The Best Walking Poles for a Safer Trek

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles are comfortable and adjustable

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Hiking is a challenging but rewarding way to exercise. One tool that can help elevate your experience is walking poles, also known as trekking poles. Walking poles provide stability, joint protection, and comfort as you conquer any sort of terrain. It's important to find poles that are lightweight and durable enough to last through any season.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top overall pick are the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles because they are compact, adjustable, and can be used in all seasons. The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles are a good value, offering features similar to higher-end brands.

When shopping for walking poles, look for poles that are properly sized. Some poles are adjustable but others come as a fixed size. Also consider the weather conditions and terrain you plan to use them for. Many poles come with features to accommodate all types of conditions but some are specialized for walking on pavement or trekking in snow. We evaluated walking poles for their adjustability, material, durability, grips, and added features like removable baskets.

Here are the best walking poles on the market.

Best Overall: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles

4.9
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles

Courtesy of Backcountry

These collapsible poles by Black Diamond consistently top the list of favorites by hikers who love their durability, performance, and versatility which is why we chose them best overall. Made for use in all four seasons, they have compact carbon fiber shafts, dual FlickLok Pro adjusters, and cork grips. And no worries whether you’re left- or right-handed, as the padded wrist strap can be adjusted to accommodate either. Two sets of baskets are included to accommodate both snow and regular trail hiking.

The poles’ length can be adjusted from 25 to 51 inches, and the pair weighs just over 1 pound in total. Overall, customers say these poles offer everything you want in walking poles for a reasonable price.

Best Budget: Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

Montem Ultra Strong Hiking / Walking / Trekking Poles - One Pair

Courtesy of Montem

Montem is a new company on the market, but its poles are getting great reviews for their low prices and solid performance. This pair is a bargain and has all the features of many more expensive brands. Made of Aluminum 7075 (the same material used to build airplanes), the pair weighs just over 19.2 ounces. They can be adjusted to heights from 24 to 53 inches, and have a special Flick-Lock system to keep them locked securely in place.

They’re small enough to make them good for travel, but are made of aluminum so they’re sturdy, too. They make a great set of poles for someone just starting out or as an extra pair to have on hand. Customers rave about them and say they’re an exceptional value, well-designed, and make hiking easier and more enjoyable.

Best Collapsible: Sterling Endurance Collapsible Trekking Poles

Sterling Endurance Collapsible Trekking Poles

Courtesy of Amazon

These walking poles from Sterling Endurance offer maximum portability, as they collapse to just 13.5 inches. A storage bag is included as well, so you can just toss them in a backpack or other bag to take them on the go.

Made of a special type of aluminum, they’re extremely durable (comparable to some steels in fact), yet they're lightweight. They can adjust to heights from 44 to 54 inches and have a Quick Flip Lock to hold them in place.

Best for Women: Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles

Women's Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Black Diamond is known for its high-quality, durable trekking poles, and these, which are designed specifically for women, are no exception. They’re constructed to protect women’s wrists from bumps, and the ergonomic foam grip is also sized for women’s hands. They easily adjust from 26 to 55 inches with Flock Lock adjustments, and the pair weighs just 1 pound, 4 ounces.

They also come with Control Shock Technology, which customers say significantly reduces the impact on knees, hips, and other joints. Overall, reviewers say these poles are great for security and stability even on ​tough terrain and are worth the price.

Best for Travel: Mountainsmith Halite 7075 Trekking Pole

Mountainsmith Halite 7075 Trekking Pole

Courtesy of Amazon

If you’re looking to take your poles on the go, this pair from Mountainsmith is ready. Perfect for traveling, they’re lightweight (1 pound, 5 ounces for the pair) and fold down to just 16 inches, so they won’t take up too much space in your luggage, but they still provide all the functionality you want in a set of sturdy poles that are ready to tackle tough terrain.

Bright in Moroccan blue, this pair comes with snow baskets (for snowshoeing), as well as hiking baskets. They have cork and EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) handles and padded wrist straps for comfort, and an Interlock system lets you easily adjust to heights between 48 to 54 inches. They also come with replaceable rubber boot tips and carbide tips you can swap out depending on the terrain.

Best Lightweight: Hiker Hunger 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Hiker Hunger 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Courtesy of Amazon

When you don’t want your poles weighing you down, there are these walking poles from Hiker Hunger that weigh less than a pound. Both poles combined weigh just 15.2 ounces, making them great for throwing in a suitcase, backpack, or another bag you’ll be carrying. The collapsible poles can extend from 24 to 54 inches, and the pieces can be separated and stored in a carrying bag, which comes with the poles.

Despite being light, these poles are strong, too. Made of 100% carbon fiber, they’re shock-absorbent and have an ergonomic cork grip for comfort. They also come with snow baskets, mud baskets, rubber tips, and rubber feet—everything you need for hiking, snowshoeing, and beyond.

Best for Children: YOURJOY 2 Pack Kids Telescopic Trekking Pole

YOURJOY 2 Pack Kids Telescopic Trekking Pole

Courtesy of Amazon

Add a whole new element of fun to hiking for kids with a pair of their very own walking poles. Kids love to have their own gear, and these poles are made to fit them just right. They also come in an array of bright colors, including pink, green, and blue, which always makes things more fun.

These poles can be adjusted to lengths from 17 to 33.5 inches, and the wrist straps are adjustable too. Made of lightweight aluminum, they weigh just over 11 ounces each, and they come with two sets of tips and two sets of baskets to help keep them from sinking in snow or mud. Customers say that beyond being adorable for little ones, these poles are lightweight, sturdy, and easy to adjust to fit kids of various heights.

What to Look for in Walking Poles

Materials

Walking poles are typically made out of aluminum or carbon fiber. Aluminum walking poles are far more durable than their carbon-fiber counterparts and are less expensive. However, carbon-fiber walking poles are more lightweight, which makes them a great choice if you want to pack light.

Telescopic vs. Foldable

If you're looking for walking poles that will fold down, you'll have to decide between folding poles and telescopic poles. Folding poles are connected on a string and allow you to take the sections apart to fold them. These pack the best as they can be folded down to a small size and are generally lightweight. Telescopic poles, on the other hand, collapse by sliding back in sections with the use of locking systems. These are very durable and can last a long time if properly taken care of. However, they can be heavy, and if a lock gets stuck or breaks you won't be able to use them.

Grips

Walking poles offer a variety of grips to help provide you with extra comfort throughout any terrain. Grips are generally made of foam, rubber, or cork. Foam is the softest of the three and the least durable, as sweat can wear down the foam over time. Rubber is better for hikes in colder weather, as it insulates your hands and won't absorb water. However, it can be uncomfortable. Cork is best for warmer activities as it absorbs moisture and provides the most comfortable fit since it will mold to your hand over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you use a walking pole correctly?

    To use a walking pole correctly, follow these recommendations:

    • Place poles carefully into the ground. The American Hiking Society says to avoid fragile vegetation and easily scarred rocks, as this can permanently hurt the nature you want to preserve.
    • Make sure you avoid other hikers.
    • Insert your pole's tips in the trail surface only.
  • How do I know what size walking pole I need?

    The walking pole size you need can vary. As a general rule, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle when holding your walking poles. Some poles come in fixed sizes while others are adjustable, so make sure to test them out before buying. Adjustable poles allow you to shorten or lengthen your poles when moving up or downhill.

  • How long do walking poles last?

    Walking poles can last years, even a lifetime if you take proper care of them. Avoid cheap tips, as they can wear out after 30 to 50 miles. You can purchase good quality poles online or in sporting good stores.

  • What are the advantages to using a walking pole?

    Walking poles offer shock absorbent technology, fight off vibration, and reduce impact on your joints. The tips can also help with stability: Carbide tips can dig into softer terrain, so you feel more secure, and rubber boot tips will help provide balance on harder surfaces.

  • Is it better to hike with one pole or two?

    Use two walking poles, if possible, when hiking. This helps you stay balanced on both sides of your body. Two poles give your body symmetrical support, which can reduce the risk of injuries over time.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Megan Foster is a seasoned commerce writer and former college athlete. She prioritizes health and fitness in her daily life, and she’s always looking for new, reliable, and expert-backed fitness products to share with her readers. She practically lives in leggings most days and she particularly likes ones that are supportive enough to wear for a workout, but also cute enough to wear on a quick grocery run.

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2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Hiking Society. Trekking poles.

  2. Mayo Clinic. Could walking poles help me get more out of my daily walk?.