Trekking 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.

TREKKING POLESAWARDPROSCONSNOTABLE REVIEWS
Best All AroundNeutral wrist position; good valueNeed a screwdriver to tighten the locks; collapsed length is too longClever Hiker
Best Starter SetPriceDurabilitySwitchback Travel
Best HybridGood adjustability for tent supportToo ultralight for 4-season useBackpacker
Best Mid RangeDurableHeavySwitchback Travel
Most DurableSpeed locks; replacement tips widely availableTop of grip is flatSwitchback Travel
Best AluminumReliable locks; folds down small; DSS works wellFolding less sturdy than telescopingBackpacker
Most DurableStable; comfortable; high qualityOnly collapses to 26"Outdoor Gear Lab
Best Carbon FiberDurable; tough; comfortableHeavyOutdoor Gear Lab
Best for TravelFoam is comfortable; high qualityExpensiveSwitchback Travel
 

Materials Comparisons

Carbon, aluminum, or hybrid hiking poles? Cork or foam grip? The table below summarizes our top picks for easy comparison.

TREKKING POLESWEIGHT PER PAIR (OUNCES)POLE MATERIALGRIP MATERIAL
18AluminumCork
16CarbonFoam or Cork
14.8Carbon and AluminumFoam
20AluminumCork
16.7AluminumFoam
19AluminumCork & Rubber
18AluminumCork
17CarbonCork
16CarbonFoam
 

Mechanical Comparisons

Locking and packing methods vary by trekking poles. Sort the table below if you’re looking for a specific mechanical setup.

TREKKING POLESLOCKING MECHANISMPACKING METHODSHOCK ABSORPTION AVAILABLE?
Lever LocksTelescopingNo
Lever LocksTelescopingNo
Lever LocksTelescopingNo
Lever LocksTelescopingNo
Lever LocksTelescopingNo
Lever Locks + Push PinFoldingYes (standard)
Lever LocksTelescopingYes
Lever LocksTelescopingNo
Lever Locks + Push PinFoldingYes (adds 1 oz)
 

TREKKING 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.

TREKKING POLESREASON FOR EXCLUSION
Montem Ultra StrongNot durable; low quality materials; Fakespot rating D
Gossamer Gear LT4Not durable; expensive; no straps or length markers
Black Diamond Trail BackUntested
Gossamer Gear LT5Untested; expensive
Fixed length; expensive; not durable
Black Diamond Distance ZFixed length; expensive; baskets can't be changed
Mountainsmith RhyoliteUntested