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If you’re planning to go hiking, you may want to consider using trekking poles. Not only do they keep you from slipping but they also protect your knees (as I found out on my trek to Machu Picchu). Take a look at the best out there!
Best Trekking Poles
Written By: Laura Pulling
Table Of Contents
If you’re thinking of packing for a trekking or walking trip, and are going to be on the trails for a few days, lightweight hiking poles are beneficial for travelers of all fitness levels.
TFG Editor-In-Chief, Alex, explained how she got to Peru to do the Machu Picchu trek without any. After the first day, she realized the terrain was tough and the inclines challenging. Luckily for her, a fellow traveler was able to give her a set of poles to complete the trail.
Not only do they help with your stability, hiking poles provide support for your knees too, which you need if you are on a multi-day trip. But, in general, poles can be helpful for day hikes that last several hours as well.
One reader says, “I used two poles for the Inca trail. They were literally worth their weight in gold! They definitely helped take the weight of the backpack, and helped me up and down the thousands of stairs!”
There are lots of considerations to make when getting your poles, including material, locking mechanisms, handles, and if you need a collapsible hiking pole (which is better for traveling).
What Are the Most Recommended Hiking Poles?
Trailbuddy Collapsible Walking Poles
These cheaper trekking poles by Trailbuddy are made from tough aluminum, which can take a heavier load. Their lever locks are super simple to use and adjust, even if you’re wearing gloves in wet and chilly conditions.
Editor-in-chief Alex used these during a two-week Utah trip in the late spring and she was really happy with them. There was some worry about how well they’d do because of their lower price range, but after hiking steep inclines with these bad boys for two weeks, that worry was long gone. The Trail Buddy hiking poles turned out to be absolutely fantastic!
At Arches National Park with Trail Buddy Hiking Poles and in Eddie Bauer Tank Top, Scarpa Boots, and Osprey Tempest 20 Daypack
They have moisture-wicking cork handles and padded wrist straps that will make you feel really secure and comfortable. Made of aircraft-grade aluminum, these poles are incredibly sturdy. They’ll keep you feeling supported, protect your knees, and help you up those steep inclines. Alex’s hiking trip involved a lot of inclines and steps, and she was thrilled with how well her TrailBuddy trekking poles performed.
They’re adjustable to your height, with a wide range going from 54 inches when fully extended, all the way down to 24.5 inches when fully collapsed. This makes them super easy to store when you’re not using them.
Alex was really impressed with how lightweight they were, too, despite their strong material. When you’re hiking with a heavy pack, you certainly don’t want to be weighed down even more, and these light TrailBuddy poles won’t let that happen.
Holding TrailBuddy Hiking Poles in Capitol Reef (Wearing Old Navy Tank Top (similar), Patagonia Tights, and Osprey Tempest 6 Waist Pack
They come with a variety of pole attachments you can use for all kinds of terrains and weather conditions. Plus, you can choose from a variety of fun, bright colors, so you won’t confuse yours with other hikers’ poles.
These are durable, cost-effective, and work amazingly well. And overall, Alex says that these were a massive help while trekking up those steep inclines, and can’t recommend them enough!
You can get a full picture of Alex’s two-week camping and road adventure to Utah in her Trip Report and her National Park Packing List.
Now, check out TFG reader picks of the best trekking poles for women, so you’ll be ready to conquer your next outdoor adventure!
Best Collapsible Trekking Poles
TREKOLOGY Trekking Telescoping Walking Sticks
TREKOLOGY Trek-Z trekking poles are crafted out of aluminum, so they are strong, but also lightweight each weighing only 11 ounces. The adjustable quick locks allow you to lengthen the poles from 45” to 53” in a matter of seconds, in order to achieve the perfect height. These poles feature a cork handle and padded straps, which conform to your hand for a comfortable feel.
They pack up easily for travel, and fully collapsed are only 15” long.
REI Trekking Poles Flash Carbon
REI is a great outdoor retailer, but they also have their own branded goods too. These REI hiking poles are collapsible, down to 25 inches long, and are made from sturdy aluminum. They have oversized levers on the adjustment locks, which makes them easy to use and secure, even if you are wearing gloves in colder weather.
They have comfy rubber grips and soft, stretchy wrist straps to keep them secure.
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Covacure Ultralight Trekking Poles
These Covacure folding trekking poles are made from tough aluminum but fit easily into your day pack at a miniature 14 inches when folded. They have an ergonomic EVA Foam Handle with a wrist strap, which is sweat-absorbent and won’t slip.
One user explains how they are great for travelers, “They easily fit in a carry-on suitcase and can be assembled in seconds. Once assembled I have found then no different than two piece trekking poles in regards to strength, and they are light and the hand grips are comfortable.”
Best Ultralight Trekking Poles
Mountainsmith Trekking Pole
These Mountainsmith walking poles improve your efficiency on a hike while keeping weight to a minimum. Built with adjustable wrist straps and paired with cork handles for comfort and sweat wicking properties.
Each pole has a spring loaded anti-shock system and is made from a blend of carbon and aluminum. If you’re a clumsy walker, these might be for you as they’re super durable.
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Foxelli Trekking Pole
Foxelli hiking poles are made from super lightweight carbon fiber designed to allow you to mover quicker while exerting less energy. These versatile poles are retractable from 24″ to 55″ and collapse to a compact size. And they come with a convenient case which you can easily fit into your backpack or carry-on bag when traveling.
One reviewer shares, “I’m really impressed with these poles for the price. The Powerlock mechanism is all metal and easily adjustable, as is the locking tension. I like the cork handles too, they feel I in the hand.”
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
These Black Diamond Trail trekking poles are good to go in all seasons. Designed to have a telescopic style opening, rather than folding sections, the height adjusts easily, which is perfect for when you need to change it up on the trail. Plus, they have a cork handle and a soft-rubber grip extension, so you can customize how you hold them.
One user took theirs on a trek in Chile and says, “They helped keep me stable in challenging situations. Rain, snow, and fierce winds could have made the hike torturous—the poles made it a lot easier.”
Leki Legacy Walking Poles
These Leki walking poles are made from aluminum and are super sturdy. They adjust in height so are great for both the tall and petite walker. They have a telescopic folding system and use a speed lock system for ultimate holding power.
The specially designed cork handle and wrist strap adjusts to fit you snugly. Users recommend them and say they are great for travel as they are lightweight. More options and design here.
Best Budget Trekking Pole
The Fitlife Lightest Trekking Poles
Fitlife poles are jam packed with features, for such a cheap option. They are made from high quality aluminum, which is super durable, plus they have a spring based anti-shock mechanism that can help you maintain a steady rhythm on the trail.
They collapse down to 26 inches, but extend as tall as 53 inches and the shaft is clearly marked so you can always find your perfect height. Plus, these poles have a bonus carry case to keep them in.
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Mountainsmith Halite Trekking Pole
These Mountainsmith travel walking stick poles look as good as the more expensive ones and considered one of the best walking sticks around. They have a great height range, (26-54 inches / 66-137cm) and are designed with three telescopic sections which are easy to extend and lock in place with a quick-twist lock system.
This collapsible walking stick has a rubber molded handle, which probably will get more sweaty than the cork style handles of the pricer models.
Reviewers share that they’re a great beginner pole, or if you might only use them on rare occasions.
These hiking shirts can be worn on or off the trail!
Kelty Trekking Pole
These Kelty aluminum poles have comfy cork handles that extend out and an EVA foam grip, and they’re especially made for women.
A reviewer shares, “I’m really impressed with these poles for the price. The Powerlock mechanism is all metal and easily adjustable, as is the locking tension. I like the cork handles too, they feel comfortable in the hand.”
Best Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Montem Trekking Poles
In the outdoor world, Montem hiking poles are top dog. These carbon shaft poles are super lightweight at only 7.6 ounces per pole and they have especially designed handles for comfortable grip, whether you are headed up or down hill. They lengthen between 24”-53” to achieve the perfect height for your needs.
One user raves, “These are fantastic!! Super lightweight. Definitely sturdy. The handles were comfortable.”
Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
A cheaper style, but still with 100% carbon fiber shafts, these Cascade Mountain Tech trekking poles are user friendly for beginners but substantial enough for experienced trekkers too. They have quick lock extendability, to enable you to adjust the pole length when changing up or down hills.
The handles are made from cork to lower vibrations and wick away sweat. They also have adjustable wrist straps.
Users say they are great for the price, one explains “My Cascade trekking poles are an incredible value. These poles have all the specs you could ask for in a high-end trekking pole: carbon fiber shafts, flip locks, cork grips, extended foam grips, and several different tip attachments—all at just under 7.75 ounces each.”
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Hiking Poles
These lightweight Black Diamond hiking poles have 100% carbon fiber shafts and are versatile enough for treks in all seasons. They have a comfortable cork grip which stops your hands from becoming sweaty and slippery and the height adjusts easily with Flick Lock Pro technology.
One reviewer says, “Love these, very comfortable. Sturdy, none of the vibration that less expensive poles have. Easy to adjust.”
Best Walking Poles Comparison Chart
|BRAND | MODEL||FEATURES | REVIEWS||RATING | PRICE|
|Best Collapsible Trekking Poles|
|Trailbuddy Collapsible Walking Poles||They have moisture-wicking cork handles and padded straps for comfort. Plus. you can get these poles in a ton of bright colors, so you won't confuse yours with other hikers poles.||Check Price|
|TREKOLOGY Trekking Poles||They pack up easily for travel, and fully collapsed are only 15” long.||Check Price|
|REI Trekking Poles Flash Carbon||They have comfy rubber grips and soft, stretchy wrist straps to keep them secure.||Check Price|
|Covacure Ultralight Trekking Poles||“They easily fit in a carry-on suitcase and can be assembled in seconds."||Check Price|
|Best Ultralight Trekking Poles|
|Mountainsmith Trekking Pole||Each pole has a spring loaded anti-shock system and is made from a blend of carbon and aluminum||Check Price|
|Foxelli Trekking Pole||“I'm really impressed with these poles for the price. The Powerlock mechanism is all metal and easily adjustable, as is the locking tension. I like the cork handles too, they feel I in the hand.”||Check Price|
|Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles||“They helped keep me stable in challenging situations. Rain, snow, and fierce winds could have made the hike torturous—the poles made it a lot easier.”||` Check Price|
|Leki Legacy Walking Poles||The specially designed cork handle and wrist strap adjusts to fit you snugly. Users recommend them and say they are great for travel as they are lightweight.||Check Price|
|Best Budget Trekking Pole|
|The Fitlife Lightest Trekking Poles||They are made from high quality aluminum, which is super durable, plus they have a spring based anti-shock mechanism.||Check Price|
|Mountainsmith Pinnacle Trekking Pole||They have a rubber molded handle, which probably will get more sweaty than the cork style handles of the pricer models.||Check Price|
|Kelty Trekking Pole||“I'm really impressed with these poles for the price. The Powerlock mechanism is all metal and easily adjustable, as is the locking tension. I like the cork handles too, they feel comfortable in the hand.”||Check Price|
|Best Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles|
|Montem Trekking Poles||“These are fantastic!! Super lightweight. Definitely sturdy. The handles were comfortable.”||Check Price|
|Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||The handles are made from cork to lower vibrations and wick away sweat. They also have adjustable wrist straps.||Check Price|
|Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Hiking Poles||“Love these, very comfortable. Sturdy, none of the vibration that less expensive poles have. Easy to adjust.”||Check Price|
Can I Take Hiking Poles in My Carry On?
A big question readers have asked is whether or not they can bring their hiking poles or walking sticks as carry on. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer. It depends on the airline and the size of the walking stick.
One reader says, “I have collapsed and carried them on Delta, United, JetBlue, and WowAir when flying out of the United States. When flying back to the US, I have always been told to check them. Check with your airline if you decide to take hiking poles with you on a flight.”
Another adds, “Most airlines will not let you carry on. I did contact each airline and got the okay in writing to carry mine on. I never had anyone in security stop me in the US, but it would be up to TSA, not the airline at that point. However, in Reykjavik, Kilimanjaro, and Auckland I was told to check them.”
If you’re worried about having to check them, some readers recommend renting them at your destination. One reader says, “We rented them last year when we hiked the Inca Trail. We each got one. Not expensive at all, and I felt they were worthwhile.”
What’s Better: Lightweight Trekking Poles, Aluminum, or Carbon Fiber?
Carbon fiber poles are lighter than their aluminum alternatives, but aluminum is a much tougher material and mostly a cheaper option.
Carbon fiber poles also tend not to be as stiff as aluminum, so have shock absorbing qualities.
If speed and weight is an important factor, choose carbon fiber. If you want something a bit sturdier—maybe if you are taller or heavier—try aluminum.
Can You Use Poles or a Walking Stick for More Than Hiking?
Absolutely! A walking stick (or pair of them) is not only great for long periods of walking on rugged terrain, many travelers use them to help protect joints by reducing stress on knees, ankles, hips, and spine, especially when walking downhill. They also offer stability when navigating difficult, hilly streets that can be found in mountainous towns.
What do you think are the best trekking poles for women? Share what you’ve used below!
For more hiking tips, please read:
- Need the Best Hiking Gear List for Female Trekkers? Here it is!
- Hiking and Camping Supplies List for Overnight Trips
- How to Choose the Right Hiking Boots and Shoes
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