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The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

When moving over natural terrain, trekking poles help reduce strain on your body so you can focus on the objective at hand. If you haven’t already, it’s time you transfer some weight over with some of the best trekking poles of 2024.

(Photo/Samuel Martin)
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Trekking poles decrease your chances of injury and increase speed, all while lightening your load. There are a wide variety of trekking poles on the market, and trail runners, hikers, backpackers, and thru-hikers all have unique needs for their respective sports and activities.

Luckily, we just so happen to be trail runners, hikers, backpackers, and thru-hikers, and have been putting trekking poles to the test for close to a decade now. Factors like strength-to-weight ratio, packability, seasonal application, and grip style combine to create unique offerings for the ever-evolving specializations in the outdoors, and we’ve compared the best for our line-up here.

We’ve spent months researching and testing the best trekking poles to fit a variety of uses and budgets. From day hikes in the mountains of Colorado to thru-hikes across the country, we’ve put these poles through the wringer, evaluating them based on comfort, packed size, durability, versatility, adjustability, and overall value.

In this guide, we’ve broken this list into categories to help you find the best trekking poles for the adventures you’re embarking on in 2024. If you need help deciding, refer to our comparison chart, buyer’s guide, and FAQ below for more tips on choosing the best trekking poles for your unique needs.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Trekking Pole guide on March 20, 2024, to add the Trekology Trek-Z 2.0 Poles, a set of folding sticks that bring an undeniable value to the table.

The Best Trekking Poles of 2024


Best Overall Trekking Poles

LEKI Black Series FX Carbon

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 0.1 oz.
  • Packed size 16″
  • Useable length 110-130 cm
  • Material Carbon
  • Lock style External lever lock
Product Badge The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Ultralight
  • Durable locking system
  • Easy-to-adjust length

Cons

  • Super expensive
Best Budget Trekking Poles

Trekology Trek-Z 2.0

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 8 oz.
  • Packed size 15"
  • Useable length 100-120 cm; 115-135 cm
  • Material Aluminum
  • Lock style Foldable with flip lock
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable foam grips
  • Foldable and compact when stored

Cons

  • Heavier than most
Runner-Up Best Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Pursuit Trekking Poles

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 0.4 oz.
  • Packed size 22.7"
  • Useable length 58-125 cm; 63-140 cm
  • Material 7000-series aluminum
  • Lock style Dual Soft-touch FlickLock+
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Cozy cork grips
  • Sleek, confidence-inducing locking system
  • Durable but lightweight
  • 1.5 mm hex bit tool built into pole shaft for quick maintenance

Cons

  • Left flick locks are on inside of pole and sometimes catch
Best Trekking Poles for Thru-Hiking

Gossamer Gear LT5

Specs

  • Weight 9.8 oz.
  • Packed size 23.5″
  • Useable length 60-130 cm
  • Material Carbon
  • Lock style Twist
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Carbon fiber shafts are super durable
  • Quite packable

Cons

  • Pretty minimal strap design
Best Trekking Poles for Trail Running

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Running Poles

Specs

  • Weight 6.3 oz.
  • Packed size N/A
  • Useable length 100 cm; 110 cm; 120 cm; 130 cm
  • Material Carbon
  • Style Fixed length
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Super light
  • Great for technical trail running
  • Durable carbon tips

Cons

  • Poles don't fold up
Best of the Rest

LEKI Makalu Lite

Specs

  • Weight 17.6 oz.
  • Packed size 26.3″
  • Useable length 100-135 cm
  • Material Aluminum
  • Lock style Speedlock+
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Comfortable grip
  • Simple, effective locking mechanism

Cons

  • Comparatively long collapsed length

Diorite Gear Telescopic Carbon Fiber

Specs

  • Weight 14.8 oz.
  • Packed size 28"
  • Useable length 71-158 cm
  • Material Carbon
  • Lock style Friction Quick Lock
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Extra long for tall hikers and high UL tents
  • Solid durability
  • Easy to replace screw-off tips

Cons

  • Cork option on the heavy side
  • Expensive

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Poles

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 1 oz.
  • Packed size 24″
  • Useable length 61-130 cm
  • Material Carbon
  • Lock style FlickLock Pro
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Durable
  • Simple-to-use lock system
  • Comfortable straps

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey

REI Co-op Trailmade Trekking Poles

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 1 oz.
  • Packed size 25"
  • Useable length 63.5 – 140 cm
  • Material Aluminum
  • Lock style Lever
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Durable

Cons

  • Locks are a bit difficult to use while on the go
  • Not the smallest pack size

Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Specs

  • Weight 14.5 oz.
  • Packed size 24.5"
  • Useable length 62-137 cm
  • Material Carbon fiber
  • Lock style Lever
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight but durable
  • Comfortable ergonomic grips
  • Solid value for the cost

Cons

  • Plastic clasps aren't the most sturdy
  • Not the most packable

Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

Specs

  • Weight 1 lb., 4.8 oz.
  • Packed size 26″
  • Useable length 66-137 cm
  • Material Aluminum
  • Lock style Quick-lock
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Super cheap
  • Well-made design for the price

Cons

  • Not super durable
  • Quite heavy

REI Co-op Flash Carbon Trekking Poles

Specs

  • Weight 13.6 oz.
  • Packed size 27″
  • Useable length 105-140 cm
  • Material Carbon
  • Lock style Lever
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Durable but not overly heavy
  • Sturdy locking mechanisms

Cons

  • Large collapsed size

LEKI Black Series Carbon

Specs

  • Weight 16.4 oz.
  • Packed size 26.8″
  • Useable length 68-135 cm
  • Material Carbon
  • Lock style Speedlock 2+
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Great handle ergonomics
  • Rubber tops are helpful for downhills

Cons

  • Not super packable

Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro Trekking Poles

Specs

  • Weight 17.5 oz.
  • Packed size 27″
  • Useable length 68.5-137 cm
  • Material Carbon and aluminum blend
  • Lock style Twist
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Anti-shock system
  • Comfortable cork and foam handle

Cons

  • Twist-lock system not as durable as other designs

TSL Connect Carbon 5 Trekking Poles

Specs

  • Weight 16 oz.
  • Packed size 16.5″
  • Useable length 110-130 cm
  • Material Carbon
  • Lock style Lever
The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Pros

  • Good adjustability
  • Baskets tilt to match terrain
  • Straps snap into place magnetically

Cons

  • Lots of accessories to deal with

Trekking Poles Comparison Chart

Trekking PolePriceWeight (Pair)Packed SizeUseable Length (CM)Material
LEKI Black Series FX Carbon$2691 lb., 0.1 oz.16″110-130 cmCarbon
Trekology Trek-Z 2.0
$441 lb., 8 oz.15″100-120 cm; 115-135 cmAluminum
Black Diamond Pursuit$1501 lb., 0.4 oz.22.7″58-125 cm; 63-140 cm7000-series aluminum
Gossamer Gear LT5$1959.8 oz.23.5″60-130 cmCarbon
Black Diamond Distance Carbon
Running Poles
$1706.3 oz. N/A100 cm; 110 cm; 120 cm; 130 cmCarbon
Leki Makalu Lite$15017.6 oz.26.3″100-135 cmAluminum
Diorite Gear Telescopic Carbon Fiber$18014.8 oz.28″71-158 cmCarbon
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon
Cork Poles
$2001 lb., 1 oz.24″61-130 cmCarbon
REI Co-op Trailmade$801 lb., 1 oz.25″63.5–140 cmAluminum
Zpacks Carbon Fiber$10014.5 oz.24.5″62-137 cmCarbon fiber
Cascade Mountain Tech$301 lb., 4.8 oz.26″66-137 cmAluminum
REI Co-op Flash Carbon$16913.6 oz. 27″105-140 cmCarbon
Leki Black Series Carbon$20016.4 oz.26.8″68-135 cmCarbon
Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro$8017.5 oz.27″68.5-137 cmCarbon and
aluminum blend
TSL Outdoors Carbon 5$18016 oz.16.5″110-130 cmCarbon
Backpacking packs
Testing trekking poles in Colorado; (photo/Eric Phillips)

How We Tested Trekking Poles

We pride ourselves on a testing process that exposes flaws and highlights strengths while observing a range of equipment options. Good gear should last a long time, and to do that, it needs to exhibit durability. When evaluating the best trekking poles, we test the features that commonly break down, including the locking mechanisms, grips, and straps, to ensure that only the most reliable poles make it on our list. 

Chris Carter, one of the lead authors of this guide, has thru-hiked the Triple Crown of long trails in the United States: the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Appalachian Trail. He knows the value of a reliable trekking pole for absorbing impact on the body, helping with stability over tricky terrain, and pitching a shelter at night. He’s pretty particular about the poles he depends on in the backcountry.

We tested these poles in a wide range of environments and weather over different types of terrain. As avid users, we know the features that can elevate one pole above the rest. To find the best, we analyzed what makes each pole unique and tested them in unique environments doing the activities these poles are more likely to be used in.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Trekking Pole

Best Trekking Poles
Solid trekking poles help you reach the summit with more ease and joy in your heart; (photo/Chris Carter)

Weight & Packed Size

The packed-down length isn’t of vital importance to most hikers and backpackers. But, for those who plan to travel with their poles, it’s best to look for a pole that packs down small enough to fit in your luggage.

The LEKI Black Series FX is a perfect example of extreme packability. It packs down to a mere 16 inches, easily fitting into most daypacks alongside other supplies.

For weight, you can’t beat the Gossamer Gear LT5. At 4.9 ounces each, you’ll hardly notice these sleek poles, and you can keep them handy for just-in-case scenarios.

And while some poles will only collapse into themselves, others like the Trekology Trek-Z 2.0 have independent segments that fold up when collapsed, making them smaller than most collapsible poles. These poles do use more section joints than other poles, which should be a consideration for long-term use. In our testing, however, we’ve yet to see fold-up poles expire prematurely.

The collapsible nature of the Trekology Trek-Z 2.0 Poles makes them much easier to stash in a pack; (photo/Samuel Martin)

Pole Length

Pole length is one of the most significant factors for a good trekking pole fit. To estimate the ideal length, stand up straight (preferably wearing the hiking shoes you’ll hike in) and bend your arm to a 90-degree angle. Measure from the floor to your elbow to calculate your length.

In general, people 5’1″ and under will choose a 100 cm pole. Those from 5’1″ up to 5’7″ will use a 110 cm pole. Hikers ranging from 5’8″ to 5’11” will need a 120 cm pole. And those taller than 6′ will go with the 130 cm option.

A pole with a wide range of adjustability will work for almost everyone. Once you’ve measured your size, you can explore fixed-length options.

Testing the adjustable Gossamer Gear LT5 trekking poles in wet winter conditions on the Appalachian Trail; (photo/Jackson Sims-Myers)

Fixed Length vs. Adjustable

There are viable reasons to consider each option. Adjustable poles will allow you to quickly change their length to fine-tune them on the trail to your personalized needs. If you’re exhausted, you can adjust them to transfer more weight to your upper body.

Adjustable poles allow you to extend or retract steep ascents or descents. The downside is an increased possibility of failure or slippage at the locking points, especially with twist locks.

Fixed-length poles don’t offer as much fine-tuning but can handle more weight. Generally, fixed-length poles are ideal for trail running and other fast-paced endeavors where adjustments will only slow you down.

Some fixed-length poles, like the trail-running-specific Black Diamond Distance Carbon Poles, don’t fold up. Others are a fixed length when deployed but break down for packing.

Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Pole on the CDT
Senior Editor Chris Carter putting the durable and adjustable Zpacks Carbon Fiber Poles through their paces on a CDT thru-hike; (photo/Chris Carter)

Women’s-Specific Trekking Poles

Generally, women’s-specific trekking poles have a smaller grip diameter (which offers increased comfort for smaller hands) and a shorter maximum length.

Another bonus of women’s-specific trekking poles is that the minimum length is shorter, which increases packability. Due to their smaller size, the women’s options also shed a bit of weight.

In reality, it’s less about the gender of the given user and more about the size. Anyone looking for a smaller grip and a shorter pole should consider buying a women’s-specific trekking pole.

Some women find female-specific poles to be game-changers on trail; (photo/Daniel Deemer)

Value

When spending money on outdoor gear the product’s pricepoint, durability, and reliability come into play. The trekking poles on this list range in price from $44 (Trekology Trek-Z 2.0) to $260 (LEKI Black Series FX Carbon). As the price increases, the poles exhibit more features while shedding weight.

For the average user, balancing quality and price can ensure you get the trekking poles you need without breaking the bank. At only $80, the Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro provides a lightweight carbon build for users looking to shed weight, and it exhibited more than adequate durability for our testers, especially for the price.

Grips

Trekking pole grips come in three primary materials: cork, foam, and rubber. Ideal grips will wick moisture well, be comfortable on your skin, and work as shock absorbers. Cork and foam are the most common materials used for trekking pole grips, and for most, the preference simply comes down to feeling.

  • Cork is exceptionally light, wicks moisture well, and is also very environmentally friendly. Cork grips are the best at absorbing shock, and also form to your hand over time. The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork offers an ergonomic cork grip.
  • Foam grips are also very light, but rather than wicking moisture, they tend to absorb it. The tradeoff would be for grip, as EVA foam is quite tacky. Higher quality foam, like on the LEKI Makalu Lite, performs well across all categories. Between foam and cork, the weight difference is negligible.
  • Rubber grips are rarely used in modern trekking poles, and tend to be utilized strictly for snowsports.
IMG_20220928_141912 2
The type of grip on your pole significantly impacts your pole’s level of comfort; (photo/Andrew Potter)

Tips

Most manufacturers of trekking poles offer the industry standard – carbide tips. They’re incredibly durable and offer grip and pinpoint precision over various terrain, performing equally as well over rock, ice, and softer, variable surfaces.

However, carbide tips can inflict some damage on the environment, so some prefer rubber tips when traversing delicate landscapes. They can also be noisy over rocky terrain. Gossamer Gear includes some very handy rubber boots with their ultralight LT5 poles, which are easy to place and remove.

Any tip will wear down after prolonged use and should be replaced when the metal wears up to or near the plastic.

Rubber tip protectors come with or are available for most trekking poles. They’re not only useful if you find yourself on shelves of rock or pavement, but can extend the life of your tips in storage (and keep them from snagging clothing in your pack).

Best Trekking Poles
Trekking poles make you more efficient when traveling long distances; (photo/Chris Carter)

Baskets

Trekking poles generally come with “mud baskets.” They not only prevent splashing and give support in mud, but can also help when traveling over soft dirt or sand. They are especially beneficial for thru-hikers who will encounter snow on high-elevation passes.

If you’re traveling over snowy terrain without baskets, you’ll find out the snow depth pretty quickly, and unless you can lengthen the poles to match that depth, they’ll be rendered useless.

These days, almost all poles available come with standard-size mud baskets, and many even come with some extra powder baskets for all-season use. If you want to utilize your poles for winter sports, check to see if they come with powder baskets, and be sure to check compatibility if you order them from a third-party manufacturer.

Do You Need Trekking Poles?

Best Trekking Poles
While not everyone needs trekking poles while hiking, they can often boost efficiency and comfort; (photo/Honey McNaughton)

Advantages of Trekking Poles

  • Distribute some of the work and weight distribution to your upper body. Although using your arms can increase your overall energy use (see cons below), trekking poles are an effective and valuable leg-saver, especially on longer or more strenuous outings.
  • Save your knees and joints on descents. Studies show that using poles significantly reduces the impact on your knees while hiking downhill. When more weight gets factored into the equation, trekking poles can be essential for long-term health.
  • Improve your balance on uneven terrain. That’s especially true over river crossings where slippery rocks can ruin your day.
  • Help you maintain a consistent gait. Trekking poles can lead to a faster, more efficient pace.
  • Add a multipurpose tool to your kit. Many options can double as ski poles with the addition of powder baskets. Many ultralight backpacking tents require trekking poles as structural support to save weight. Poles can also help set up shad structures in areas lacking coverage on sweltering days.

Cons of Trekking Poles

  • Your overall energy output is increased. While it may seem counterintuitive, we’ve found the benefits of physiological preservation, balance, and safety outweigh the effects of extra output.
  • Additional cargo. If you choose not to use your poles, they become another piece of gear to carry or be strapped to your backpacking backpack. This is where packability becomes essential.
Zpacks Trekking Pole
Whether or not you need a trekking pole for your adventure is entirely up to you, but we feel that the pros outweigh the cons in most cases; (photo/Chris Carter)

How to Properly Use Trekking Poles

If you’re buying trekking poles for the first time, or have simply never thought about the best way to use them, it can be helpful to understand the most efficient way for them to complement your stride.

Length: For setup, you’ll want your arms to be at a 90-degree angle when the tips are weighted on the ground before you. Adjustable poles offer the benefit of micro-adjustments, whereas fixed poles don’t. This is especially important to consider which pole style you want to purchase. If you are hiking with adjustable poles, it’s a good idea to adjust the length of the poles as you climb or descend a hill, keeping that 90-degree angle as constant as possible.

Wrist straps: The wrist straps should comfortably wrap around your wrists (not so tight that they’re squeezing, but not so loose that they’ll slip off your wrists if dropped). With your hands vertical on the grips, the top of the strap should rest where your wrist hinges if you lift your thumb from that position.

Best Trekking Poles
When used properly, trekking poles can give you greater stability over wet, slippery terrain; (photo/Honey McNaughton)

Stride: As an extra set of legs, the most efficient way to use trekking poles is to extend the opposite pole to hit the ground just before your opposite foot (i.e., the left pole should extend as you lift your right foot to step). This allows the pole to absorb some of each step’s impact and takes some of the weight off your legs. On very steep descents, many people prefer moving their hand to the top portion of the grip or increasing the pole’s length and placing both poles at once for balance.

Placement: Placing poles as you walk on mellow terrain is simple (see paragraph above). Over rock or talus, however, it can become a bit more complicated. It’s never good to have the pole wedged in between or just behind a rock as you step, as it may stick in the ground and break/bend under the force. Otherwise, you want to place them in a secure position that helps keep you balanced.

On the trail, it’s common to see a wide range of trekking pole techniques. Some people sling them along and place them in random increments, whereas others really lean into the poles and transfer weight with each step.

While there are various ways to have them bear weight when moving through technical terrain, the above technique (alternating opposite pole from leg) has proven to be the simplest, most efficient technique for walking along flat, moderate, and steady uphill terrain.

Best Trekking Poles
Trekking poles can make a long adventure much less brutal on your body; (photo/Chris Carter)

FAQ

Are trekking poles worth it?

Trekking poles aren’t required, but they can certainly be helpful. For long treks with a heavy pack, they help distribute your weight and decrease the impact on descents. They’re also great for stabilization on rocky treks, hiking along an exposed trail, or when river crossings might get a bit techy.

Is it better to hike with one trekking pole or two?

You could use a single pole or a hiking staff, but, in general, we recommend a pair of hiking poles. They provide a more balanced, ergonomic gait and increased stability.

Packable options allow you to stow a pole away when both don’t seem necessary, or if you need one hand free for snapping photos.

How tall should my trekking pole be?

The trekking pole grip should rest comfortably in your palm when your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle.

In general, people 5’1″ and under will choose a 100cm pole. Those up to 5’7″ will use a 110-115cm pole. Hikers ranging from 5’8″ to 5’11” need a 120cm pole. And those taller than 6′ will go with the 130cm option.

Trekking Poles Help on Steep Hikes
Trekking poles provide stability while hiking on an exposed trail; (photo/Matt Granger)
Are wrist straps actually helpful?

The short answer is yes, but it depends. Some hikers prefer to use them all the time; others rarely use them and might even remove them from the pole entirely to cut additional weight, especially if they tend to hike on easy-going trails.

The use of straps comes down to personal preference, but there are some real benefits to utilizing this feature. Straps increase stability and allow more power transfer into the poles on steeper gradients. It’s also much harder to drop your poles off the side of a mountain or exposed terrain if they are attached to your body.

Telescoping, folding, or fixed: what style of trekking pole do I choose?

Telescoping poles offer a more extensive range of usable lengths than all the others. While they take a little longer to set up than folding poles, these poles are more durable and customizable to the terrain you’re hiking or running on.

Folding poles are often lighter and much more compact in their collapsed position; however, they have a significantly smaller range of adjustability. But for runners and fast-packers, their quick setup or breakdown on the move is unmatched.

(Photo/Samuel Martin)

Some companies offer a combination of the styles, like our best overall trekking pole of 2024. These poles combine aspects from both styles, blending the speedy setup, compact storage, and some adjustability — the primary compromise is the smaller range of adjustment this design type offers.

Fixed poles are not collapsible, but they are the lightest out there. When deciding to purchase a pair, you’ll need to make sure you find the size that works for you. Check out our Comparison chart for a breakdown of the specific size ranges, price points, and weight per pair for our favorite poles of the year.

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