Last updated: June 20, 2018 at 9:54 am
Serious backpackers have known the excellent advantages of trekking poles for decades. They maybe are not considered as essential things, but many users like them for a variety of reasons. Whether you are heading out on a quick weekend jaunt or hiking across the country, they will add a lot of comfort and stability while trekking.
Aside from providing stability while moving over technical terrain or hauling a heavy load, these poles have also great benefits on easy trails. They significantly reduce impact and pressure on ankles, knees, and hips when going downhill, and setting a rhythm when walking long distances.
We climbed, backpacked and hiked mountains with different poles so that we could help you choose the right one for your adventures. After testing dozens of models, we have created this list of the best trekking poles on the market. All of them have a great balance of value, weight, comfort, and durability.
So, if you want to know more about these products and their benefits, all you have to do is read on.
If you’re in a hurry, check out the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork. They are ideal for different terrains, durable and lightweight.
|Product Image||Name||Main Feature||Price||Rating|
|Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork||• Non-slip EVA foam grip extension|
• 100% carbon fiber construction
|Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC||• Comfortable pole with excellent cork handles|
• Perfect stability
• Very portable
|Black Diamond Distance Z||• Lightweight and compact|
• Very portable
• Solid design for most outdoors activities
|Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber||• Ultra-light|
• Very portable
• Comfortable Grip and made of cork
|Foxelli HOG1 Carbon Fiber||• Carbon/cork combination|
• Relatively comfortable
• Very affordable
5 Highest Rated Trekking Poles Reviews
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork – Editor’s Choice
If we need to single out the best pair of sticks on the market, that would be Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles. We have tested them on many trails, various terrains, such as bouldering and flat situations and different weather conditions.
The BDACC is more durable than most of the aluminum sticks. It can be used off and on-trail backpacking and has substantial longevity. This long-term durability is also improved by the inclusion of the classic cork handles as they hold up better over more extended use than rubber or foam. You just can’t go wrong with this pole and its trusted locking mechanism which makes it a fantastic investment.
As for the weight, it is one of the lightest carbon poles on the market. However, the manufacturers didn’t want to sacrifice any strength and performance in order to remove a few grams. But, that won’t stop you to fit it into larger pack and transport wherever you want.
The combination of the durable carbon and the low weight can only mean one thing – it is ideal for different terrains. You can use it in any weather condition. They can be adapted into the ski pole with the included snow basket.
But, like every other product, this pole also has its drawbacks. First things first, we wouldn’t recommend it for very tall people, because it cannot be extended too long. Needless to say that it is not the most expensive product on the market of this type, but bear in mind that it is not very cheap either.
- The light cushion on the strap
- Powder Baskets
- Extremely versatile
- Comfortable handles
- Can’t extend exceptionally long for tall hikers
- Not very cheap
- The logo is peeling off the belt
Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC
This model is the aluminum version of the Micro Vario Carbon, that features identical break apart construction and cork handles, but with a reasonable price point and added durability. We have tested all carbon-tent style poles, but the Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC stood up to our researches better than all others. But, we wouldn’t recommend using it on rough terrain.
The folding design of these products collapses into three pieces that measure 15 inches. This is great because it will allow you to place it in any pack as it is shorter than most poles. Another great feature is the Leki Speedlock which is very reliable and straightforward. And unlike the other sticks, these poles don’t need adjustments every time you are using them. The only thing you need to do is to snap the sections into their position, and you are good to go!
The handle is one of our favorite advantages. The manufacturers have designed it to be very comfortable for every hiker. It is oval shaped (like a can handle) and wide. This handle will mold to your hand and absorb any sweat from it and provide you with a solid grip on the stick.
The tensioning rope will last a lifetime because it is made from a “Filgrane”. In the shaft’s lower portion there is a spring that provides tension which keeps the sections of the poles locked together.
Of course, there is a downside to this model, and that is its weight. This product is made from aluminum which is slightly heavier than carbon fiber, but on the other hand, it is stiffer and stronger. The only thing you will lose is some of the shock absorptions that these walking sticks are known for.
- Comfortable pole with excellent cork handles
- Perfect stability
- Very portable
- Heavier than other poles
Black Diamond Distance Z
This pole is excellent for light usage on trail backpacking or day hikes as it can be stored and transported almost instantly whenever you want. We have tested it and noticed that it folding mechanism wouldn’t take up much space, and its performance is better than expected. However, we need to say that this model is not the most durable one.
Because it is very lightweight, it is not adjustable and doesn’t include some features. Although the carbon fiber’s quality provides strength, we wouldn’t recommend it for heavy-duty hiking. Needless to say that this pole is great for generic day hikes, speed hiking, and UL backpacking in the summer.
The Black Diamond Distance Z includes handles that are made of foam. It uses grip which is heavily textured with huge circular in-cuts. Although some hikers prefer smoother feeling grip, this model offers added one.
The best thing about this pole is its weight. It is an ideal solution for the backpackers who are looking for the lightest walking stick on the market. It is designed to be more enjoyable and easier to be carried. It folds up to a short length.
This product also has some drawbacks. It is not suitable for snow and cold conditions, and it is not very versatile because of the fixed basket. Bear in mind, that this model is made to be ultralight and fill this specific need of backpackers. But, extremely comfortable foam grips, the price point, and the weight savings have won us over.
- Lightweight and compact
- Folds up small
- Very portable
- Solid design for most outdoors activities
- Straps adjust nicely
- Z-pole lock is perfectly secure
- Accessory tips are easy to use and install
- Baskets cannot be replaced
- The length is not adjustable
- Baskets are too small for snow
Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber
The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber pole is a highly dependable model which will bring reliable support to backpackers who are hiking on light to advanced terrain. It will not break when hit on the hard surfaces thanks to its durable design which makes the structure sturdy.
It is made of carbon that will resist different weather conditions such as rain or snow. Thanks to the sturdy mud baskets it can’t sink into the mud. And if you are snowshoeing, you won’t have to worry about the deep snow either.
The great thing about these poles is that they are suitable for both short or tall hikers. You can easily extend and fold it, and adapt it quickly to your needs. They have tremendous support and offer reliability even to the large backpackers. Because of that, they are also fantastic for hikers with balance dysfunction and weak knees.
In less time and with less effort you can cover great distance thanks to these trekking poles. It is handy and vital to have support when going downhill becomes a challenge, and the trek becomes exhausting.
Another great thing is that the locks on this model can be easily switched to fasten and flipped. They will not lose hold even under the extreme pressure. As we already said it earlier, they are very reliable. The pole’s hold is supported by foam lining underneath and firm thanks to the comfortable cork grip. The straps will not slip from your wrists as they are made of mesh and foam.
But, you need to be very careful because this pole can break when subjected to extreme stress. It will break when you apply overwhelming pressure.
- Long lasting and durable
- Can be folded and extended smoothly
- Very portable
- Comfortable Grip and made of cork
- Can break under extreme pressure
Foxelli HOG1 Carbon Fiber
The Foxelli HOG1 Carbon Fiber walking sticks are one of the cheapest trekking poles on the market. Overall, they are super inexpensive, lightweight and have cork handles. We were very interested in taking a look and wanted to test it on the trail.
The things we like are its great ergonomic design and the cork handles which feels pretty good in the hands. The grips that are made from foam are well-cushioned and thick, making it more comfortable in uneven and rough terrain.
This model is a 3-section telescoping pole which can be easily folded and extended. You can adjust the stick thanks to the 2 lever locking mechanisms. But, they weren’t as strong as we hoped because they are made of plastic.
These trekking poles were one of the lightest ones we have tested and one of the cheapest. Because of that, its thin carbon fiber and plastic mechanism, we were considered with this product’s durability. It held up good on groomed easy trails, but we noticed that its longevity is not great.
The best thing about these walking sticks is the fact that it features many attachments. You will find two sets of rubber tips to cover the carbide ones, trekking and snow baskets. It can be used in different seasons except in winter.
It is pretty versatile for any outdoor adventure you are going, both on dirt and paved surfaces. Needless to say, that this model will best serve you as a day hiking pole. You can use it on weekend hiking trips. And the best part is that it is very cheap which is excellent news for any hiker who has a limited budget.
- Carbon/cork combination
- Relatively comfortable
- Very affordable
- Lots of attachments
- Not durable
- Carbon quality is cheap
The Advantages of Hiking with Trekking Poles
A trekking pole is a significant piece of equipment for mountaineering and hiking. While they may look a bit silly at first, we have found that they are amazingly versatile tools that will help with small tasks while backpacking. Here we give you some of the reasons why you should use them.
- Walking stick will allow your arms to help propel your upward and forward. Whether trekking up steep hills or on flat ground, these products will help you increase the speed.
- They reduce the impact on your feet, ankles, knees, and legs. They will help you the most when going downhill.
- You can use them to overcome some obstacles. They will make your trip more comfortable as they can swipe away spider webs and push away thorny plants.
- With the help of trekking poles, you will establish and maintain a consistent rhythm. That can also increase your speed.
- When you have two extra contact points in harsh terrain, your traction will be improved on slippery surfaces like loose rock, snow, and mud.
- Maintaining balance in difficult terrain such as slippery bog bridges, tree root-strewn trails or during river crossings will be much easier with the help of these walking sticks.
How to Choose Ideal Trekking Poles – Buying Guide
Not so long ago, almost no one used walking stick while hiking. But, that has changed. Nowadays, you will find trekking poles used by thru-hikers, mountaineers, trail runners and casual hikers. They will help you save your energy and joints and increase your stability and speed.
According to some studies, walking sticks can reduce the impact on your knees by 40 percent. While some backpackers don’t like them and suggest that older people should only use them, our testers of different ages found them to make their adventure more enjoyable and very useful.
Long distance walking and hiking provide a wealth of psychological and physical advantages. But, when you are backpacking, you should do everything to make yourself more comfortable and walking more enjoyable. That is when the best trekking poles come in rescue.
They will help you to cover greater distances during your travels and keep you safe in some challenging terrain. They can also be used as a weapon against the stray dog, or some wildlife. And as we enter the hiking season, it is essential to have all the right gear to support you in having the most effective, fun, and safe workout possible.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Before you purchase the right trekking poles for you, first you need to answer a few questions.
One or Two Poles?
That depends on your personal preferences. It is best to use two sticks for balancing your weight over the miles and for long treks, and one pole for summit pushes for stability or short hikes. Single sticks may include the ability to screw off the grip and have wider grips.
Twist or Flick?
Twist locks and flick locks are two different ways of securing down your adjustable hiking stick. You just need to choose the right one. Flick locks are the best option if you are going to use your pole in the winter. It works well in cold temperatures, and it is easy to adjust with your gloves on. On the other hand, if you are going to use your walking sticks in summer, then the twist lock system is perfect for you.
Shock Absorbing or Not?
Shock-absorbing hiking sticks are a perfect choice if you have creaky knees or achy joints. But, these poles also have their downsides. The stability will be slightly decreased and the power on the ascent will be slightly loosened. You should look for the products that have this feature which can be turned off and on. Bear in mind that it will also add extra weight.
Trekking poles are made from different materials, each of which has its cons and pros. This should be the essential thing to consider when you are purchasing the right walking stick for you. We are here to help you make an informed decision and see what material will suit your needs.
This material offers a fantastic combination of weight and durability. You can adjust their length according to your needs. With too much pressure and weight, they often bend, but they will rarely break off. The good part is that they are easily repairable in the field.
Carbon fiber trekking poles are usually lighter than aluminum one, but almost as strong as them. They are perfect if you are going on a long hike adventure. But, it is not a good idea to use this material on the harsh terrain.
Grip comes in different designs to suit everyone’s needs. They can offer you great comfort while hiking. Materials used in them are rubber, cork, and foam.
In our opinion, the foam is the most comfortable and softest one. But, it is not the best option for every backpacker as it will break faster and absorb water.
On the other hand, cork grips are moisture-resistant. The great thing about it is that it is antimicrobial so it will remove odor, and because it molds into your hand it is also very comfortable. The downside of these poles is their price point. They tend to be expensive.
And the last one is rubber grip. They are the best choice for the winter hiking because they are water-resistant. But, that is not great for hot weather conditions. You can purchase the hiking stick with an extended pole. That is a great solution when you are on the terrain with many downs and ups.
Trekking baskets are all-season equipment. They are perfect to use in snowy or muddy trails. Their size depends on what activity you want to do. Some trekking poles come with interchangeable baskets while others include fixed ones. Your pole will be more versatile for different terrains if it has a removable basket. When purchasing one for your hiking stick, make sure they fit perfectly.
When it comes to tip, most trekking poles have a carbide steel one. They can be skid on harsh terrain and noisy. Some hikers claim that they can do more damage than benefits. On the other hand, rubber ones are excellent on harsh surfaces such as slick rock or pavement, and quieter. But, they don’t offer the same secure grip and falter on wet surfaces.
The strap is an essential part of the pole because it will prevent you from losing the stick. That could happen on some rough terrain if it slips out of your hand. But, if you are on the slippery ground, it is best not to use it. In that situation, it can do more damage if it gets stuck around your wrist. So, be careful with that.
Make your Trekking Poles Last Longer
To make your trekking poles last longer, you need to take care of them properly. Take your sticks apart and let them dry adequately, after every use. That is especially important if you went on snowy or wet hikes. Bear in mind that before you collapse the telescoping poles, it is essential to dry them off.
Trekking poles can provide you with more comfort and make your time outdoors more enjoyable. You will be able to cover more miles when you have more stability, increased speed and decreased impact on your knees and ankles. Adding this piece of equipment to your gear collection is the best thing to do while hiking.
You will find yourself out on the trail more often and having more fun in the process. In this article, we have selected and reviewed the best poles so we can help you narrow down your choices. Choose the right one for your needs, and it will become your new best friend when going hiking!