The best trekking poles 2022

Protect your knees and increase stability with the best trekking poles

Woman walking with some of the best trekking poles
(Image credit: Getty)

The best trekking poles have the power to provide stability on uneven ground, take some weight off your knees (particularly when descending steep hills) and even increase your speed. 

It’s for these reasons that, whether you’re taking to the trails on a daily basis or just want some extra support when walking, we think they’re a worthy investment. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which ones to buy. 

To help you make your mind up, our team of fitness writers have put together a list of their favorite trekking poles, with options to suit all budgets and activity levels. They’ve also broken down the pros and cons of each one, so you can make an informed decision on which pair is right for you. 

So, take a leisurely scroll through the options below to find your perfect hiking partner. 

Best trekking poles 2022

Why you can trust Fit&Well Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The LEKI Makalu FX Carbon AS

(Image credit: LEKI)

1. LEKI Makalu FX Carbon AS

The best trekking poles overall

Specifications

Material: Carbon and aluminum
Length : 43in - 51in
Weight per pole : 0.59lb

Reasons to buy

+
DSS damping system to relieve stress on muscles 
+
Hollow core technology saves weight
+
Rubberized, inclined handle for comfortable grip 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

When many people think of trekking poles, the first name that springs to mind is LEKI. In its early days the brand manufactured ski poles, but in the 2000s the team used their knowledge of the great outdoors to begin making poles specifically for walking, and we’re glad they did.

The Leki Makalu FX Carbon AS poles are part of the brand’s current crop of premium trekking poles, with plenty of innovative features to help you enjoy your hike. The AS (or antishock) variant we’ve picked has a Dynamic Suspension System (DSS) which promises to reduce impact and stress on your lower body with each step. They also have a hollow core, maintaining strength and stability while shedding some weight. 

To top things off, the Makalu features LEKI’s latest Aergon Air handle, which has a rubberized back and slanted shape to provide optimal grip, particularly when tackling steep downhills. 

What the users say

There are only 20 ratings of the Leki Makalu FX Carbon AS poles on Amazon, but none award them a score of below four out of five stars. Among a string of perfect scores, seasoned hikers describe them as “simply the best”, saying they’re easy to transport and simple to use.  


The Cascade Mountain Tech Lightweight Aircraft-Grade Aluminium Trekking Poles

(Image credit: Cascade Mountain Tech)

2. Cascade Mountain Tech Lightweight Aircraft-Grade Aluminium Trekking Poles

The best affordable trekking poles for all terrains

Specifications

Material : Aluminum
Length: 26in - 54in
Weight: 0.65lb

Reasons to buy

+
Great price
+
Robust
+
Adjustable wrist straps

Reasons to avoid

-
On the heavier side for walking poles 

These Cascade Mountain Tech poles promise a lot for a very reasonable price. The brand says their product is built with 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum, and are able to withstand more lateral pressure than their pricier carbon fiber counterparts. They are also designed to reduce the impact of hiking on your knees, back and hips while improving your traction on slippery surfaces, helping you feel stable and supported while you walk. 

At 0.65lb each, they’re by no means a heavy set of poles, but this figure does place them among the weightiest products on this list. But they are suitable for a range of terrains, with interchangeable accessories including mud baskets and snow baskets to stop them sinking too far into soft ground, as well as rubber tips to reduce their noise on hard surfaces. 

What the users say

With an average score of 4.7 stars from 12 reviews on the Cascade Mountain Tech website, these poles leave a trail of happy customers behind them. Several share stories of how the poles have repeatedly bore the brunt of their bodyweight, with one 220-pound man crediting them for saving him from “a lot of falls”. One of the only complaints was a user who disliked a rattling sound they heard when the poles made contact with the ground.  


TrailBuddy Trekking Poles

(Image credit: Trail Buddy)

3. TrailBuddy Trekking Poles

The best budget trekking pole for beginners

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Length: 24in - 54.5in
Weight per pole: 0.65lb

Reasons to buy

+
Great value for money
+
Strong 
+
Comfortable, moisture-wicking handles 

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly heavier than most trekking poles 

These TrailBuddy Trekking Poles are an Amazon Best Seller for a reason, offering fantastic value for money. They have an MSRP of under $40 and can often be found in a significant sale. But, despite this modest price tag, they still offer adjustable lengths of 24.5in to 54in and a comfortable cork handle.

The lever locks for adjusting the height are designed to be easy to use, so you can change your poles’ settings with a single hand, and the aluminum shafts are “built to last”.

The poles also come with a selection of rubber tips and baskets for both mud and snow, so you can tackle a range of terrains without seeing the poles sink irretrievably into soft ground. You can buy them in eight different colors too, so there’s a shade to suit all walking outfits. And at this price, it’s a good pole for most walking newbies.

What the users say

These trekking poles have an impressive track record with buyers, with an average score of 4.7 out of a possible five stars from more than 48,000 customer reviews left on Amazon. They are described as “a superior product without the superior product price” with several people saying they were impressed by the stability they offered. A small number of one-star reviews found the poles regularly needed readjusting as they did not stay in place, but these made up just 2% of the feedback left.  

Fit&Well is currently in the process of testing these poles – we'll update this guide accordingly when we've finished. 


The Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Adjustable Trekking Poles

(Image credit: Cascade Mountain Tech)

4. Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Adjustable Trekking Poles

The best affordable carbon fiber trekking poles

Specifications

Material: Carbon fiber
Length: 26in - 54in
Weight per pole: 0.49lb

Reasons to buy

+
Great value for money carbon fiber poles
+
Lightweight
+
Quick-locking mechanisms for fast length adjustments

Reasons to avoid

-
Cork handles collect dirt and sweat

Carbon fiber walking poles are usually lighter and have less flex than their aluminum counterparts, making them a good choice for walkers wanting speed, support and portability. But they do tend to be more expensive. 

That’s not the case with this Cascade Mountain Tech set, however, which boasts lightweight (0.49lb per pole) carbon fiber shafts but retails for less than $65. The poles’ impressive portfolio doesn’t end there either. They also have a “quick locking” mechanism to make adjusting the height a speedy and simple procedure, a selection of tips and baskets for all surfaces, a comfortable cork grip and adjustable wrist straps.

As they use 3K Carbon Fiber, rather than something like tougher 6K, there's a bit of 'flex' in the poles. This could mean that they're more prone to bending out of shape, but you can't really complain at this price.

What the users say

At the time of writing, the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Adjustable Trekking Poles have ten pieces of feedback on the brand’s website; two four-star ratings and eight five-star reviews. Buyers say they were impressed by the performance and price of the product, finding the quick locking system worked effectively and the range of tips came in handy when changing terrain.  


The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

(Image credit: Montem)

5. Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

The best trekking poles for larger bodies

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Length: 24in - 53in
Weight per pole: 0.6lb

Reasons to buy

+
Durable
+
Wide range of adjustable lengths
+
Free lifetime replacement

Reasons to avoid

-
Triple-segment design means poles 'rattle' when they hit the ground

Montem was founded in 2016 with a mission statement of offering a quality alternative to overpriced, low quality outdoor equipment. Six years on and the brand is sticking to its task, with these aluminum walking poles costing under $70. 

The poles are Ultra Strong by name and nature. Made from the same aluminum used to build airplanes, they can support over 350lb while taking pressure away from your knee, hip and ankle joints while walking. But they balance this sturdiness with a lightweight design that sees each stick tip the scales at just 0.6lb – ideal for packing in a bag when traveling. 

The poles come with rubber tips and specialized baskets for mud and snow, also benefiting from nylon wrist straps for security and sweat-wicking EVA foam grips for comfort. They can easily be adjusted from 24in to 53in thanks to their quick locks, so you can find the right height to support a perfect walking posture, and Montem is so confident in the quality of its products that it offers a free lifetime replacement promise, providing new poles in the event that a previous buyer’s break. 

What the users say

The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles have earned a score of 4.6 stars on Amazon, with more than 1,100 buyers awarding them a full complement of five stars. Top-rated reviews praise their comfortable grips, stability and “winning price point”. A few people say the locking system slipped slightly when they put a lot of weight on the poles when traversing especially steep declines or uneven ground, but they go on to say the poles worked fine throughout most hikes.  

Fit&Well is currently in the process of testing these poles – we'll update this guide accordingly when we've finished.


Leki Cressida FX Carbon AS Trekking Poles

(Image credit: LEKI)

6. LEKI Cressida FX Carbon AS Lady

The best trekking poles for smaller hands

Specifications

Material: Carbon fiber
Length: 39in - 47in
Weight per pole: 0.54lb

Reasons to buy

+
Compact for packability
+
Hollow technology contribute to a lightweight design
+
Ergonomic grip for maximum stability

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
No snow baskets

The LEKI Cressida FX Carbon AS Lady trekking poles have the same DSS anti-shock system as the Makalus, making them a great fit for anyone wanting to take stress off their hips, knees and ankles while hiking. They also have Aergon Air Compact grips which are 12% shorter than LEKI’s regular handles – ideal for smaller hands. They are designed for comfort and control when walking, while their rubberized back ensures you get great grip when tackling steep declines. 

The brand’s hollow core technology, paired with their carbon fiber shafts, ensures the poles don’t weigh over the odds, and the poles’ Speed Lock 2 Plus locking system allows you to quickly change their length to suit your height. 

What the users say

Published user reviews of the LEKI Cressida FX Carbon poles are few and far between, with just five on Amazon at the time of writing. Of these, three give them the full five stars and the remaining two award them a four-star score. Reviewers say they like the feel of the handles, and found the poles “great for balance, lightweight, easy to use and perfect for my backpack trip” 


The Gossamer LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles

(Image credit: Gossamer)

7. Gossamer LT5 Three-Piece Carbon Trekking Poles

The best lightweight trekking poles

Specifications

Material: Carbon fiber
Length: 23.5in - 51in
Weight per pole: 0.3lb

Reasons to buy

+
Compact, portable and lightweight
+
Simple twist lock mechanism
+
EVA foam handles for comfort 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive 

These carbon fiber Gossamer trekking poles are designed with portability in mind, having been released as a more compact alternative to the brand’s popular Lightrek poles. They are the lightest pair we tested (weighing 0.3lb each) and can easily be split into three different sections when you want to transport them or pack them away. Reassembling these pieces is a breeze too, thanks to their easy to understand twist lock mechanism.

You can adjust the length from 23.5in to 51in, which falls just shy of the range offered by other trekking poles on this list but will still cater to walkers of most heights. They come with the usual rubber tips for when you aren’t walking on trails, though there is only one choice of basket.

Overall, they are an easy to use, stable, lightweight and compact option well-suited to people who often find they need walking poles on-the-go. 

What the users say

The Gossamer LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles have more than 230 five-star reviews on the brand’s website. Satisfied customers say they are “super lightweight” with a “sturdy” construction which helped them feel “very natural” to walk with. One buyer said their baskets had broken during a testing trek, but this doesn’t appear to be a common occurrence.  

Fit&Well is currently in the process of testing these poles – we'll update this guide accordingly when we've finished.


The Black Diamond Alpine FLZ Z-Poles

(Image credit: Black Diamond)

8. Black Diamond Alpine FLZ Z-Poles

The best trekking poles for easy length adjustments

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Length: 37in - 54in
Weight per pole: 0.64lb

Reasons to buy

+
SlideLock mechanism for collapsibility and portability
+
Available in three sizes to suit most user heights
+
Lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Smaller overall range of length options than competitors 
-
Cork handles pick up dirt

Black Diamond says its Alpine FLZ Trekking Poles are ready for multi-season adventures, with a range of tip and basket options to suit various weathers and terrains. Natural cork handles ensure great grip and comfort, while the brand’s FlickLock Pro adjustment system means you can adjust the length of the poles with ease. 

Each pole doesn’t offer as wide a range of adjustable lengths as others on the market, but you can buy them in three size options (37-43in, 41-49in and 47-55in). Just make sure you choose the right one for your height (we’ve included a handy guide on this in our buying guide below).

SlideLock technology means you can collapse the poles in a matter of seconds, allowing them to be packed into most walking rucksacks when they’re surplus to requirements, and their 7075 aluminum shafts provide a strong and stable base when extended.

What the users say

There aren’t too many reviews (39, to be exact) of these walking poles on the Black Diamond website, but the majority of those left are overwhelmingly positive. At the time of writing, 30 people have left five-star feedback, with another three awarding it four stars. Buyers say they did everything asked of them, and could easily be packed down into a bag. However, a common issue among the five one-star reviews seems to be the poles’ durability, with some saying their products had broken within a few months of being bought. 

Fit&Well is currently in the process of testing these poles – we'll update this guide accordingly when we've finished.


The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

(Image credit: Black Diamond)

9. Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

The best trekking poles for versatility

Specifications

Material: Carbon fiber
Length: 39in - 51in
Weight per pole: 0.54lb

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Soft-touch ergonomic carbon cork grip for comfort
+
FlickLock Pro adjustability clamps for easy height changes 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive 

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles tick nearly every box when it comes to what makes a premium walking pole. They’re made from lightweight carbon fiber, have a sweat-wicking cork handle for great grip and comfort, and come with a variety of tips and baskets so you can stay stable on most surfaces. 

They also have some clever features to make your life easier, like the FlickLock Pro adjustable technology. This means you can change their length to suit your height, then secure them into place with a flick of the robust metal buckles that separate the three sections of the poles. 

What the users say

These trekking poles enjoy an average rating of 4.8 stars from more than 300 ratings on Amazon. Among the compliments to keep cropping up in the user reviews, their sturdy and lightweight design was one of the most common. Several people acknowledged their high price, but said they were willing to pay for a reliable walking partner.  

Fit&Well is currently in the process of testing these poles – we'll update this guide accordingly when we've finished.


The Komperdell Unisex Adult Ridgehiker Cork Powerblock Trekking Poles

(Image credit: Komperdell)

10. Komperdell Unisex Adult Ridgehiker Cork Powerblock Trekking Pole

The best looking trekking poles

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Length: 41in - 55in
Weight per pole: 0.6lb

Reasons to buy

+
Classic design
+
Adjustable length from 41in to 55in
+
Light for aluminum poles

Reasons to avoid

-
Cork handles pick up dirt

We love the classic look of these Komperdell Ridgehiker Cork Powerblock poles, with the khaki shaft and cork grips complementing most outdoor ensembles. The cork grip is comfortable and sweat-wicking, making it a good choice for faster-paced hikes (although these could become stained over time) and the poles benefit from hardy tungsten carbide tips. 

They can collapse down to 26in for packability, are adjustable from 41in to 55in when extended, and have a Powerlock 3.0 system which securely fastens the three pieces of each pole in place using metal clamps. 

They have replaceable tips and baskets and at 0.6lb each they’re fairly light for aluminum poles. Komperdell also has a 100-day return policy, so you know the brand is confident in its products. 

What the users say

We have good news and bad news. The bad news is, when this buying guide was published, these Komperdell trekking poles only have two reviews and no written feedback on Amazon. However, the good news is that both customers awarded them top marks. 

Fit&Well is currently in the process of testing these poles – we'll update this guide accordingly when we've finished.

How we tested

We've compiled this list using a two-fold approach: we first researched and compared the most popular trekking poles on the market – the brands loved by real hikers – then we tested out as many as we could. During our hands-on testing periods, we use the poles across a mix of rugged terrains, trying out their features, folding ability and assessing their strength. Where something hasn't yet been tested, we've highlighted this in the copy above. 

FAQs

How to choose the best walking poles

There are a few things to consider when choosing a pair of walking poles. We’ve explained some of the key deciding factors below, to help you make an informed decision on which set is best for you.

Size:  We have detailed the range of lengths available from each of the adjustable poles featured above. But how does that relate to your height? Market-leader LEKI provides the following guidelines based on your height:

  • 5ft 2in - 5ft 4in: 43in pole
  • 5ft 6in: 45in pole
  • 5ft 8in: 47in pole
  • 5ft 10in - 6ft: 49in pole
  • 6ft 2in: 51in pole
  • 6ft 4in - 6ft 6in: 53in pole

Material: The shafts of most trekking poles are made from two materials; aluminum or carbon fiber. Aluminum poles are usually slightly stronger, more durable and cheaper. However, carbon fiber (while more expensive and weaker, particularly when it comes to lateral forces) is lighter - ideal if you like to keep a fast walking pace. 

Premium carbon fiber models may be specially designed to be stronger and counter this weakness, though these are likely to cost more than the sturdiest aluminum poles. 

Do trekking poles help?

Several studies have shown that trekking poles have a series of beneficial effects on walkers. A 2020 review article published in the Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (opens in new tab) journal found using trekking poles could increase hikers’ speed, improve their balance, reduce the force placed on their knees and ankles and make walking feel easier. 

However, despite this last point, hiking with poles has been found to burn more calories than standard walking as it uses muscles in your upper body as well as your legs. As a result, they can help you burn fat by creating a calorie deficit (when paired with an appropriate diet).  

Are trekking poles worth it?

Considering the impressive list of benefits above, using trekking poles is worth it for many regular walkers. They are particularly useful for those who have previously had an injury in their lower body thanks to their ability to take stress off the knee and ankle joints. They are also useful for anyone who feels they would like more stability when walking, offering support on gradients and uneven terrain.  

Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.


When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.


Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.