Best trekking poles 2021

Gear

Many trekking pole models come with specific right and left designated poles, allowing for a more comfortable and reliable grip.

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Which trekking poles are best for hiking?

The perfect companion for a steep uphill climb, dangerous water crossing or slippery patch of snow, a sturdy pair of trekking poles can be a literal lifesaver when out on the trail. Not only do trekking poles assist with balance, but they can also increase your hiking speed while helping to reduce the strain placed on your knees and ankles, especially when wearing a heavy pack.

While many backpackers choose to hike with trekking poles, even casual day hikers can benefit from using them. With plenty of options to choose from, you can explore some of the top picks suitable for every type of budget. 

What to look for in quality trekking poles

Material

The best trekking poles materials are aluminum and carbon fiber. Aluminum poles are highly durable and more cost-effective. However, they tend to be heavier. Carbon fiber poles are incredibly lightweight and portable but can sometimes break under intense pressure. 

Weight

For most casual hikers, the weight of your trekking pole won’t matter too much. For backpackers or long-distance hikers, you will likely appreciate a lighter trekking pole after hiking several miles for days at a time. 

Grip

Trekking pole grips use either rubber, cork or foam. Rubber grips are excellent for shock absorption but can sometimes lead to blisters under certain conditions. Cork grips are moisture-resistant and offer an ergonomic handle that can conform to your hand shape. Foam grips are usually soft and comfortable, but they are also more likely to absorb moisture and sweat. 

Adjustability 

There are both fixed-length and adjustable trekking poles available. Fixed-length poles can weigh less than adjustable options but are not as easy to pack or transport and are unsuitable for use by hikers of varying heights. 

Adjustable poles are also helpful for backpackers who rely on trekking poles as the primary support system when setting up their lightweight tents. 

Best trekking poles 

Aluminum trekking poles

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles

Rated for four-season use, these trekking poles use durable aluminum for the shaft and 100 percent natural cork for the grip, giving your hands a comfortable hold on all terrain. Thick comfort straps add extra support and stability to your wrists.

Sold by Amazon, Backcountry and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Black Diamond Alpine FLZ Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Alpine FLZ Trekking Poles

Adjustable and lightweight, the Alpine FLZ trekking poles are constructed from forged aluminum and utilize a handy FlickLock which allows hikers to adjust the pole length securely as needed.

Sold by AmazonBackcountry and Dick’s Sporting Goods

LEKI Makalu Lite COR-TEC AntiShock Pole Pair

LEKI Makalu Lite COR-TEC AntiShock Pole Pair

Equipped with standard wide baskets near the tip, these poles can handle rocky, muddy or wet terrain with ease. The ergonomic COR-TEC grip is beneficial for your wrists, while the anti-shock technology reduces harsh impact.

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles

Like the Distance Carbon Z model, these fixed-length trekking poles are made from slightly heavier aluminum but offer long-lasting durability. The breathable ribbed foam grip wicks away sweat and moisture, keeping your hands dry even in hot weather.

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

Kelty Upslope 2.0 Trekking Poles

Kelty Upslope 2.0 Trekking Poles

An affordable pair of trekking poles by a trusted brand, these adjustable Kelty Upslope poles come with a sturdy non-slip tip great for trails and a rubber cap designed for harder road surfaces like asphalt or concrete.

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

TrailBuddy Lightweight Trekking Poles

TrailBuddy Lightweight Trekking Poles

Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, these lightweight, budget-friendly trekking poles are great for beginners and advanced hikers. With plenty of fun color options to choose from, you can select the look that best suits your style.

Sold by Amazon

Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

Having the option to choose between cork and EVA foam grips lets you choose the overall feel and material that will work best for your hiking style. These durable aluminum poles are great for long-distance trails or casual walks around the neighborhood.

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

TREKOLOGY Trek-Z Trekking Hiking Poles

TREKOLOGY Trek-Z Trekking Hiking Poles

Made in a Z-style design, the Trekology hiking poles come with both snow and mud baskets, so no matter where the trail takes you, you’ll be prepared. Also included is a handy carrying bag.

Sold by Amazon

Carbon fiber trekking poles

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Z-Poles

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Z-Poles

These fixed-length poles come in various sizes to suit a range of heights and still manage to collapse and fold for convenient transportation. With their ultralight design, most length options weigh less than a pound.

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Pole Pair

LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Pole Pair

The hollow core grip helps with overall weight savings, and the quick-drying security straps won’t become an annoyance halfway through your hike. The trusted LEKI Carbide Flextips firmly grip all kinds of terrain.

Sold by Amazon

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles

With a total weight of just 9-10 ounces, depending on the length, you’ll barely notice these poles when climbing up the steepest switchback or when storing them in your pack for a flat stretch. The moisture-wicking EVA foam provides a comfortable and stable grip.

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

By using padded wrist straps, you won’t have to worry about any uncomfortable rubbing or chaffing. Below the cork grip is an extended non-slip foam layer for those times when the route gets a little more strenuous.

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

LEKI Micro RCM Superlight Trekking Poles

LEKI Micro RCM Superlight Trekking Poles

Being the lightest option offered by LEKI, the price of these trekking poles is higher than others, but at just 5 ounces and with a fully collapsible design, these are ideal for hikers and trail runners focused on speed.

Sold by Backcountry 

Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

You won’t have an easy time finding a lightweight carbon fiber set of trekking poles at a more reasonable price. These Foxelli trekking poles come with several different tip attachments for snow, ice, mud, gravel and more.

Sold by Amazon

 

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