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The Best Hiking Poles

Last updated on May 21, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Hiking Poles and dug through the reviews from 53 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, Outdoor Gear Lab, The Gear Hunt, Gear We Are, Trekking Poles Reviews, Camping & Camping and more. The result is a ranking of the best Hiking Poles.

Best Hiking Poles

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Hiking Poles

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Montem

Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

Overall Take

Made of durable aluminum, these trekking poles can take a lot of wear and tear on the trail. They are heavier compared to other poles but have quick and easy adjustment. The lifetime replacement promise means you'll never have to buy a new pair.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, Outdoor Gear Lab, Trekking Poles Reviews, Hiking Gurus, Cool of the Wild, Clever Hiker. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" They’re made of aluminum—a malleable, sturdy material that is not as brittle as carbon fiber—so you can scratch them, ding them, and generally bang them around without worrying they’ll break, yet they’re lightweight enough for most people."
Cons
"This generic design does raise concerns about durability; however, our reviewers did not experience any problems."

Black Diamond

Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

Overall Take

These durable poles will take you through four seasons of outdoor activities year after year. The carbon cork material makes them lightweight, but not the lightest of poles. They come with two kinds of baskets and interchangeable Tech Tips. As a result, you can switch between carbide and rubber tips... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus CTOP Reviews, Outdoor Gear Lab, Cool Hiking Gear, The Trek, The Broke Backpacker. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Ideal for all seasons"
Cons
"That was super light a few years ago, but not now, with the newer "tentpole style" like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z (10 ounces) and Distance Z, (12 ounces), it now checks in toward the middle of the pack..."

Cascade Mountain Tech

Quick Lock Poles

Overall Take

These poles are built with 100 percent carbon fiber and topped with cork grips. The grips offer comfort and dampen the vibration as you step,  while wicking away sweat. They include a variety of tips, snow basket, boots, small rubber feet and tungsten carbide tips. They are an excellent set... Read More

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, The Gear Hunt, Trekking Poles Reviews, Switchback Travel, Hiking The Trail, Amazing Outdoor Adventures and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Made of comfortable light weight carbon fiber. Includes two types of tough rubber tips."
Cons
"Carbon can shatter with rough treatment"
  The Best Value

BAFX Products

Anti-Shock Trekking Poles

Overall Take

These lightweight 12-oz poles are shock resistant and sturdy. They are made from aircraft-grade aluminum. As a result, they are very durable and easy to carry an any trail. The reasonable price point is appealing, however the locking mechanism can slip and malfunction.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, Trekking Poles Reviews, Joyful Journeying, Cool Hiking Gear, Hiking Hydration and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Inexpensive and lightweight, yet shock resistant and fairly sturdy."
Cons
"They are cheap and low quality and we would not recommend for any serious hiker."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the hiking poles available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products to review and score.

View All Product Rankings

53

Expert Reviews Included

Reviews from our DWYM category experts and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: BestReviews, Outdoor Gear Lab, The Gear Hunt, Gear We Are, Trekking Poles Reviews.

10,022

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 3 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Hiking Poles and also dug through the reviews from 53 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, Outdoor Gear Lab, The Gear Hunt, Gear We Are, Trekking Poles Reviews, Camping & Camping and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Hiking Poles.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

Expert Summarized Score
9.2
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
505 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

Made of durable aluminum, these trekking poles can take a lot of wear and tear on the trail. They are heavier compared to other poles but have quick and easy adjustment. The lifetime replacement promise means you'll never have to buy a new pair.

What other experts liked
They’re made of aluminum—a malleable, sturdy material that is not as brittle as carbon fiber—so you can scratch them, ding them, and generally bang them around without worrying they’ll break, yet they’re lightweight enough for most people.
- New York Times Wirecutter
If you want a pole that you can use in just about any situation, the Ultra Strong is a great choice.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
Sturdy
- Trekking Poles Reviews
Built to last
- Hiking Gurus
just the thing if you are shopping on a tight budget or just starting out; these aluminum poles are one of the least expensive on our list.
- Cool of the Wild
They're durable, compact, easy to use, and much more affordable than the high-end poles on this list.
- Clever Hiker
What other experts didn't like
This generic design does raise concerns about durability; however, our reviewers did not experience any problems.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
Snow discs are a bit small
- Trekking Poles Reviews
Snow disc extra is a bit small
- Hiking Gurus
The two biggest downsides with the Montems are they're pretty heavy and utilize lower quality materials.
- Clever Hiker

The Best Bang For Your Buck

BAFX Products Anti-Shock Trekking Poles

Expert Summarized Score
8.1
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.6
25 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

These lightweight 12-oz poles are shock resistant and sturdy. They are made from aircraft-grade aluminum. As a result, they are very durable and easy to carry an any trail. The reasonable price point is appealing, however the locking mechanism can slip and malfunction.

What other experts liked
Inexpensive and lightweight, yet shock resistant and fairly sturdy.
- BestReviews
They also have a durable steel tip hidden under the rubber foot at the bottom for trekking on more rocky and uneven terrain.
- Trekking Poles Reviews
Durable tips for less for giving surfaces, rubber foot for flat surfaces and optional snow disk for use on softer ground coverings
- Joyful Journeying
These poles are made from aircraft grade aluminum which makes them very durable, but at only 12 ounces, it also means they are very lightweight and easy to carry.
- Cool Hiking Gear
Low Cost
- Hiking Hydration
What other experts didn't like
locking mechanism is difficult to use and tends to slip out of position.
- BestReviews
They are cheap and low quality and we would not recommend for any serious hiker.
- Trekking Poles Reviews
Difficult to reassemble
- Cool Hiking Gear
Not the lightest
- Hiking Hydration

Overall Product Rankings

1. Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 8

2. BLACK DIAMOND Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 9

3. Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Trekking Poles

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 10

4. Hiker Hunger Trekking Poles

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 6

5. Trail Buddy Trekking Poles

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 6

6. Foxelli Trekking Poles

Overall Score: 8.1
Reviews Included: 8

7. BAFX Products Anti-Shock Trekking Poles

Overall Score: 7.9
Reviews Included: 9

8. Hikker Anti-shock Hiking Pole

Overall Score: 6.7
Reviews Included: 5

9. Sterling Endurance Trekking Poles

Overall Score: 5.9
Reviews Included: 5

Our Hiking Pole Buying Guide

If someone tells you to take a hike, instead of assuming it’s an insult, consider it as awesome advice. A hike can lead you to wonderful new places. And, now that you’re heading for the trails, you’ll need a bit more gear than boots to keep you going strong.

If you think you’re too young to need hiking poles or your chosen route is not technical enough, you might think hiking poles are overkill. You would be wrong.

The right pair of trekking poles can take your hiking to new heights, literally. Trekking poles offer many hidden advantages. They help combat sore muscles before the aches begin. In fact, the poles reduce the impact on your knees and other joints. Additionally, they also increase stability and confidence on any terrain. That means you can move faster and cover more trail quicker. As such, they are good for everyone, not just older hikers. Weekend warriors, thru-hikers, backpackers and day-hikers of all ages are grabbing a set of poles along with their hiking boots before hitting the trail.

Now that you’re thoroughly convinced of the usefulness of trekking poles, here’s how to find the best pair for you.

First, trekking poles don’t have to be used in pairs. If you’re more comfortable taking one on the trail, that’s totally fine. Next, you want your poles to fit you perfectly, so the length is adjustable. The adjustable poles will have two main locking mechanisms to secure your desired pole length: flick and twist locks. Flick locks are generally better in the winter because they are easy to adjust with bulky gloves on. They also can endure frigid temperatures. On the other hand, the twist locking system is ideal for summer hikes. They are easier to adjust while you’re going along.

If achy joints plague you, then you’ll want to look for poles with shock-absorption. Like shocks on a bike or a car, they dampen the impact and lessen the stress. They reduce the impact on downhill hiking, working wonders. However, it comes at the cost of some power on uphills. BAFX Products – 2 Pack – Anti Shock Hiking / Walking / Trekking Trail Poles come with built-in shocks.

All poles will label themselves as lightweight. What light means from one manufacturer to another varies. Every year, manufacturers innovate with ever lighter and stronger materials, so generally, newly introduced poles will be the lightest. Most are made of aluminum or carbon. Both materials bring benefits and drawbacks. Aluminum is more durable while carbon is lighter. For example, the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock Trekking Poles are made of carbon and weight only 7.8 oz each and Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles weigh in at 1 lb 1 oz total. In contrast, the aluminum Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles weigh 9.6 oz. per pole. A few ounces may not seem significant, but every ounce counts in a backpack and on the trail.

The material used on the grip of each pole is also a key feature to consider. It will influence how comfortable the poles are throughout a short or long hike. Pole grips are generally made of one of three materials. Foam is most comfortable and softest, but it absorbs water, so it’s not the best in wet climates. Cork molds to your hand and is moisture-resistant and antimicrobial, making them a good all-around choice. However, cork is pricier. Finally, rubber is a bit less comfortable, but it is water-resistant and ideal for winter activities.

Beyond materials, many manufacturers back their products with lifelong guarantees. Poles like the Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles are made to last a lifetime of hikes, so the company boasts a lifetime replacement guarantee.

Hiking or trekking poles can make any hike more comfortable and safe for anyone.

DWYM Fun Fact

Hiking and trekking poles can trace their origin back to rudimentary walking sticks and canes. Nearly every culture has had their own specific version of a walking stick over the years. There’s the German Ziegenhainer, a knotty stick. Also, the kebbie is a rough Scottish walking stick with a hooked head. The Irish shillelagh, made of blackthorn, is very similar. The whangee is the Asian variation and made of bamboo. It does double-duty as a riding crop, too. If you happen to acquire a large collection of walking sticks, you’ll become a rabologist.

Throughout history, travelers around the world have used these walking sticks and many more for support while exploring. Armed with a pole in each hand, they’ve trekked through the snow, climbed mountains or crossed the Great Plains.

The Hiking Pole Tips and Advice

  • Trekking poles are super versatile on the trail. You can use them to pitch tents or tarp shelters, so you can leave your tent poles at home. It’s an excellent way to lighten the load in your pack.
  • Some higher-end models have shock absorbers that can be turned on and off. This is helpful because you want shock absorption going downhill, but it’s better to hike uphill without.
  • Pole grips are generally made of foam, cork or rubber. Rubber is best in winter, and foam is the most comfortable. Cork resists moisture and soaking up smells.
  • A general rule of thumb for adjusting your pole height is to stand upright and bend your arms at 90 degrees. If your route is steeper, you’ll want shorter poles for uphill and longer poles for downhill sections.
  • Many hiking poles will come with excellent warranties, some with lifetime guarantees. They are made to be durable and last, so manufacturers will back the product.
  • Using trekking poles may also mean you use more energy on the trail. While using poles, you swing your arms and use more energy overall. It provides a total body workout and may mean you need to eat more calories on the trail.
  • Hiking poles can help improve your breathing. When you walk with poles, you automatically stand with a more upright posture, with head raised and proud open chest.