How to Choose the Best Hiking Poles

Many outdoor lovers are into trekking because they are driven by the challenge of the hike as well as appreciating nature’s wonders. Trekkers hike mountains, cross rivers, and even walk on high snow to complete a trail and get to a mountain’s peak.

The love for the outdoors has also led to the development in the design of hiking gear and the use of state of the art materials to make hiking more enjoyable and safer.

The development of hiking gear has led to a more ergonomic and secure hiking pole. This is a tool that is used by hikers to maintain support and stability during a trek. The hiking tool is made of aluminum or copper and is now made to be lightweight.

The average weight of a pole ranges from six to 10 ounces. Many additional features have been added to enhance the trekking pole’s performance.

Features of a Trekking Pole

Aside from weight, trekking poles have improved characteristics to make the trekker safe and secure while hiking. The poles are now designed to withstand impact, changes in climate, rust and corrosion. The build of a trekking pole is advanced and has been made to be more stable and last for years.

There are trekking poles which can be extended to 55 inches and can be folded to fit into a 24-inch shaft. Because trekkers need ergonomic and lightweight gear, manufacturers have made the pole retractable and compact so it is easy to fit in a suitcase or put in a backpack.

The pole is then stretched and locked with mechanisms that will put the joining shafts in place and will keep the pole sturdy even under impact to the surface.

There are various types of locking mechanisms. There are external lever locks that are switched to lock the pole when it reaches the desired length. There are locking mechanisms that work with a push of a button and there are locks that can be twisted.

The most durable of these is the twisted lock because the lock keeps the pole sturdy even when the lock is in place. The twisted lock keeps the pole stable and will not let the pole retract or extend unexpectedly.

The trekking pole has a handle that is made of either cork or foam. Some poles have both. The advantage of using a cork handle is that it absorbs sweat and is contoured to the user’s hand over time.

The grip that is lined with foam is also firm but will not absorb sweat. Other trekking poles use both; the foam lines the shaft beneath the cork handle for added grip.

Trekking poles also have a wristband that serves as a backup if the user accidentally drops the pole. The wrist band will keep the pole within the users’ reach.

What are the tip and the basket?

The end of the pole is called the tip. There are manufacturers who build the tip with tungsten to make it solid and corrosion free. The tip is pointed so that the pole can pierce through rough surfaces with more intensity. They are also protected by various types of rubber coverings and will depend on the terrain.

Some rubber covers have tread so that the tip will have more traction as it hits rocks and gravel. There are users who use the tip cover as the pole’s shoe. There are tips that are built to absorb shock and come with a built-in spring.

The basket is an attachment that is made of plastic. It is attached to the pole’s tip to prevent it from sinking in the mud or snow. These accessories are detachable and can be removed if necessary.

Uses of a Trekking Pole

A trekking pole’s main function is to provide support to the user while on a journey. The poles act like extra legs that absorb the energy of the user and make the walk more comfortable and stable.

With every step, a pole decreases 11 pounds of weight off the users’ body. This will enable the user to walk faster and with less effort. The pole is also good for supporting the user when going uphill or downhill and will make the user stable when the surface is uneven.

The first step in using a trekking pole is to adjust its height. For users who are under six feet tall, a pole with a length of 47 inches is appropriate. For users who are more than six feet tall, the pole should be extended to 56 inches. Users should make sure the wrist strap is worn before grabbing the handle. The elbow should make a right angle when holding the pole.

The length of a pole will vary depending on the use. Shorter poles are generally used when going uphill and longer poles are used when going downhill. The angle of the elbow should always be 90 degrees to ensure that the arms and elbows are not strained. If the pole is raised, then there is more energy required when using it.

When walking upwards, the handle should lean towards the forward direction and the tip should be closer to the user’s feet. This is done so that the trekker will have more force to push forward.

When the trekker is going downwards, the tip should be far away from the user and the handle closer. This is so that the user will get a stable footing while the force is transferred downhill.

Other Uses of the Trekking Pole

The hiking pole can be used for support for the user in tackling various types of terrain. The pole can also be used to sweep rocks and twigs that are blocking the road.

When getting tree branches and tall bushes out of the way, the pole can be used and is strong enough to sway obstacles out of the trekking path. The pole can also be used to deal with poisonous and thorny bushes that can’t be touched.

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Product

Price

Rating

BAFX Hiking Poles BAFX Hiking Poles $ 4.3/5
 Montem Hiking Poles Montem Trekking Poles $ 4.7/5
 Black Diamond Poles Black Diamond Distance Poles $$$ 4.4/5
 Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles  Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles $$ 4.8/5
  Foxelli Trekking Poles Foxelli Trekking Poles $$ 4.8/5
 High Trek Hiking Poles High Trek Hiking Poles $ 4.6/5
  CMT Anti Shock / Hiking / Walking / Trekking Trail Poles CMT Anti Shock / Hiking / Walking / Trekking Trail Poles $ 4.1/5
  TheFitLife Nordic Hiking Poles TheFitLife Nordic Hiking Poles $ 4.5/5
  Ohuhu Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles Ohuhu Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles $ 4.1/5
  Taalo Trekking Poles Taalo Trekking Poles $ 4.6/5

5 Best Hiking Poles

The best quality poles are identified by their durability and stable structure. These products are proven for safety and comfort of the user. They were rated based on the efficiency of performance during difficult terrain and the capacity to support big amounts of weight.

BAFX Hiking Poles

This is a product made of aluminum. The poles are lightweight at 12 ounces each. The length of the pole is 26.5 inches when folded and extends to 53 inches. The tips are built to absorb shock for more support when hiking and can be used by people who have back and knee problems.

There is an added spring when the poles are hit on a hard surface that enables the user to exert less energy. The product has wrist straps that are made of mesh and the baskets are built for snow and mud. They are easy to pack and convenient to bring while travelling.

The aluminum material makes the poles rust and corrosion free. The material makes the poles strong and they will not bend when hit with hard materials. The tips grip well to the ground and can even gain traction on muddy or slippery roads.

The grips are made of rubber and foam that makes the grip comfortable and tight. Even heavy and large-sized users can use this pole for support because of the strength and stability.

However, the locking mechanism uses a twisting lock that unfastens unexpectedly. The product’s wrist strap is too thin and short. If the user is wearing gloves, it is no longer wearable.

Best Trekking Poles BAFX

Pros

  • Has sturdy structure and made of aluminum
  • Lightweight at 12 ounces each
  • Poles are 26.5 inches and stretch to 53 inches when extended
  • Tips are covered with rubber
  • Has anti-slip mechanism
  • Tips of poles have springs to absorb shock
  • Comfortable but firm grip
  • Handle is made of foam and rubber
  • Has wrist straps to protect from slipping
  • Comes with mud baskets to prevent sinking in mud or snow
  • Can be used by trekkers of any size
  • Heat and rust resistant
  • Has 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Wrist handle is too short
  • Twist lock is unreliable

Montem Trekking Poles

These poles are durable and strengthened by their aluminum and the tips are made of titanium. The straps hold securely and will not slip off because they are made of nylon. The trek is more secure and the user maintains balance because the poles are sturdy and well-balanced, as well as lightweight.

Holding the pole will not cause hand strain because each pole only weighs 9.6 ounces and the grips are made of comfortable foam. The handles are also durable and will not wear out even after years of continued use.

The poles are easy to retract and extend. The lock is a push button and extending the pole can be done with one press. If the user is caught off balance, the quick extension feature will catch the user before falling off.

The pole is strong and can be used even by tall trekkers because of the long length. When going uphill, the poles can be shortened and going down the trail is manageable because the poles can be extended.

However, the locks do not hold well when extreme pressured is applied. When hitting the ground, the tips make a cracking noise.

 Montem Trekking Poles Set 

Pros

  • Length is 24 inches and can be extended to 53 inches
  • Weighs 9.6 ounces each
  • Made of aluminum and tungsten
  • Easy retraction for height adjustment
  • Has nylon straps for users’ security
  • Grips made of foam
  • Easy to pack
  • Has one year limited warranty
  • Can be used by trekkers of any size
  • Will not bend on impact
  • Rust and corrosive resistant
  • Can be used in all types of weather
  • Reliable customer service

Cons

  • Defective locking mechanism
  • Tips make noise

Black Diamond Distance Poles

These are high-tech poles that are structurally sound because they are made of aluminum and the tips are pointed for easier penetration to the ground. The poles are light at 14.4 ounces each and they stretch as far as 43 inches. The product’s connectors are made of rubber and will not rust or lock when extended.

The pole is extended by a push of a button and snaps easily in place when the desired length is achieved. The tips are protected with a rubber shoe that can be detached if the user wants greater force. The user is secure with the firm rubber handles and will not slip off because they can be held well with wet hands.

The wrist straps are lined with absorbent cotton and mesh that keeps the poles in place. The tips have good traction on most surfaces. The product comes complete with mud and snow baskets, which makes the product usable in any kind of weather and terrain.

However, the manufacturer wanted to make a product that is easy to extend but the connectors are flimsy, which makes the pole extend even when the lock is not released. Even when the product is used on soft surfaces, the locks release the shaft.

Best Distance Poles Black Diamond 

Pros

  • Durable and stable
  • Made of aluminum shafts
  • Has a 3-folding design and easily extendable
  • Very compact at 13 inches when folded
  • Weight is 14.4 ounces each
  • Length extends to 43 inches
  • Wrist straps made of rubber and mesh
  • Comfortable and secure grip
  • Has interchangeable tips
  • Resistant to rust and corrosion

Cons

  • Retracts in extreme pressure
  • Unstable joints

Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

This product is made by a smaller company but they were still able to create a stable and reliable product made of aluminum and tungsten. The product weight is 7.6 ounces and can be extended to 54 inches. When folded, the product is 24 inches and can easily be packed.

The poles are sturdy and rust resistant. The product is complete with rubber covering, mud and snow baskets. The grip is made of cork and a secondary lining is put underneath for added grip. The cork absorbs sweat and follows the shape of the user’s hold.

The locking mechanism is convenient and safe because it is an easy snap on clip that can be moved even when the user is wearing gloves.

Trekkers who are six feet tall will not have a hard time adjusting the pole because it is long and retains strength even when it is extended. The poles come with a transportable bag or can be put in a backpack for transportability.

Hiking Hunger Poles 

Pros

  • Made of 100% carbon
  • Can be folded and extended smoothly
  • Lightweight at 7.6 ounces per pole
  • Has folded length of 24 inches and extends to 54 inches
  • Can be easily collapsed and locked at desired length
  • Easy to pack in a suitcase or backpack
  • Grip is comfortable and made of cork
  • Has one-year limited warranty
  • Efficient customer support
  • Transportable with sling bag
  • Can be used by hikers who are 6 feet tall

Cons

  • Will break if subjected to extreme pressure

Foxelli Trekking Poles

Foxelli trekking poles are made of carbon and are a great product to use outdoors. The poles are very light at seven ounces and are very easy to carry on a long trek. The length of the product is 24 inches when folded and 55 inches when extended, which makes it suitable for use by tall trekkers.

The pole is easily adjusted and released with one adjustment of a switch. The product’s rubber boots can be used on rocky paths while the mud and snow baskets are large enough to stop the pole from sinking. The tips are made of tungsten which is solid and will not break or chip off when hit on a hard surface.

The product is lightweight and compact. It can fit any standard sized backpack. The grip is made of cork and will absorb sweat and water. The shaft is covered with foam for additional holding support. The product has a three-year warranty and guarantees full cash refund or a product exchange in 120 days.

Foxelli Trekking Poles

Pros

  • Can be used in extreme cold or heat
  • Resistant to corrosion and heat
  • Easy locking mechanism
  • Durable and safe to use
  • Made of 100% carbon
  • Only weighs 7 ounces per pole
  • Length is 24 inches and extends to 55 inches
  • Traction is increased
  • Easy to retract or release with one switch
  • Grip is made of cork with secondary grip made of foam
  • Comes with rubber tip, snow and mud baskets
  • Has 120-day product return window or full cash refund
  • Has 3-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Has same appearance with cheaper models

Conclusion

A hiking pole should be purchased based on its ability to perform in extreme weather and rugged terrain. The pole’s durability and efficiency of its locking mechanism are the primary factors that need to be considered before buying the product. The poles should also pass wear and tear conditions and should not be easily bent or broken at strong impacts.

Some outdoor manufacturers might charge a higher price because of the name but not be reliable when used on long hikes. The user should take into consideration the materials used to make the product and should not be easily swayed by brand names and popularity.

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