The 5 Best Trekking Poles: How to Choose your Perfect Hiking Partner!

Embarking on a hiking adventure is like stepping into a world of endless possibilities, where every trail holds its own story and challenge. Each newbie that straps on a pair of brand new hiking boots usually forms a picturesque image in their head, one of beauty and stellar views yet to come. One simple thing that is universal across the board though, and that’s safe and reliable gear.

Seasoned hikers trekking through rugged terrains or newbies seeking the peaceful joy of nature all need to be properly outfitted. To me, everyone should bring along one of the most underrated additions to their hikes, a pair of trekking poles! Let me tell you that finding the best trekking poles can transform your hiking escapades from a tough and sluggish slog to an easy breezy enjoyable walkabout.

best trekking poles

Trekking poles play a pivotal role in enhancing stability, reducing fatigue and mitigating knee pain, especially on the way back down and shock absorption. They are so darn handy! I can’t tell you how many times I wished I had a pair when I was navigating some of the roughest terrain known to man.

My first long excursion through Iceland was an eye-opener. Everybody had these “ski poles” with them and I hadn’t a clue as to what they even were. Let me tell you, after day 2, I wish I had a pair with me.

Not all hiking poles are equal, however. There are different lengths, weights, grip sizes, costs, and more! In this guide I’ll go over the best trekking poles for every hiker, irrespective of age or skill level.

So, let’s embark on an exhilarating exploration through the world of trekking poles, uncovering the ideal companion for every type of hiker – because in the world of hiking, everyone deserves the best hiking partner by their side!

Parts of a Trekking Pole

First things first. A basic trekking pole can be broken down into 6 main sections or parts. They are the Grip, The wrist strap, the shaft, the locking mechanisms, the basket and the tip. Now of course there are exceptions to the rule, but I wanted to relay a basic understanding of what makes a trekking pole. Check out the picture below to explain where everything is located.

Best Overall

If you want something that will be fine in pretty much any type of environment, weather condition, amount of use and comfortability and you’re not too worried about getting very specific with what you need then let’s start with a pair of poles that can accommodate anybody, anywhere.

Black Diamond Trail Back Trekking Poles

Best Trekking Poles Overall

Sturdy yet made of lightweight aluminum, the Black Diamond Trail Back Trekking poles come in a easy-to- handle three-section design. They provide reliable stability and easy adjustment for any on-trail adventure. The rubber grips are ribbed and ergonomic with EVA foam extension for added comfort. The Black Diamond Trail Backs also have dual FlickLock adjustability and enables basket interchangeability for multi-season adventures.

  • Standout Features: 7075 aluminum shafts use FlickLock® height adjustability for quick and easy changes on the trail. Comes with 4 season flex tips with trekking baskets included (snow basket compatible)
  • Pros: Made with a unisex design that adapts to any hiker. Perfectly adjustable for a person 4’11 (150 cm) to over 6 feet (183 cm).
  • Cons: Grips run a little on the smaller side so if you have big hands, these might not be for you. They don’t collapse down as much as other models, stopping at 24” (60 cm).
  • Value for Money: These poles are the middle-of- the-road option for most hikers at around $100. They aren’t the fanciest nor the most basic. A great first option for those starting out on their hiking journey.

Best For Traveling

The main focus of finding the best trekking poles for traveling is how well, how well they travel. Telescoping or foldable trekking poles are what you should be looking for. If you are zooming around from place to place and need a good set that will easily fit in your backpack or travel sack then check out what I recommend below.

Trekology Trek-Z Collapsible Hiking & Trekking Poles 

Made with aircraft grade aluminum-crucial for hiking or backpacking in rough terrains and supporting heavier weights. The joints of the Trekology Trek-Z trekking poles have been enhanced to be extra secure with added metal caps and the cork texture grip absorbs sweat out of your hands. They’re meant to withstand pressure and impact far superior to carbon fiber poles and the compact design makes them ready to go when you are!

Best Trekking Poles For Traveling
  • Standout Features: Cork texture grip wicks away sweat with ease. Made of 7075 aluminum like the previous model so strong and sturdy.
  • Pros: Innovative Z collapse design, packs up very well. Down to 15” (38 cm). Comes with 4 additional tips so you’ll be able to handle any terrain with ease.
  • Cons: A little tricky to master the art of collapsing and expanding the poles. It might take a bit of practice. A little on the heavier side compared to the norm and they come in multiple sizes due to their compact-ability. 100-120cm (5’8″ or shorter) or 115-135cm (5’9″ or taller)
  • Value for Money: These are very inexpensive poles (usually under $50) so a great investment for those hikers on the go. Strong and durable for the price.

Best For Women

When it comes to the best option for women, I tend to recommend lightweight poles over anything else. Carrying anything for an extended period, even a day hike, becomes uncomfortable. For that reason, I would go with ultralight carbon trekking poles. You could go with aluminum poles as well if you want to say a few bucks.  I’ve asked a lot of women and they tend to agree. 

Montem Ultra Light Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

The Montem Ultra Light Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles weigh only 7.6 ounces per pole so you don’t feel weighed down. They are Crafted out of 100% Carbon Fiber – the same material NASA uses, so they are exceptionally strong. They even come with a Lifetime Replacement Promise!

Best Trekking Poles For Women
  • Standout Features: The #1 carbon fiber trekking poles according to Backpacker Magazine. Extremely strong and reliable. EVA foam grips mold to your hands over time.
  • Pros: Some of the lightest trekking poles on the market. Great for either long or short trips. It won’t feel like you’re carrying much with these. The flick locking system is easy and quick for on-the-go adjustments. Comes with multiple pole tips for all seasons.
  • Cons: Easy to overlook the locking system as set if you aren’t paying attention. Some have complained of slippage because they didn’t completely close their poles into place. Have a bit of a rattle when they aren’t extended.
  • Value for Money: At around $90, these poles come with a lifetime warranty (that you’ll have to fill out separately) so you can rest assured that after purchasing them, you’ll be taken care of. Just don’t forget to submit for it!

Best For Seniors

Now there are plenty of seniors that are in amazing shape and probably can run circles around me but overall I think seniors want stability over all else. When we get older, we think about injury more and more and typically we get hurt a lot easier than when we were a young spring chicken bouncing off of boulders and leaping across streams. My knees are starting to hurt just thinking about this actually haha. The set of trekking poles below is great for keeping seniors safe and secure.

Urban Poling – ACTIVATOR 2 Trekking/Rehab Poles

The Urban Poling ACTIVATOR2’s are a pair of premium-quality Nordic walking sticks designed by an occupational therapist & gerontologist specifically for rehab and/or long-term conditions. These poles offer the best support while also strengthening your body as you move along. The ergonomic core grips are specifically designed to help engage the core muscles.

Best Trekking Poles For Seniors
  • Standout Features: The Urban Poling ACTIVATOR 2 Poles have a button locking system to secure the internal twist commonly seen with other trekking poles. The strapless ergonomic rubber grip comes with a wide ledge and the bell-shaped tips on the bottom of the poles provide maximum stability.
  • Pros: These trekking poles are specifically designed to reduce joint impact, improve posture, provide better balance than most and strengthen the core. Ideal for anyone with chronic pain or those rehabbing from injury.
  • Cons: A little on the expensive end. Only comes with a few tip options. Do not come with wrist straps due to the design of letting loose in case of a fall. Need to place them down if you take a lot of pictures during your hike.
  • Value for Money: Since they are designed for those with mobility issues, they are a steal at $150. They accommodate almost everybody up to heights of 6’4 (193 cm)

Best For The Price

If you’re on a budget and just need anything to get going or you don’t know if you want to invest a ton of money into a piece of gear that you might not actually like, then grabbing a set of cheap, yet reliable, trekking poles might be more up your alley. It’s hard to lay down a few hundred bucks on something you’re unsure of so why not start with a great set that won’t break the bank?

King Gear TP1 Walking Sticks – Adjustable Trekking Poles

When it comes to price, the King Gear TP1 walking sticks are an extremely great deal. They come with all of the normal features like being crafted from 7075 aluminum, having adjustable quick flip locks, natural cork grips, and multiple tip options that are easily switchable depending on the terrain.

Best Trekking Poles For The Price
  • Standout Features: Adjustable from 25.5” (65 cm) to 54” (137 cm). 365 no questions asked money back guarantee with a 1 year warranty for defects. 6 color options! (Black, Dark Blue, Green, Light Blue, Orange, and Pink).
  • Pros: Versatile and handy for any terrains. Easy screw on tips make changing out the bottoms of the poles a breeze. Padded straps for added comfort.
  • Cons: The bottom extension piece can fall off if you’re not careful when extending it. Some have reported slippage issues on the clasps.
  • Value for Money: For $25, these are amazing! They come with all of the standard features of normal trekking poles, but at a quarter of the price. They make a great gift, especially to very inexperienced hikers. Highly recommend!

Additional Info When Choosing The Best Trekking Poles

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you’re planning to go hiking and backpacking. “Which type of hiking shoes should I get?” “Are there any animals I should worry about?” “How am I going to prevent my knees from killing me!?”

You might even forget to bring poles on the trail and just use what you find in nature as a makeshift hiking staff. To each their own, but I highly suggest hiking with poles. They are a great addition to your hiking gear. 

Main Factors You Should Consider – When you’re out shopping for the best trekking poles, always take into account the main factors:

  • What are the trekking poles made out of? Aluminum or carbon fiber?
  • How much do they weigh? Anything under 16 oz or 450 grams is great!
  • What are the locking mechanisms? Do they have twist locks or lever locks?
  • What is the grip type? Foam, cork, or rubber?
  • Do they have shock absorbers? How well do they collapse?
  • And last, but not least, how much do they cost?

Final Thoughts

Thank you so much for spending the time it took to read through my review for the best trekking poles for all ages and skill sets. I hope you learned something new and have a better grasp (no pun intended) of what your ideal choice will be when choosing your next set of poles. If none of the poles on this list spark your fancy, check out LEKI and REI co-op for more options.

When it comes right down to it, I highly suggest you use trekking poles on your next backpacking trip before you need them. You might save your back and knees some future troubles! Remember to always be safe and to take your time. Here’s to your next adventure! Happy Hiking!

Author

  • James Ryan

    A seasoned hiker and adventurer who loves to travel and experience new things. An extrovert and creative at heart, James is most definitely a "People Person". He started this blog in the hopes of making somebody's day just a bit brighter!

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