7 best trekking poles for long treks

best trekking poles

A trekking pole is one of the essential items that the trekker or hiker should carry with the wearables. Serious hikers have known the benefits of using the best trekking poles in a long trek. Apart from providing stability while hauling a heavy load or moving over technical terrain, the best trekking poles have distinct advantages, even on easy trails. They’re great for setting a rhythm and significantly reduce load and impact on hips, knees, and ankles when going downhill. As with most hiking and backpacking gear, balancing weight and durability is the most common consideration. Recent design breakthroughs, like the folding trekking pole, have pushed some models’ total weight to well under a pound, but these streamlined options are not for everybody. Below are our top 7 best trekking poles of 2021, which can cover the gamut from ultralight models to sturdy designs for high-mountain adventures.

1- Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork ($130) – one of the best trekking poles

Weight per pair: 1 lb. 2 oz.
Type: Telescoping (lever lock)
Shaft material: Aluminum
Grip: Cork
What experts like:- Solid construction, comfortable feel, and reasonable price.
What experts don’t: A little heavy and long collapsed length.

The carbon fiber and folding designs that get all the trekking pole market attention are impressive innovations. Still, the experts recommend the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork for hikers that just want a pair of trustworthy sticks at a reasonable price. At $130, they’re a solid value and come with very few compromises. The all-aluminum construction is only an ounce heavier than the premium Leki Micro Vario below but is still plenty sturdy for most dirt, rock, and snow travel. The Trail also has Black Diamond’s comfortable, ergonomically shaped cork grips and reliable FlickLock length adjusters.

What are the downsides of the Trail Ergo? For travelers, climbers, or those that prioritize collapsibility, the 27-inch minimum length may be an issue. It shouldn’t get in the way when strapped to the outside of a pack, but it is a couple of inches longer than many other three-section designs (and it can’t come close to an actual collapsible pole). As downsides go, that’s pretty insignificant for most folks, and the Trail Ergo Cork stands out as one of the best trekking poles.

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best trekking poles

2- REI Co-op Trailbreak ($60)

Weight per pair: 1 lb. 1 oz.
Type: Telescoping (lever lock)
Shaft material: Aluminum
Grip: Rubber
What experts like:- Cheap yet functional.
What experts don’t: No-frills design isn’t ideal for serious hikers or challenging terrain.

REI Co-op’s Trailbreak line targets the market’s budget end and includes everything from sleeping pads and bags to backpacks. The Trailbreak trekking pole is the brand’s cheapest offering and has nearly all the features that beginning and occasional hikers need. You get an aluminum build, a telescoping design with lever locks, and a rubber grip. Nothing is premium here—no carbon, no cork grip, no padded wrist strap, and the locks are about as minimal as they come. Besides, the Trailbreak is only made in one size, although it is adjustable from 41 to 55 inches. But at $60, it’s tough to beat the low price.

3- Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z ($170):

one of the best trekking poles

Weight per pair: 10 oz.
Type: Folding
Shaft material: Carbon
Grip: Foam
What experts like:- Incredibly lightweight and fold down small.
What experts don’t: Pricey and carbon are more brittle than aluminum.

At around 10 ounces per pair, the Distance Carbon Z is Black Diamond’s lightest trekking pole and great for minimalists and thru-hikers, depending on the size. We love the Z-Pole technology: a sleeve on the top portion moves down from the grip, the sections slide together and connect, and a small button pops everything into place. From compact to deployed is a two-second affair, and when collapsed, the poles are about 10 inches shorter than most telescoping designs. That can make a substantial difference for everyone, from travelers and hikers wanting to store them in their bag to ultra-distance runners that carry their poles for extended stretches.

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best trekking poles

4- Leki Micro Vario Carbon ($200)

Weight per pair: 1 lb. 0.9 oz.
Type: Folding (lever lock)
Shaft material: Carbon
Grip: Foam
What the experts like: Well-rounded lightweight and packable design.
What they don’t: Very pricey.

Leki’s Micro Vario Carbon poles are a no-compromise option for the lightweight crowd. Also, weighing just over 1 pound for the pair, they manage to squeeze a full set of high-quality features into their compact and foldable construction. Unlike many competitors, you get nearly 8 inches of adjustment with a Leki’s SpeedLock 2 system, and we’ve found the poles to be among the most user-friendly for both folding down and setting up.

On the trail, the Micro Vario’s weight savings is noticeable, particularly over a long day. So, you do sacrifice a little in terms of durability. Still, the carbon shafts have been sturdy enough for crossing glaciers, leaning on during steep descents, and as the structure of a trekking pole-supported shelter.

5- Gossamer Gear LT5 ($195)

Weight per pair: 10.6 oz.
Type: Telescoping (twist lock)
Shaft material: Carbon
Grip: Foam
Pros: Incredibly lightweight, well-made.
Cons: Not too durable; expensive.

Taking the telescoping lightweight crown is the thru-hike-ready Gossamer Gear LT5. These carbon fiber sticks are listed at a meager 10.6 ounces for the pair (you can save even more weight by ditching the straps), which keeps arm fatigue to an absolute minimum. Furthermore, combine the feathery weight with a simple, reliable build and comfy foam grips, and you get the ideal and best trekking poles for long adventures where every ounce matters. They’re also adjustable, although the twist-lock system isn’t our favorite.

best trekking poles

6- MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon ($150):

one of the best trekking poles

Weight per pair: 1 lb.
Type: Folding (lever lock)
Shaft material: Carbon
Grip: Foam
What experts like: Tough and 4-season-ready yet lightweight.
What they don’t: Overkill for summer use and not the most comfortable grips.

7- Leki Micro Vario Cor-Tec TA ($140)

Weight per pair: 1 lb. 4.3 oz.
Type: Folding (lever lock)
Shaft material: Aluminum
Grip: Cork/Rubber
What experts like: Collapsible to 15.5 inches.
What they don’t: Heavy for a folding model.

Therefore, based on the features, these are the 7 best trekking poles of the year.

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