Best Hiking Poles iMore 2021
Hitting the trails for the weekend or exploring a neighborhood park - each experience can be enhanced by a good set of hiking poles. There are so many different options out there: aluminum or carbon fiber shafts, cork or foam handles, and any number of tips. It can be challenging to find the right set of poles for you. The following list features some of the best hiking poles out there for different use cases and situations. Out of all of these great choices, we recommend the Trailbuddy Trekking Poles as our top pick due to their balance of price, features, and overall customer ratings.
- Best Overall: TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
- Best Value: REDCAMP Aluminium Walking Sticks
- Best Collapsible: High Trek Premium Ultralight Trekking Poles
- Lightest: Foxelli Trekking Poles
- Best Premium: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork
- Best Modern Walking Stick: REDCAMP 2 in 1 Carbon Fiber Hiking Pole
- Best Traditional Walking Stick: Survivor Series Wooden Walking/Hiking Stick
Best Overall: TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
These are by far and away one of the most reviewed and highly rated set of hiking poles out there. Made out of 7075 series aluminum, they claim to be lighter and more durable than other kinds of metal or carbon fiber. Contributing to their sturdy build are the premium cork handles for better gripping and sweat absorption. Plus, they have flip locks that help keep the poles in the right position and make it easier for you to adjust the length of each pole quickly.
Aside from their build quality, another thing that makes these poles such a great value is the extras. You get a carrying bag, multiple types of tips, connectors, and baskets. They also come in a choice of eight different colors with fun names such as raven black, aqua sky, beetle red, berry pink, bumblebee yellow, lake blue, purple plum, and spring green. You're sure to stand out on the trail with these beauties!
- Multiple color options
- Strong and lightweight
- Comfy cork handles
- Not spring shock-absorbing
- Not foldable
Best Value: REDCAMP Aluminium Walking Sticks
These REDCAMP poles deliver great bang for the buck. The base models feature twist locks, while a more robust flip-lock version is available on higher-priced versions. They can extend from 24.8 to 53 inches, and are thus suitable for everyone from 5 foot to 7 foot tall.
The REDCAMP Aluminium Walking Sticks are flexible in more ways than one. They feature quick locking and telescoping adjustment to change their height, and they are suitable for multiple terrains and surfaces. Made out of 6061 series aluminum, they weigh slightly more than half a pound but are still incredibly durable. They also feature a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your purchase.
- Super lightweight
- Different locking options
- No cork handles
- Default option has cheaper twist locks
Best Collapsible: High Trek Premium Ultralight Trekking Poles
These make the cut as our favorite collapsible poles. Not only can they be collapsed by adjusting the flip locks on the shaft, but you can separate them into segments for a more compact storage solution. Several reviewers commented that those flip locks were not only secure, but particularly easy to adjust one-handed, and even with gloves on!
At 8.7 ounces per pole, these sit somewhere in the middle-end of the weight spectrum. The handles are made with an EVA foam for extra comfort and grip-ability. These also come in several fun colors, including sky blue, Cloverfield green, forest green, navy, purple sky, quicksilver, and black and gold. A full one-year warranty is included, making these an even better value!
- Easy and secure locking
- Comfortable foam handles
- One-year full warranty
- Snow baskets not included
- Not intended for extreme conditions
Lightest: Foxelli Trekking Poles
At a mere 7 ounces per stick, these are among the lightest trekking poles you'll find. Made out of shock-absorbent carbon fiber, these durable poles are suitable in multiple terrains - from icy cliffs to urban parks. With quick-locking technology, the poles can be adjusted from 24 inches to 55 inches, and they have moisture-wicking cork grips on the handles and padded straps for added comfort.
These poles are priced somewhat firmly in the mid-range of options, but add value with an included carrying case and several kinds of tips. Foxelli stands behind their product as well, offering a 120 day no questions asked warranty, as well as a three-year guarantee for any defects.
- Super lightweight
- Amazing warranty
- All-terrain, all conditions
- Not anti-shock
- Some complaints about loose locking mechanisms
Best Premium: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork
I received a pair of these as a gift recently, and I can attest to their premium quality. They are super comfortable to hold with a 15-degree corrective angle for optimal, ergonomic grip position, 360-degree adjustable wrist straps, and a premium comfort cork grip. There is also a non-slip EVA foam grip extension, so whatever your grip or situation, you can get a good hold on these poles.
These poles feature a three-section carbon fiber shaft, dual flick lock adjustability, and a selection of interchangeable carbide tech tips, trekking baskets, and powder baskets. In this case, a premium build also translates into a heavier build, with these poles coming in at just over one pound per stick.
- Premium materials
- Ergonomic design details
- Easy adjustability
- A little on the heavy side
- Not many color options
- More expensive than other options
Best Modern Walking Stick: REDCAMP 2 in 1 Carbon Fiber Hiking Pole
This stick is the second entry for REDCAMP on this list, but the two entries are quite different in style and substance. The REDCAMP 2 is a walking stick geared toward those who need a bit more assurance underfoot while walking in various conditions, though they can be adapted for use as trekking poles. The walking stick is suitable for both urban or offroad settings and is relatively lightweight, and you can easily stow them for travel.
You can get this pole in two versions: as a single traditional walking stick with a curved handle, or as a set of hiking poles. If you opt for the set of hiking poles, you should note that they are priced slightly higher than the single walking stick version. Like the other REDCAMP poles on this list, this one comes with a 30-day 100% moneyback guarantee.
- A versatile option for light walking or light hiking
- Good warranty
- Super lightweight
- Many of the same features as trekking poles
- Only one pole included in price
- No anti-shock springs
Best Traditional Walking Stick: Survivor Series Wooden Walking/Hiking Stick
Some folks like a more traditional walking stick for their outdoor adventures and this carved wooden walking stick from SE certainly fits that profile. Designs are available with your choice of hand-carved animals like a bear, deer, eagle, or wolf. This sturdy pine stick also has a weatherproof finish to complement its rustic appearance.
The walking stick measures 55 inches or nearly 5 feet and comes with a wrist strap and a steel spike with a metal-reinforced removable rubber tip. It is not too heavy at 12.2 ounces, and it can be used on or off-trail to make walking more enjoyable.
- Hand-crafted traditional styling
- Pretty lightweight for solid wood
- Not ideal for tactical climbing
- Doesn't come as a pair
- Maybe variations in shape/coloring
Stick it to me
Whether you're hiking the Pacific Coast Trail or just navigating the neighborhood park, hiking poles can be a handy addition to your outdoor gear. Not just for sherpas or elite hikers, these tools come in various materials and weights and are adaptable to many different environments, adventures, and body types. Many say that hiking poles can even enhance your trekking experience because they improve your posture, help you maintain your balance, and reduce the impact on your joints.
Whatever your reason for conquering the trials, we recommend that you take the Trailbuddy Trekking Poles with you on your next outdoor adventure. You can't find a better value!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jeramy Johnson (NOT Jeremiah Johnson ;) is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not outdoors, he's tinkering with his various Apple and Amazon devices. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw
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