Best Hiking Sticks
The use of hiking sticks can make a huge difference in the ease and safety of your hiking and can give you the extra edge to push that much further. There is a variety of different types of hiking sticks currently on the market, and each is tailored to different types of trails and support styles. Some hiking poles use lightweight and sturdy materials that will last throughout even the most treacherous hiking conditions for experienced hikers and others are built to offer specialized support for hikers that are not ready to hang up the hiking boots but want to still keep enjoying the beauties that nature offers. 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.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research
Smooth, edgeless grip with security strap
- Leki Micro Vario
- Mountainsmith Halite 7075
- BAFX Trail
- Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork
- Cascade Mountain Tech
- Black Diamond Alpine
- Montem Carbon Fiber
- Black Diamond Trail Back
- Kelty Upslope 2.0
- Black Diamond Distance Z
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Leki Micro Vario
Smooth, edgeless grip with security strap
One color available
Leki is one of the most trusted companies for high-quality hiking poles; they are the poles in which all other poles are judged against by avid hikers. These poles are the very best currently on the market. They fold in three places, making them easy to pack into a car or a suitcase, and are very versatile for almost any hiking condition. They are lightweight with an innovative grip and check all the boxes for what a hiker wants in a hiking stick.Read more
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.
8 x 9 x 10 inches, 1 pound. These poles are the most compact hiking sticks to make this list, and well as one of the lightest poles.
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.
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 argon 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.
2. Mountainsmith Halite 7075
Sold as a pair
Too tall for some people
For over 40 years, Mountainsmith has been creating and testing out their products in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This next product is a triple threat. It brings us portability, durability, and affordability. If you are looking for a hiking stick that you can fold up and attach to your backpack, this is a great option.Read more
As you may have gathered from the name, these poles are made from 7075 Aluminum and feature carbide tips. The soft, but sturdy, handle is made from a blend of molded cork, EVA foam, and TPR. The adjustable handle strap is padded with neoprene for optimal comfort.
A unique feature of these poles is something that reminds us a bit of tent poles. There is a vinyl-coated cable inside the poles that when un-tensioned, can allow you to fold up the sticks for easy portability.
Also included, are two separate baskets, one for hiking, and one for snow. There is also a rubber tip that you can use for smoother or more delicate grounds.
As a pair, these poles weigh a total of 1.05-pounds. They can be adjusted between 48 and 54-inches. When fully collapsed, they are only 16” long and feature a velcro strip to secure them together. These poles can support up to 160-pounds.
Mountainsmith Halite is a great product that is durable and affordable. Considering the fact that this product comes with two poles, as well as extra baskets and tips, we think this is a very valuable product.
If portability and strength are what you’re looking for, the Halite 7075 has you covered. One thing that we would like to see changed is the size. The shortest the poles can be is 48-inches, which is quite tall for some people. Other than that, this is a strong competitor.
3. BAFX Trail
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
The locking mechanism has been known to come loose on hikes
BAFX Poles are the type of poles you would want to buy if you were a casual hiker that is just starting out. Their relatively inexpensive price is reflected in the materials used. Unlike other poles on this list, these have anti-shock springs that are perfect for users with knee or back problems.Read more
The grips are a grooved black rubber that is perfect for cooler climates and comes with a padded black wristband.
The shaft is available in three different colors: black, royal blue, and silver. It is made up of 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.
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.
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.
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.
4. Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork
Comes with additional tips and baskets
Replacement parts available
29" at their smallest
Some claim the rubber tips have a tendency to fall off
Our next addition is a great four-season pair of poles. They are easily adjustable between 29 and 55-inches. The cork handle is comfortable and moisture-wicking, and the 15-degree angle of the stick itself helps to provide you with optimal grip positioning.Read more
These poles are made from aluminum and feature easily adjustable flick click closures to adjust to different lengths and terrains. The handle is made from cork and has a good hand feel and also wicks away sweat. One of the most notable features of the Ergo stick is the 15-degree angle of the stick, which provides the user with an optimal grip.
The strap of the poles is adjustable and padded. Also included with the set of poles are carbide tech tips, trekking baskets, and snow baskets.
The two of these sticks, as a pair, weighing 1.02-pounds. They are able to be adjusted between 29 and 55-inches. When “collapsed,” they are 29-inches long. There is no doubt that these poles are lightweight, but they are not very portable.
The price point of these poles is a bit higher than our other options. However, the durability of these sticks has proven to be more reliable. These sticks are very easy to adjust, strong, sold as a pair, lightweight, and come with multiple baskets.
If you are looking for a highly adjustable hiking stick, this is a great option. We admire their durability and lightweight. If only they were a bit more portable, they would probably be in the number one spot.
5. Cascade Mountain Tech
Adjustments are easy to set
Some parts deteriorate with extended use
Baskets and tips are sometimes not secure
With all of the features hikers want in a hiking stick such as carbon fiber shaft, accessories for different terrains, and comfortable grips, Cascade Mountain delivers all of these without the painful price tag.Read more
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.
Collapsed length 23 inches, extended length 54 inches; 15.6 ounces
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.
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.
6. Black Diamond Alpine
Interchangeable baskets and tips
Premium cork grip
Comes in only one color
Black Diamond is another trusted name within the hiking pole industry. These poles have a sleek and simple design, are made from high-quality materials, and are perfect for many hiking and climbing trails. For a hiker looking for a compact, lightweight hiking stick, and willing to dish out a little bit more money, this is the perfect fit.Read more
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.
25 x 1 x 1 inches, 1.42 pounds.
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.
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.
7. Montem Carbon Fiber
Lower grip handle more secure than most
The thinner shaft is a bit wobbly
The bulky locking mechanism is easily bumped loose
For the hiker who is outside twelve months out of the year, these poles are a perfect match. They are one of the lightest poles to make this list and are versatile for every type of terrain- whether it’s snow, gravel, dirt, or mud. If you are looking for a hiking stick to take you through each season without breaking the bank, Montem hiking poles will be a good fit for you.Read more
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.
24x 1.5 x 1.5 inches, 7.6 ounces
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.
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.
8. Black Diamond Trail Back
Good for colder climates
Rubber grips can cause blisters in warmer weather
Straps sometimes dig into wrists on more difficult terrain
If you want to try a pair of Black Diamond hiking sticks, but don’t want to pay top dollar for the most expensive poles on the market, these might be perfect for you. You get the quality and guarantee of Black Diamond, but without the price tag. These poles are perfect for novices to the experienced hiker looking for a pair of basic and reliable hiking sticks.Read more
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.
25 x 5 x 3 inches, 1.54 pounds
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.
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.
9. Kelty Upslope 2.0
Comes in a pair
Not as durable as other options
Finger grooves on the handle may be too large for some
The Upslope 2.0 from Kelty is a lightweight, affordable, and adjustable option. These poles are sold as a set and will enhance your stability while out on the trails. While some reviews suggest that they are better for low-intensity treks, we think they’re a great option regardless.Read more
The shaft of these poles is made from 6061 Series Anodized Aluminum. To avoid slipping, carbide tips are included, as well as rubber tips for smoother grounds, and a trekking basket. For transit, tip covers are also included. The extended length grip is made from comfortable EVA foam.
The poles themselves are easily adjustable and locked into place using a twist-lock system. The padded wrist straps are also adjustable, allowing you to find the perfect comfort level and stay safe while trekking.
These lightweight poles together weigh 20-ounces. They can be adjusted between 35 and 54-inches.
These are actually one of the most affordable options on our list and don’t forget that they are sold in a pair! With the great adjustability and extra tips and features included, we think these poles are well-worth the small investment. Some reviewers have had issues/concerns with their durability, but they also come with a one-year limited warranty.
If this is your first pair, or you just want to see if trekking poles would be a good option for you, the Kelty Upslope 2.0 is a great starting point. There have been some durability concerns, but at this price point, why not buy two sets?
10. Black Diamond Distance Z
Available in two colors
Lightweight carbon fiber shaft
Grooved non-slip EVA foam grip
The lock can sometimes stick
Black Diamond tops the list yet again with another great set of hiking poles. These are slightly different from the Alpine Trekking poles in design, and materials. It boasts a slightly lighter weight and buyers can select from two different color shafts.Read more
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. Weighing in at 9.4 ounces, it is one of the more lighter poles on this list.
47 x 4 x 2, 9.6 ounces
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.
These poles are an excellent option for any level of trail 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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
As for hand grips, 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.
Sometimes hiking sticks are a necessity, and sometimes they can tend to be an encumbrance- especially when hiking long distances. For this reason, we checked the weight and dimensions of each product. You will already be carrying a lot of weight with you and hiking sticks don't have to add to that. 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.
In addition to the price, we also took the durability, materials used, and other features into consideration when applying value to an item. The stronger the item, the more valuable it is. If a product included two poles instead of one, or extra tips and baskets, we also considered that to add more value as well.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Some sticks come with interchangeable baskets, while others have one set basket or no basket at all. Depending on where you plan to hike, this may help or hinder you. If you will be trekking on rocky or uneven terrain, a stick without a basket would be preferable.
If you will be using the sticks for the entire expedition, packability will not be an issue. But if you will be encountering different paths and terrains, collapsable sticks will be incredibly useful. When you are not using them, you can pack them away in your backpack and carry on!
When your arms swing at your sides when you walk, it's usually the right arm ahead while the left leg is ahead, right? This is how we walk naturally without putting thought into it. Your gait should be the same with hiking sticks. Think of the sticks as an extension of your arms, and continue to walk naturally.
Other Factors to Consider
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 inclement weather such as mud, ice, or snow.
q: What makes a great 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.
q: Are there any trusted brands I should be looking at for my next pair of hiking sticks?
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 number of extra baskets, tips, and designs as the other poles within that price point.
q: What should I be looking for in a hiking stick if I have joint or stability problems?
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.
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