Thru-hikers will appreciate the value that the Best Trekking Poles of 2023 will add to their adventure. As a standard practice, every hiker must own a trekking pole because they need extra support on the rugged terrain.
Unless you go for a walk around the neighborhood, you will come across uneven ground as soon as you venture into the forested area.
The respective authorities usually rehabilitate hiking trails but try to maintain the natural state as much as possible. The challenges encountered when navigating the hills, valleys, and meadows make hiking a thrilling adventure.
We have seen hikers using sticks to support themselves on the trail, and while the stick could be functional, it cannot be the same as a trekking pole designed with a hiker’s needs in mind. Trekking poles can also be used to hold up the camping tent when the tent poles snap.
What to Look for in the Best Trekking Poles of 2023
A trekking pole will only be functional if the length is symmetrical to the hiker's height. This is the most critical feature.
When holding the pole, your elbows should assume a 90 degrees position while the tip stands close to your feet on the ground.
Most manufacturers make adjustable trekking poles to achieve a one size fits all design. However, some are still sold in fixed lengths, and if this is what is available, you may need a few guidelines to help you settle on the right one.
The user guide, in most cases, includes a size chart that should guide you to pick the trekking pole length that corresponds with your height.
The length of the trekking pole is critical because failure to get it right will cause distress to your neck, back, arms, and shoulders.
It is also necessary to note that the length requirements vary with the terrain. While a flat surface will give you the ideal length, you must shorten the pole slightly when going uphill and vice versa.
These adjustments are not possible with a non-adjustable pole; hence you need to get a size that will be relatively comfortable across different terrains.
Weight is critical for all hiking, backpacking, and trekking gear, including the trekking poles. While non-adjustable trekking poles might not be ideal, they gain more marks for being lightweight.
Non-adjustable trekking poles are lighter because they do not have much going on. They have fewer parts, making them a favorite for ultra-light hikers.
The weight of the trekking pole is critical because it determines the speed with which you will move by reducing the overall weight of your luggage. You will also be less fatigued at the end of the day.
Besides the adjustable mechanism, the material used to make the shaft contributes considerably to the pole’s total weight.
The most common materials for making a trekking pole's shaft are aluminum and composite. Aluminum is durable and more affordable, with the price varying depending on the gauge of metal used. There is a low likelihood that it will break, but it can fold under high pressure.
Composite, on the other hand, is lighter than aluminum and is perfect for reducing vibration. Carbon fiber is the most common composite material used to make trekking poles, but it snaps easily when exposed to high pressure.
While composite trekking poles have the ideal weight, they are not the best when trekking in super rugged terrain.
Foldable or non-foldable poles
Adjustable and foldable poles are different in that adjustable poles collapse into themselves to reduce the height, while foldable poles function more like tent poles.
Foldable poles are very lightweight, super portable, and easiest to deploy, making them ideal for hikers rushing against time.
There are non-adjustable poles that are also foldable. They have a locking and unlocking mechanism, which makes them easier to keep away when not in use. The locking mechanism in an adjustable pole only allows you to reduce or increase the length.
The main advantage that foldable poles have over non-foldable ones is portability. They can be folded and attached to the backpack. The convenience of having a less bulky item comes with a cost increase, as non-foldable trekking poles are cheaper when all other factors are held constant.
Note that the folding and unfolding mechanism can get loose with frequent use. Therefore you must keep checking and testing before every use as the trekking pole can collapse while in use and leave you with serious injuries.
Different weather conditions present specific challenges to hikers and, in most cases, call for extra gear. For example, hiking during rainy weather means you must survive the slippery ground. The snowy paths in winter are a different difficulty level.
The ideal trekking pole for hiking on the wet ground should have a broader base to give it a better grip and prevent you from falling even after slipping. Some poles are made with skid-free grip material, which works even better.
When hiking in a rocky area, consider an aluminum trekking pole since it can withstand friction with the rocks without cracking.
When it comes to trekking poles, the best hiking weather is the dry season since you will not have trouble getting a specific type of pole. You can get any affordable, portable, and efficient pole.
Hiking in snow is also tricky, and besides getting a sturdy trekking pole, you will also be required to invest in large and good-quality baskets. The basket prevents the pole from sinking into the deep snow and helps you maintain balance.
Before buying a basket, ensure it fits on your pole since some are not universal.
The trekking pole's grip matters. You will spend the whole time of the trek holding on to it. It has to be comfortable and ergonomically designed. The most common materials for making the best trekking poles handles are cork, rubber, and foam.
Cork is a good material since it does not absorb water and shapes into your grip with time. It is durable and smooth enough to prevent your hands from chaffing.
On the other hand, rubber works well with mountain climbers because of the insulating features that make it suitable for cold weather. It wears out quickly and can cause skin chaffing when used continuously in hot weather.
Some people find foam the ideal material for the handle because it is the lightest and has a moisture-wicking ability. However, it may not be suitable for long-distance treks because it is not durable.
Besides the handle's material, other factors that might affect grip include the diameter and straps. It would help if you held the pole to ensure it fits nicely around your palm before starting the journey. A bigger handle will strain you and probably cause soreness on your hands.
Straps are essential because they allow you to relax the grip on the trekking pole when you are not relying on its support.
While thousands of trekking poles are in the market, here are the five best suggestions you can consider choosing from.
BAFX Products Trekking Poles
This is an extremely highly rated trekking pole that is ideal for both experienced hikers and beginners. Because of its high adjustability, it can be used by adults and kids on any trail.
These trekking poles are the best because they come with mud discs that can be used on muddy ground and snow. They can also double up as ski poles.
Trekology Trek-Z Collapsible Hiking and Trekking Poles
The Trek-Z trekking poles are the best and so stable that they allow you to take more steps. The hand grip is made from cork which is non-slippery and absorbs the sweat from your palms. It comes with mud stops and baskets making it the best product for all-season hikers.
Being an all-weather trekking pole, it comes with different tips that can be replaced on a need basis. The snow basket tip for snow, rubber feet for when you are on a flat road, the noise-reducing rubber tip, a mud stop, and carbide tip for use in gravel, ice, or packed dirt.
Hike Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
This great trekking pole is built to last you a lifetime. The super lightweight pole is a favorite among backpackers because it allows you to go long distances without feeling the weight. The ergonomic handle made from cork offers the best grip and protects your palms from chaffing.
These trekking poles are generic to short and tall people because they can be adjusted to the shortest height of 24" and the longest of 55". They are adaptable to different environments ranging from the track in the neighborhood to the longest trek on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Foxelli Carbon Fiber trekking poles are manufactured from 100% carbon fiber, which is super light. Carbon fiber is also known to absorb shock waves, making it ideal for long treks on rugged, rocky, or snow-filled ground.
They collapse easily, thanks to the easy-to-grasp quick lock technology that ensures the pole remains at the required height unless you adjust it.
Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminium Trekking Poles
This is the trekking pole that offers unmatched quality and comfort. It is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, which is strong enough to withstand extreme heat, frigid cold, and heavy loads.
This pole was manufactured with rugged terrain in mind. The natural feeling cork grip absorbs the vibration from the rugged terrain, increasing comfort and stability as you trek. When you are not using it, you can safely store the pole in the travel bag included with the purchase.
The best trekking poles of 2023 should be useful across all seasons because you never want to buy a pole for every season you go hiking. It should also be durable, among other qualities that will make your adventure more fun and keep you safe from injuries caused by falling and chaffing palms.
Among all these best options, we highly recommend Trekology Trek-Z Collapsible Hiking and Trekking Pole, primarily because of its durability and the fact that it can be used on any terrain without breaking.
The Ergonomic design is the most outstanding feature because it helps keep your body in good shape even when going for a long trek. Poorly designed trekking poles are responsible for backaches, shoulder pains, and knee problems that some hikers suffer after several hikes.