Are you planning to hike on a mountain or heading out on a weekend excursion? Then, a hiking pole should be your primary requirement. Hiking poles enhance the stability and add comfort to your hiking experience. Although a hiking pole may seem a little nerdy, practically speaking, it is not so. In fact, hiking with trekking poles have lot of benefits. It not only helps you to build endurance but also acts as a stress buster for your knees.
The main reason why a hiking pole is loved by many backpackers is that it reduces the impact on your knees, both on an uphill and downhill trail. Whether you are off for a trek on a difficult terrain or fording rivers, hiking poles provide topmost stability irrespective of terrains. Moreover, some people prefer using these poles to pitch ultralight tents. While preparing the list of the best hiking poles of 2019, we have tried and tested dozens of poles to arrive at the top 10. The poles listed below are an ultimate combination of durability, comfort, value and weight. We hope this guide will help you find your ideal hiking pole to suit your requirement.
- 1 What Are The Ultimate Benefits of Using Hiking Poles While Trekking?
- 2 Varieties of Hiking Poles
- 3 Check Out The Best Hiking Poles Of 2019 At A Glance
- 3.1 Gossamer Gear LT5
- 3.2 Kelty Cairn Trekking Poles
- 3.3 Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Poles
- 3.4 Leki Legacy Lever Lock Trekking Poles
- 3.5 Best Value Trekking Poles: Montem
- 3.6 Ideal Unisex Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Poles
- 3.7 REI Co-op Flash Carbon
- 3.8 Cascade Mountain Tech Cork Carbon Fibre Trekking Poles
- 3.9 Mountainsmith Rhyolite Hiking Poles
- 3.10 Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork
- 4 Critical Considerations While You Buy Hiking Poles
- 5 Quick Tips For Using Hiking Poles
- 6 How Long Will Your Hiking Poles Last?
What Are The Ultimate Benefits of Using Hiking Poles While Trekking?
- If you use a hiking pole while trekking, it helps to build your endurance. If you hike without using these poles, you only stress your leg muscles. Using a hiking pole will help you to engage your arms and gain overall body strength and assist you to proceed further without getting tired.
- Hiking with a heavy load? Using these poles support your knees and ankle joints to a great extent. While climbing a mountain, hiking poles help you supplant the effort required to ascend upwards. Moreover, you have the benefit of using your arms which further helps to propel you upward.
- If you keep on using a hiking pole every time you are out for a trek, it helps to develop a continuous rhythm which eventually increases your overall hiking speed over time.
- These are perfect to maintain stability and balance if you are hiking in snow or slippery surfaces.
- Hiking poles are also ideal for medical emergencies in case of wildlife adventures and can even protect you from reptiles.
To know the best hiking poles or trekking staffs, check out the various poles given below and pick your one.
Varieties of Hiking Poles
Hiking Staffs: Known as a walking or a traveling staff, whatever you prefer calling it, there is only a single pole that proves to be most effective when used on a relatively flat terrain with no to less load on your back. They are easily adjustable while some of them include the shock-absorbing feature as well. To add to these features, they may also contain an inbuilt camera mounted below the handle so that it can be used alternatively as a monopod.
Trekking poles: These poles highly enhance your stability and reduce stress on your knees especially while you are hiking or backpacking. They are often sold as a pair and used in bicycles. Most of them come in handy and are adjustable while some include internal springs with a shock-absorbing feature to reduce the impact further.
Check Out The Best Hiking Poles Of 2019 At A Glance
Following are some of the best options that you can consider:
Gossamer Gear LT5
Best Fit For: Ultralight Hiking
Weight: 10.6 oz/pair
Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber
Grip Material: Foam
These poles are lightweight and are easy to handle. They are easily adjustable with two simple twist-lock systems and are highly recommended in the ultralight backpack community. The reason for its popularity is that these ultralight poles hold up on rugged terrains very well.
Kelty Cairn Trekking Poles
This one can be an ideal choice that comes equipped with a lot of features. It has three-section adjustability, neoprene straps and grips perfect to fit for small hands. Cairn is ranked as the best pole for women this year. If you are hiking on a difficult terrain, the flip locks are steady while descending and the extended cork grips are perfect in length and allow you to adjust with varied terrains.
Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Poles
Weight: 20 ounces/pair
These are three-piece poles that come in handy with a special shock-absorber in the handle which helps to reduce the impact on your wrist and elbows, especially when you are hiking on a mixed terrain. These poles have a flip lock system which can be adjusted manually without the support of any tool. The foam handles are designed to reduce hand fatigue with adjustable wrist straps.
Leki Legacy Lever Lock Trekking Poles
Weight : 16.7 Ounces/pair
These are aluminum poles for hiking equipped with a super-strong lever-lock adjustment mechanism as an add-on. The rubber grips consist of an articulated base shelf which helps to increase uphill propulsion while climbing upwards. Moreover, the adjustable straps provide stability and security. The poles are customized to use in all seasons from trekking to backcountry skiing.
Best Value Trekking Poles: Montem
Are you looking for trekking poles that fit in your budget? Here is a good news for you all! An extremely affordable outdoor gear brand Montem manufactures high-quality hiking poles at the most affordable price. With a bunch of impressive features, they incorporate comfortable foam grips with an adjustable wrist strap fit to adjust all hand sizes. If you are planning to buy your first pair of trekking poles and are unable to arrive at a final conclusion, this is an excellent option for you.
Ideal Unisex Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Poles
Unlike other poles, these are available in 4 sizes to adjust with your height and are easily foldable. Their weight varies and is less than 10 ounces. These poles are best suited for long distances and are durable.
REI Co-op Flash Carbon
Weight: 14.8 oz/pair
Shaft material: Carbon Fiber & Aluminium
Grip Material: Foam
These poles are a great option with a simple flip-lock system and comfortable foam hand grips. This combination of aluminum and carbon fiber is perfect to meet the purpose of trekking poles with an additional durability of aluminum. These poles are superior in quality and act as the best choice for backpackers and hikers. They can be used by both men and women. If budget is your concern, then go for this one for sure!
Cascade Mountain Tech Cork Carbon Fibre Trekking Poles
These trekking poles weigh just 15.4 ounces per pair and are easy to handle. Available at a great price, they are exceptional if you are searching for a flick-lock style trekking pole. These are equipped with some of the best features, are durable and easily adjustable. It contains retainer straps, cork handles and extended grips and is ideal for both men and women.
Mountainsmith Rhyolite Hiking Poles
These trekking poles are a perfect value option. This 3 section aluminum pole comes with a twist lock adjustment mechanism along with a spring-loaded shock absorption system that can be locked on or off. The molded EVA foam handles help to reduce fatigue in hands and are moist. The poles are compatible with snow basket and come with carbide tips. Moreover, it includes optional rubber feet. They weigh nearly 20 ounces/pair. The length varies from 26”-54”.
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork
Weight: 18 oz/pair
Shaft Material: Aluminum
Grip Material: Cork
This is one of the lightest poles among others yet is tough and easily adjustable and dependable. The cork handle is extremely comfortable on hands and you can adjust up to any length with their dual flick-lock system. The collapsed length is a bit longer than expected; however, it’s not that much difficult to use. For durable poles made up of aluminum that fall within the range of 16-22 oz, this Trail Cork is a good buy.
Critical Considerations While You Buy Hiking Poles
With so many options available in the market, you might get tempted to make a random selection. However, it is wiser on your part to consider a few things before making any purchase decision:
Hiking poles range from too low to too high price, depending upon your requirement and budget. There are multiple poles available, however, you need to make your mind to choose the best one within the desired price. You can make your choice from the list of options that we have provided above. However, it’s better to go for a quality hiking pole, especially when it is related to your safety and security.
This should be one of your important considerations while you are planning to go for the best option. The case of a hiking pole is similar to that of hiking footwears whereby, every ounce matters for energy conservation. This is a negligible concern in case of short treks, but surely, should be a major consideration for longer hikes.
The common materials used primarily for manufacturing these poles are aluminum and carbon fiber. Poles made up of carbon fiber are lightweight but are expensive as well. Moreover, they are more likely to break if bent with huge force mistakenly. Whereas, aluminum poles are heavier but they are economical compared to carbon fiber poles. The interesting point is they are likely to bend but not snap under pressure. Some poles are made up of aluminum lower shafts with carbon fiber in the upper part.
Beyond doubt, this is definitely an important consideration whenever you are planning to invest in a hiking pole. These poles are not of one-time use, and hence, this is a very important consideration not to be overlooked. Carbon fiber poles are light-weight, energy-efficient and quite easy to carry.
However, their main drawback is that these poles are not capable of serving in the long run. Whereas, aluminum poles on the other hand, though heavy, tend to be more durable and sustainable in the long run. Additionally, they can be repaired as and when needed. In fact, both the options are good, depending upon your personal preferences.
It’s better to buy a hiking pole that can be easily packed for storage outside your backpack or luggage, especially when it is not in use. Now, you may think how to determine this factor? What defines compactness? It is the number of lock section that it possesses. This is directly related to their ability to collapse into smaller sections. Generally, poles with Z style offer the best compactness with the smallest length.
Trekking poles with the finest grips is an important factor of consideration. It creates friction against both of your hands. Hence, uncomfortable grips can result in sore spots or even blisters. Grips generally consist of three prime materials ie, cork, foam or rubber. Among them, cork is a premium one and is preferred for the durability and comfort that it offers. Foam is equally comfortable but tends to break down quickly compared to rubber or cork. Rubber grips are durable as well but they are usually heavier and not that much comfortable. Moreover, it has the chance of being slippery when wet. You can look for grips whichever you feel comfortable when you put your hands on them. Make sure there is no pinching, pressure or wrong angling.
Shock Absorbing Ability
Are you not familiar with this term? Don’t worry. We will make it clearer for you. Shock absorbers resemble spring-like mechanisms which are located near the end of poles and minimizes their impact when they are placed on the ground. You will find internal shock absorber mechanisms mainly on high-end poles that increases the price and overall weight. Some people are fond of the cushion they offer, but it’s better to avoid them. The springs situated in them makes the pole less secure, hence, ascending becomes a bit difficult. This can be somewhat squeaky, which is really frustrating after a full day of trial.
Quick Tips For Using Hiking Poles
Buying the best hiking pole will not serve the purpose unless you have a thorough knowledge of using it correctly. With a complete list of tips and tricks, you will be smooth on your way.
Try Alternate Movement of Legs With Poles
It has been seen that most of the trekkers tend to go with the rhythm of planting the opposite trekking poles with their opposite foot. If you miss the rhythm somehow by any chance, don’t stop in between. Instead, keep on walking and lift your poles for a moment so that you can again get back into the flow. Soon, you will regain the rhythm and won’t have to worry further.
Sometimes, while trekking, you may want to plant both the poles at the same time. Then, again repeat the same thing after proceeding a few steps and continue with that. This can be fruitful in case you are ascending or descending on steep terrains. Here, you need to make sure the stability of both the poles on the ground is properly maintained.
When you use a hiking pole, it’s better to keep your calm and walk naturally the way you walk with arms swinging as if you are walking without any pole. In this scenario, what you can do is fix the poles slightly behind you such that when you secure them on the ground, you can easily push off in order to assist yourself in moving forward.
When you plan to trek in a difficult terrain, a hiking pole can be your real savior. For instance, when you have to wade through water, these poles provide ultimate stability. Each time you plant your pole, make sure it is properly secured to the ground before moving further. For getting over larger rocks, these poles prove to be a real support. In order to perform this successfully, at first, you need to secure both the poles into the ground and as you step up on the rock, then push the poles to get over the obstacle. If you confront logs along your way, place the poles securely and use them to make yourself stable.
How Long Will Your Hiking Poles Last?
If you are investing on something, such as trekking poles, the first thing that strikes your mind is its durability. You have to ask yourself this question at first when you are planning to buy a hiking pole or trekking staffs for one-time use or lifetime usage? Remember, the more lightweight the shaft material is, the more likely it is to crack, break or bend with frequent usage.
So, whether you need as-tough-as nail hiking poles or an ultralight one, this depends entirely upon your usage.
Why Wait? Get Your Top Pick!
While writing this guide, it reminds me of my first adventure with a hiking pole; I couldn’t believe the difference it made, both on uphill and downhill. Off late, on my trek to the Everest base camp, these poles helped me to maintain a comfortable hiking pace by timing my stride along with my breath. That is the reason why these poles are loved by many backpackers. We have conducted a survey where aluminum poles are highly preferred to carbon fibers as they are inexpensive and durable. However, in spite of being lightweight, economy fiber poles are gaining popularity nowadays as they are far more reliable and easy to use. So, get your right pick from the list we have provided and enjoy hiking!!!