The 9 Best Trekking Poles of 2021

Take on the trail with the help of these top trekking poles

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles at Amazon

"These poles have foam grips that are designed to be especially comfortable on slopes."

Best Budget: REI Co-op Passage Print Trekking Poles at REI

"REI's Co-op line makes well-made trekking poles at a value price point."

Best for Women: Black Diamond Women's Trail Trekking Poles at Backcountry

"Designed for women hikers, these trekking poles come with padded wrists straps for stability and comfort."

Best for Kids: Black Diamond First Strike Trekking Poles at Amazon

"Weighing only 18 ounces, these trekking poles shouldn't be too heavy for little arms to carry."

Best Four-Season: L.L.Bean Hikelite Four-Season Poles at L.L. Bean

"In the winter you can use the included trekking baskets for deep snow use."

Best Collapsible: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z at Amazon

"These poles break down into a Z-shape for exceptional portability that fits into different-sized packs."

Best Lightweight: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z at Amazon

"Black Diamond's light carbon fiber poles weigh in at just 9 ounces, thanks to top-quality materials."

Best for Backpacking: Gossamer Gear LT5R Trekking Poles at Gossamer

"With five-star ratings from hundreds of happy hikers, these poles are fantastic for backpacking."

Best Single Trekking Pole: Leki Super Micro Trekking Pole at Amazon

"This single trekking pole has a great durable aluminum construction and an ergonomic grip."

Trekking poles can lend hikers and backpackers a little extra support on the trail, but finding the right one can be tricky with all the options out there. We’ve scoured online retailers to find some of the best ones, no matter what level of hiker, backpacker, trekker, or other outdoors aficionado you are (hey, it’s never too late to get outside!). Either way, they’re going to do a great job of keeping you stable, upright, and moving on the trail by essentially acting as an extra pair of legs for us wobbly bipeds. 

Read on for our picks of the best trekking poles below.

Our Top Picks

01 of 09

Best Overall: Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

Courtesy of REI 

Leki’s Micro Vario Carbon Poles really tick all the boxes when it comes to the best trekking poles out there: they break down into a Z-design to be super compact, making them easy to travel with or tote around when you’re not hiking with them. The poles also have foam grips that are designed to be especially comfortable for “palming” on slopes. They’re adjustable in height, are made from high modulus carbon shaft sections, and come in at just 16 ounces as a pair.

02 of 09

Best Budget: REI Co-op Passage Print Trekking Poles

REI Co-op Passage Print Trekking Poles - Pair

REI

Sure, there are cheaper versions of trekking poles out there, but when it comes to well-made products at a value price point, REI’s Co-op line does a great job. And trust us, being cheap on products meant to keep you up and moving isn’t the way to go. REI’s easy-to-use pair is made from aluminum but isn’t too heavy at 20 ounces, and the locks are secured by Powerlock 2.1 levers for a bit more security—just be sure to keep an eye on them as, like with all levers, they do tend to loosen over time. Plus, they come with trail baskets for use in soft soil and snow.

03 of 09

Best for Women: Black Diamond Women's Trail Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles - Pair - Women's

 REI

Best for women hikers, these trekking poles are made with a patented FlickLock system that’s designed with “zero-slip” security, whether you’re on a rocky trail or fording a stream (you can even wear gloves operating them). They extend from 23 to 49 inches to span a range of women's heights, and they come with low-profile trekking baskets if you decide to switch up the terrain. Plus, the rubber grips on these are super comfortable, with padded wrist straps for both stability and comfort.

04 of 09

Best for Kids: Black Diamond First Strike Trekking Poles

Black Diamond First Strike Trekking Poles

 Courtesy of REI

If you’re the type of family to spend the weekends hiking and backpacking in the trails or mountains—you’re going to want to be sure everyone in the family is outfitted for the day. These four-season poles are adjustable from 26 to 44 inches, so while they’re a little pricier than some other kids' trekking poles, these grow with your child. They’re made from aluminum, but at 18 ounces for the pair, these poles shouldn’t be too heavy for little arms to carry. They also have rubber bands that kids can wrap around their wrists for an easier grip.

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Best Four-Season: L.L.Bean Hikelite Four-Season Poles

L.L.Bean Hikelite Four-Season Poles

Courtesy of L.L. Bean 

These four-season poles will take you through a full calendar of hiking with ease: during hot summer backpacking trips, the rubber grips will wick sweat away from you, and L.L. Bean updated this model with solution straps that give you a little more security. Made from aluminum and coming in at 1 pound, 3 ounces, they also come with both carbide tips and trekking baskets so you can have the right tools for the trail ahead. Plus, in the winter, you can use the trekking baskets for deep snow use, too.

06 of 09

Best Collapsible: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z

 Courtesy of Amazon

These poles break down into a Z-shape for exceptional portability that fits into different-sized packs, including an 18-liter daypack, and take seconds to get up and running from a broken-down state. Those who have a firm side in this debate will also appreciate the cork grip, which helps wick away sweat during particularly intense stretches. Plus, they feel trustworthy when you’re trekking, with steady supports you can lean on with confidence. They're available in four different sizes.

07 of 09

Best Lightweight: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z

 Courtesy of Backcountry

These incredibly light 100 percent carbon fiber poles weigh in at just 9 ounces, thanks to their top-quality materials, and they break down super quickly into a portable bundle of three sections. Six sizes are available, too, in 5-centimeter increments of 100 to 130 centimeters. Keep in mind they’re a little better for casual hiking than a few days of getting through tougher backcountry during a backpacking trip, though they’ve improved on previous models by adding better support at the pole’s joints for a little more stiffness and stability. 

08 of 09

Best for Backpacking: Gossamer Gear LT5R Trekking Poles

LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles (pair)

 Gossamer Gear

With five-star ratings from hundreds of happy hikers, these poles are fantastic for backpacking because they only weigh 4.9 ounces—and yep, that’s both poles together. These trekking poles are also very strong and durable, and fit well into backpack pockets. If you want to just order one pole, you can do that too—just specify when you’re ordering that you want a single pole and refund 50 percent from your order.

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Best Single Trekking Pole: Leki Super Micro Trekking Pole

Leki Super Micro Trekking Pole

 Courtesy of REI

This single trekking pole has a great durable aluminum construction and an ergonomic rubber grip that sits comfortably in your hand (and is reinforced by a padded wrist strap). You can lock it in place along its 46- to 90-centimeter length with a Super Lock mechanism for support (and confidence when the going gets tough). Plus, it comes with a vulcanized tip for use on pavement, so you can use this pole on urban streets too.

What to Look for in Trekking Poles

Material: The type of material used to construct your trekking pole is going to influence quite a few aspects of your trekking pole experience: durability, longevity—and, very importantly, the weight of your poles (after all, you’re getting this to make walking easier, not harder). Materials like carbon fiber steel are light and flexible, though aluminum makes for a heavier but more affordable option.

Weight: It might go without saying, but a key factor in the trekking poles is just how heavy are they to carry. After all, it’s one more thing in your hands during a long day out exerting yourself, so you don’t want them to be too heavy, or they’ll prove more of a burden than a help. The lightest on our list are under 5 ounces for both poles, but even a single pole's weight like that should be comfortable enough for most adults. 

Cost: With trekking poles, there’s a huge range of prices out there. While you can score a set for around $30, they might not be the best quality—and you don’t want the pole’s segmented locks coming undone the moment you’re really leaning on it for support. 

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