Hiking poles are an important piece of equipment for many experienced hikers. If you’ve never used one, it may not be immediately clear why people use them.
Besides improving your balance—especially on steep/rocky terrain—they also allow you greater traction on the move. Furthermore, they can reduce the pressure on your joints and give you a good upper-body workout. This is particularly useful for those who tend to carry very heavy packs while hiking.
But what do the best hiking poles look like? The answer varies depending on a number of factors. To help you with your purchase, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best poles currently on the market, along with a comprehensive buying guide.
Let’s get started!
Best Hiking Poles Reviews 2020
So here are our picks of the hiking poles. We’ve rounded up 10 of them after considerable research and analysis, so sit back, relax, and dive into the reviews.
1. TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
- Comes with padded straps for your comfort and convenience
- Pole height adjustable with lever locks between 24.5 and 54 inches
- Purchase includes a number of helpful and functional appendages
- Constructed from hardy and long-wearing aircraft-grade aluminum
- Available in 8 different colors including pink, blue and green
Our first pick is a pair of sturdy yet lightweight hiking poles from TrailBuddy. Constructed fully from durable, strong aluminum, these hiking poles are able to handle the pressure of heavy-duty hiking trips with ease.
Despite that, these poles are at least 4 ounces lighter than the brand’s earlier models. So if you’re used to frequently hiking on rocky/craggy terrain and are looking for some support, this seems to be a great fit.
Something we really love about this pair of hiking poles is that its height is adjustable. You can switch to heights between 24.5 inches and 54 inches with ease, thanks to the lever locking system.
But the most important aspect of comfortable pole usage has to do with the grip of the handle. These poles come with cork handles for exactly that reason; not only are they a much more durable option, but they’re also equipped with straps to eliminate chafing. Plus, they’re equipped with moisture-wicking properties, so you don’t have to worry about losing your grip if your hands get sweaty.
What’s more, these poles come with a number of accessories that you can switch between according to the needs of the terrain or weather. You can choose to use the poles tip-less, with mud or snow baskets, or with rubber tips for extra stability. Talk about convenience!
2. Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
- Carbon fiber construction makes the poles lightweight and convenient
- Telescoping adjustable height between 24 and 55 inches
- Twist locking system ensures a secure lock
- Comes with all necessary accessories for hiking in different conditions
- Equipped with moisture-absorbing cork handle and convenient straps
While aluminum is a good, durable option when it comes to hiking pole construction materials, in its place, carbon fiber is preferred by many. These highly rated hiking poles from Foxelli prove why that is.
The full carbon fiber construction of these poles makes them super lightweight and easy to maneuver; each one weighs only 7.6 ounces, so you won’t be weighed down by them when you’re on the move. Plus, carbon fiber is relatively better able to absorb shock than aluminum.
But that’s not the only reason why these hiking poles are such a suitable companion for hardcore hikers. Their length is fully adjustable between 24″ and 55″, which you can take advantage of using the twisting locks. Some people prefer lever locks, but twisting ones offer greater security.
The handles of these poles are made of cork, allowing for a more secure grip while ensuring that your hands don’t slip if they get too sweaty; the cork material easily absorbs moisture. Meanwhile, the integrated straps not only ensure greater comfort but also that you won’t accidentally let go of your poles.
And don’t worry about taking these guys into rough terrain. Whether you’re just on a short day hike or taking on hilly terrain, the included accessories allow you to easily manipulate the abilities of these hiking poles. Now, these are definitely not the most affordable pair of hiking poles out there, but they’re certainly worth it.
3. Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Pole 2.0
- Built from hardy yet lightweight carbon fiber
- Comes with relevant accessories for the needs of all seasons
- Easy-grip cork handles with EVA foam layering for extra security
- Height adjustable between 24 and 54 inches
- Secure flip locks reinforced with metal screws
- Comes with a convenient carry bag featuring accessories pocket
While we’re on the topic of quality carbon-fiber hiking poles, it would be a shame if we didn’t include this brilliant pair from Hiker Hunger. Although expensive, these poles are definitely worth your consideration. Here’s why.
Despite their lightweight build, these poles are undoubtedly some of the strongest we’ve come across during our research. Beyond their carbon fiber construction, the poles have also been optimized for stability, allowing an easy hike in any kind of terrain. For that, the manufacturers have included all the accessories you might possibly need in all kinds of weather.
Speaking of convenience, these poles are also, of course, adjustable. With the help of the flip locks, you can easily change the height between 24 inches and 54 inches. And don’t worry about the security of the locks, because they have been reinforced with fortifying metal screws.
And don’t worry about losing your grip or having the poles slip from your hands, because the handles are constructed from comfortable, yet sturdy cork. What’s more, beyond the cork grip, the manufacturers have also included an EVA foam extension for even greater security, particularly on steep climbs.
4. Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles
- Sturdy and durable carbon fiber construction with tungsten carbide tips
- Each hiking pole weighs 7.8 ounces, making them easy to use and carry
- Height adjustable between 26 and 54 inches using a secure locking mechanism
- Comes with all necessary implements for taking on different weather conditions and terrains
We have another carbon fiber pair for you, and this is one of the best collapsible hiking poles that we’ve come across. We say that because these poles are equipped with a super easy and convenient quick-locking system, which allows you to swiftly and easily adjust between 26 and 54 inches of height.
Because these poles are made from carbon fiber, they’re also super lightweight and easy to carry. Each pole weighs about 7.8 ounces and comes with easy-carry straps to boot. Plus, the tips of these poles are made from tungsten carbide, which allows you to enjoy greater stability when walking. The cork handles of the poles also deserve mention: not only are they extra comfortable, but they also absorb shock and help to lessen vibration you might feel while walking.
And don’t worry about being able to use these poles anywhere you like; they come with boots, snow baskets, and also small rubber feet. Each of these implements allows you to take control of your surroundings; the snow baskets, for example, allow for a greater grip when you’re hiking through snow.
5. Montem Ultra Strong Trekking, Walking, and Hiking Poles
- Aluminum construction allows for resistance to long-term wear and tear
- Two poles together are able to accommodate 400 pounds of weight
- Easily foldable for convenient storage and carrying
- EVA foam handles give a comfortable, ergonomic grip
- Adjustable height between 24 and 53 inches
- Comes with tip protectors, connectors and mud baskets
- Available in a number of different attractive colors
Montem is a brand that, despite their very young age, is already making waves in the world of hiking equipment. With a knack for combining modern design, functionality, and durability, they have blessed us with this high-quality pair of hiking poles. Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum 7075, these poles are for hikers who mean business. Despite their sturdy and strong build, however, each pole weighs only 9.6 ounces.
So everything you’ve heard about aluminum hiking poles being heavy and unwieldy will go out the window once you use this pair. Get ready to take these bad boys with you literally anywhere you go, because they can definitely take a beating. In fact, the two poles combined can tolerate up to 400 pounds of weight.
Like all respectable hiking poles, these ones are also adjustable for height: easily switch between 24 and 53 inches using the easy flick-lock mechanism. Your hands will never get tired or start chafing with these things, either. The EVA foam handle is easy to grasp and promises to keep your hands sweat-free, as they easily absorb moisture. The included hand straps further ensure security.
Undoubtedly, this is a great fit whether you’re looking for hiking poles for women, men, or even kids and teenagers. Offering super adjustability, stability, and strength, these poles will also easily fold down and fit into your hiking backpack. A great choice all around!
6. High Stream Gear Foldable Hiking & Trekking Poles
- Full military-grade aluminum 7075 construction for ultimate strength
- Tungsten carbide tips ensure stability on the trail
- The quick locking mechanism allows for easy assembly and folding
- Measures only 14.5 inches when folded for easy storage
- Comes with 2 carry holsters that can be attached to user's belt
- Ergonomic design on the handle along with straps
Our next pick is also an aluminum pair, and it’s a highly rated and oft sought-after pair from High Stream Gear. Its sturdy construction, innovative design, and overall functionality make this one of the most versatile hiking poles we’ve come across, and it’s affordable to boot.
Constructed from aluminum 7075, these poles are extremely strong, making them suitable for a number of useful applications. The poles weigh 10 ounces each; although we have come across more lightweight options, we’ll let the weight pass considering the overall usability of these poles.
We also really love that the folding mechanism on this thing is such a breeze. It takes only a few seconds to fold the pole down to the compact size of 14.5″, allowing you to fit it easily into your backpack. And speaking of convenience, these poles also come with two belt-mounting hooks to allow you to keep them close at hand when not in use.
Your hands will stay adequately protected when you’re using these poles, as they come equipped with sturdy yet ergonomic handles. And for even better balance on the trail, you can always switch to the hard-surface tip or mud basket. But even without support, the pole tip is very strong due to its tungsten carbide construction.
Overall, this is a very straightforward and functional pair of hiking sticks. Although they could be lighter and come with a greater number of accessories, we think that for the price, these are some of the best hiking poles to be found out there.
7. Real Nordic Walking Poles
- High-quality aluminum construction with carbide metal tips
- Fixed length customized to the user's specific height
- Equipped with a dependable Nordic strap for easy carrying
- Ideal for use in all types of terrains and conditions
This hiking pole from the American Nordic Walking System differs in many ways from the other poles that we have looked at today. For starters, it’s a single-piece pole instead of a pair; the manufacturers believe that a single pole is all you need. Its premium construction and unfailing durability make this one of the most expensive hiking poles on our list, but it’s definitely worth the investment. Here’s why.
Constructed from premium quality tempered HTS 5.5 aluminum, this is undoubtedly one of the strongest hiking poles you’ll ever come across. The best thing about this pole is that it is dependably fixed-height–once you make a purchase, the manufacturers will take your height, and produce a custom hiking stick as per your specific requirements.
But the pole’s durable construction is not limited to its body. With its strong carbide tips, these poles are suitable for use in literally any and all terrains, be it in the sand, grass, mountains, or snow… and you’ll also receive all necessary tip accessories, to that effect. So take these anywhere you want!
The handles on this walking pole are built for comfort, although one downside is that they are not made from very soft material. Still, the included straps are definitely convenient, and they’re very durably built, as well. Overall, this is a premium hiking pole, and its high price tag is justified. If you’re not a frequent hiker, though, we’d recommend going for a cheaper option.
8. Equipeak Collapsible Folding Hiking & Trekking Sticks
- Strong and dependable aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum construction
- Weighs 10.5 ounces each despite sturdy construction
- Equipped with cork handles and EVA foam extension
- Can be folded down to the compact size of 15"
- Height is adjustable according to need using easy twist locks
- Offers dependable shock absorption on the trail
This next pick from Equipeak has all of the features that we’ve come to expect from a dependable pair of hiking poles. With a lightweight yet sturdy construction and numerous functionality features, this is one of the most lucrative budget hiking poles to be found on the market.
The strength of these poles owes itself, undoubtedly, to the aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum construction. The benefits of an aluminum pair of hiking poles can never be understated by anyone who has hiked through difficult terrain; a dependable pair should be able to take a beating.
Each pole in this pair weighs only 10.5 ounces. Although that might seem a bit heavy compared to the other poles we’ve reviewed, we’d ask you to keep in mind the ultra-strong construction. But if it’s portability you’re worried about, don’t be; these guys can be folded up within seconds, and their compact form is less than 15″ in length.
On the theme of convenience and ease of usage, these hiking poles come with all the functionality features you could possibly desire. Their height is easily adjustable using a swift flick-lock mechanism; furthermore, the cork handles come with EVA foam extensions for added comfort. So if you’re on a budget and on the hunt for a dependable, strong, and easy-to-use pair of hiking poles, then we would definitely recommend this pair from Equipeak.
9. Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles
- Extremely strong and durable aluminum construction
- Strong and dependable carbide tips for stability
- Integrated Control Shock Technology absorbs shock on all kinds of terrain
- Equipped with a dual-density grip and padded wrist straps
Warning: the following review is for serious hikers only. This pair of bad boys is the most expensive set on our list, and its qualities reflect its price. Only keep reading if you’re willing to make an investment and end up with a nearly perfect pair of hiking poles.
Why do we say that? Well, first, let’s have a look at its construction. Built from high-quality, super-strength aluminum, this is one of the toughest hiking poles out there. And they’re furnished with hardy carbide tips, which makes them even suitable for taking on literally any kind of terrain. Plus, given the included pole-tip appendages, you’d be forgiven for thinking that these are the best hunting poles out there as well.
But what makes this an especially special pair is the manufacturer’s Control Shock technology. With an innovative shock absorption system that works in four stages inside the handle of the hiking pole, you can expect seamless rebound control on even the toughest terrains. And all this from poles that weigh only 10 ounces each!
To add to that, you’ll also greatly appreciate the dual-density grips, which, together with the 360-degree padded straps ensure that your hands won’t get tired or sore. And don’t worry, the height is adjustable on these poles as well! The FlickLock adjustment system allows you to customize the height as per your requirements.
All in all, the strength and abilities of this pair make it one of the best aluminum hiking poles we’ve come across. Unless you’re a frequent or heavy hiker, though, you can get away with spending less.
10. TREKOLOGY Trek-Z Trekking Hiking Poles
- Sturdy and dependable aircraft-grade aluminum construction
- Comes with all required tip appendages for dealing with different terrains
- Comfortable moisture-wicking cork-texture grip with EVA foam extension
- Folds down to a compact size of 15 inches
- Height is easily adjustable using the quick twist-lock system
After all this talk of expensive hiking sticks, you might be feeling a little pessimistic about being able to find a good pair at a low price. That is not so! We have saved this pair from Trekology for our last pick, and it’s without a doubt the best cheap hiking poles we have come across during our research.
Despite being the most affordable option on our list, however, this pair is also made from reliably strong aluminum. If you’re walking with a big backpack load or have a tendency to frequent tough terrains, you’re definitely going to appreciate how strong and unbreakable these guys are.
Your comfort is ensured, as well. Thanks to the ergonomic cork-texture grip with extended EVA foam shafts, which not only ensures that your hands will stay relaxed but also works to wick moisture away.
Should you run into issues with the height of the poles, don’t worry; you can adjust them within seconds using the easy and quick flip-lock technology. And when you’re not using the poles, you can effortlessly fold them down to 15 inches using the tri-fold system and store them away with ease.
One downside is that these are the heaviest poles we’ve featured on our list. As each pole weighs 11 ounces, it might be a bit too heavy for some users. However, the poles’ other functionality features, combined with its lucrative price tag, still make it one of the best hiking sticks we’ve come across.
Buying Guide For Hiking Poles
Perhaps you’re still confused about which hiking poles would suit you best. Well, the best thing to do is conducting your own research into the best hiking sticks. You can start by considering the factors below.
The length of your chosen hiking pole(s) should correspond to your height. To figure out the optimal height, stand up straight while bending one arm at a right angle. Then measure the distance between your elbow and the floor to figure out what length your pole should be.
Generally, the following rubric is followed when choosing the proper length of a hiking pole.
Appropriate Pole Length
5'1" – 5'7"
5'8" – 5'11"
As an alternative to a fixed-length pole, you can consider opting for a hiking pole with adjustable length. There are numerous advantages to using a pole with adjustable length: not only can you customize them according to your height, but you can also adjust the length according to the needs of the trail (e.g., if you're on a steep trail and would benefit more from a shorter pole).
However, poles of fixed length are better able to handle heavier weights; furthermore, you don't have to worry about the locking mechanism failing and causing problems in the thick of a hiking session. One downside of fixed-length poles is that they are usually not foldable.
Weight / Size
Carrying a bunch of stuff while on the trail is something many hikers are guilty of. We hear you; you have a lot of necessities. But a too-heavy load can put undue pressure on you. Accordingly, it's best to go for a lightweight pair of hiking poles.
On the other hand, if you're used to shorter hikes in relatively easy terrain, you can look into a heavier, more durable pair. For that, aluminum is the best option. More on that below.
What your hiking poles are made of will determine not only their weight but also their strength and durability. Here's a look at the most commonly used materials.
Offering high durability, aluminum hiking poles are extremely sturdy and able to stand up to lots of wear and tear. They will provide great stability and reduce pressure on your joints; however, they're the heaviest kind.
Poles made of carbon fiber are greatly preferred by those who are looking for a lighter pair. If you backpack a lot and/or are considering using your poles frequently, carbon fiber is a better option.
It goes without saying that your hiking poles should be easy to store. Ideally, your poles should be telescoping or collapsible. In fact, folding hiking poles are the only ones that should be considered, in our opinion.
Handles / Grips
The handle or grip of your hiking pole is one of its most critical components. In order to be easy to grasp, handles are typically constructed from foam, rubber, or cork.
The sturdiest of these are rubber; however, it has been held responsible for causing blisters on hands more easily than other handle materials. A more comfortable and durable option is cork. Foam is also soft and comfortable; however, it will wear out quicker than cork.
FAQs For Hiking Poles
1. What is a hiking pole?
More commonly, as trekking poles, hiking poles allow you to keep your balance when you're hiking. They usually come in pairs.
2. Do I really need a hiking pole?
If you're not a heavy hiker, probably not. However, if your hiking backpack is frequently very heavy, hiking poles can be invaluable as they help you make your way more easily across difficult terrain.
3. Can using hiking poles help with knee pain?
Although it does help some people, the results are inconsistent across different hikers. Shifting your body weight forward while using hiking poles may prove effective in eliminating knee pain.
4. What construction material is best for a hiking pole?
The most popular option is carbon fiber, as it is sturdy, yet lightweight. For heavy-duty hiking trips, we'd suggest aluminum hiking poles.
5. Should I buy one trekking pole or a pair of them?
Using a pair affords you greater stability, balance, and traction. If you're more of a casual hiker, though, you can consider a single pole.
6. What's the best way to use hiking poles?
The best policy is to just walk naturally. Ideally, your poles should be a little further behind you, allowing you to gain momentum.
Clearly, the best hiking poles come in many different sizes, shapes, and even colors. So which one should you choose?
If you’re partial towards carbon fiber, we’d recommend the Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles. If considering aluminum poles, the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles are the clear winner.
On a budget? Don’t worry; in the TREKOLOGY Trek-Z Trekking Hiking Poles, you'll find a dependable hiking companion.