Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, trekking poles can significantly enhance your hiking experience. Let’s face it, they are a game-changer. I can’t believe we waited so long to get our trekking poles. What do they do they do for you?
They provide stability on uneven terrain, reduce strain on your knees and ankles, and even help burn more calories by engaging your upper body.
According to research conducted by the National Library of Medicine, using trekking poles can also improve your confidence and mood when you are walking or hiking. I can vouch for this. Since using trekking poles, I am much more relaxed on hikes.
So if you want to feel like a mountain goat on the trail, trekking poles are what you need.
But with so many options available, choosing the right trekking pole can be daunting. Fear not; this blog post will guide you through the six must-have trekking poles based on extensive research and testing.
What are Trekking Poles and Why Do You Need Them?
Trekking poles, also known as hiking poles, are essentially modified ski poles with handles that you use when hiking. They are typically used in pairs, providing balance and stability, especially on challenging terrains.
By transferring some of your body weight from your legs to your arms, they can help prevent injuries, improve balance, and increase walking speed. This is particularly beneficial when you’re navigating steep inclines, declines, or rocky paths.
The Importance of the Right Height for Trekking Poles
Height plays a crucial role when it comes to picking the right trekking pole. Ideally, when your arm is down by your side with your forearm held out in front of you at 90 degrees to your body, the top of the handle should reach the top of your palm.
To put it more simply, the top of the handle should be at waist or hip level and your elbow at 90 degrees. Following this guideline ensures that the pole is comfortable to use and provides optimal support during your hike.
Trekking Pole #1: Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles
Features and Benefits
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles are designed with careful attention to detail, ensuring maximum comfort and durability. Built with lightweight aluminum, these poles ensure strength without adding unnecessary weight to your gear.
The EVA foam handles are moisture-wicking and slip-resistant, providing a comfortable grip even during long hikes. The poles come with adjustable wrist straps for added security and convenience.
Furthermore, the lever locks allow easy adjustment of the pole’s length, accommodating different heights and terrain types.
Why it’s the Best for Nearly Everyone
The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles are a perfect blend of affordability, durability, and functionality.
Whether you are a beginner just starting out or an experienced hiker, these poles fulfill all basic requirements without breaking the bank.
Their robust construction and easy adjustability make them ideal for nearly everyone, regardless of height or hiking skill level.
Trekking Pole #2: Black Diamond Distance Z
Features and Benefits
The Black Diamond Distance Z stands out in the lightweight category. Weighing slightly more than folding carbon fiber poles, it offers the benefits of ultra-lightweight trekking poles without the steep price tag. Its foldable design allows for convenient storage and transport, while the non-slip foam grip extension ensures a secure hold, even in wet conditions. Additionally, the poles feature a durable aluminum construction, ensuring they can withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures.
How it Serves the Budget-Conscious Users
The Black Diamond Distance Z is an excellent choice for budget-conscious users looking for high-quality, lightweight trekking poles. With this model, you don’t have to compromise on weight or durability for affordability. It’s a reliable companion for everyday hiking and walking, promising longevity and performance without a hefty price tag.
Trekking Pole #3: Leki Jannu FX TA
Features and Benefits
The Leki Jannu FX TA is a women’s specific model that strikes the perfect balance between affordability, durability, comfort, and versatility.
These poles feature comfortable cork grips designed for smaller hands and durable shafts that can withstand diverse terrains. The ergonomic notch in the grips accommodates your index finger, and the straps are among the most comfortable to use barehanded.
Over time, the cork molds to the shape of your hands, resisting moisture from sweat. Despite being heavier than comparable poles, their durability and comfort make them an excellent choice for most uses, from short day hikes to longer treks.
Why it’s an Ideal Women’s Specific Model
Women’s specific trekking poles typically have narrower grips and shorter maximum lengths, accommodating smaller hands and heights.
The Leki Jannu FX TA perfectly fits this requirement, making it an ideal model for women and people with smaller hands. Its ergonomic design, combined with its durability and versatility, makes it a standout choice for female hikers.
Regardless of gender, if you have smaller hands and are less than 6′ tall, these poles might be a better fit for you.
Trekking Pole #4: Trekology Trek-Z 2.0
The Trekology Trek-Z 2.0 is another excellent choice for everyday hiking and walking at an affordable price. It features an easy-to-use flip lock system for adjusting the length of the pole, and the compact, foldable design makes it easy to carry around. The ergonomic foam handle and adjustable wrist strap provide comfort and support during long hikes.
Trekking Pole #5: BD Alpine Carbon Cork for Women
The Affordability Factor
The BD Alpine Carbon Cork for women is a more premium option, but its superior quality and performance justify the higher price tag.
These poles are crafted from 100% carbon fiber, resulting in a lightweight yet incredibly durable product. The cork handle naturally conforms to the shape of your hand and absorbs sweat, ensuring a comfortable grip throughout your journey.
Features and Benefits
These poles offer a maximum length of 49 inches, which should suffice for most female hikers.
The smaller-diameter grips cater to those with smaller hands, and the shorter minimum length (typically around 4-5 inches shorter in telescoping models) makes these poles easier to stow away in a suitcase for traveling.
All these features make the BD Alpine Carbon Cork an excellent investment for serious hikers who value quality and durability.
Discussing the Women’s Version
Most trekking poles are marketed as unisex products, but manufacturers like BD realize the importance of designing women-specific poles.
The BD Alpine Carbon Cork Women’s version addresses the needs of female hikers, providing a narrower grip for smaller hands and a shorter maximum length. This ensures a comfortable grip and the right height, enhancing stability and efficiency during hikes.
So, if you’re someone who doesn’t need extra length and would benefit from smaller-diameter grips, these women’s trekking poles are an excellent choice.
Trekking Pole #6: MSR Dynalock Ascent Carbon
Features and Benefits
The MSR Dynalock Ascent Carbon poles offer exceptional comfort, versatility, compactness, and ergonomics. They excel in almost every application, making them a great choice for various hiking scenarios.
The simple yet elegant grip and strong, reliable length adjustment mechanism make them user-friendly and highly functional.
Despite being slightly heavier than other options, they exhibit a remarkably light swing weight, a feature appreciated by testers after hours on the trail. These poles also pack down small, making them ideal for backpacking and long-distance thru-hiking.
Why It Made the List
Despite their higher price point, the MSR Dynalock Ascent Carbon poles make our list due to their outstanding performance in nearly all areas of evaluation.
They are especially recommended for those seeking one pole to do it all, no matter the season.
Their versatile nature makes them appropriate for various outdoor activities, from day hikes and overnight alpine climbing missions to long-distance thru-hiking.
Trekking Pole #7: Gossamer Gear LT5
Features and Benefits
Made from lightweight carbon fiber, the Gossamer Gear LT5 trekking poles are some of the lightest on the market, weighing just 12 ounces per pair.
The poles have a simple flip-lock design for adjusting the length, and they pack down to a very compact size. The EVA foam handles are moisture-wicking and slip-resistant, providing a comfortable grip even during long hikes.
The poles come with adjustable wrist straps for added security and convenience. A shock-absorbing mechanism helps to reduce vibration and improve comfort.
Why it’s the Best Ultralight Option
The Gossamer Gear LT5 trekking poles are the perfect choice for hikers who are looking for the lightest possible poles.
They are also a good option for backpackers who want to save weight on their gear. The poles are well-made and durable, and they offer a comfortable grip and a secure fit.
Overall, the Gossamer Gear LT5 trekking poles are a great option for hikers who are looking for the lightest possible poles without sacrificing quality or durability.
Comparison of Features, Specs, and Pricing
|Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles||Lightweight, durable, affordable||Made of lightweight aluminum, EVA foam handles, adjustable wrist straps, lever locks||$75||17.6 oz/500 g|
|Black Diamond Distance Z||Lightweight, foldable, affordable||Made of aluminum, non-slip foam grip extension, durable aluminum construction||$140||14.9 oz/425 g|
|Leki Jannu FX TA||Women’s specific, comfortable, durable||Cork grips designed for smaller hands, durable shafts, ergonomic notch in the grips, comfortable straps||$150||18.2 oz/515 g|
|Trekology Trek-Z 2.0||Affordable, easy to use, compact||Flip lock system for adjusting the length of the pole, compact, foldable design, ergonomic foam handle, adjustable wrist strap||$45||15.8 oz/445 g|
|BD Alpine Carbon Cork for Women||Premium, lightweight, durable||Made of 100% carbon fiber, cork handle, smaller-diameter grips, shorter minimum length||$130||12.4 oz/350 g|
|MSR Dynalock Ascent Carbon||Versatile, compact, ergonomic||Simple yet elegant grip, strong, reliable length adjustment mechanism, lightweight swing weight, packs down small||$170||12.2 oz/350 g|
|Gossamer Gear LT5||Made from lightweight carbon fiber, simple flip-lock design, shock-absorbing mechanism||Weighs just 12 ounces per pair, packs down to a very compact size, EVA foam handles, adjustable wrist straps||$195||12 oz/340 g|
*prices subject to change
Summary of the Must-Have Trekking Poles
Choosing the right trekking pole can significantly enhance your hiking experience. Our top picks for 2023 have been selected based on extensive research and testing.
Whether you’re looking for the best overall pole, the most budget-friendly option, or the best women-specific model, we have something for everyone.
From the Montem Ultra Strong’s affordability and durability to the Black Diamond Distance Z’s lightweight design and the MSR Dynalock Ascent Carbon’s exceptional versatility, these trekking poles promise great value for your money.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose a walking pole?
When buying the best walking poles for women, we recommend you choose the trekking pole based on your height and the hiking pole’s length and grip size rather than the particular gender it is labeled for.
Make sure the height is just right – when I hold the pole with my arm at a 90-degree angle, the handle should match up with the top of my palm. That’s when I know I’m getting the best support.
The material matters also – I like going for lightweight options made from aluminum or carbon fiber because they’re strong but not too heavy.
Look for comfortable grips. Poles with cork or foam handles can handle sweat.
I also keep an eye out for poles with easy-to-use systems for changing the length. That’s a big deal when I’m dealing with different types of terrain.
After all, my hiking pole should feel like a natural extension of my arm, giving me balance and stability wherever I’m exploring.
What are the disadvantages of using a walking pole?
We are avid hikers, and I can say that I don’t see a disadvantage with poles. Make sure you buy poles that fit the best with your hiking style. We have collapsable poles that are easy to attach to our backpacks. Some prefer rigid poles. Either is fine.
What are the best walking poles for seniors?
We recommend you look for poles that are lighter in weight. There are several on our list. These reduce fatigue yet still offer great support.
What are the best ultralight trekking poles?
Here are three great options for ultralight trekking poles:
BD Alpine Carbon Cork. These poles are crafted from 100% carbon fiber, resulting in a lightweight yet incredibly durable product, and weigh only 12.4 ounces. They have a cork grip.
Leki Micro Trail Pro Carbon. These poles are made from carbon fiber and weigh just 12.3 ounces per pair. They have a comfortable cork grip and a reliable flick-lock adjustment system.
Gossamer Gear LT5. These poles are made from carbon fiber and weigh just 12 ounces per pair. They have a simple flip-lock design and a shock-absorbing mechanism to reduce vibration.
When choosing ultralight trekking poles, it is important to consider your budget, weight requirements, and the features that are most important to you.
How can you prepare for hiking to make it easier?
Yes, there are several things you can do to prepare yourself for your next hike. We go through these in our recent post that gives you 12 useful tips.
Final Thoughts and Suggestions
Remember that the best trekking pole for you ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.
Take into account factors like the pole’s weight, durability, adjustability, and grip comfort. Remember, trekking poles should be an extension of your arm, providing support and balance as you traverse different terrains. So choose wisely, and happy hiking!
Featured Image: Credit Roaming Spices