Best Hiking Sticks : Buying Guide 2018

So, you´ve hiked a few times. You noticed how hard it can be to walk in some places without any kind of support. Maybe you learned the bad way. You or someone you know got injured on a hiking trip, your solution will be to owe the best hiking sticks.

Best Hiking Sticks: Comparison Table

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Planning for your worst case scenario is key hiking wise. Taking trekking poles with you to a hiking trip is helpful – PERIOD. They can help your movement and give you stability and freedom. Let’s be optimistic, shall we?

Chances are you got into hiking for weight loss. Using trekking poles or boosts the cardiovascular benefits of hiking. Meaning it helps increase the calories you burn! Let’s not forget the use of trekking poles improves coordination. These magic sticks absorb the impact that would otherwise go straight to your knees.

The benefits of using trekking poles are various. And they’re not limited to support, coordination and cardio boost. Don’t believe me? How about using your trekking poles to help you set up your camp?

We did some research on trekking poles so you don’t have to. Of course, we’ll tell you what a trekking pole is. Some of its essential design features. Some aspects to consider before getting ones and more. Read on for some details.

What is a trekking pole?

best hiking sticks

First things first, sure you heard using a walking aid helps a lot in hiking. How are trekking poles different from a walking stick and hiking staffs? The answer is simple.

There are two main differences. Manufacturers sell a single walking stick/hiking staff while trekking poles always come in pairs. Also, walking sticks are for longer and lighter use (meaning the terrain will be flat and you’ll be carrying no weight). Trekking poles are sturdy and designed for heavy duty use.

That means taking a walking stick to a hike in a national park with clear paths is fine. If you’re covering a high mountain trail, then trekking poles are exactly what you need.

There’s no big difference between walking sticks and trekking poles material-wise. Walking sticks use non-specialized materials for its construction.

Steel alloys, aluminum, carbon fiber and wood are the most used materials in the construction of trekking poles.

Wood is a resistant but heavy material. The weight is what makes it unsuitable for long hikes. Softwoods tend to get too worn out after one use. If you want a hiking staff, go for a hardwood one.

Carbon fiber is the lightest material you’ll find in trekking poles. But it’s quite pricey and not as resistant as aluminum. Aluminum is the best option when it comes to value. It’s durable, light and cheap. We recommend aluminum trekking poles, but the last word is yours.

Why Do You Need Trekking Poles During Hiking?

We mentioned the greatest benefits of getting yourself a pair of trekking poles. We said they absorb most of the shock walking gives to your joint. The healthier your joints, the more years you’ll be able to hike.

In the wild, you may run into animals. Believe it or not, trekking poles make an attack by some medium sized animals improbable. They make you look bigger and intimidating if you swing them around like crazy (not kidding here).

Even the most experienced hikers out there find it hard to stay balanced from time to time. That’s because of the weight of their backpacks and the quality of the terrain. Using trekking poles will give you increased safety.

Speaking of heavy weight on your shoulders, trekking poles alleviate some of the weight of your hiking backpack. Thus increasing your stamina.

Due to their sturdiness and resistance, trekking poles make a great substitute for tent poles. Trekking poles won’t give in to strong winds or the occasional accidental push. Bottom line is trekking poles can aid in the building of safer shelter.

Essential Design Features Of Trekking Poles For Hiking.

Tip:

An essential feature of a trekking pole is that it’s equipped with a sharp metal tip. Tips give trekking poles traction as they penetrate the ground. If the tip isn’t made of metal, then you don’t have a high-quality trekking pole.

Tip covers:

Tip covers grant versatility to a trekking pole. Moreover, Tip covers come in different materials, sizes and shapes. You get to have your trekking pole assure you a great performance. No matter the quality of the soil: soft, rocky, muddy, covered in snow. You name it.

Cushioned Hand Grips:

Rubber-over-foam, cork and molded plastic are the three top material choices for trekking pole hand grip manufacturers. Hand grips are crucial for two reasons. They provide comfort and help prevent blisters.

Wrist Straps:

These make using a trekking pole easier in more than one way. First and foremost, straps make it harder for poles to just slip away from your hands. Second, straps allow your hands to be free to use whenever you need them to.

This way, you won’t waste any time figuring out where to put your poles aside. Find poles with straps made of a moisture-wicking material. That being the case, sweat won’t pose a single problem to you.

Shock absorbers:

You want trekking poles to make a real difference on the impact your knees absorb. They must have some special shock absorbing mechanism. This mechanism varies from one brand to another. In general, all mechanisms help. Just make sure a shock absorbing mechanism is present.

High-end trekking poles:

The pricier things are, the better they will be. Well, that isn’t always the case. The features mentioned above are basic. But high-end trekking poles go that extra mile in offering tempting yet nonvital features.

Amongst these, you find built in thermometers, compasses and camera mounts. These factors shouldn’t be a decisive factor in your decision. Unless you intend to use them a lot.

A thermometer is of real use only for high-mountain hikers. It’s useful for them to know how the temperature drops as they go uphill. Compasses increase the price of trekking poles for no good reason. Bear in mind you can always buy a small cheap compass and you’ll be fine.

Regarding camera mounts integrated in walking aids. They pose a great option for shutter-bugs who enjoy taking pics. They make a great choice for they spare you from carrying additional gear with you.

Things To Consider When Buying Best Hiking Sticks.

We’ve covered materials’ advantages and diverse features. Let’s focus on the decision making process. What things should you take into account before buying a set of trekking poles?

Price:

There are some pretty decent trekking poles at entry-level prices of $20. Your poles can be as expensive as you can afford them to be. Make sure they meet most, if not all of your needs.

Adjustable or Non-Adjustable Length:

Some poles are adjustable in length. Meaning two persons of any given heights would be able to use the same pair of poles. Some poles aren’t adjustable in length. These poles are for personal use only.

There’s more to consider before buying your poles than if they’re for personal use. Remember you can use them as:

  • tent poles
  • an aid for building a shelter
  • a camera mount
  • a temporary immobilizer before getting proper medical attention
  • a pole to build a stretcher

Foldable or collapsible?:

Imagine your poles are foldable. They won’t be as packable as collapsible poles. The other way round. Your poles are collapsible. They can get a little unstable in their structure closer to the distal end. So, you decide what’s more of a permissible flaw to you.

Weight:

Assume you’re not going on long hikes. And you know for sure you won’t carry too much weight on your back. If these two reasons are the case for you, then weight isn’t a relevant matter.

You may choose any type of pole without having the weight of your pole becoming a big issue. REI considers that only those trekking poles under one pound per pole are ultralight.

Tips for Using Trekking Poles For Hiking

Remember to alternate your legs and the poles.

When using trekking poles, it’s important to fixate a good rhythm. The recommended way is right leg with left arm and left leg with right arm. At first, it needs some careful focus, then it’s easy. It’s a matter of practice.

When you lose this pace, you can keep walking lifting the poles off the ground. Only to put them back when you feel ready. Also, you can stop and start again. Find whatever suits you the best.

For steep uphill or downhill.

You can stop and find a point of stability with your poles. Then walk give a couple steps. Repeat. It’s that simple.

Keep a natural posture.

Remember the right way to use poles. When you hold the grips in such a way that your flexed arm forms a 90° angle.

Keep the swing of your arms natural. Not too ample, not too fast. The poles should be pointing forwards. This way, the poles plant in the ground giving you traction and helping you move on.

Tips For Taking Care Of Your Trekking Poles

As for taking care of your trekking poles, it’s all about common sense. You must clean them up after every use.

First, remove the dirt with a dry towel. After removing the dirt use a wet towel with some soft detergent. This avoids unnecessary scratching.

Let your poles dry before collapsing them (if they’re collapsible poles).

There are special cases for poles. Try to get a hard case for packing them in your backpack. If you can’t get a hard case, any fabric case will do.

Check the state of your tip covers from time to time. Replace them when necessary. Use the tip cover for the right kind of terrain.

Where To Buy Trekking Poles and Hiking Staffs?

This decision is up to you. There are some popular choices to buy your trekking poles or hiking staff.

Local sports shop.

Say you’re one of those people who needs to see things before buying them. This being the case, going to a local sporting supply is for you. In a shop, they’ll let you try the poles.

You can read as many reviews as you wish. But no review will ever be as powerful as holding the poles with your own hands.

It’s a good choice because you can try the hand grip materials and see what works best for you. There’s a downside of going to a local store. Maybe they don’t have a good variety of poles and staffs.

Second hand outdoor shop.

You don’t have a big budget, but you still want a pair of poles. It’s easy. Go to a second hand outdoor shop. The advantage is that they make sure the gear they sell is in good conditions. You will get good affordable gear, even if it’s not new.

Online shops.

The best pic is REI. They have a surprising variety of trekking poles, walking sticks and hiking staffs. They also have experts giving you advice on how to choose the best trekking poles for you.

The only bad thing is that REI is so specialized, most of the gear the sale is (although high-quality) a bit pricey.

Amazon.com.

All people know Amazon. And that’s for a good reason. On Amazon, you’ll find an endless variety of poles, sticks and staffs. With prices ranging from affordable entry-level to high-end. Dubious Amazon is for you? There’s more.

The greatest advantage of buying your trekking poles on Amazon is you don’t get brands paying someone for a review. You get real people giving you some valuable insights on design and performance. We consider this to be the best option to buy your best trekking poles.

Happy hiking, folks!

Last update on 2018-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API