If you’re a walker, hiker, trekker, or backpacker, then you know that trekking poles and hiking staffs are standard equipment for you. Not only do they enhance your stability and give you much needed support, but they also take the strain off of your joints and make the mountaineering experience more enjoyable. They’re not meant to decrease your expenditure of energy, since you’re actually going to be using your arms more than if you weren’t using the poles, but they help to distribute your energy usage so that you can help your hiking endurance. If you want to learn more about the benefits of ultralight trekking poles, check out our article here. Lets take a look at the types of poles that are on the market, so that you can find something that suits your needs.
Top Ranked Trekking Poles
Our summary of the current top ranked trekking poles is below. For the most up to date reviews, please visit us here.
|Rank||Brand & Model||Shaft||Our Rating||Price|
|1||Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles||Aluminum||$$|
|2||Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles||Aluminum||$$$|
|3||Montem Ultralight Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||Carbon Fiber||$$$|
|4||Leki Corklite Trekking Poles||Aluminum||$$$$|
|5||Bearios Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||Carbon Fiber||$$$|
|6||Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles||Carbon Fiber||$$$$|
|7||Montem Folding Collapsible Trekking Poles||Aluminum||$$$|
|8||Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||Carbon Fiber||$$|
|9||Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||Carbon Fiber||$$$|
|10||Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||Carbon Fiber||$$$$|
Types of Trekking Poles
Trekking Poles: These are sold in pairs, and they can be used in tandem. They’re meant to enhance your stability and they can reduce the force on your knees while you’re hiking or backpacking. These poles are often adjustable in length and some will have internal springs that help to absorb the shock and impact of hiking.
Hiking Staff: A hiking staff is otherwise known as a walking staff, and it’s a single pole that is effective when you’re walking on flat terrain, and it helps to reduce the load on your back. A hiking staff is also adjustable, and some will have shock absorbing features as well. Some of these will even have a built-in camera mount under the handle so that you can use it as a monopod.
Trekking Pole Features
Adjustable: You’re going to find that most ultralight trekking poles are adjustable in length, and this helps to enhance the stability that you get on different terrain. You can adjust them from 24 to 55 inches, and it’s best to shorten the poles when you’re going uphill, and then lengthen them when going downhill.
Shock-absorbing poles: This kind of pole has an internal spring that will absorb the shock when you’re walking downhill. You can turn this feature off when it is not needed, such as when you’re walking uphill. This feature is recommended when you have weak or damaged ankles, hips, or knees. Keep in mind this feature is going to cost a bit more money.
Standard poles: Standard poles do not have shock absorbing qualities and they are lighter and less expensive. They’re not going to absorb as much impact when you’re walking downhill, but they do give you a similar level of balance and support as the shock absorbing poles.
Ultralight: These poles have less swing weight, and it makes them easier to move. If you like to hike for long distances then you’re going to experience less fatigue with these poles. These ultralight poles are also easier to pack when you’re going on a trip. The shaft materials determine the weight of the pole, and these are built from lightweight materials that are less than 1 pound per pair.
Camera mount: A camera mount pole includes a built-in camera mount under the handle, and this means that you’ll be able to use the pole as a monopod.
Trekking Pole Locking Mechanisms
Trekking poles will come with two or three interlocking sections that make it possible to adjust their length. There is a range of adjustability, and this lets you adapt the poles to various heights and kinds of terrain. The locking mechanisms can be used to secure the poles at the desired length, and then keep them from slipping when they are in use. There are four different kinds of locking mechanisms to choose from.
External lever lock: This kind of pole uses a lever-based, clamp-like mechanism that is easy and fast to adjust, even when you’re hiking with gloves on.
Push-button lock: This is a simple locking mechanism that snaps into place and locks with a single pull. All you have to do is press a button to release the lock, and then the poles will be collapsible.
Combination lock: This kind of lock helps you to achieve a balance of strength, ease of use, and lightweight quality. Sometimes this comes in the form of an external lever lock on the upper shaft and twist lock on the lower portion.
Trekking Pole Shaft Materials
The material that the pole is made of is going to determine its overall weight and durability, and that is why finding the right material is so important. There are a number of different materials that you can choose, but generally it’s always a smart idea to go with something that is light in weight, so that it makes your trekking experience easier. Keep in mind that materials that are lighter in weight are going to cost you more money.
Aluminum: This is the most durable and economical choice, as aluminum poles weigh about 18 to 22 ounces per pair. Weight and price are going to vary from pole to pole, and this is also based upon the gauge of the pole. Under stress, the aluminum can bend, but it will almost never break.
Carbon fiber: This is a material that is lighter and more expensive, and they can average from 13 to 18 ounces per pair. This kind of pole is great for reducing vibration, however under high stress, the carbon fiber poles are more vulnerable to breaking and splintering. Should you be someone that hikes in rugged areas, then this is something that you’re definitely going to want to keep in mind.
Trekking Pole Grip Material
Cork: This kind of material is resistant to moisture, and this is great for those who have sweaty hands. It also decreases the vibration and easily conforms to your hands, making it a comfortable option.
Foam: This material also absorbs moisture, and it is the softest one to the touch, making it ultra comfortable.
Rubber: Rubber is great for insulating the hands from the cold, and also providing protection against shock and vibration. This is a great material to choose for cold weather activities. Keep in mind that chafing and blistering can happen with rubber grips, so they’re less great for warm weather hiking.
Women’s Trekking Poles
Some women may need special trekking poles, as they may require shorter and smaller grips. Some women can get away with buying a unisex pole, but if you’re of a more petite stature then you want to consider getting a pole specially designed for you. They’re also easier to swing because they’re lighter in weight.
Other Trekking Pole Considerations
Wrist straps: On most poles you can adjust the length of each strap so that you can find the most comfortable fit, and some even have padded and lined straps to prevent chafing.
Baskets: Some poles will come with a removable basket to apply at the tip end. You can also substitute this for larger baskets should you be hiking in snowy or muddy terrain.
Pole tips: Pole tips are most often made from carbide or steel, and they are meant to provide traction. There are also rubber tip protectors that will extend the life of the tips and help to protect your gear when the poles are stowed in your pack. These are handy for using in sensitive areas so that you can reduce the impact of the ground. You can also find angled rubber tips for use on asphalt and other hard surfaces.
Trekking poles are the perfect solution for hikers and walkers that want to reduce strain and have more ease out on the trail. There are tons of trekking poles to choose from, and what you should select is dependent upon what kind of trekking you’ll be doing, and how lightweight you want the poles to be. Keep in mind that the lighter the poles the more expensive they’re going to be, but perhaps this would still be a good investment for you if you’re someone that has sensitive joints. The top rated trekking poles are going to work for almost anyone, but if you want to continue your search then our buyer’s guide is here to help you to learn more about what your options are.