10 Best Trekking Poles of 2023

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To list all the benefits of using trekking poles would take quite some time. To start with, trekking poles offer increased stability and improve balance on difficult terrain, but they also reduce strain on your body and give you additional support during tricky inclines and declines. Frequent hikers know trekking poles are an essential, but deciding on which model to use can be overwhelming. So if you are here asking yourself what are the best trekking poles, you have come to the right place. In this guide we will not only tell you what to look for when buying new trekking poles but also review some of the best trekking poles on the market.

Our Top Choice: After extensive research, we have concluded that the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork are the best trekking poles. Not only do they work all year round and in all types of conditions but they also greatly enhance comfort and stability when hiking.

Comparison Table of the Best Trekking Poles

Below is a list of the best hiking sticks. Click on the name to read reviews and check prices.

What to Look for in Good Trekking Poles

Consider the types of hikes you’ve done in the past as well as the ones you’re looking forward to doing in the future. With those in mind, here are the things you need to consider before buying new trekking poles. 

1. Type of Pole

a. Fixed

Fixed poles are pretty uncommon because the design makes them difficult to store or travel with due to length. The fixed-length, straight-shaft design doesn’t allow for them to fold into a smaller piece for packing or to adjust for downhill or uphill treks.

b. Folding

Think of folding poles, also called “Z-type” poles, like the poles you use to set up your camping tent. The pieces are held together by an internal tension cord, they then separate and fold to about ⅓ their total length making them easier to pack., These poles are popular among climbers and trail runners because their arms don’t become fatigued as easily holding and using them. However, they tend to have thin shafts, be limited in their length adjustments, and able to hold less weight than telescoping poles. 

c. Telescoping

Telescoping poles are the fan favorite when it comes to the best trekking poles for hiking. They’re super easy to use and adjust, and are very durable. Telescoping poles typically come in two or three pieces which sit in each other and have a mechanism to hold them in place. These poles tend to be able to pack down well, making them easy to store and carry in or on your hiking backpack.

2. Weight

Weight won’t be as big of a factor if you prefer shorter hikes, but if you’re heading on a long trek, weight should be a top consideration. On longer hikes you’ll want to conserve every bit of energy you can so every ounce of carry weight counts when searching for poles. If shorter hikes are your thing, you may want to consider a heavier pole because durability correlates with weight.

There are some optional features that may be attractive, but keep in mind they’ll probably add weight. One example is the decision of whether or not to get shock-absorbing poles. Having poles with shock absorbers will decrease the impact of the pole striking the ground. Some people think they’re absolutely necessary, but they’ll increase both weight and price. Another decision to make is whether or not to have baskets on your poles if you’re hiking in the snow, again this is a weight vs. benefit choice.

3. Women’s Trekking Poles

Many poles are unisex, so we recommend choosing whatever fits you best. But, if you’re specifically looking for the best women’s trekking poles, the differences will likely lie in a more narrow grip, shorter pole size, and color. The good news is that if you know you don’t need super long poles, you can go with a women’s pole so they’ll be shorter and easier to pack.

4. Grip Material

Getting the grips that are most comfortable for you will be helpful in reducing blisters and sore spots.

  • Rubber grips are durable and great for cold-weather trekking because of how they’re able to discard snow and rain. However, you’ll want to use caution because they can be slippery if they’re wet and they tend to be less comfortable and heavier.
  • Foam is a comfy grip, but not as durable as rubber or cork. It’s soft, offers some shock absorption, and can also wick away sweat.
  • Cork is the most beloved grip material because of its comfort and durability. It will nicely conform to your hand over time and can wick away sweat. 

5. Shaft Material

The most common materials used for poles are carbon fiber and aluminum; some poles are made from a combination of the two. To increase durability while not sacrificing too much weight, some may use carbon fiber for the upper two sections and aluminum for the bottom shaft. 

  • Carbon fiber is the material used for higher end trekking poles. These poles are lighter, but are more expensive and more likely to break under pressure. 
  • Aluminum poles are heavier, more cost effective, and more durable. Under pressure, they’ll bend or dent but won’t break. 

6. Type of Lock

a. Flick Lock

An easy system to use, a lever is used to put pressure on the shaft and lock the sections in place. This type of lock is believed to be more reliable because it significantly decreases the chances of sections slipping. 

b. Twist Lock

This is an internal locking system where you twist each section closed to keep it in place. These tend to malfunction more frequently because of over tightening or under tightening and are also more vulnerable to debris and dust buildup. 

7. Fit

Even if the pole has all the features you want at a great weight and price, you still want to make sure it’s a good fit for you. Your arms should be at a 90° angle when the tips are on the ground. Using poles that are comfortable and correctly adjusted will reduce strain on your wrists, neck, and shoulders.

Some people like to lengthen their poles when going downhill and shorten them when hiking uphill, if you’re one of those people make sure your poles are adjustable to your liking.

8. Wrist Straps

Using wrist straps is a personal preference based on whether or not you want to be attached to the poles in the event of a fall. The benefits of using straps is that they’ll allow you to put upper body pressure on the poles while taking pressure off your hands.

One of the largest issues with straps is discomfort, so make sure your straps aren’t rubbing uncomfortably on your hands. Straps are typically made from a nylon webbing, chamois, or fleece and range in level of padding. Webbing can produce chafing, while chamois and fleece can make your hands sweat. 

9. Four-Season Use

Some people are tempted to buy trekking poles with only their next or preferred type of hike in mind. But be careful not to approach buying poles like that, especially if you’re considering something like snowshoeing in the winter. It’s best not to have several different poles in your travel gear collection as that simply isn’t necessary.

A telescoping pole with interchangeable baskets will keep you covered throughout everything from your hiking trips in Patagonia to your coastal adventures in Cinque Terre. 

10. Compactibility

Compactability is a bigger deal for some than for others. If you’re someone who needs to be able to fit their poles into their duffel bag or carry-on suitcase, then packable size needs to be high on the priority list. Because of their locking sections, folding poles are going to be the easiest to pack, with the smallest option coming in at only 13 inches.

Best Hiking Pole Reviews

Now that you know what to look for in good trekking poles, here’s are some of the best on the market today.

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Pole

Weight per pair: 18 oz.
Type: Telescoping (lever lock)
Shaft material: Aluminum
Grip: Cork

Some of the best trekking poles for every season of the year, the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork poles offer ideal adjustability and easy handling for all off-road adventures. These aluminum poles are equipped with an ergonomic cork grip to enhance comfort and wick away sweat. For additional security and easier handling there are rubber grip extensions and solution straps. Length changes are quick and secure thanks to the dual FlickLock adjustability. For winter treks, these poles have interchangeable carbide Tech Tips and 38mm trekking baskets. Stretching from 27” to 55”, these poles can fit in larger suitcases if you’re looking to travel with them. Weighing in at only 18 ounces, there’s plenty to love about the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork poles.

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Leki Micro Vario Carbon

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 16.9 oz.
Type: Folding (lever lock)
Shaft material: Carbon
Grip: Foam

30% smaller, 25% lighter, and boasting a 20% higher holding force than the previous model, the Leki Micro Vario Carbon pole is easily among the best hiking poles on the market. The 100% high modulus carbon shaft guarantees reliability in a lightweight pole. Weighing less than 17 ounces, the pole is equipped with Aergon thermo foam grips to provide increased comfort and insulation. Adjustments are quick thanks to the SpeedLock2 system and the external lever lock makes it easy to break down the poles and pack them up. To increase reliability, the tension cord is Kevlar®-reinforced and polyethylene-coated while the carbon sections are protected by aluminum sleeves. Even coming in its own travel bag, the Leki Micro Vario Carbon poles will be a great addition to your next adventure.

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Montem Ultra Strong

Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 19.2 oz.
Type: Telescoping (lever lock)
Shaft material: Aluminum
Grip: Foam

The Montem Ultra Strong have been called the best trekking poles for backpacking because they combine ultra durable aluminum 7075 shafts with the compactness of telescoping poles. The Montem Ultra Strong poles stretch from 24” to 53” and only weigh 19.2 ounces. They’re equipped with a nonslip EVA foam and include foam extensions to increase handling on ascents and descents. Plus, the flick-lock system was engineered to keep your poles from slipping. To make sure you can use them in all conditions, the Montem Ultra Strong poles include rubber tips, carbide crafted tips, and interchangeable mud baskets. Great for kids and adults from beginners to experts, these are great stabilizers no matter where you are in the world.

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Gossamer Gear LT5

Gossamer Gear LT5 Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 10.6 oz.
Type: Telescoping (twist lock)
Shaft material: Carbon
Grip: Foam

The Gossamer Gear LT5 poles are a clear winner when thinking about the best ultralight trekking pole as two poles together only weigh 9.2 ounces (with straps and baskets the weight is only 10.6 ounces). The lightweight carbon shafts have proven to be tougher than the average on a variety of terrain. These poles offer a simple twist-lock system and are easily adjustable. They adjust from 23.5” to 51” and have a grip made of foam. They are ideal even for longer hikes like the Great Ocean Walk. For a great minimalist pole that will stand the test of time and trails, go with the Gossamer Gear LT5.

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REI Co-op Flash Carbon

REI Co-op Flash Carbon Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 14.8 oz.
Type: Telescoping (lever lock)
Shaft material: Carbon/aluminum
Grip: Foam

The REI Co-op Flash Carbon poles are among the best-rated trekking poles for quick-moving treks with tricky trails. The carbon-composite material and three-section design have succeeded in keeping the weight to a minimum without compromising on durability. The breathable EVA foam allow it to conform to a variety of hand types and positions. Adjustments along the trail are a breeze thanks to the low-profile Powerlock 3.0. Also included are baskets, tungsten carbide tips, and tip protectors. These poles have a maximum length of 55” and collapse down to 27”. With a pair weighing only 14.8 ounces, the REI Co-op Flash Carbon poles are a solid investment.

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Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 20.3 oz.
Type: Telescoping (lever lock)
Shaft material: Aluminum
Grip: Foam

There’s a reason why Black Diamond is one of the best trekking pole brands available, and the Trail Pro Shock poles only increase the great reputation of the company. These aluminum poles offer four-stage shock absorption and easy adjustment to maximize your fun on the trails all year round. The poles stretch from 41” to 55” and they can be easily collapsed to 26” with the FlickLock Pro mechanism. The dual-density grips are updated and made of a soft rubber for a more comfortable design. Included with the poles are solution straps, 38mm trekking baskets, and interchangeable carbide tech tips to make sure you’re secure on every surface. The Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock poles boast a nearly perfect balance of performance, weight, and price.

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Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 9.3 – 10.4 oz.
Type: Folding
Shaft material: Carbon
Grip: Foam

These poles are so much more than just collapsible walking sticks, they’ll be your new best friends on your next trek. The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z poles were designed to help fast travelers cover as much ground as possible. The carbon construction means the poles are ultralight, and this improved design makes the poles 30% stiffer than the previous model. There’s even an included aluminum ring with the carbon fiber shaft for increased protection. Lightweight EVA foam grips allow for secure handling on steep ascents and descents. These poles have a three-section foldable design which boasts a speed-cone deployment to adjust and lock quickly when you’re on the move. Whether you’re on your first trek or your 100th, you’ll love having these on the trail with you.

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REI Co-op Traverse Power Lock Cork

REI Co-op Traverse Power Lock Cork Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 20 oz.
Type: Telescoping (lever lock)
Shaft material: Aluminum
Grip: Cork

Enhance your performance on difficult hikes with the REI Co-op Traverse Power Lock Cork poles. The lightweight aluminum construction means these poles only weigh 20 ounces but are super helpful in providing support, improving stamina, and maintaining your desired pace on the trail. The exclusive grips are made of a natural cork to increase comfort and accommodate a variety of hand positions. The Powerlock 3.0 has a low profile and lets you adjust the poles easily while on the go. Trail baskets and padded wrist straps are also included with these poles. If you need some solid walking sticks for hiking, be sure to check out the REI Co-op Traverse Power Lock Cork poles.

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Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock

Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 16 oz.
Type: Telescoping (lever lock)
Shaft material: Carbon
Grip: Foam or Cork

For an incredible trekking pole that won’t break your budget, the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock might be the answer for you. They have everything you could ask for in a high-end pole without the hefty price tag. The poles are 100% carbon fiber so they’ll offer you quality support without weighing you down. The quick lock support means it’s super simple to adjust your poles between 26” and 54”. One reason why people love these poles so much is because Cascade Mountain Tech gives you the option of cork or EVA foam grips. Some of the appreciated extras include adjustable wrist straps, tungsten carbide tips, rubber feet, boots, and snow baskets. There’s no question that the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock poles are the best value trekking poles available.

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BAFX Products Adjustable Anti Shock

BAFX Products Adjustable Anti Shock Trekking Poles

Weight per pair: 24 oz.
Type: Telescoping (twist lock)
Shaft material: Aluminum
Grip: Plastic

If you’re a super casual hiker who just likes to have fun and isn’t taking on any tricky trails, the BAFX Products Adjustable Anti Shock poles might be a good idea for you. They’re a super cheap option that will get the job done if you don’t want to invest big money. The poles are made from aluminum and weigh about 12.4 ounces each. They’re also able to expand from 26.5” to 53.25” and have a twist lock mechanism. Included are carbide tips, rubber tips, mud discs, and wrist straps. The BAFX Products Adjustable Anti Shock poles do come equipped with an anti-shock feature, but this can be disabled if you’re not a fan of it. Whether you’re exploring your local park or taking a leisurely day hike in Big Sur, the BAFX Products Adjustable Anti Shock poles will be a great complement to your hike.

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For a relaxing stroll through the park, an intense multi-day treks, or anything in between, you’ll love having any of these trekking poles with you so you can finish your adventure free of any pain!