Last Update: 01.Oct.2020
Ergonomic, natural cork
Dual FlickLock adjustability
Interchangeable carbide Tech Tips
A bit longer when folded than other trekking poles
SpeedLock2 system makes length adjustments quick
Air-textured wrist straps wick away moisture and dry quickly
Includes travel bag
Short range of adjustability
Lightweight carbon design
REI exclusive grips
Low-profile Powerlock 3.0 enables easy adjustments while out on the trail
Foam grips left much desired
Thin carbon lacks durability
The funny thing about trekking poles is that until about a decade ago, you’d rarely see them out on the trail. For decades, dedicated hikers eschewed trekking poles, calling them a useless and expensive piece of gear that got in the way more than it helped. However, new research and changing trends in hiking demographics have led to the proliferation of the trekking pole in the outdoor world.
These days, you’re likely to see more hikers on the trail with trekking poles than without them. So, what are the advantages of using trekking poles, you might ask? Here are a few:
When you use trekking poles, you become a more efficient walker. Without trekking poles, all of your propulsion in walking comes from your legs. However, with trekking poles, you can engage your arms and your core to help you move more efficiently uphill. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll move faster, it will make things easier on your body.
Any avid hiker understands the pain and suffering that can accompany a long downhill section of a hike. All too often, we place way too much pressure on our knees and hips as we stomp our way downhill at the end of a peak ascent or a long day int the mountains.
When we walk without hiking poles, our knees and hips take the full brunt of the impact with every step we take. With trekking poles, however, we can disperse some of the impact away from our knees and hips by absorbing some of the shock with our arms. Anyone who frequently hikes with a heavy pack can stand to benefit from the shock-absorbing properties of trekking poles.
Four points of contact with the ground are more stable than two, so it stands to reason that trekking poles help you with your balance as you hike. When you traverse over bouldery, slippery, or loose terrain, trekking poles can help you stay upright and stable. Plus, using trekking poles can act a lot like a mental support as you often feel more secure traversing exposed terrain with two extra points of contact.
When you carry around trekking poles, you can easily push aside trees, bushes, spider webs as you walk. They can also help you get through shrubbery of dense forests, get a better look at the trail or the path ahead.
While trekking poles are incredibly useful on the trail, they don’t go to waste in camp, either. Most trekking poles are super convenient for pitching tarps and acting as stakes for a tent in a bind. Plus, many ultralight tent designs rely on trekking poles to be used as their support system, thus cutting weight in your pack.
When you start shopping for trekking poles, you’ll quickly notice that there are a number of different models out there, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s review some of the most common trekking pole types here:
Telescoping trekking poles are by far the most common poles out there. This type of trekking pole is built to have two or three sections, each of which collapses into each other for compact storage.
The main advantage of telescoping poles is that they are adjustable, which is great for use in different situations. Usually, you want your trekking poles to be slightly longer on the uphill and slightly shorter on the downhill to make you more efficient as you walk. Telescoping poles make this easy to do.
However, telescoping poles tend to be the heaviest poles out there because they need to have multiple locking systems to keep the different sections in place as you walk. Although you can get ultralight trekking poles in the telescoping style, they aren’t usually as light as the other options.
Folding trekking poles do exactly what you might think: they fold. Thanks to new trekking pole technology, some companies have started making fixed-length trekking poles that fold into smaller pieces for easy storage.
Some of the best ultralight trekking poles are made in the folding model as their fixed length often makes them lighter than their telescoping cousins. However, folding poles tend to break more often than other options, so they require a bit more care when in use.
Fixed poles neither fold nor collapse into a smaller size for storage, which is one of their main drawbacks. However, thanks to their design, fixed hiking poles tend to be some of the best lightweight trekking poles because they have no folding or telescoping systems to add weight.
Although trekking poles may all look similar to the untrained eye, there’s actually quite a lot of technology that goes into making the best walking sticks for hiking. So, when you’re out shopping for the best hiking sticks, here are some things to keep in mind:
The materials used to make trekking poles directly correlate with their weight and durability. That being said, there are two main materials used to make trekking pole shafts: aluminum and carbon fiber.
Aluminum is the original trekking pole material, chosen for its good mix of durability and reasonably lightweight. While aluminum isn’t the lightest material around (especially when compared to carbon fiber), it is much less likely to break and is much more affordable.
Carbon fiber, on the other hand, tends to be found in the best ultralight trekking poles. This material made waves when it first arrived in the trekking pole world because it allows hiking poles to be much lighter than they used to. However, this light weight comes at the cost of both decreased durability and increased price.
When you buy a pair of telescoping poles, you’ll have to choose between a number of different locking mechanisms. While each company makes its own locking mechanism, they come in two main types: twist and lever-action.
Twisting locking mechanisms require (surprise!) that you twist a lock to secure the pole in a specific position. These are easy to use and are found on the cheapest poles, but they tend to be less secure and less durable than the lever-action alternative.
Lever-action locking mechanisms are often the best choice for trekking poles. are tThey are tend to be more durable and easier to use in dusty environments. While lever-action poles can break, they are often fairly easy to fix in the field with the right tools.
Trekking pole handles are of the utmost importance because an uncomfortable handle can make for a bad trekking pole experience. Trekking pole grips come in a number of different styles, though most use some form of rubber, foam, or cork as their base material.
Rubber is the cheapest handle option for trekking poles thanks to their heavy weight, but it is often the least comfortable. They can feel warm and sweaty on a hot day, but since they don’t absorb any water, they are preferable on a rainy day.
Foam trekking pole handles are more comfortable and lighter than the rubber alternative but tend to cost slightly more. Finally, we have the cork handle, which is considered the gold standard in the world of trekking poles. You’ll certainly pay a pretty penny for cork grips on your trekking poles, but you won’t be disappointed with their incredibly light weight, comfort, and quality.
Since you have to carry trekking poles in your hands, the last thing you want is to lug around a set of bricks. Thus, whenever we buy trekking poles, we need to keep weight in mind. The lightest trekking poles are going to be made of carbon fiber with cork grips, but these will be pretty darn expensive and not very durable.
On the other hand, the heaviest poles will be aluminum with rubber grips, which will be durable and cheap. Thus, it really comes down to what you value in your trekking poles.
If you ever have to carry your trekking poles on your back, you’ll prefer to have a pair of poles that collapse down to a small packed size. For the most part, folding trekking poles will be the most compact, with three-piece telescoping poles following in a close second. Two-piece telescoping poles and fixed-length poles usually have a pretty large packed size, which can be a drawback in certain contexts.
The durability of a trekking pole comes almost exclusively from the materials it’s made with. As we’ve mentioned, rubber grips and aluminum shafts are the most durable materials for trekking poles, so if this is a matter of concern for you, pick a model with these materials, as opposed to the lightweight carbon fiber and cork options.
Some poles are designed with an integrated spring to help absorb shock in your elbows as you walk. Depending on your needs, shock-absorbing poles may be a good investment, but expect to pay more for this luxury. Plus, shock-absorbing poles are almost always heavier than other options.
Ultimately, trekking poles are a great addition to any hiking gear list. From increased stability to decreased pressure on your knees, the best trekking poles can be awesome out on the trail. That being said, be sure to take the time to research the trekking poles that are right for you, so you can get the pair that meets your needs. Happy hiking!
In the Toptravelpoint Blog you will always find useful and up-to-date information about hiking and camping. & Bryce
Our experts will always help make your life easier.
Who doesn’t love a handy sleeping bag? They’re warm, cozy, and better than cheap air mattresses. And the best part is their portability. Many sleeping sacks can be rolled up and stuffed inside a compression sack, ready for traveling. However,
A tent which has lost its waterproofing is a no-go. But wait, don’t throw it out just yet. Reinforcing the waterproofing in a tent is not as complicated as it sounds. Waterproofing requires nothing but brushing a solution all over
Usually, the down jacket is filled with the feathers of geese and ducks. Due to the lightweight and warm material, these jackets are suitable for thermal clothing, sleeping bags, and bedding. Washing this jacket in a regular way can decrease
Subscribe and stay up to date with the new
information that is published on our site