If you enjoy hiking, trekking, or similar activities in mountainous regions, a pair of trekking poles could be your best friend. These handy devices can help to get a good grip on the terrain and also lessen the strain on your whole body. However, there are several kinds of trekking poles on the market today, so make sure you know what you’re getting before you make a purchase.
Curious to know how to choose the best trekking poles?
Does the Need for Using Trekking Poles Even Exist?
The need for trekking poles may not be apparent to every climber, but it’s definitely there. Still, you need to know just how to make use of your trekking poles and choose the best kind for yourself accordingly. Otherwise, you might be lugging around an extra piece of equipment for no reason.
Trekking poles can greatly reduce the effect of climbing, hiking, and trekking on your body. In the long term, such activities can decrease your health. So when you're trekking in a harsh environment, you absolutely need some trekking poles to support you.
These strenuous activities can take their toll on your knees, feet, hips, back, and ankles. Before this happens, get your trekking poles as soon as possible! Plus, using trekking poles actually results in a higher level of muscle exercise than otherwise.
You’d be using around 90 percent of your muscles as opposed to the 40 percent when you trek without poles. This enhances the workout aspect of trekking.
This also means that you burn 46 percent more calories while trekking. Along with this, trekking poles can contribute to improving and maintaining your posture, balance, and upper body mobility. You can achieve all of this without the serious physical exertion that you get without trekking poles.
Why You Should Invest in Trekking Poles
Investing in trekking poles might set you back a few bucks and seem to be an added weight. However, they’re recommended additions to hikers and trekkers of all ages, not just the elderly.
To begin with, trekking poles distribute the strain from the lower body to the upper. You’re forced to use your arms with these poles, so your legs have less of a burden to manage. This comes in especially useful when you’re going downhill, which could be very hard on the knees.
Trekking poles are also necessary for balancing when the terrain is uneven or slippery. Even river crossing becomes much easier since the poles help to maintain a constant gait. Your pace becomes more efficient, rapid, and even.
Finally, trekking poles are also excellent for uses other than climbing. If you’re planning a mountain climb or hike that could take days, these poles can easily double as tent supports at night!
How to Choose the Best Trekking Pole According to Your Outdoor Activity
Getting the best trekking pole isn’t a matter of just looking at the prices, ratings, and reviews. It also depends on the kind of outdoor activity you prefer. Several top options are available to suit every need, so consider what kind of activity you'll need the poles for.
For instance, if you’re going to be trekking on varying terrain, it’s important to get a pair of trekking poles with an adjustable length. If you’re simply going to be hiking regularly, make sure that the length can be long or short enough to make a 90-degree at your elbow when the tips are near your feet.
If you’re going to be trekking uphill, you need to have a shorter pole. Steep slopes require short poles to provide climbing assistance without causing fatigue. For the downhill trek, longer lengths are best.
For varying terrain, an adjustable pole made of aluminum can be the best bet. This is a versatile, durable, and lightweight choice that comes in several different gauges. However, these won’t be suitable if you’re putting a lot of weight on them.
If you’re just going on a long, regular hike, a carbon-fiber pole should be the first option to consider. These are more lightweight than aluminum poles, but not as strong. For more rugged terrain, you might want to consider strong materials like iron or even wood.
How to Use Trekking Poles like a Pro
Alternate poles and legs
Get into the rhythm of putting your right pole with your left foot, and vice versa. If you lose this rhythm, walk a bit without your poles and get back into the pace wherever possible. With time, this will become instinct, and you can get into such a gait automatically.
Walk with the poles like you’re just swinging your arms. Don’t think about what you’re doing with them, but keep them at a slight angle. This way, you can push off using them to move forward more easily.
When necessary, you can plant both the trekking poles at once. After this, take a couple of steps, and then plant the poles again. This is a useful trick for steep slopes. While going up or coming down, you might need this stabilizing practice.
Many trekking trials may have obstacles such as puddles, streams, river crossings, rocks, and logs. You can vault over the shallow obstacles using your trekking poles, or navigate around them. The poles will help you stay stable. Once you plant your pole down in a water body, make sure it’s secure before you use it for support. Lengthen the poles if the obstacle is deep.
The 10 Best Trekking Poles
We now come to the best trekking poles for sale. There are many options with varying features, so take your time and get to know what’s available before you take the plunge:
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork
- Premium cork grip with dual-density top and adjustable 360-degree sewn strap
- Non-slip EVA foam grip extension. Weight Per Pair : 475 g (1lb 1 oz)
- 3 section 100% carbon fiber shaft
The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking pole just might be the best choice you can have in this category. The pair weighs 17 ounces, and it has a telescopic mechanism with a lever lock. The shaft is made of carbon, while the grip is a resilient, soft cork. This nicely balances the weight and strength. With Black Diamond’s name, you can be sure of getting the best quality and performance.
Overall, these poles are reported to be the best type for backpacking, hiking, and much more. However, they might be a bit too heavy for some.
Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Shock
The Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Shock might be the best trekking poles for women. Specially made for backpacking journeys, its total weight is 20 ounces. The lever lock and telescopic mechanism make for compact and secure equipment. The shaft material is aluminum, which provides a lightweight experience.
The grip is foam, making for a comfortable hold. Equipped with shock-absorbing technology, these poles have excellent performance and will keep your trekking safe. Customers have loved how these poles go easy on the knees and are simple to adjust. However, they’re also on the heavy side.
Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber
- HIGH QUALITY STRONG VALUE – Built with "Aircraft grade" aluminum – We source quality material and buy in bulk...
- LIGHT WEIGHT & COMPACT POLES – 10.4 oz or LESS THAN a pound - Our aluminum poles provide hikers, walkers, back...
- QUICK LOCK & EXTENDABLE: Need to adjust your pole height when trekking up a hill, or a downward slope? Our quick lock...
The Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber trekking poles are an excellent option for trekkers on a budget. One pair weighs around 16 ounces, with a telescopic system and lever lock. The shaft is made of lightweight and durable carbon. There’s a choice in the grip, which could be either rubber or cork. Both have their advantages, so it’s good for you to choose according to your preferences.
Reviews have praised this pair for providing various features at an immensely affordable price. However, this also means that these poles may not last as long as other options.
Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles
- 【EASILY ADJUSTED】Adjustable quick locks allow you to QUICKLY & EASILY lengthen the poles from 24” to 53” in...
- 【FREE LIFETIME REPLACEMENT PROMISE】We at Montem promise to replace your poles for life. Shop the most trusted brand...
- 【ULTRA STRONG & LIGHT 】Montem trekking poles weigh only 9.6 ounces per pole so you don’t feel weighed down -...
The Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles are also an option that won’t break the budget. They weigh 21 ounces in total, which is a bit heavy for such items. They also have a telescopic and locking mechanism. The shaft is made of aluminum, providing a lightweight and adjustable result. With the grips made of rubber, you can be sure they're durable and reliable.
Customer reviews have praised the fact that while the construction isn’t as excellent as that of the higher-end models of this brand, the differences are subtle. However, the rubber grips might not be as comfortable as the cork option.
Montem Ultra Strong
- 【EASILY ADJUSTED】 Adjustable bolts allow adventurers of any height to quickly lengthen the poles from 24” to 53”...
- 【NEW IMPROVED MODEL!】 Strap up - Your trekking poles come with nylon straps to ensure the safest journey. Never...
- 【ULTRA STRONG】 Crafted out of Aluminum 7075 - the same material used to build airplanes. Experience truly strong...
The Montem Ultra Strong poles are yet another budget option with high ratings and positive reviews online. Together, both poles weigh around 19.2 ounces. The foam grip is reasonably comfortable, while the aluminum shaft makes the poles lightweight. While this company is new in this field, they’re already known for their high-quality output at affordable prices.
The reviews for these poles have mentioned how customers have enjoyed the adjustment design of the hand grips. This makes the poles suitable for steep climbing. However, the design may not be too tough.
Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z
The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z poles are among the best collapsible options you can get for these items. They can weigh anywhere from 9.3 to 10.4 ounces, making for a relatively lightweight result. The folding style, carbon shaft, and foam grip all provide a comfortable experience.
Customers have reported an excellent experience with these lightweight poles, especially the rapid rate in which they can be set up and collapsed. However, the lightness also means more strain on your arms, since these poles aren’t adjustable.
Black Diamond Distance Z
The Black Diamond Distance Z poles are also collapsible. They weigh 12 ounces in total and can fold into a much more compact size when required. The additional weight is due to the aluminum shaft instead of a carbon-fiber material.
While customers have loved this collapsible pole, you should keep in mind that the adjustability isn’t an included feature. This might be problematic for those who want to get the poles for a variety of trekking expeditions.
Leki Corklite DSS Antishock
- PA Safety Thermo grip for warmer hands including easily adjustable strap with safety release
- Reinforced strap with convenient fleece lining for pleasant wear comfort
- Speed Lock 2: Extremely fast adjustment of the pole length. 30% smaller, 25% lighter and 20% higher holding force - at...
The Leki Corklite DSS Antishock poles are true to their name, providing antishock technology while weighing 18 ounces. The grips are cork or rubber, while the shaft is aluminum. The antishock system serves to take a load off your body during your excursions. However, some people may not like this technology. It’s largely a matter of preference.
Overall, customers are satisfied with the trusty lever locks and interchangeable baskets in this pair of trekking poles. Still, they’re a bit on the heavy side and expensive to boot.
Leki Micro Vario Carbon DSS
The Leki Micro Vario Carbon DSS might be the best trekking pole regarding anti-shock features. They weigh around 17 ounces and have a folding mechanism for easy storage and adjustment. The material of their shaft is carbon fiber, which gives you a lightweight experience.
Customers value the anti-shock technology available in these poles, even at the high price. The folding capacity of these poles also means that there’s less adjustability available.
The Mountainsmith Halite poles weigh 21 ounces when put together. This is a heavyweight as far as trekking poles go, but the folding mechanism makes sure they’re compact. This pair is also quite affordable for a collapsible pair, so this can be a great gift for beginners. There are also comfy cork handles, hiking baskets, rubber tips, and snow baskets included.
Customers have loved the cost-effective construction and compactness of this option. However, this pair isn’t as sturdy as the pricier poles.
Picking the Best Option
Each of the trekking poles reviewed above will be great for your excursions on the mountains or hiking trails. See what your requirements are and pick the pair that fulfills them. For instance, the Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Shock gives you adjustment along with an anti-shock system. If you want a lighter weight, though, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z is the answer.
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