For starters, there are primarily 2 types of trekking poles; those with an anti-shock system, and those without- although it is debatable whether or not anti-shock systems hold any real benefit to the user, especially considering that more features mean there’s more to go wrong!
Other things to consider- from the bottom up, are:
1. The Tip
This is where all the hard work is done, so be sure that the tip is made from a hard wearing substance such as tungsten carbide. You should also have a rubber cover to slot over the tip for easier walks and for packing.
These prevent your poles from sticking into the mud, snow, or any soft ground by diffusing the weight from the tip to the entire surface of the basket. Usually removable, it is best to have a small selection of baskets for different conditions.
This is where the strength of the pole lies. The shaft is usually telescopic for easy packing and so you can adjust the pole for the perfect height for yourself.
Materials from which the shaft is made vary depending mainly on your budget. With shafts being made from aluminum, titanium, steel and carbon fibre, there’s always something to suit every size of pocket!
4. Wrist Strap
The wrist strap mustn’t be too tight, but should be both supportive and comfortable, as it’s this strap that will absorb a high amount of weight when you push down on the poles.
5. Hand Grip
There are a wide variety of hand grips out there, from plain plastic to ergonomically cork designs. But make sure the hand grip is extremely comfortable for your grip. If it’s not, you could end up with raw or even blistered palms! Remember that you will change your grip throughout your day on the fells, so make sure the hand grip suits all of these.
With the right poles, masses of strain will be taken from your body, allowing you to have a more enjoyable, less strenuous day in the hills; so take your time when picking your poles. Ensure they are perfect for you.
Check out the 14 Best Trekking Poles on the market right now:
1. Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles
5 separate Carbon shaft sections, diameters 18mm/16mm/14/14/14 Push button “lock” system for quick, easy assembly and packing 20 cm of length adjustment is provided by Leki Speed Lock, strongest external lock (TUV) PE coated, Kevlar reinforced tension cord for long term reliability Maximum tension between shaft sections made possible by internal spring in lower shaft Carbon section ends are protected by machined Aluminum sleeves for extra long wear Stainless steel connectors help to center shaft sections for quick, snag free assembly Exclusive Aergon grip / Thermo grip / extension Air-textured security strap Carbide Flextip, compact performance basket (interchangeable).
2. Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles
A versatile, extremely stable pole with game-changing Z-Pole technology, the Black Diamond Distance Z meets the everyday demands of day hikers, backpackers and trail runners. Much like their avalanche probes, their speed cone deployment employs a coated inner Kevlar cord and conical shaft ends for quick and strong alignment. You simply grab the grip and the first shaft section, and pull them away from each other. The pole will snap into place and lock. Each speed cone guides a shaft section into place and stiffens the joint when the pole is locked. They also have a lightweight EVA ribbed grip with mini extension for quick choke-ups on steep inclines and interchangeable tips for variable trail surfaces. Breathable, moisture wicking mesh wrist straps are right and left hand specific to maximize pushing power and minimize wrist pinch.
3. BungyPump Walkathlon, 2-in-1 Fitness Walking Pole
BungyPump Walkathlon is truly a multifunctional pole that offers all the benefits from the built-in resistance, as well as all the benefits from a fixed traditional walking pole. The 8.8 lbs. of built-in resistance gives the user effective yet gentle fitness and strength training, while the fixed option is perfect for hikes in mountains, rugged terrains or as support on slipper surfaces. With the moveable locking mechanism the pole can quickly and easily change from springy to fixed pole in just seconds. Activates both the upper and lower part of the body resulting in 90% of the body’s muscles being activated and increases the calorie consumption with up to 77% compared to regular walking. Green design, adjustable length, secure locking mechanism, cork handle with ergonomically designed wrist straps and can be used by the whole family. Comes in a pair of two poles, tungsten tips, baskets and rubber feet.
4. JESBAN 2-Pack Trekking Poles
Carbon fiber content 80%, 0.45 lb each, super light but sturdy, suitable for most shapes. EVA foam handle, sweat-absorbent and comfortable. Suede finish & anti-slip wrist & adjustable strap, avoid cutting your hand. Durable tungsten steel tips to uneven, rocky and challenging terrain, rubber feet for flat terrain, optional snow disk for softer surfaces. Physical anti-shock & flip lock system: carbon fiber material shaft owns physical anti-shock itself, plus fast lock to ensure safety. [Note: The screw on the flip lock is adjustable to appropriate tightness]. Adjustable height: 24.4″ to 52″ long, suitable for most human height.
5. Palisade Gear Trekking Poles – 100% Carbon Fiber
This is their latest line of carbon fiber trekking poles, The Sawtooth. These poles are built for the elite hiker looking to cut every ounce they are carrying. At only 8.8 ounces per pole, these trekking poles will help you trim excess weight and hike longer and farther. The ultralight EVA grip is designed to give you a better grip when you need it most, especially in wet conditions. These poles are designed to be deployed and adjusted quickly with the flip style secure locking system. The Flip Lock system also means these poles will be held secure once deployed, so you can count on them to help you navigate difficult terrain. This pair of trekking poles includes an ultralight mud skirt, tactical snow skirt and an elite rubber training tip. These poles are designed to be used in all weather, from mud and snow or packed trail and pavement. These poles are built to last, and made using the highest quality materials and technology. With 100% Carbon Fiber shaft they don’t sacrifice anything to bring you the most durable and strongest carbon fiber pole available. These poles have been put to the test on some of the harshest terrain and conditions around the world, from the Himalaya to the Appalachian trail.
6. Exerstrider OS-2 Adjustable Total Body “Nordic” Walking Poles
These OS2 Total Body Walking poles deliver world class Nordic walking performance, value and quality! The OS2 series telescoping poles deliver world class performance, value and quality with extremely effectively vibration dampening and whisper quiet operation! All Exerstrider Poles by Tom Rutlin were developed with performance, comfort, durability, and ergonomics in mind. The exclusive handgrips and boot-shaped tips are marvels of ergonomic engineering. Tom is the “Father of Nordic Walking,” and has been sharing Exerstriding with the world for over 25 years.
7. Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Hiker Hunger Trekking Poles are the Strongest, Lightest, & Most Portable poles available! These compact poles are perfect to take on backpacking routes, mid-winter expeditions and far-flung adventures with ease. 100% Carbon Fiber – Carbon Fiber is a natural anti-shock material. The poles are not a cheap mix between carbon fiber and aluminum. Quick Flip Lock so you can collapse or extend your poles from 24” (60.9 cm) all the way to 54” (137 cm) quickly. When not in use, these are easy to collapse and small enough to pack in your Carry Bag (free bag included in purchase!) and can be stored within your backpack. Each pole only weighs 7.6 ounces making the pair of poles only 15.2 ounces! That total is under 1 pound!
8. Foxelli Trekking Poles
Foxelli trekking poles meet all your hiking needs, with its adjustable quick lock technology, ultra-light design and shock-absorbent materials. Easily and quickly adjust poles’ length to fit adults or children. Burn 20% more calories while using Foxelli Trekking Poles! Increase traction, maintain balance and minimize impact on legs, knees, ankles and feet. Foxelli Poles offer ultimate comfort, durability and versatility under all trekking conditions for years to come.
9. Paria Tri-Fold Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Newly re-enforced locking mechanism, super-strong carbon fiber shafts and aluminum alloy connectors create an incredibly durable package. They will not let you down! The poles are quickly adjusted from 100 cm to 120 cm using a single flick-lock, allowing them to always be at the ideal length for whatever terrain you’re on. The unique folding design packs down to less than 15 inches in length, making the poles easy to fit into a carry-on or small backpack. Assembly is simple and takes just a few seconds. The ergonomic syncork handle will absorb sweat and provide all-day comfort for both men and women. Each trekking pole comes in at less than 9 ounces, reducing arm fatigue and letting you get farther on the trail.
10. Sterling Endurance Short Person’s Trekking Poles
These folding collapsible poles are designed to be the most durable, lightest and most easily transported available anywhere. Sterling Endurance poles take just seconds to assemble and disassemble. Each pole comes with a tungsten carbide tip, rubber tip cover and snow basket that enable you to use them on a variety of surfaces and in widely varying conditions. The shaft is made of T6 which is the strongest alloy of 7075 aluminum. T6 has the strength of many steels, while retaining aluminum’s lightweight qualities. The surface of the alloy is created through an advanced oxidation process that protects the metal from weathering and corrosion. The extra long eva foam handle provides versatility in changing terrain when switching handgrips becomes necessary. EVA foam gives it an excellent all weather soft comfortable feel while absorbing moisture from sweaty hands. Height is adjustable to accommodate people from 4′ 6″ to 5′ 3″ tall. The specially made hand strap has been widened and thickened for extra comfort. The lining breathes and wicks away sweat to make you more comfortable on long hikes. The strap length is easily adjusted to fit your hand comfortably.
11. Pair of Life In Motion Trekking/Hiking/Walking Poles
Each pole is only 9.25 ounces (1 lb 2-1/2 ounces for the pair), and are some of the lightest aluminum hiking poles on the market. Carbon Fiber trekking poles have much less impact resistance than aluminum and can shatter, making them unusable. The shafts are made of Aluminum 7075 (aerospace aluminum), which has a strength comparable to many steels and is much stronger than general purpose Aluminum 6061. If you decide to buy aluminum poles, make sure they are Aluminum 7075. When properly adjusted, the flip locks will not slip and are quick and easy to adjust by hand, no tools required. Locks that twist can be difficult to adjust compared to the flip locks. Cheap plastic/rubber grips don’t absorb sweat at all which leads to blisters. Cork grips absorb some sweat but not as much as the foam grips. Plus cork becomes brittle over time and eventually falls apart. All tips eventually wear down. So they made the tips on their Adventurer trekking poles replaceable, extending the life of your poles. Not all poles have this. What do you do when their tips are worn down?
12. Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles – One Pair
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles are built to last, comprising of tungsten tips, and EVA foam handles (stronger than cork!). You no longer have to worry if your poles can support you. Montem’s Trekking Poles are crafted out of Aluminum 7075 – the same material used to build airplanes. If it’s good enough for a plane, it’s good enough for us. They ensure the sturdiest trekking experience – perfect for you, your backpack, and your gear! Experience innovation. Made from the best quality, this grip won’t give you any hassle. It extends down the pole so when hiking uphill you can comfortably adjust your grip. When you’re out on a journey – be it for hours, days, or weeks – size matters. You don’t want to take items that are cumbersome. You need strong and you need compact. You need a set of hiking poles to take some burden off of your joints. Hikes can be very tiring, and also incredibly taxing on your body – specifically the ligaments and joints in your knees. Trekking poles are exceptional for helping you on your journey. Montem hiking poles are perfect for you, and do something most others don’t by making sure they close down into a compact 24″ with a weight of only 9.6 ounces per pole. They’re ultralight, sturdy, and great for traveling.
13. PaceMaker Stix Expedition Trekking Poles Pair
PaceMaker Stix Expedition Trekking Poles. Go further and faster with less energy, more stability, and greater safety. Built for toughness, durability, and lightweight high performance. Take your PaceMaker Stix Expedition series poles with you from the heights of the alpine mountain peaks to the riverbed valleys, lakes, and seaside beaches on the shore. Anywhere you want to go, the sticks will get you there safely and comfortably.
14. Brotree 2 Pack Anti Shock Trekking Hiking Walking Trail Poles
Perfect for trekking, hiking, walking, climbing, backpacking, mountaineering, snowshoeing and all outdoor activities. Suitable for men and women. Ultralight, Strong and Anti-Shock – Made of aircraft grade aluminum alloy material, extremely light (Only 9.5 oz), durable and not easy to deform. Compact and Easy to Carry – They fold up to a really manageable size 25” and can be clipped onto my backpack without being in the way. Comfortable Ergonomics Design Grip – EVA foam grip with wrist strap provides all-day comfort, non-slip and sweat-absorbent, fits your hand perfectly. Double Quick Flip-Lock Mechanisms – Easy to adjust the pole by the bolts from 25″(63 cm) to 53″(135 cm) quickly to get your preferred height. Nice Graphics on The Shaft – Represents the youth and vitality. Offer Better Balance during more challenging and rugged backcountry travel and reduce stress on your body during both the descent as well as the ascent.