Best Trekking Poles
Trekking poles aren’t a piece of gear vital for a successful adventure, but their contribution of increased stability and support is considered an indispensable advantage by many outdoor enthusiasts. They reduce impact and stress on your knees and hips especially during downhill descents, add stability when climbing steep rocks or crossing rivers, increase balance, and allow you to engage your arms to reduce the load carried by your legs. There’s an expansive selection of trekking poles for you to peruse, each with varied options in terms of grips, shaft materials, locking mechanisms, and additional amenities such as baskets and wrist slings.
In your quest to find the best trekking poles, we’ve put together this list with products highlighting important factors to consider such as strong yet lightweight shaft construction, durability for rugged outdoor use, adequate grip type, and exceptional shock absorption. This list of best trekking poles details our five top picks based on these considerations while also taking into account the ideal forms of use for each type of pole.
Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Pole
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Leki Lhasa Lite Aergon Antishock Women's Trekking Pole
REI Traverse PowerLock Cork Women's Trekking Poles
Exped Alpine 140 Trekking Poles
These Black Diamond trekking poles top the list due to their astounding weight-to-solidity ratio, versatility and overall superior performance on the trails. The carbon fiber frame is ultra lightweight and ridiculously sturdy with four pole length options to choose from (the heaviest weighing a mere 10.4 ounces.) An ingenious folding system collapses the poles down to barely longer than a ruler while foam grips and ergonomic wrist straps ensure hand and wrist comfort.
These poles include a small basket which will complement any of your 3-season outdoor adventures (larger basket configurations are ideal for snowy or extra muddy conditions.) Since these poles aren't adjustable, you can't adapt them to varied terrains like hills and traverses, but many users are willing to trade this luxury in favor of the weight savings.
The Alpine Carbon Cork is an all-purpose superman in the trekking pole world; adjustable, lightweight, and extremely versatile. The cork grip is dream come true comfort for your hands, effectively resisting chaffing and blisters. Adjusting the poles to varied terrain is a breeze with the incredible locking mechanism and you can choose between two baskets depending on the weather and trail conditions. You can also purchase additional rubber tips to swap out the original carbide tips to extend the life of the carbide tips or to use when minimal footprint is desired.
Constructed specifically for women, these trekking poles are highly efficient on the trail and an ergonomically friendly addition to any expedition. Lightweight and super strong thanks to the aluminum alloy shaft, the three telescoping pole sections easily lock into place allowing you to adjust the pole length as much or as little as you want. The lower shaft includes an anti-shock system which efficiently absorbs impacts along your trek while the cork and rubber grips are great for absorbing sweat and helping you maintain a solid grip. As an added ergonomic bonus, the grips are Positive Angle, a design which naturally angles you in a way to maximize wrist comfort and minimizes effort during swings.
REI Traverse PowerLock Cork Women's Trekking Poles
Another budget-friendly top pick, Traverse PowerLock Cork Women's Trekking Poles feature design specs which accommodate the needs of the a female trekker. They feature smaller, contoured cork grips, fast and reliable locking mechanisms, trekking discs as well as tip protectors for added safety during travel. Three aluminum alloy shafts make these poles highly adjustable while the padded straps are great for stabilizing and supporting your wrists.
The Alpine 140 is another outstanding lightweight trekking pole option. A bit more cost effective than the Black Diamond Ultra Distance poles, they offer the added convenience of adjustable length. Non-slip grooves and push buttons on the poles make the locking mechanism very secure and dependable when adjusting the pole length. The ergonomically angled foam grips make swinging your poles a cinch and include cushy, adjustable wrist straps for added comfort and support. Use these bad boys during a backpacking trip, as a walking aid for a day hike, or during a backcountry skiing adventure.
My husband and I have backpacked through diverse terrains ranging from the rugged wilderness areas of Yosemite and King's Canyon to the more beginner friendly paths of Lake Tahoe. Next year we are even planning to undertake the glorious 200+ miles of the John Muir Trail. We have hiked 12,000 foot passes, traversed rushing rivers, set up impromptu camps on everything from solid snow to granite outcroppings, and seen the wonders of hidden pristine lakes and patches of snow that remain year-round. Our experiences with wildlife including bears, deer, rattlesnakes, and bugs that we didn't even know existed have helped us refine our gear list to be as prepared as possible in the most light-weight, compact way. We have near perfected the art of campsite setup and teardown and can literally create a home away from home in mere minutes and pack it back up in the same amount of time. My husband's insatiable need to be in possession of the latest technological backpacking advancements has allowed us to experiment with many different types of equipment and even varying editions of the same piece of equipment. Even our honeymoon was a 55-mile backpacking adventure. Let's just say it's an obsession.
I look forward to helping you sift through the many options in the backpacking world to find the gear that will help make your trip (and many more to come!) unforgettable. Happy trails!