Best Hiking Sticks
The use of hiking sticks can make a huge difference in the ease and safety of your hiking. There are a myriad of different types of sticks currently on the market, and each are tailored to different types of trails. Black Diamond and Leki makes the highest quality hiking poles using lightweight and sturdy materials that will last throughout even the most treacherous hiking conditions for experienced hikers. There are also more affordable poles on the market for those just starting out that are highly regarded by seasoned hikers. Whether you are looking to hike all over the world, or just want to explore nature in your hometown, there are hiking poles out there to fit those very needs.
This list offers the highest rated hiking sticks that have been tried and tested by avid hikers. It’s important to ensure that you use a hiking stick that will not only last you the length of the trial, but will be durable enough to take you on miles and miles of outdoor adventures.
- Leki Micro Vario
- Compact design
- BD Alpine
- Premium cork grip
- BD Distance Z
- Carbon shaft
- Non-slip EVA foam grip
10 Best Hiking Sticks
Leki Micro Vario
These poles run along the higher end of the price spectrum. However, these lightweight and versatile poles are perfect for every condition and perhaps could be the only poles you would ever need to buy.
8 x 9 x 10 inches, 1 pound. These poles are the most compact hikings sticks to make this list, and well as one of the lighter poles.
The Aergo thermo grip has an edgeless design and is a great material for cold and warm weather hiking. It has black foam accents, and below the grip is a grooved foam handle for those steep uphill climbs. It also has a Leki embroidered safety strap made from a breathable and lightweight fabric that prevents rubbing and blisters.
The retractable shaft folds into three pieces, making it easy to carry in a backpack when they are not needed. The shaft is also capable of adjusting easily for individual heights and trails. The extender uses Lock Speed 2 technology for fast adjustments as needed on the trails.
Leki is a trusted name within the hiking industry, so you know that you are getting a high quality product with these poles. The hand grip is unlike other grips on this list- the innovative aergon material provides an incredibly lightweight and breathable hold. Even the skin straps are made from a light breathable material, making it a comfortable fit in every hand.
- Light weight
- Smooth, edgeless grip with security strap
- Compact design
- Brand recognition
- One color available
Black Diamond Alpine
Much like Leki, these poles are also on the higher end of the price spectrum. Black Diamond is an industry favorite based on high-quality materials and durability. These poles will most likely last for many of your outdoor adventures.
25 x 1 x 1 inches, 1.42 pounds.
The grip is made from premium cork, has a dual-density top, and an adjustable sewn safety strap. It also has a foam grip extension. The cork grip will adjust to shape of your hand with use.
The lightweight shaft is made from carbon fiber, and boasts dual FlickLock PRO technology for easy adjustability to navigate various terrains and accommodate differentiating heights. The tips are also interchangeable to account for any number of trails.
Black Diamond is another company that you know that you are getting the highest quality of hiking poles. The carbon fiber shaft makes for a lightweight pole, and the cork grip offers a comfortable and secure handle that wicks away sweat and contours to the shape of your hand.
- Interchangeable baskets and tips
- Premium cork grip
- Comes in only one color
Black Diamond Distance Z
As with many of Black Diamonds products, the price is slightly higher than many of the other options available on the market. Poles sizes range from 100cm to 130cm, and the shorter poles are much less expensive than the longer poles.
47 x 4 x 2, 9.6 ounces
The Distance Z has a grip that is made from a grooved EVA foam grip that wicks away moisture with use, and has thick sewn safely wrist straps. EVA foam is perfect for trials in warmer weather to prevent hands from slipping.
The carbon fiber shaft is lightweight, and is able to be collapsed into three pieces making it easy to load it into a backpack when not in use. It is also available in two different colors: Oxide Black and Carbon. However, the Oxide Black option is significantly more expensive than the Carbon option. Weighting in at 9.4 ounces, it is one of the more lighter poles on this list.
These poles are an excellent option for any level of trial difficulty. As with any Black Diamond product, they have been proven to be a study, reliable addition to any hiking trail, and the lightweight and collapsible design makes them easy to pack away when they are not needed.
- Available in two colors
- Lightweight carbon fiber shaft
- Grooved non-slip EVA foam grip
- Brand recognition
- Lock can sometimes stick
These poles fall right in the middle as far as price is concerned. They are not the most expensive sticks on the market, and they are far from the least expensive. Vertex is trusted company in the industry, and would be the perfect fit for an avid hiker that is not willing to play for the more expensive hiking sticks.
14.5 x 2.7 x 1.6, 15.5 ounces
The grip of these poles in is made of cork with an EVA foam extension and thick sewn safety straps. With use, the cork will form to the shape of your hand. The cork grip also absorbs moisture, reducing the risk of your hands slipping on those difficult trails.
The shaft is comprised of two separate materials- carbon fiber and aluminum. The carbon fiber shaft offers a lightweight hiking pole, and the aluminum accents at the connection points ensures that the pole will not snap under pressure. It is offered in only one color: jade green.
This is a great set of hiking sticks for someone just starting out, to an experienced trail hiker. As stated before, it is not ideal for difficult climbing conditions. These poles come with one set of rubber tips, mud and snow baskets, and a mesh storage bag.
- Only available in jade green
- Cannot change rubber tips to accommodate various terrains
- Not ideal for climbing
Black Diamond Trail Back
Black Diamond has some of the best hiking sticks on the market, but they often come at a pretty high price tag. However, these poles land in the mid-range as far as price is concerned, and although they do not have all of the extra features as the higher end poles, they come with a Black Diamond guarantee of quality.
25 x 5 x 3 inches, 1.54 pounds
These poles have a basic rubber grip with a nylon webbing safety strap. Rubber grips are great for cold weather hiking.
Unlike many of the other poles making this list, these poles do not come in three collapsible pieces. The shaft can be adjusted to accommodate various heights and terrains, and come with basic rubber tips. It is available in only one color: black with deep red accents.
These poles boast their minimalistic design. If you are in the market for a basic hiking stick that you can depend on, this is the perfect pole for people who have just started to hike and would like a quality pole from a dependable brand.
- Good for colder climates
- Brand recognition
- Rubber grips can cause blisters in warmer weather
- Straps sometimes dig into wrists on more difficult terrain
Montem Carbon Fiber
The price of these poles are pretty reasonable, and they fall somewhere in the middle of the price scale. However, don’t let the lower price fool you- these poles are an excellent piece of gear for even the seasoned hiker.
24x 1.5 x 1.5 inches, 7.6 ounces
The grip is comprised of an EVA foam grip, which means that it will wick away moisture and will not absorb odors the way some grips tend to do. It’s also fitted with a sewn nylon safety strap.
The shaft of the Montem hiking stick is made up of 100 percent carbon fiber, making it one of the lightest poles to make this list. Flick locks make it easy to adjust the height from 24” to 54”, and can be accessed by a simple touch of a button along the side of the shaft.
Montem poles are an excellent choice for any hiker, and they won’t break the bank. They are an excellent choice for the new hiker, and lightweight enough to carry along on all of your outdoor adventures.
- Lower grip handle more secure than most
- Thinner shaft is a bit wobbly
- Bulky locking mechanism is easily bumped loose
These poles are a great value. Hiker Hunger poles are made out of the same materials as the higher end poles, they come with various accessories, and are quite affordable.
Collapsed size: 24 inches and extended size: 54 inches; weight 15.2 ounces
The grip is made of an ergonomic cork grip that wicks away moisture and over time will conform to the shape of your hand. Beneath the cork grips are EVA foam grips for trips up steep terrain. Also included is a sewn nylon safety wrist strap.
The shaft is made from 100 percent carbon fiber and uses small screws along the bottom to adjust length from 24” to 54”. The tips are made from tungsten-carbide and can be switched out to rubber tips when the terrain calls for it.
With so many additional features and the low price tag, these poles are an excellent choice for new and experienced hikers alike. The set includes three different types of tips and baskets to accommodate four seasons of terrain, and includes a one year manufacturer warranty.
- Additional baskets, tips, and carrying case included
- Comfortable hand grips
- Locking mechanism sticks out and snags on pants
- Grips are a little on the small side
- A bit bulkier than other hiking sticks
Evocrest Carbon Fiber
These poles are pretty inexpensive considering all of the accessories that come with them. They are made from all of the materials the hikers believe make the best hiking stick, and they are at a fraction of the cost of the more high end hiking sticks.
24 x 2.5 x 2.5; 7.7 ounces
A long cork grip allows for the absorption of sweat, and also contours to the shape of your hand over time. Beneath the cork grip is an extended foam sleeve that can be used for abrupt upshifts in the terrain. Each pole also comes with a thick black and blue nylon safety band.
Everest poles are 100 percent carbon fiber, and can be adjusted from 24 inches to 54 inches with a simple flick of the quick lock mechanism. The tips are made from heavy duty tungsten carbide, and can be removed to place different tips and baskets for various weathered terrain.
These poles are fun and colorful, and great for outdoor adventures any time of the year. In addition to the quality of materials used, Evocrest also includes tips and baskets for rocky, showy, and muddy terrain, in addition to a mesh carrying bag.
- Comfortable grip
- Comes with additional tips and baskets
- Rubber grips often fall off on trails
- Possible blisters from straps
Cascade Mountain Tech
These are the poles that most casual hikers tend to buy because they are very affordable. If you are looking for an inexpensive set of hiking sticks but are reluctant to buy something of inferior quality, these poles are an excellent choice.
Collapsed length 23 inches, extended length 54 inches; 15.6 ounces
There are two options available for grip: cork or EVA foam, with the cork being slightly more expensive. Beneath each cork or EVA foam grip is grooved black foam grip for those steep climbs. Also included is a sewn nylon wrist strap.
The shaft is comprised of 100 percent carbon fiber that is painted black with electric blue accents. The shaft can be extended via a twist lock towards the bottom of the pole, and each pole has tungsten carbide tips for excellent traction.
Simply put, these poles meet all of the needs for hikers for a relatively little amount of money.They are not made to withstand extreme hiking conditions or climbing, but would be an excellent investment for new hikers who are just starting out.
- Durable material
- Adjustments are easy to set
- Some parts deteriorate with extended use
- Baskets and tips are sometimes not secure
If you weren’t looking to spend a whole like on new hiking sticks, these are the perfect fit. They are sturdy and reliable for your hiking needs, and relatively inexpensive. Many hikers that don’t want to spend a lot of money on expensive poles actually prefer this basic model.
Collapsed length 26.5 inches, extended length 52 inches; weight 1.6 pounds. These poles are a bit bulkier and heavier than many of the poles making this list.
The grips are a grooved black rubber that is perfect for cooler climates, and comes with a padded black wrist band.
The shaft is available in three different colors: black, royal blue, and silver. It is made up of a lightweight aluminum which makes it one of the more heavier hiking sticks to make this list. It is also equipped with both a carbide tip for dirt paths or a rubber tip for gravel pathways.
This is the perfect pole for those just starting out hiking and aren’t willing to spend a lot of money on the more expensive poles, or for people who prefer easy to moderate trails. The anti-shock springs in the shaft also make it the ideal hiking stick for hikers with knee, hip, or back problems.
- Anti-shock makes it a great pole for those with joint pain
- Available in multiple colors
- Rubber tips can fall off on trails
- Can be heavy on long trips
- Locking mechanism has been known to come loose on hikes
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
Most trusted brands
There tends to be a consensus within the hiking community as to what the best brands are. When hikers are shopping for off-brand hiking sticks, they are always being compared to Leki and Black Diamond. If using a trusted brand is something that is important to you, then paying a little extra for these brands should pay off in the long haul. However, if you are looking to save a little bit of money at the expense of quality, the brands used within this list have been confirmed to be reliable poles at the risk of minor flaws and disadvantages.
Black Diamond makes more affordable poles, however they are minimalist and don’t come equipped with the amount of extra baskets, tips, and designs as the other poles within that price point.
Materials that are used
When shopping for new poles, hikers are looking for two distinct features: lightweight and sturdy. Carbon fiber poles have been proven last throughout the most difficult trails and are light enough not to hold hikers back. Aluminum poles are considered to be a sturdy pole, however, they tend to be a bit heavier than the carbon fiber poles.
Ease of Use
The quality of the locking mechanism that adjusts the height of the pole is an important feature when determining superior poles. Hikers need the ability to adjust the height of their poles while out on the trails when there are shifts in terrain, and the flick lock and push button mechanisms seem to be preferred over the twist mechanisms. Furthermore, some locking mechanisms can become flimsy and come loose, making the pole incredibly unstable. When shopping for hiking sticks, it’s important to note the type of mechanism that is used to adjust the pole and confirm that it’s sturdy and easy to use.
Not all hand grips are created equal
Hikers tend to gravitate toward cork and EVA foam hand grips, and many of the high-end hiking sticks utilize these materials. EVA foam is a great material for wicking away sweat and keeping hands dry, however, cork provides a more sturdy material that will hold up over time more so than EVA foam. The differences are subtle and both materials are excellent for hikers, especially in warmer climates. Rubber grips have a tendency to cause blisters, but significantly lower the cost of the pole.
Make sure the poles fit your specific needs
There are many types of hikers out there, and everyone is looking for something different. The Leki and Black Diamond high end trekking poles are designed for hikers and climbers looking for stability on challenging terrains, whereas the BAFX poles are equipped with springs in the shaft to lend support for hikers with pain in their joints.
Sometimes hiking sticks are a necessity, and sometimes they can tend to be an encumbrance- especially when hiking long distances. That’s why many hikers opt for the hiking sticks that fold in three places, making it easy to pack away in a pack while not in use. Other users that have bought the type of hiking sticks that are not compact find it difficult to pack them away when traveling. Beware of buying lower quality trekking poles that have the options of folding in three pieces. Often times, when working with lower quality materials, poles that have this design tend to be less stable and are more prone to snapping in half.
Price was an important factor when compiling this list. The more expensive Leki and Black Diamond poles are great poles for any type of trail- and that includes climbing. Those poles were designed to go just about anywhere. However, not all hikers scale treacherous terrain, therefore they would be paying more for a set of poles for a feature that they wouldn’t need. Many of the mid-priced poles are a perfect fit for beginner to advanced hikers.
Other things to consider when purchasing hiking sticks
The top of the line Black Diamond or Leki hiking sticks may look appealing, especially to the excited hiker looking to buy the best gear, but before you spend the money take a step back and evaluate what your specific needs are. For hikers that are looking to spend time in nature and improve their mobility, the Black Diamond Alpine Trekking pole may not actually be a good fit. Many of the higher end hiking sticks are designed for hikers that are scaling rocky, the weathered terrain in any number of climates for hundreds of miles. Poles with springs that are utilized for shock absorption are more moderately priced, and can make a huge difference on trails for the hikers with bad knees.
Q: Why do I even need hiking sticks?
Hiking sticks are used for a myriad of reasons. Some people use them as a way of taking a strain off of their knees and back to still be able to enjoy the trails that they used to. Others, some more experienced trekkers, use them as a way of stabilizing themselves of steep inclines or drop-offs. Hiking sticks are also an incredibly used tool when hiking in inclimate weather such as mud, ice, or snow.
Q: What makes the best hiking stick?
The best hiking stick is purely based upon where you intend on exploring. But, in all cases, the best hiking stick is the most study- and carbon fiber is the material that you are going to want to look out for. It is the most sturdy and lightest material currently on the market, and it is what most seasoned hikers personally use. Hikers also prefer cork grips over rubber and EVA foam because it is more absorbent and deteriorates much more slowly than the other materials. For hikers looking for a pole to offer support for their knees, an anti-shock hiking stick would be best, and hikers looking for a pole to aid them in rocky terrain would typically avoid the anti-shock option.
Q: How long should hiking sticks be?
Ideally, when walking on flat terrain, the perfect height for a walking stick is to bend your arm at the elbow and be able to hold the grip in your hand. Most of the hiking sticks available on the market can be expanded from approximately 24 inches to 54 inches. Some companies give hikers the option to select the size of their poles. For instance, if you are a woman who is 5’3’’, you probably would want to purchase a pole that is 100cm. For a man that is 6’3’’, he should opt for the pole that is 130cm.
A good pair of hiking sticks can really open up the great outdoors to places you wouldn’t have traveled otherwise. If you were ever reluctant to go for a hike because it had rained for the past week, or you are up to your knees in snow- hiking sticks can help you navigate the trickiest of areas. It’s important to do proper research to ensure you purchase a reliable pole, because no one likes it when they are halfway through a hike and one of their poles snaps in half.