- The Contenders
- In-Depth Best Trekking Poles Review
- Considerations When Buying Hiking Poles
The best hiking poles have become indispensable accessories not only for hiking outdoors, but also for casual walkers and avid backpackers. Trekking poles offer several benefits that include increased support and stability for active outdoor enthusiasts over every type of terrain. It doesn’t matter if you snowshoe up and down rugged mountain terrain or simply walk briskly on city streets; the 5 best trekking poles keep you upright during your entire journey.
Hiking poles don’t reduce the amount of energy you expend for hiking outdoors. You can expect to move your arms more by lifting and setting hiking poles into the ground. However, hiking poles allow you to distribute your energy consumption throughout more of your body, which enhances your endurance on long hikes.
ListofFit tested several trekking poles and came up with five that make our best trekking poles list. First, we discuss the criteria that define the best hiking poles and then we examine the features that make the poles top rated.
- Size Adjustment: 25"-51"
- Weight: .99 lbs.
- Pros: Our top rated hiking poles. The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles have non-slip foam grip extension and carbon fiber construction.
- Cons: A bit pricey, but worth it considering the quality.
- Price: ~$125
- (4.8 / 5)
- Size Adjustment: 24"-53"
- Weight: 1.1 lbs.
- Pros: The Montem Hiking Poles are the most affordable on our list. They claim our best value award.
- Cons: Due to the lower price, you do have some sacrifices in the quality of grips and comfort compared to more expensive poles.
- Price: ~$50
- (4.3 / 5)
- Size Adjustment: 43"-51"
- Weight: .98 lbs.
- Pros: Thermo extended grips and a carbon fiber material help to make these very comfortable and durable trekking poles.
- Cons: Price is too high in our opinion compared to other quality pole options at lower prices. Length adjustment limited.
- Price: ~$200
- (4.8 / 5)
- Size Adjustment: 43"-55"
- Weight: .95 lbs.
- Pros: The lightest pair of hiking poles on our list.
- Cons: Grips are fairly average and don't stand out from the pack.
- Price: ~$110
- (4.3 / 5)
- Size Adjustment: 26"-55"
- Weight: 1.08 lbs.
- Pros: The Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock have a large height adjustment range.
- Cons: Slightly heavier than most of the other trekking poles on our list.
- Price: ~$90
- (4.3 / 5)
1.) Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Hiking Poles
With highly comfortable cork handles, Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Hiking Poles possess a lightweight design that provides incomparable strength. The combination of supreme comfort and long lasting durability makes these trekking poles a hit among avid enthusiasts of hiking outdoors.
As one of the 5 best hiking poles, the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon model works very well during off trail adventures into the wilderness. The adjustable hiking poles appeal to backpackers, as well as split boarders and snowshoers. Superior comfort and durability make Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Hiking poles our highest rated trekking poles on this list.
The cork grip and small diameter handle provide ergonomic benefits for using Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Hiking Poles. Both small and large handed users like the newer, smaller grips better than the grips on the previous version of one of the best trekking poles. The smaller grips ensure hand stability, which reduces the likelihood of acquiring painful blisters and calluses.
Resembling the classic FlintLock design found on previous Black Diamond trekking poles, the new locking mechanism is easier to adjust. The FlintLock design makes the locking mechanism one of the most dependable locking devices found on any hiking poles. Our tests confirm the locking device moves quickly, even when we operated the device hiking outdoors over rugged terrain.
Despite evidence that aluminum hiking poles offer more durability than the durability offered by aluminum trekking poles, we find Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Hiking poles to last longer than any other type of tent pole style of trekking poles. The thicker, larger pole diameter produces more weight, but the extra weight bolsters durability and performance. We believe as one of the 5 best trekking poles, this pair of carbon poles holds up as long as 20-ounce aluminum poles.
2.) Montem Hiking Poles
Montem hiking poles offer optimal versatility, from using the poles during every season to hiking outdoors in all types of terrain. The rugged weight bearing system can hold up to 350 pounds over extended periods. Clamp force locking devices allow you to customize your outdoor adventure to address the minor details of navigating wilderness terrain. Montem claims the aluminum used to construct the hiking poles is the same type of aluminum used to manufacture airplanes.
Dual density Eva foam comprises the material used to design the Montem Hiking Pole grips. The super soft grips include adjustable wrist straps that come with thick padding to brace your hands and arms against strong vibrations. At just under 10 ounces for both poles, the lightweight trekking poles require little energy exertion, even over undulating terrain. The lower grip areas for carrying the poles keep your arms straight.
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking poles adjust from nearly 50 to a little more than 100 centimetres. You adjust the poles by manipulating the “flip lock” system that reminds us of the locking devices used for Cascade Mountain Tech poles. However, the Montem version of the flip lock seamlessly flips back and forth to provide you with locking flexibility.
As a recent addition to the hyper competitive hiking poles market, Montem has earned a spot on the 5 best trekking poles list because the company has designed the poles for hikers of all skill levels. Beginners benefit from one of the highest weight limits, as well as extended grips and adjustable heights. The poles flawlessly handle all types of terrain, including undulating trails that wind around hills and mountains. Many reviewers state the hiking poles designed by Montem validate the company’s entrance into the hiking poles market. We believe Montem’s initial poles rival the performance delivered by the best poles constructed by most other manufacturers. Whenver you lean on one of the 5 best hiking poles, you immediately notice your balance remains steady.
3.) LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles
LEKI has scored a huge hit, with the introduction of the company’s Micro Vario Carbon Trekking poles. At barely 12 ounces for both poles, the lightweight carbon design doesn’t compromise performance. In fact, the poles have become popular among serious hikers and backpackers that hike long distance trails, such as the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. The lightweight poles attach securely to backpacks and knapsacks.
Superior comfort represents the best attribute of the LEKI carbon backpacking poles. The foam grips contain moisture wicking technology that comes in handy for hiking outdoors during the warmer months of the year. You never have to worry about perspiration building up between the grips and your hands. The Micro Vario Carbon poles includes an oversized, oval shaped pommel on the top of the handles, which allows you to palm your LEKI trekking poles and obtain firmer grips.
LEKI recently introduced a new locking device called the SpeedLock 2, which comprises an external lever-locking device on top of the shaft and easy to use push style devices that lock the lowest three sections. The upper SpeedLock device adds up to 20 centimetres in length, which allows different size hikers and backpackers to make adjustments on the fly. You don’t have to manipulate the locking devices by applying pressure with a tool; simply adjust the lever tension by using your hands.
Don’t let the lightweight carbon design trick you into thinking this set of LEKI trekking poles lacks in the durability department. As one of the best hiking poles, LEKI Micro Vario Carbon poles deliver the best performance of poles weighing less than 12 ounces. The hiking poles can endure prolonged poundings over the most rugged terrain .Water resistant treatment to the carbon prevents degradation caused by exposure to constant precipitation.
4.) MSR Swift 3 Hiking Poles
Mountain Safety Research (MSR) has made a name in the outdoors niche by creating legendary products that include the all-purpose stove and a wide variety of snowshoes. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise to see MSR Swift 3 Hiking Poles on the list of 5 best trekking poles. The poles fold into 57 centimetres, which makes the poles perfect for extended outdoor adventures.
The foam that covers the handles and top of each pole feels super soft to the touch. MSR includes a ventilated strap that you barely feel. The strap operates an automatic release clasp that ensures your wrists remain protected, whenever you fall or lean to one side.
The MASR hiking poles fasten when you push a button that reminds us of the push buttons found on avalanche shovels. Easy adjustments provide you with the flexibility to change from a long set of poles to shorter poles that work best on steep inclines. However, the condensed version of these hiking poles range longer in length than the condensed length of the poles offered by competitors.
MSR hits a home run with the streamlined shape of the poles, which enhances the accuracy of pole placement. The poles absorb more weight than most other poles, including a couple of poles mentioned on our 5 best trekking poles list. MSR has addressed the rattling of the sprung-loaded clips by realigning the clips.
5.) Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Hiking Poles
Black Diamond makes another appearance on our 5 best hiking poles list, but this time the company offers a set of trekking poles specifically designed for hiking and backpacking on trails. We especially like the strength of the shaft, which makes the poles perfect for supporting heavy loads.
Symmetrically perfect foam grips do an outstanding job of keeping your hands in pristine condition. The foam extends a short distance down the shaft to give you the option of grabbing the shaft to access hard to maneuver spaces between large rocks and boulders. Black Diamond places an emphasis on creating ergonomic handles that prevent pain from shooting up your hands and into your wrists and arms. The highly rated shock absorbing system prevents vibrations from throwing you off balance.
Like the best overall trekking poles on our list designed by Black Diamond, this pair of poles includes proprietary FlickLock technology. Black Diamond represents the first company to introduce the popular locking system. The ease of use and enduring durability make the locking device a hit among serious hikers and backpackers.
Both the shaft and locking device provide long lasting durability, but the strength of each hiking pole component falls below the component strength provided by top-rated Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Hiking Poles. We give the performance of the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock poles an above average rating.
Considerations When Buying Hiking Poles
The best hiking poles provide comfort for hiking outdoors. Most trekking poles adjust in size over different types of terrain, typically between 24 and 55 inches in length. Accomplished backpackers shorten hiking poles while navigating uphill terrain and lengthening trekking poles for downhill treks. The grips on hiking poles also determine comfort levels, as moisture from perspiring hands can cause hikers to lose control and thus, receive blisters and calluses on the hands and fingers.
Grip material options for trekking poles include cork, foam, and rubber. Shock absorbing hiking poles contain internal springs that absorb the pounding caused by hiking outdoors. Trekking pole weight determines how long you can use the poles. The best hiking poles contain lightweight materials that keep your arms fresh for extended hiking sojourns.
Trekking poles lock in two, three, or four locations that allow hikers and backpackers to adjust the length of the poles. The best trekking poles include easy to manipulate locking mechanisms that never waver in support of hiker weight. Locking devices on trekking poles also ensure the poles never slip on wet terrain. Designed similar to a clamp, external lever locks offer you a quick way to adjust hiking poles. Push button locks snap and lock by pulling the lock one time.
Considered the strongest lock, twist locks require you to use an expender and screw setup, which might turn some hikers and backpackers off. Some of the best hiking poles operate on more than one locking device to offer optimal balance and comfort.
Hiking outdoors requires the use of trekking poles that offer long lasting durability. You can’t afford to have one or both hiking poles break down during a long trek into the backcountry. Aluminum offers you the most durable and affordable option. Aluminum trekking poles typically weight between 13 and 18 ounces for both poles. Even intense pressure placed on aluminum hiking poles fails to break the poles. Carbon fiber represents the second primary material manufacturers use to construct trekking poles. Although carbon hiking poles significantly reduce vibrations, the material can break or splinter when placed under substantial stress. That is, if you purchase inferior trekking poles.