Are you looking for the best trekking poles in 2021? No matter if you’re thru-hiking across the country or heading out on a quick weekend jaunt, trekking poles can add a lot of stability and comfort to your hike. Trekking poles help reduce impact on your knees, give stability on difficult terrain or while fording rivers, and some hikers even use trekking poles to pitch ultralight tents.
Having said that, let us point out that not all trekking poles are created equal and that some are definitely better than others. The variety of choices can make it rather difficult for someone to come to the correct conclusion without some prior professional help.
To help you along in this search, here is a list of the best trekking poles in the market at the moment.
List of 10 Best Trekking Poles of 2021 – Reviews & Comparisons
1. Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork ($130)
The Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork are awesome trekking poles that provide on-the-fly adjustability and easy handling for off-road adventures. The ergonomic, natural cork grips wick sweat and offer comfort. The 15° corrective angle delivers optimal grip position.
2. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z ($170)
The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z trekking poles are amazingly lightweight and built specially for minimalists and those who like to travel fast. The upgraded design makes poles 30% stiffer than their predecessors for improved joint support. As a downsize, we can mention the high price tag.
3. Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork ($180)
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork are lightweight and durable trekking poles. They provide stability and comfort on rugged, steep hikes. The premium cork grips have soft rubber grip extensions and solution straps for better handling and security.
4. REI Co-op Flash Carbon ($139)
REI Co-op Flash Carbon Ideal are wonderful trekking poles that are ideal for quick hikes or runs along troublesome trails. They feature lightweight design, easily adjustable length and versatile grips that fit different hand positions. The trail basket has a minimalist profile to cut down on weight while retaining stability.
5. Black Diamond Trail Back ($80)
With sturdy aluminum construction, these trekking poles by the market leader Black Diamond provide comfort and durability. The ergonomic rubber grips with rib patterns reduce vibration. Further, the dual FlickLock mechanisms offer total adjustability to suit the terrain at hand.
6. REI Co-op Traverse ($100)
REI Co-op Traverse are light and strong trekking poles that fit a variety of hand sizes and positions. The adjustment locks have an oversize lever for easy adjustments between users or to adapt to slope angle.
7. MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon ($150)
These trekking poles are very durable, comfortable and lightweight. With their Kevlar®-reinforced carbon-fiber construction the trekking poles are ideal for fast-and-light snowshoeing and mountaineering.
Learn more about these trekking poles
8. Leki Micro Vario Cor-Tec TA ($140)
With the Leki Micro Vario Cor-Tec TA trekking poles you can enjoy extra assistance on your hike. They have a folding construction, comfortable Aergon grips and a secure hold on a variety of terrain. The push-button release mechanism enables for quick, easy assembly and knock-down to just 15.5 in.
9. Black Diamond Distance FLZ ($140)
These trekking poles by market leader Black Diamond are strong, comfortable and supportive. They feature upgraded design that makes poles 30% stiffer than their predecessors for improved joint support. The FlickLock® technology allows hikers adjust pole length on the fly by 15–20cm to account for variations in steepness of terrain.
10. Leki Makalu Lite Cor-Tec ($120)
Leki Makalu Lite Cor-Tec are lightweight, thin and durable trekking poles that provide confident stability in any conditions. Their SpeedLock Plus locking system offers quick, reliable length adjustments, even when you’re wearing gloves.
Trekking Poles – A Buying Guide: How to Choose Trekking Poles
For trekkers, trekking poles have become a fundamental tool to help them trek more stably. It
provides irresistible assistance in supporting the weight and drives balanced movements all the
way through. In some cases, trekking poles could become a lifesaver too. However, choosing
trekking poles could be a daunting task as there are various products available in the market.
Single or Paired Poles?
The market hosts two major pole categories: single and paired poles. Depending on your style
and terrain you’d trek. Single poles usually come with wider grips and provide better stability for
hiking summits. If you are likely to go for prolonged hikes, a set of two poles would give you
better support all the way through.
What Types of Locks Do you Prefer?
Adjustable poles have become the trekkers’ popular choice but they come in two different types
of locks: twist and flick. Twist lock allows you to adjust and fold with bare hands while you may
need a screwdriver to adjust poles with a flick lock system. However, the flick lock system has a
great performance in the extreme cold weather. Poles with twist-lock systems would be great for
the summer trekking experience.
Need a Shock Absorber?
Some premium trekking pole product comes with shock-absorbing technology that helps
heavyweight backpackers. This feature help absorbing the feedback shock coming from below
that reduces the impacts to your knees. It’s not a perfect technology as it drives ascending
power loss and reduced descending stability. If you need it, choose the one with an on-off
Telescoping or Folding?
There are two major types of pole construction including telescoping and folding poles.
Depending on your preferences, each of these constructions provides you with advantages.
- Telescoping poles: Telescoping poles are the classic choice of trekker poles offering easy adjustment. In the market, you can find the telescoping poles with two sections and three sections. For the heavier trekking weight, the two-section pole is the more reliable option as it has a sturdier and more durable construction. For more adjustability and lighter trekking experience, a three-section pole is a great option. Choose the telescoping scope that suits your hiking style and the terrain you want to get through.
- Folding poles: Folding poles are newer construction applied to trek poles. This pole can fold up to suit even a small backpack. They’re very light and considerably durable for casual uses but typically not designed for a heavy trekking experience. However, folding poles are adjustable like telescoping poles. Once you set folding poles, they would become fixed height but some premium products may come with flick lock adjusting systems. The durability and adjustability of folding poles are at a moderate level. You may not be able to set up a tent with folding poles.
There are more multiple elements of pole construction you should consider, materials are the
fundamental ones. Aluminum is the basic material used for most trekking poles as it’s
considerably durable, more affordable, and provides adequate support. Many trekking poles are
made from carbon material to pursue the lightweight but consequently, they’re more expensive
and typically less durable. Generally speaking, even though Aluminium is a little bit heavier, it
would be a more reliable option and you can save money as well. However, both aluminum and
carbon trekking poles also come in grades of quality as well.
Last but not least, the grip of trekking poles determines the control and comfort when used.
When it comes to grip, materials play a key role in differences. Currently, you can find trekking
poles made from foam, rubber, or cork. Foam provides a soft and comfortable grip but it’s less
durable and absorbing water. Rubber provides a perfect grip and is completely water-resistant
so it would go well in wet-weathered hiking or as the hiker’s grip sweat a lot. If you want
something between, cork grip could be your answer as it offers moisture-resistant properties,
comforts, and antimicrobial features but it is slightly heavier than the foam grip.
Choosing a trekking pole isn’t difficult, it only takes a bit of concern on the specs and
preferences. You can take the factors mentioned above as your buying guide when choosing a
trekking pole that completely suits your hiking style and budget.