Whether you're ready to take on longer distances, or just want an assist on some of your favorite trails, hiking poles can change the game when it comes to getting outside. Luckily, there's no shortage of outdoor gear options to help you enjoy the fresh air and keep your joints happy in the process. And we rounded up some of the very best hiking poles for conquering elevation and seeing the sights.
Trekking poles serve a few key purposes, according to the American Hiking Society. First—unlike a walking stick you may find on the side of a trail—hiking poles offer two points of support so you're not favoring one side of the body over another. The poles also relieve excess strain on the knees, keep your body stable as the miles tick by, and make your triumphant less risky to your fatigued joints.
In other words, trekking poles are kind of like wearing a helmet while biking or slipping kneepads on if you're learning new skateboarding tricks: It just makes the activity you love that much safer. So if you're ready to get moving and commit to longer, more difficult trails, go ahead and invest in a pair. Below, you'll find the best of the best trekking poles for every price point and height.
The 5 best hiking poles for supporting yourself in the great outdoors
You’re going to see the name Black Diamond on this list a lot—and for good reason. This brand is a favorite of outdoor enthusiast’s everywhere for its quality products and generous warranty policy. This particular pair of hiking poles comes in three lengths (95 to 110 centimeters, 105 to 125 centimeters, and 120 to 140 centimeters), and the reviews are immaculate. One person writes, “This is a good durable and versatile pole for hiking. As a guide I do not always need a poles, but I can have them in my pack to give to a guest without hanging off my pack.”
For what it’s worth, my elevation-hungry significant other also owns and swears by these poles. So if you’re looking to invest in a sturdy, long-lasting pair, these poles will go the distance.
You’ll pay a premium price for these poles, but depending on how much time you spend on the trail, it may be well worth it. These babies extend to 120 centimeters and feature shock-absorption technology that reduces impact up to 40 percent. Meaning, no matter how much elevation you’re gaining or losing, you can rest assured that your poles are protecting your joints and bones. These poles only add around one pound to your pack, which can make a huge difference if you’re tackling a thru hike. w
For those with sweaty hands (it me), these cork-handled trekking poles are exactly what you need. These travel at 15 inches and can be extended up to 135 centimeters to accommodate folks of all heights. While these poles don’t have perfect reviews, they’re lightweight and durable at a good price point. Plus, they’re beloved by trail runners and hikers alike.
This pair of trekking poles is both lightweight and affordable. Weighing in at about a pound, the tech tip of these poles are interchangeable between carbide and rubber to keep you on your feet whether you’re moving through ice, dirt, rocks, or another terrain. One five-star reviewer writes, “I took these on a three-day backpacking trip that involved a day trip up South Truchas Peak (13,108). It was roughly 30 miles with over 6,000′ elevation gain (and loss). It involved extremely steep up and down during which I used the full range of adjustability offered by these poles. I relied on these through nasty scree and boulder fields, and they bore my entire weight on multiple occasions.” Now, there’s a ringing endorsement.
So you want a cheap pair that will last a lifetime of casual hikes? You got it. These poles feature a max reach of 54 inches and cushioned, comfortable handles. Despite their low price point, these poles have racked up an impressive 42,000 reviews with a 4.7-star average on Amazon. They also come in many fun colorways so you’ll never lose them on the trail.
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