Best Trekking Poles for Comfortable Hiking

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 11, 2020
The less your legs are exhausted, the longer you can enjoy your hike. The trekking poles dramatically reduce the impact on your hips, knees, and ankles when you're going uphill or downhill. They can also improve your balance and help you keep the body stable, ensuring the safety of your hiking trips. Give them a try and feel the difference from the very first step. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Size
Lock
Material
Extras
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

Thanks to the Control Shock Technology, the poles have excellent shock-absorbing properties, which makes it easier for users to control them even on the most rugged terrain.

CONS

The storage clip isn't very convenient to use.

OUR VERDICT

Designed specifically for women, these light and grippy poles can stand up to any adventure. Made with the Control Shock technology, they guarantee extra stability on the most aggressive trails. They absorb shocks like no other. 

detailed parameters
Size

From 24"  to 49"

Lock

Double Flick Lock Pro

Material

Shaft: Aluminium

Grip: Non-slip foam

Extras

Interchangeable carbide tech tips, Control shock technology, Low-profile trekking baskets, 360-degree padded webbing strap, Storage clip

Weight

Each pole weighs 1 lbs 4 oz 

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The handles here are anatomically shaped at an 8-degree angle and are made of a unique material, COR-TEC, which is 80% natural ground cork. So, a strong grip and minimum strain are guaranteed.

CONS

The straps may lose their elasticity over time. 

OUR VERDICT

If you need a decent set that can be used for prolonged periods of time, you should definitely consider the LEKI Legacy. Made from high-quality materials and packed with the latest technologies, the sticks offer all-day trail comfort, support, and control.

detailed parameters
Size

From 39" to 53"

Lock

Speed Lock +

Material

Shaft: Aluminium

Grip: EVOCON CorTec

Extras

Interchangeable basket system, Carbide Flex tips, Dynamic suspension system

Weight

Each pole weighs 9 oz

Warranty

Lifetime

PROS

The poles are made from 7075 aluminum which can withstand pressure and impacts better than carbon fiber or 6061 aluminum. This is important if you're hiking in rocky terrain.

CONS

The rubber tips might come off when walking.

OUR VERDICT

The TrailBuddy 2-pc pack is an excellent offering for those who need stylish, strong, and dependable walking sticks coming at a moderate price. They are made from ultra-light materials and come with a complete set to tackle any adventure.

detailed parameters
Size

From 24.5" to 54"

Lock

Easy-to-use lever-locks

Material

Shaft: Aluminium 7075

Grip: Cork

Extras

2 pair of rubber tips, 1 pair of connectors, Mud baskets, Snow baskets, Carrying bag

Weight

Each pole weighs approximately 7 oz

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Adjusting the length of these poles takes mere seconds, and the height markings make it possible to do it on the go. Also, they are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 1-year warranty against all defects.

CONS

The spring on the anti-shock may make a slight squeak. 

OUR VERDICT

If you're just about to start walking with trekking poles, Bafx Products offers you a great entry-level set. The sticks are ultimately versatile and are suitable for not only different terrain conditions but also different users from 3'6" up to 6'4", with any fitness level.

detailed parameters
Size

From 26.5" to 52"

Lock

Twist locking system

Material

Shaft: Aluminium 6061

Grip: Comfortable ergonomic

Extras

Anti-shock spring in pole, Measuring marks for easy adjustment, 2 sets of rubber tips (4 tips total), 1 set of mud disks, Wrist straps, Manual with link to instructional video

Weight

Each pole weighs approximately 12 oz

Warranty

1 year

PROS

A large number of additional tips allow you to use poles on all types of terrain and in any weather conditions. The set also includes a nice carry bag for all the accessories. 

CONS

Over the time, you might need to re-adjust flip locks during a hike.

OUR VERDICT

These are one of the most comfortable walking poles on the market. They come with numerous interchangeable tips, which makes them a wonderful choice for professional climbers, thru-hikers, and beginners alike.

detailed parameters
Size

From 24" to 54"

Lock

External lever lock

Material

Shaft: Carbon Fiber

Grip: Cork with EVA Foam Grip extensions

Extras

Rubber feet, Rubber tips, Snow baskets, Mud baskets, Wrist straps, Carry bag

Weight

Each pole weighs 7.6 ounces

Warranty

1 year

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock

Women Oriented Poles

If you're an avid hiker looking for a decent set of women's trekking poles that would be great on all kinds of terrain, this offering by Black Diamond may steal your attention. It's a premium pair of poles with a dual-density grip and a 360-degree padded webbing strap, which is designed especially for women. That's why the hand grip here is contoured slightly different from men's hiking sticks due to the peculiarities of women's bodies (smaller hands and grip). Also, their length is a little shorter than that intended for men. Therefore, they can be folded to quite a compact size and even fit into a hiking backpack, which is great when you're out all day long and don't need the poles for every part of your journey. When fully collapsed, they are only 24" in length.

The poles retract or adjust quickly and easily. The Double Flick Lock Pro locks are secure yet not very hard to pop open. The latches work really well, and you can rest assured that no slipping will ever happen on the trail.

Also, it's worth mentioning that the poles are marked "L" and "R". The main difference between them is how the hand strap is configured on each one (the straps should be thicker around each hand's thumb).

Review of Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles

Super Shock Absorbtion

Yet, the best part about the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles is that they are made with the Control Shock technology to ensure decent stability on the most aggressive trails up or downhill. The shock cushions absorb just the right amount of energy and provide extra support and balance when walking in rocky streams and over hard mountainous terrain.

The only con is that the poles don't come with padded tips, only metal ones. So, if you need extra padding and bounce, you may want to purchase the thick, rubbery protectors additionally. But other than that, you'll find no flaws with this set.

All in all, these are nice heavy-duty poles that can accompany you during any adventure that life throws at you. They perfectly absorb most of the shocks, giving you extra stability both on rocks and in the mud. So, if you need reliable trekking poles that will let you lean on them like on your best friend, this set by Black Diamond may be exactly what you need.

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

LEKI Legacy Lite COR-TEC

High-Quality Construction

With over 60 years of experience, LEKI produces some of the best trekking poles in the industry, and the Legacy set is great proof of that. It combines the most advanced technologies and the highest quality materials to make treks and hikes as comfortable for users as possible.

To begin with, these poles are unlikely to cause wrist strain even after extended use. That's largely achieved owing to the innovative COR-TEC grips that are made from 80% natural ground cork for all-day trail comfort, support, and control. Also, the built-in 8-degree angle in the grips keeps your wrist in a neutral position, thus, ensuring more efficient pole plants. The grips are completed with adjustable straps that feature a secure release mechanism (without buckles) and an optimized non-slip surface. They are air-textured and dry pretty fast.

As for the poles themselves, the upper shaft is made from 16 mm HTS 6.5 aluminum and the lower shaft is made from 14mm aluminum. The material is heat-treated and boasts excellent stability, robustness, and durability. Also, it makes the poles very lightweight and easier to maneuver.

As fas as the construction is concerned, we would like to stress that the poles are fitted with the latest SpeedLock Plus lever locking mechanisms that are now smaller and stronger than the previous generation, so they reduce the swing-weight on the trail without sacrificing the performance. In addition, they offer quick length adjustments even if you wear gloves thanks to the raised "speed dial".

Review of LEKI Legacy Lite COR-TEC Pole Pair

For any Trail

The poles have the standard Flextips that ensure a perfect grip on nearly all types of terrain and surfaces. That said, you can easily replace them with rubber walking tips if needed. The rubber tips will give better bounce and make your rides softer with little to no vibration in the poles.

The same goes for the interchangeable basket system that allows for inserting a wide variety of different-sized LEKI baskets. This way, you can get additional snow baskets (ensure effective protection against sinking in) and make an easy transition between summer and winter hiking trips. Being ultimately versatile and comfortable, the LEKI legacy set is a great choice for different weather and terrain.

LEKI Legacy Lite COR-TEC Pole Pair in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

TrailBuddy 2-pc Pack Adjustable 7075

Lighter than Ever

We couldn't skip the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles that boast a 5-star rating and nearly 8,000 positive reviews on Amazon. These are very stylish, strong, and dependable walking sticks that can make a world of difference for any outdoor enthusiast. Manufactured from durable materials, they can give you much more confidence and rid you of the fear of falling over or twisting anything as you turn around. Walking with these sticks will also make hikes easier on your knees and joints, so you're likely to experience no discomfort during and after hiking. This is largely achieved owing to the fine quality, light weight, and sturdy design of this set.

First off, we would like to emphasize that despite the moderate price tag, the TrailBuddy sticks are made from tough aluminum and can withstand pressure and impact better than most other hiking poles within its price bracket. That's especially crucial if you're hiking on rocky terrain. Moreover, the manufacturer has used the ultra-light 7075 aircraft aluminum, which makes the poles up to 4 ounces lighter than typical models made from 6061 aluminum.

This material also allows you to go through rivers and streams, as well as use the poles to gauge and test the ground or riverbed. Just give the poles a thorough drying afterward and you're good to go.

Review of TrailBuddy 2-pc Pack Adjustable 7075 Aluminum Trekking Poles

Excellent Customer Service

The first thing you'll get after buying the TrailBuddy poles is excellent customer support. Within a few minutes after placing an order, you'll receive an email from one of the managers, giving you all the necessary information on the use of these poles.

All that being said, the box includes the instruction brochure as well. It's small but packs a lot of information and clear directions about how to adjust the sticks to the needed height, how to tighten them, and how to test them to make sure they won’t slip. The instructions literally take all the guesswork out of adjusting the poles. Owing to the advanced lever locks, you'll be able to do that with one hand only, even when wearing a glove or trekking in wet conditions. Basically, you can change the height of these telescoping poles from 25.5" to 54". When fully retracted, they seem to fit into most suitcases. However, if that still isn't enough for you, you can disassemble the poles and the length will go down to 21".

Being super-easy to adjust on the fly, supportive, and comfortable, the TrailBuddy poles are excellent for those who need a decent hiking set that won't break the bank or your joints on the trail.

TrailBuddy 2-pc Pack Adjustable 7075 Aluminum Trekking Poles in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

BAFX Products Adjustable Anti Shock

Entry-Level Sticks

If you're not sure how to start your trekking experience and whether you'll like your new hobby or not, you may need something really versatile yet affordable. The Bafx Products poles may be an excellent entry-level set for you. Available at about $20, the sticks have everything to make your hikes more enjoyable.

First of all, they are made from lightweight aluminum and have comfortable grips with extra-wide padded wrist straps. The handles are fitted with cork inserts and have three bumps for an ergonomic grip. That's why the poles are unlikely to slip out of your hands even if you get sweaty.

Next, it's worth mentioning that each pole comes with two rubber tips and two spares, which makes four tips in total. Also, there is a carbide tip built into each pole and two additional mud baskets. Carbide tips work fantastic for digging into gravel trails, hard-packed paths, and ice, while mud baskets will help you prevent the sticks from sinking into the ground. Rubber tips are also really nice inclusions, as they are great for walking on paved paths and sidewalks.

So, if you're a senior who is absolutely delightful and young-at-heart, you may use these walking sticks to lessen the impact on your knees, ankles, and legs when running errands. With rubber tips on, the poles can be used indoors and outdoors to provide you additional support and a whole-body workout.

Review of BAFX Products Adjustable Anti Shock Aluminum Hiking Poles

For Anybody

What makes the BAFX Products hiking poles even more versatile is the fact that they boast an anti-shock feature located on the top of the middle section. Actually, it's just an internal spring that can help reduce the sharp jolts traveling through the poles when they hit the ground. It gives more bounce on rocky terrain and helps users keep up a faster pace. Yet, if you don't need the anti-shock feature, you can easily deactivate it.

On top of that, these hiking poles are super adjustable and can fit anybody from 3'6" up to 6'4". The manufacturer kindly provides a sizing chart with photos, showing you how far you need to extend the poles. The sticks themselves also have convenient height markings to help you get them set to the right length.

As you can see, the BAFX Products walking poles can suit kids, adults, seniors, experts, and weekenders alike. They will bring peace of mind when out on the trail and help prevent fatigue, letting you take longer strolls or hikes.

BAFX Products Adjustable Anti Shock Aluminum Hiking Poles in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

No Slip!

Hiker Hunger company has earned a reputation as the manufacturer of durable and comfortable products over the years, and their Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles carry on the old tradition. These new generation poles are manufactured entirely from carbon fiber, which makes them extremely light, highly resistant to UV radiation, and waterproof. At 7.6 ounces each, the poles will provide you with great support and shock absorption on all types of terrain.

When it comes to length range, they go from 24″ to 52″, and their locking mechanism allows you to adjust them quickly even with your gloves on. The flip locks are reliably secured with metal screws that won't loosen over time and won’t fall out. Using the locking mechanisms on these trekking poles is a no-brainer if you read the instructions carefully. The manual includes clear guidelines on how you can get the poles to their proper height for comfortable use and how to make sure they won't collapse when in use.

The ergonomic cork grip is very comfortable here as it nicely contours your hand, while the EVA foam grip extensions underneath make your hands less sweaty on hot summer days. Unlike rubber or plastic handles, these poles won't chafe or become slick and unreliable. There are three bulbs in the grips and several grip locations that make it easier for users to shift to a shorter pole length. This may be especially convenient on hikes with frequent steep trail sections since the poles allow for quick transition from flat ground to climbing, and vice-versa.

Review of Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Complete Set

Aside from a pair of hiking sticks, you'll get quite a generous set to make your walking experience comfortable in any weather and on any trek. The extras include rubber feet, additional snow and mud baskets, as well as tip covers. The multiple basket options are very helpful for different terrain - the smaller baskets provide extra stability in soft sand and minimize the chances of bumping your heals or getting the poles caught in the ground. The bigger ones are great for snowy conditions.

All of the accessories are easy to interchange and fairly lightweight, which makes it possible to throw multiple accessories in your pack and replace them on-the-go if needed. For neat storage, the set also includes a carry case with a zipped pocket that can hold all the accessories. The bag straps nicely to the side of a backpack and doesn't let the poles poke through it.

Overall, if you're after a complete hiking set for different trail conditions, this offering by Hiker Hunger may be the best bet for you. It includes plenty of accessories and comes with the ultra-light carbon poles.

Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Are Trekking Poles?

Most walkers, trekkers, hikers, backpackers, and snowshoers are likely to suffer from knee pain unless they use trekking poles. Hiking poles enhance the stability of your body when you haul a heavy load and provide support on all types of terrain. They also let you feel more secure when walking across loose, small, or slippery rocks. Besides that, walking sticks may bring a number of other benefits. For example, they really shine on stream crossings, giving you two extra anchor points. Or, they can be used as auxiliary equipment for a camping tent installation.

Hiking sticks can also conserve your energy when you go uphill, and reduce load and impact on your legs when you go downhill. Moreover, if your hands usually swell when hiking, trekking poles may improve blood circulation by keeping the hands closer to the level of your heart. Most poles are foldable and easily fit into a hiking backpack. They won't add much weight but will surely make your hikes safer, faster and your routes longer.

The other hiking gear you may want to keep in your pack include a compass, LED flashlight, hand warmer, and swiss army knife. According to the majority of outdoor enthusiasts, these are the top things to have on the trail just in case.

What Features to Compare

Choosing the right trekking poles for your needs may be quite a daunting task. That's why we would like to stress the most important aspects you should take into account when making a choice.

Material

Basically, all trekking poles are made either from carbon or aluminum.

Carbon walking poles are considered to be more expensive as they are extremely lightweight, and you will barely notice you're carrying them. That's why carbon poles are the top choice of ultralight backpackers. Yet, they are not that great for extreme conditions since they may splinter or crack easily.

Aluminum trekking poles boast maximum durability and are suitable for the most aggressive trails. Even when put under serious stress, they aren't likely to break. They are also more affordable than carbon sticks, yet a bit heavier. Also, they can't dampen vibration as well as carbon.

Grip

There are several main grip types available - cork, rubber, or foam.

Cork is considered to be the most comfortable one since it molds to the hand and dampens vibration while walking. Also, cork handles ensure a better grip when your hands are sweaty. Needless to say, cork is also a preferable choice of eco-conscious users who look for products made of sustainable materials. The only downside of cork grips is that they are not very durable.

Rubber handles are the best choice for winter hiking or mountaineering since they have great insulating properties and can dampen vibration really well. That said, they can become slippery during warmer days.

Foam is an affordable alternative to a cork grip. It absorbs sweat really well and can stay soft and comfortable on longer hikes.

Anti-Shock Properties

If you have creaky knees and achy joints or would like to prevent having them, investing in a set of anti-shock poles is a wise idea. The spring-loaded mechanisms will absorb most of the impact on descents. Yet, the tradeoff for that is an increased weight of poles.

Some higher-end models allow you to turn off the shock absorbers on smooth roads and activate them on rocky terrain.

Length Adjustment

Also, consider how long the poles can retract and what locking mechanism they use. Most walking sticks may be extended up to 55" and shrunk down to a very short size (30" or less) for storage. Generally, there are two ways of locking the poles down - flick locks or twist locks.

Flick locks are quicker and more convenient to use since they can be adjusted with one hand, with your gloves. Also, they work well in sub-zero temperatures, where twist-lock systems may fail.

Twist locks use the basic locking mechanism that tightens when the two sections of the poles are twisted in opposite directions. This system is cheaper but is prone to sliding in cold weather.

Sources:

1. Trekking Poles and Hiking Staffs: How to Choose, REI.

2. Ian Nicholson How to Choose the Best Trekking Pole, OutdoorGearLab. July 31, 2014.

3. How To Buy Trekking Poles, theCLYMB.

4. How to Choose Trekking Poles, Outdoor Gear Exchange.

5. Seth Levy Trekking Poles: To Use or Not, Benefits and Drawbacks, Trailspace.

6. Philip Werner Trekking poles: Pros and Cons, SectionHiker.

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