Hiking Poles Comparison Tables
To try to find the best trekking poles, we aggregated reviews from Switchback Travel, Clever Hiker, Outdoor Gear Lab, Section Hiker, Adventure Junkies, and Backpacker. We read reviews from Outside and Wirecutter, though based on other reviews, our picks varied. Then we cross-referenced these findings with Amazon and REI customer reviews to determine the most important criteria to hiking pole users.
See the Comparison Tables
Pros / Cons / Notable Reviews
We reference when a respected review site recommends trekking poles we liked. At Treeline Review, we’re all about being transparent about how we come to conclusions and urge you cross check our findings with these detailed product specific reviews that built our background research: Switchback Travel, Clever Hiker, Outdoor Gear Lab, Section Hiker, Adventure Junkies, and Backpacker.
|HIKING POLES||AWARD||PROS||CONS||NOTABLE REVIEWS|
|Best All Around||Neutral wrist position; good value||Need a screwdriver to tighten the locks; collapsed length is too long||Clever Hiker|
|Best Starter Set||Price||Durability||Switchback Travel|
|Best Hybrid||Good adjustability for tent support||Too ultralight for 4-season use||Backpacker|
|Best Mid Range||Durable||Heavy||Switchback Travel|
|Most Durable||Speed locks; replacement tips widely available||Top of grip is flat||Switchback Travel|
|Best Aluminum||Reliable locks; folds down small; DSS works well||Folding less sturdy than telescoping||Backpacker|
|Most Durable||Stable; comfortable; high quality||Only collapses to 26"||Outdoor Gear Lab|
|Best Carbon Fiber||Durable; tough; comfortable||Heavy||Outdoor Gear Lab|
|Best for Travel||Foam is comfortable; high quality||Expensive||Switchback Travel|
Carbon, aluminum, or hybrid hiking poles? Cork or foam grip? The table below summarizes our top picks for easy comparison.
Locking and packing methods vary by trekking poles. Sort the table below if you’re looking for a specific mechanical setup.
|HIKING POLES||LOCKING MECHANISM||PACKING METHOD||SHOCK ABSORPTION AVAILABLE?|
|Lever Locks + Push Pin||Folding||Yes (standard)|
|Lever Locks + Push Pin||Folding||Yes (adds 1 oz)|
Hiking Poles We Excluded
While researching, seven poles came to our attention that looked promising. However, after digging in further, we decided to not do a full write-up on these models. Why? Sometimes, despite good media coverage, customer reviews revealed a fatal flaw. Other times, the hiking pole may have been great, but a similar model from another maker was just as good and costs less. Of the dozens of models of poles available, we still think these are towards the top.
|HIKING POLES||REASON FOR EXCLUSION|
|Montem Ultra Strong||Not durable; low quality materials; Fakespot rating D|
|Gossamer Gear LT4||Not durable; expensive; no straps or length markers|
|Black Diamond Trail Back||Untested|
|Gossamer Gear LT5||Untested; expensive|
|Fixed length; expensive; not durable|
|Black Diamond Distance Z||Fixed length; expensive; baskets can't be changed|