What To Look For
Hiking poles work best when the handle is at the same height as your elbow. To keep that length while going up or down slopes, they will need to be adjusted. Over rough ground, hiking poles will be adjusted back and forth frequently. They come in two or three-piece telescoping sections, so one of your major concerns is that these sections are easy to adjust on the trail. Another important feature is good, adjustable hand straps, which will make holding the pole a lot easier.
It is important to remember that even among hikers who use poles, some fashion them from bamboo or rods of fallen wood at the start of their hike. Do not allow yourself to get distracted by extra features. If you don't need it, you don't want it. A good hiking pole is light, sturdy and easy to use. That is all you need to worry about.
Where To Buy
Unless you are replacing a pole model you already know well, you will want to go to a camping goods store to try the pole in person. Things such as ease of adjustment can really only be determined by trying the pole. Only a truly steep online discount can justify the trouble of going to the store, then purchasing the hiking poles online, so you should probably just buy the pair you like at the shop.
Remember you might be buying poles in pairs, but they are sometimes sold individually. A basic, aluminum pair of poles can be as cheap as $25, but you should expect to spend at least $40 to $60 to get a good, durable pair. High-tech carbon fiber poles run as high $400.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.