5 Best Hiking Poles
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Editor’s Choice: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Hiking, trekking, or just walking poles have been around for a while, and most hikers swear by them. If you’re a fan of long trails, hiking poles can be a must. But how you choose a hiking pair? What are the features to look for? And are there any clear benefits to using them?
In this article, we’ll answer all those questions. And we’ll present and review five best hiking poles available on the market at the moment.
Top 5 Hiking Poles
Black Diamond makes many models trekking poles, and the Alpine Carbon Cork is an example of very versatile, comfortable, and durable poles. They are made from very thick carbon fiber and are very tough.
These poles have a cork grip, which is probably the best type of handle to have. But they also feature the rubber grip extension that is very soft and provides more security. They weigh just a bit over 1 lb., and the maximum length is 29 inches. If you’re looking for a comfortable pair of hiking poles, these are an amazing choice.
- Cork grip
- Very comfortable
- Good for any trail Cons Not very portable
If you need hiking poles that are very responsive and easy to adjust, you might want to consider LEKI Micro Vario carbon poles.
The release and foldable mechanism are very impressive, and it will pack to a very small size. The shaft is carbon fiber, and the grip material is Thermo foam. However, they also feature aluminum sleeves that increase the durability.
This makes it lightweight and very comfortable. LEKI is a company that cares about the environment, so it uses water-based paint and emission-free varnish in the manufacture of these poles.
- Foam grip
- Strong locking system
- Eco-friendly paint
- Very packable Cons A bit pricey
The Trail Ergo Cork hiking poles offer uncompromising value for the money. The shaft is made of aluminum and the total weight of one pole is 18 oz.
This model is great for hikers that don’t want to make a lot of fuss about the gear but still desire something reliable. The cork grip offers an excellent feel and features excellent moisture-wicking properties. Also, it can adjust to your height with the flick-lock system.
- Snow and powder baskets included
- Adjustable length
- Aluminum shaft
Cons Slightly heavy
If you love hiking on a tight budget, finding the best hiking poles can be difficult. But not impossible.
That’s the case with the Montem Ultra Strong Trekking poles that provide a lot of performance at a low price. These aluminum poles also have super-comfortable foam grips.
They’re just 24 inches, which is relatively short. But that also makes them an excellent choice for traveling. If you’re a casual hiker, the Montem poles are more than enough, but they lack sturdiness for more serious trekking.
- Foam grips
Cons May not be sturdy enough
The folding Black Diamond Carbon Z poles are incredibly lightweight and are suitable for almost any kind of hiker, camper, or backpacker. The shaft is 100% carbon but with an added aluminum ring.
The poles feel very sturdy and durable. They will allow you to lean in comfortably while trekking, especially because of the ergonomic foam grip.
The Carbon Z poles come in four different lengths, which is great. Furthermore, they’re also very packable and ultra-portable.
- Compact when folded
Cons Not adjustable
What Are Hiking Poles and Why Do You Need Them?
Have you ever wished that you had something to lean on during a long hike? Or perhaps something to hold onto when you’re walking downhill?
That’s what hiking poles are for. Some people use just one, but most use two for extra support. Hiking poles can help you determine the right pace and rhythm for your hike, in addition to making it safer and more enjoyable.
The Different Types of Hiking Poles
All hiking poles must look alike to some. But the truth is that there are noticeable differences in quality and construction. There are three basic types of hiking poles, telescoping, fixed, and foldable.
Telescoping Hiking Poles
Telescoping hiking poles are an absolute favorite among hikers. They’re also most versatile and durable of all. The pole is divided into sections, and each joint has a locking system that you can open. This makes them very adjustable, but this feature is also often the weakest point of construction.
Fixed Hiking Poles
This type is relatively rare nowadays, but you may still run into them. The shaft is straight, and the length is fixed. They’re usually very light because they’re stripped of any special features. But they’re also not as easy to transport.
Foldable Hiking Poles
Another popular type is folding hiking poles. They are the best hiking poles in portability. These poles usually have thin shafts and can’t sustain as much weight as the other two types. But they’re also the type that will cause the least amount of arm fatigue.
3 Benefits of Using Hiking Poles
Chances are if you’ve tried hiking poles once, you’re always going to return to them. But what makes them such a great addition to your hiking adventures?
1. They Protect Your Joints
If you’re carrying a heavy backpack, your joints are already under a lot of stress. And a long downhill road to that and your knees could be in trouble.
Hiking poles are an excellent tool that will alleviate the strain on all your joints, particularly the knees and ankles. They also help your posture and work your overall upper body.
2. They Give You More Balance
The more challenging hiking trails can be very uneven and bumpy. Even if you have the right shoes and balance, it can still get a bit shaky. You can use hiking poles to maintain your balance without worrying about falling.
3. They Increase Hiking Speed
Hiking doesn’t have to be about speed. But if you have a long way ahead of you and a deadline, you might need to pick up the pace from time to time. If you’re able to reach a good rhythm with your hiking poles, you’d be surprised to learn how fast you can go.
3 Things to Look for in Good Hiking Poles
What are the most important features of a pair of high-quality hiking poles? Professional climbers and hikers might focus on the details, but here are the main three factors to pay attention to.
1. Comfort and Weight
These two features go hand in hand. The weight of your hiking poles will dictate how much fatigue you’ll experience over time. Lighter poled str a better choice for long-distance hiked for sure. For shorter trails, a few extra ounces won’t make that much of a difference.
Durability has to do with the quality of the material used for construction. Carbon poles might be up to 7 times stronger than aluminum ones, but they might not be the better choice in overall durability. That’s because carbon fiber is more brittle than aluminum and can be more likely to break in certain circumstances.
This might not be the most important feature for some hikers. But if you’re traveling across the country or the world in search of new trails, the ease of packing and transporting will make all the difference.
In this respect, foldable and lightweight carbon fiber poles are the most practical. But telescoping hiking poles are a bit more adjustable and can still be compacted to a relatively small size.
Sure, you can go hiking with a pair of sticks that you pick up along the way, but they’re not going to be perfectly matching, functional, or stylish. And even though browsing through the best hiking poles can be overwhelming, they are the preferable choice for safer and more enjoyable hiking.
Our top choice is the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles for several reasons. In the categories of comfort and adjustability, they’re an absolute winner. And the cork grip provides an excellent grip and natural moisture-wicking properties. They’re also reasonably priced and a great investment due to the durability.