all weather cycles. The EVA foam hand grips and adjustable wrist straps are ergonomic and allow you comfort and ease while walking. The poles are fitted with baskets and tungsten carbide tips for any terrain. The baskets twist off and on so they will not get lost easily.
The locking mechanisms for pole extensions are easy to click open and shut so you can keep your glove on when it is cold in lower temperatures. The duralumin is corrosion-resistant so water damage or harsh winds are no longer an issue of wear and tear on the integrity of the pole. The triple extension affords you to adjust the height up and down easily.
- Duralumin exterior protects the outside
- Adjustable telescoping sizes
- Soft EVA grip
- Adjustable locks can require some strength to operate
- EVA grips can be warmer than cork grips
Why We Recommend Them: Harsh weather demands harsh materials. With an aluminum interior and a duralumin exterior, this is one tough trekking pole.
Tac9er Ultra-light Carbon Fiber Tri-Fold Trekking Poles
Weighing just 7.4 ounces, this is one of the lighter trekking poles out there. They are compact and have a tri-fold design that allows them to collapse to just 14.5 inches. That way they can be easily stored for travel.
They are made from both carbon fiber and aircraft-grade aluminum so that they have the benefit of both. They are very durable and have baskets that prepare them for any terrain. As tough as the poles are, the warranty is as strong. With a 1 year no questions asked warranty, you can have peace of mind knowing that your purchase is as protected as your knees will be.
- Lightweight and very collapsible
- Utilize carbon fiber and aluminum for increased strength
- No padding in the straps
- Locks and joints can be unreliable is not cared for properly
Why We Recommend Them: Given that for every folding joint, there is an opportunity for the unit to fail, these trekking poles are lightweight, strong, and are truly the smallest collapsible ones out there. If portability is important to you, these are the ones for you.
Questions To Think About
As with any purchase, you want to do your research and make sure you get the right one. That starts by knowing what questions to ask. We have compiled a few of them together for you to think about and get clear on what it is you are looking for in your trekking poles.
What Will You Be using Them For?
Often used to help with easing joint pain, increasing balance, and helping to support the back during a hike, trekking poles have a variety of abilities to help a hiker. Do you foresee hiking really intense terrain with lots of rocks and rough conditions? If so, then you will want to look at the aluminum poles that highlight their various weather accessories such as a mud basket or snow basket.
If you have back problems more so than knee issues, then perhaps the shock absorber technology will be more beneficial in providing a smoother upper body experience.
If you are going to be doing more intense mountaineering, then weather resistant trekking poles with very little folding joints and minimal telescoping will be the most important to look for. That way, they are lightweight but durable enough to provide leverage and weight support when climbing.
Once you know how you will use your trekking poles mostly, then you can think about WHEN you will be using them and in what kind of weather.
What Sort Of Weather Will You Be Hiking In?
If the weather is generally going to be warmer for you, then cork handled trekking poles may be quite desirable. They are able to quick away moisture quickly and provide comfort at the same time. Otherwise, if you will be hiking in severe weather, the Healthpro has a great advantage with its duralumin exterior.
Will You Be Traveling Often To Your Hikes?
For some people who are lucky enough to live near trailheads and great national parks, perhaps the folding capability is not important. A telescoping trekking pole is generally a bit more durable than a folding one as there are fewer parts that could potentially break.
On the other hand though, if you will be driving or flying to your hiking destinations, then having strong trekking poles that can fold down into small sizes is going to be more important to you. Several of the options listed above take the time to actually reinforce their foldable joints, thereby making them more dependable and capable.
What Is Your Budget?
By clicking on the recommendations above, you will notice that we tried to include cost effective solutions along with the pricier poles that you would expect given their technology.
No matter what your budget is, there are options for everyone. Hiking is not an exclusive activity and everyone can enjoy it. The same goes for trekking poles, everyone can benefit from them.
Hiking is one of the most accessible, primal activities to partake in. With very low equipment costs, it is nearly free. However, the benefit of trekking poles cannot be forgotten. Afterall, long before the trekking pole was the walking stick, dating far back into antiquity.
Trekking poles help with stability, assisting muscle movements, protecting joints and bone structure, and providing leverage when it comes to those tough uphill climbs. As much as you value your hike and your body, so you should value your trekking poles. With today’s technology, there are shock absorbers, weather resistant exteriors, aircraft quality materials and other benefits that are flooding the market.
Our hope in providing the list above was to help bring together the best of the best while also asking you the questions that you need to answer to get clear on what you really need from your trekking poles.
Take a look back through the list again now that you have read through this article. Click on each listing and really see which one is right for you.