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
These are by far and away one of the hiking pole sets 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 collapsible: High Trek lightweight 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.
- Easy and secure locking
- Comfortable foam handles
- Snow baskets not included
- Not intended for extreme conditions
Best lightest: Foxelli trekking poles
At a mere 7.6 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.
- Super lightweight
- All-terrain, all conditions
- Not anti-shock
- Some complaints about loose locking mechanisms
Best traditional: 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 trails, 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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