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Hiking Poles

Hiking poles have probably been around as long as folks have been walking up hills.  Whether they're a staff of sturdy wood or a high-tech carbon fiber adjustable trekking pole, they all help us get up and back down those trails.  

But which pole is right for you?  Think carefully about the kind of hiking that you do.  Are your trails rocky and steep or well-groomed? How often do you normally hike 2-3 miles or longer? Are you using hiking poles for constant walking stability or on an as-needed basis?  Take into consideration the condition of your knees, and upper limbs, and also, your pocketbook.  Then scroll down to review a selection of examples of different hiking poles and a list of their pros and cons and choose for yourself.  

In doubt about the practicality of hiking poles? Here's the 10 reasons you should use hiking poles.

 

BUT FIRST! A word about quick-lock versus twist-lock poles.  This is just my opinion, but I strongly recommend not buying twist-lock hiking poles.  I've tried a few of them and invariably they come loose halfway up the mountain.   When they get caught between roots, rocks, etc., they tend to twist a little, and then just as you put weight on them, BOOM!, down you go.  Your experience may be different, but I'm not listing any here for that reason.

Note: Amazon Associates Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Shock Absorbing Poles (my recommendation)

Aihoye Shock Absorbing Hiking Poles

Pros: 

  • Absorbs impact, reducing shock and strain on upper limbs

  • Affordable (example shown is $20)

  • Light, but not as light as carbon fiber poles

Cons: 

  • Under heavy loads or high-impact use, I've bent and cracked aluminum poles.

  • Eventually, the springs will start to lose their springiness. 

 

Pictured: Aihoye Quick Flip Hiking Poles

Link: https://amzn.to/3Mj6RkL

Carbon Fiber Poles

Cascade Carbon Hiking Poles

Pros: 

  • Very lightweight

  • Plenty of attachments for different conditions

Cons: 

  • Carbon fiber poles are generally more expensive than their aluminum siblings and the price reflects that.  Generally, when it comes to backpacking gear, lighter weight means heavier cost.  Example shown is $65. 

  • I've found that with sustained hard use, carbon fiber can splinter and crack

 

Pictured: Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles

Link: https://amzn.to/3agvP5P

Aluminum Poles

Foxelli Aluminum Poles

Pros: 

  • Affordable (example shown is $41)

  • Light, but not as light as carbon fiber poles

Cons: 

  • Under heavy loads or high-impact use, I've bent and cracked aluminum poles.

 

Pictured: Foxelli Trekking Poles 

Link: https://amzn.to/3IhoijF

Traditional Wooden Walking Staff

A man and a woman with wooden walking poles on a forest path

Pros:

  • You'll remind people of Gandalf

  • Depending on the wood, very lightweight

Cons:

  • Usually just have one tip, no options

  • No height adjustment, you have to buy the right height staff for your height. 

 

Pictured: Brazos Trekking Pole

Link: https://amzn.to/3Ij8YTR

Multifunction/Survival Hiking Pole

Winsper Multifunctional Pole

Pros:

  • Comes with a knife, whistle, compass, multi-function tool, etc. 

  • Heavy duty and very durable

Cons:

  • Heavy, really heavy

  • Tools are often cheap quality unless you want to spend more

 

Pictured: Winsper Multifunctional Trekking Pole

Link: https://amzn.to/3NMIlrA