How to Compare Trekking Poles

How to Compare Trekking PolesReminiscent of ski poles, trekking poles are used by hikers and climbers in all sorts of terrain. They work as an extension of your body, providing stability and relieving pressure on your joints. A good trekking pole should be comfortable and functional, becoming a tool that will travel many miles with you. Before being lured by extra options, make sure the pole feels good and is easy to use.


Difficulty: Easy

Comparing Trekking Poles

Step 1
Consider your budget. Trekking poles, with their long list of options, vary in price. Consumer Search reports that the basic Leki Wanderfreund pole costs $70, while Black Diamond's popular models can cost $100 and above.
Step 2
Try the grips. Grips are made of rubber, cork or foam, and each offers different benefits and its own feel. Rubber insulates in the cold, but may be too rough in warm weather. Soft foam grips absorb sweat well. Cork minimizes vibration and shapes to your hands.

Select the grip that fits your hand and feels comfortable. Choose a material based on its comfort and ideal working temperature. 
Step 3
Select the pole type. According to Consumer Search's report, trekking poles can have an adjustable length or come as an ultra light, fixed-length model. Inspect the locking mechanism when considering an adjustable model. Make sure its connection is easy to operate yet durable.
Step 4
Select the pole weight. The additional pieces in an adjustable pole can add to the weight of the pole. Similarly, anti-shock systems increase a pole's weight. When weight is not an issue, the anti-shock systems are a good option to further alleviate impact and strain on your shoulders and back when hiking up hills.
Step 5
Choose the shaft material. The REI website explains that the advantages of aluminum poles are their strength and affordability. Carbon poles, both lighter and more expensive, are strong enough for most hiking but not recommended for rugged terrain.

Tips & Warnings

Most poles include standard tips and baskets. For basic hiking, this stock option may be all you need. Baskets can be changed to accommodate muddy or snowy terrain. Additional tips can be used when walking on asphalt or delicate terrain. 

Article Written By Sarah Shelton

Based in Oregon, Sarah Shelton has worked as a freelance writer since 2008. She enjoys covering travel, home and garden, and automotive topics. Her articles have appeared nationwide with Internet Broadcasting, Adventure Travel and Real Estate Experts. With a major in biology, Shelton received her Bachelor of Science from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

The Latest from the Community