How to Buy the Perfect Trekking Pole for Your Next Hike?

A good hiking pole is the best companion for a memorable adventure.

I don’t usually carry with me a hiking pole. But I’ve seen many people take a pole or at least a stick with them.

But I’ve also seen the same pole makes their hikes less enjoyable. People blame the pole for causing joint pains and being too heavy.

This post will help you decide how to pick your hiking pole so that you don’t complain like others. Instead, you’ll relish the hike more. It’s also an excellent way to reduce weight from your feet and avoids toe injuries.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. We may earn a small share of sales for items you buy using these links. But it doesn’t affect your price or what we pick.

What should be the perfect height of your trekking pole?

You’ve found your ideal pole length if you can keep your elbows bent around 90 degrees. If you’ve bought an adjustable trekking pole, like the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles, its height is the last thing to worry about.

But if you’re selecting from a set of fixed-height poles, you should know what might fit you well, especially if you’re buying from an online store and don’t have the flexibility to test them before buying.

This isn’t a hard thing to find out. You can measure it yourself. Pick a stick and mark the height it takes to bend your elbow at 90 degrees. That’s roughly the height you’re looking for.

Usually, it comes as in the following table.

These values are based on rough estimates. Hence, we recommend you do the measuring exercise to pick the correct one.

You should also consider the collapsed length of your pole if it’s collapsable. Foldables are designed to take up less space. Thus, there’s not much to worry in this front. But you may want to confirm them before you buy.

The material and weight of your trekking pole.

Trekking poles have to be lightweight. Everything in your backpack should be.

Generally, if you’re using a pair of poles, both should weigh around 1 lb or less.

Most trekking poles you find on Amazon are lightweight. If you’re very particular about the weight, try the Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles, which weigh only 7.8 ounces.

The shaft and grip material of your pole

Also, the Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles’ shafts are carbon fiber.

The pole has to be strong enough to help the traveler. Thus the material is essential. Carbon fiber poles are usually better than aluminum as they are stiffer and lightweight. Carbon fiber is around two to five times more rigid than aluminum.

We recommend you pick the carbon fiber ones over the aluminum poles, even though they are a bit more expensive.

For comparison, take the two similar trekking poles from the same brand, Black Diamond.

The aluminum one, Distance Plus FLZ Trekking Poles, costs only $149.95. Yet it weighs 24 pounds. Yet, the Distance Carbon FLZ Poles cost $199.95; it’s only 16 ounces.

The difference may seem tiny. But little such consequences may add up to a great deal and ruin your overall experience.

Besides carbon fiber, the grip material also plays an important role. The best material for the trekking pole grips is cork. Cork grips are lightweight, and they can absorb shock. Cork grips could wick sweat well. Thus it’s very comfortable for the hands.

Foam is also a good grip material for hiking poles, except it lasts for a short time.

Rubber is the cheapest grip option. Though it provides a good grip, it’s not a good choice if you have sweaty hands. Rubber grips on a long walk could also induce blisters.

Usually, you don’t get to customize the grip material. But I’d favor a trekking pole with a cork grip.

The design and collapsing method.

Most poles these days are collapsible for apparent reasons.

Some poles allow you to fold them to make them smaller. Others are telescoping. Folding poles usually have a slide lock. Telescopic poles come with flip locks to fix the pole height.

Both types work well. It’s a personal preference to choose one over the other.

Other Features of the trekking pole

Besides the ability to collapse, shock absorbance is also an important criterion in a trekking pole. The mechanism should be able to take small vibrations and big hits without breaking.

You may not need a shock-absorbant trekking pole if you only go on short walks and easy hikes.

Of course, easy means different levels for different people.

But in general, shock absorbance may have an impact on reducing knee pains and wrist pains.

Most trekking poles come with either a trail running basket or baskets. You could even find trekking poles you can convert into a camping chair.

Conclusion

Selecting the perfect trekking pole can be a complicated task.

There are many factors to consider, such as height, weight, material, shock absorbance, and design.

In this blog post, we’ve highlighted some of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a trekking pole. We’ve also provided a few recommendations for both carbon fiber and cork grip poles. Trekking poles are an essential piece of gear for any hike, so make sure you select the right one for you!

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