12 Best Ultralight Trekking Poles

A guide to the best ultralight trekking poles (hiking poles) and important features to consider for thru-hiking in 2022.

Updated on May 30th, 2022

Trekking poles are walking sticks you hold in your hands to provide extra support while hiking over varied terrain. The best trekking poles will be lightweight, strong, have comfortable grips, and collapse to a small enough length to make storing them in your pack easy while also being long enough for your needs. Unlike walking sticks or a hiking staff, trekking poles are adjustable in length.

We’ve tested many trekking poles over the years. In this article, we’ll tell everything we’ve learned over those years about hiking and backpacking with trekking poles such as how to use trekking poles, how to attach them to a backpack, and more. But first, we’ll show you some of the best trekking poles available.

hikers using trekking poles
Brand & Model Weight Collapsed Length Lock Type Shaft Grip Price
LEKI Legacy Lite Cor-Tec AS Trekking Poles 17.2 oz 27 in Flip Lock Telescoping Aluminum Cork $100
LEKI Makalu FX Carbon Trekking Poles 17.9 oz 16 in Slide Lock Folding Carbon Foam $220
GOSSAMER GEAR LT5 8.8 oz 23.5 in Twist Lock Telescoping Carbon Cork $195
BLACK DIAMOND Distance Carbon Z 9.6-11 oz 13-17 in Slide Lock

Fixed Length Folding

Carbon Foam $170
LOCUS GEAR CP3 10.6 oz 26 in Flip Lock Telescoping Carbon Foam $110
HELINOX Passport Tension Lock 11.6 oz 14.5 in Slide Lock Fixed Length Folding Aluminum Foam $150
KOMPERDELL Carbon C2 Ultralights 12.8 oz 42.5 in Flip Lock Telescoping Carbon Foam/ Rubber $200
MONTEM Ultralight Carbon Fiber 15.2 oz 24 in Flip Lock Telescoping Carbon Cork $80
HIKER HUNGER Carbon Fiber 15 oz 24 in Flip Lock Telescoping Carbon Cork $70
CASCADE MOUNTAIN TECH Carbon Fiber Quick Lock 16 oz 26 in Flip Lock Telescoping Carbon Cork $65
FIZAN Compact 11.2 oz 22.8 in Twist Lock Telescoping Aluminum Foam $70
ZPACKS Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles 14.4 oz 24.5 in Flip Lock Telescoping Carbon Cork/ Foam $60

Best Trekking Poles (Ultralight)

Leki Legacy Lite Cor-Tec AS Trekking Poles

Leki Legacy Lite Cor-Tec AS Trekking Poles

Weight: 17.2 ounces

Length: 40-54 inches

Collapsed Length: 27 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Flip-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Aluminum

Grip Material: Cork

Price: $100

Why we like it: This is the most affordable option from a premium trekking pole manufacturer.

The Leki Legacy Lite Cor-Tec AS Trekking Poles are an aluminum option from Leki with the same cork Leki grips that we love. During testing, we noticed these trekking poles weren’t quite as light as some other offerings from Leki, but we found them to be light enough. And, we love how the grips feel in our hands. They don’t fold down particularly small, but that’s common with telescoping poles. We thought the flip-locks felt especially solid as we adjusted the length on these, too.

AVAILABLE AT AMAZON


Leki Makalu FX Carbon Trekking Poles

Leki Makalu FX Carbon Trekking Poles

Weight: 17.9 ounces

Length: 43-51 inches

Collapsed Length: 16 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Unfold-and-Slide Lock

Type: Folding

Shaft Material: Carbon

Grip Material: Foam

Price: $220

Why we like it: These grips are the easiest to hold when going downhill.

The Leki Makalu FX Carbon Trekking Poles are some of the most durable and comfortable trekking poles we tested. We love the feel of the tacky rubberized parts of the grip. Really, we love everything about these grips–the ergonomic angle, the way they fit in our hands, and the extra foam choke-up section. The only thing we don’t love about these trekking poles is the price, but once we’re using them we forget about that higher price tag. And Leki poles are infamously durable, so that price will last you years to come.

AVAILABLE AT REI


GOSSAMER GEAR LT5

GOSSAMER GEAR LT5

Weight: 8.8 ounces

Length: 23.5-51 inches

Collapsed Length: 23.5 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Twist-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber

Grip Material: Cork

Price: $195

Why we like it: These are the lightest trekking poles we’ve ever used.

The Gossamer Gear LT5 trekking poles are light enough that we almost forgot we were holding them. While we usually aren’t the biggest fan of twist-lock trekking poles, these even make us rethink that opinion. When testing these, the twist-locks worked as they should and didn’t slip over the course of several hours of hiking. You might think these have to be flimsy since they’re so light. But, we’ve seen these trekking poles last the length of a CDT thru-hike. That’s 3,000 miles of abuse.

AVAILABLE AT GOSSAMER GEAR


BLACK DIAMOND Distance Carbon Z

BLACK DIAMOND Distance Carbon Z

Weight: 9.6-11 ounces

Length: 39-51 inches

Collapsed Length: 13-17 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Unfold-and-Slide Lock

Type: Fixed-Length Folding

Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber

Grip Material: EVA Foam

Price: $170

Why we like it: These are ultralight, ultra-simple, and fold down really small.

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z poles are among the lightest trekking poles on the market weighing approximately 10 ounces per pair.

The three sections have a cone-shaped connector that makes it lightning quick to deploy. You don't even have to fit the pieces together first, just open the pole and slide until the push-pin locks. The poles ship with a slim, three-season mud basket, but it is not interchangeable. They also are fixed-length poles which simplify the construction but also mean you can't adjust them for different terrain or use them with a trekking pole shelter.

AVAILABLE AT BLACK DIAMOND


LOCUS GEAR CP3

LOCUS GEAR CP3

Weight: 10.6 ounces

Length: 26-53 inches

Collapsed Length: 26 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Flip-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber

Grip Material: EVA Foam

Price: $110

Why we like it: These are the lightest flip-lock trekking poles we’ve found anywhere.

Locus Gear is a Japanese cottage manufacturer whose poles have found favor in the ultralight world due to their lower price and lightweight construction. The carbon fiber poles weigh an airy 10.6-ounces and ship with both a standard mud basket and rubber cap that fits over the carbide tip. The poles have three sections and two flip-lock mechanisms that adjust up to 135 cm. If one of the adjustable sections breaks, you can easily replace it for $15.

AVAILABLE AT LOCUS GEAR


HELINOX Passport Tension Lock

HELINOX Passport Tension Lock

Weight: 11.6 ounces

Length: 45 or 49 inches

Collapsed Length: 14.5 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Unfold-and-Slide Lock

Type: Fixed-Length Folding

Shaft Material: Aluminum

Grip Material: EVA Foam

Price: $150

Why we like it: These are ultralight folding poles that are made of aluminum, so they’re less expensive and sturdier.

The three-piece Passport poles are ultralight in weight and fold like their carbon fiber competition, but that's where the similarities end. The poles are made with the slightly stronger aluminum alloy which will bend under extreme stress and not break like carbon fiber. They are fixed-length poles and available in 115 or 125 sizes with a cinch strap on the handle to keep them folded when packed. If you need something longer, then consider the adjustable Tension Lock 130s.

AVAILABLE AT HELINOX


KOMPERDELL Carbon C2 Ultralights

KOMPERDELL Carbon C2 Ultralights

Weight: 12.8 ounces

Length: 43-55 inches

Collapsed Length: 42.5 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Flip-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber

Grip Material: Foam and Rubber

Price: $200

Why we like it: These are some of the sturdiest trekking poles we’ve ever used.

Austria-based Komperdell has been making mountaineering and skiing poles since 1922, and their experience shows. The Carbon C2 Ultralights are two-section collapsible trekking poles with an easy-to-use flip-lock for adjustment between 110-145cm. The no-frills, ultralight poles are praised for their four-season capability thanks to removable baskets and a flexible tip that'll save your pole shaft if the tip gets wedged between rocks or stuck in ice.

AVAILABLE AT REI


MONTEM Ultralight Carbon Fiber

MONTEM Ultralight Carbon Fiber

Weight: 15.2 ounces

Length: 24-53 inches

Collapsed Length: 24 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Flip-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber

Grip Material: Cork

Price: $$80

Why we like it: These are some of the least expensive carbon fiber poles available and they don’t feel cheap.

The Montem Ultra Light is a three-section telescoping pole with a flip-lock that allows the pole to extend up to 135cm. Though not the lightest pole, Montem stands out for its affordable price tag. For most terrain, these poles will perform just as well as any carbon fiber trekking pole at half the price. They are an excellent choice for hikers on a tight budget who are shopping for their first pair or a backup pair of trekking poles.

AVAILABLE AT MONTEM


HIKER HUNGER Carbon Fiber

HIKER HUNGER Carbon Fiber

Weight: 15 ounces

Length: 24-53 inches

Collapsed Length: 24 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Flip-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber

Grip Material: Cork with EVA Foam Extension

Price: $70

Why we like it: These are from a small family-owned company of hikers.

Hiker Hunger is a small outdoors company that is garnering attention thanks to its lightweight and affordable poles. The carbon fiber poles ship with hiking baskets, snow baskets, and two sets of rubber tips. An outstanding bundle for such a low price tag. The Hiker Hunger poles are very similar, if not identical, to Foxelli poles which are made by the same manufacturer. These poles are best suited for hikers who want a pair of lightweight poles that won't break the bank.

AVAILABLE AT HIKER HUNGER


CASCADE MOUNTAIN TECH Carbon Fiber Quick Lock

CASCADE MOUNTAIN TECH Carbon Fiber Quick Lock

Weight: 16 ounces

Length: 26-54 inches

Collapsed Length: 26 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Flip-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber

Grip Material: Cork

Price: $65

Why we like it: These are the least expensive carbon fiber poles available.

Weighing about a pound, the Cascade Mountain Tech poles don't qualify for ultralight status, but they are super cheap and light enough for most hikers. Found at Costco, the three-section carbon fiber poles telescope to 135cm and use flip-locks for adjustment. The poles ship with two rubber feet for the road or trail and two baskets suitable for four-season usage.

If you are looking for your first set of poles or a second pair for friends to borrow, you can’t go wrong with the Cascade Mountain Techs.

AVAILABLE AT CASCADE MOUNTAIN TECH


Fizan Compact

CASCADE MOUNTAIN TECH Carbon Fiber Quick Lock

Weight: 11.2 ounces

Length: 22.8-52 inches or 19.3-49.2 inches

Collapsed Length: 22.8 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Twist-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Aluminum

Grip Material: EVA Foam

Price: $70

Why we like it: This is one of the least inexpensive aluminum trekking pole options.

The Fizan Compact trekking poles are an ultralight, aluminum option that is very affordable. They come in two different sizes and colors, the blue 3 is slightly larger than the red 4. When testing, we were impressed by how light these felt and how comfortable the grip was in our hands. However, when going uphill we were disappointed to realize the grips don’t have a choke-up section. But at 11 ounces for two trekking poles at this price, we’ll live with a shorter grip.

AVAILABLE AT AMAZON


Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Weight: 14.4 ounces

Length: 24.5-54 inches

Collapsed Length: 24.5 inches

Folding/Locking Method: Flip-Lock

Type: Telescoping

Shaft Material: Carbon Fiber

Grip Material: EVA Foam or Cork

Price: $60

Why we like it: An ultralight and affordable option for carbon fiber that makes it easy to only buy one.

The Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are lightweight trekking poles with flip-locks to adjust the telescoping length. Zpacks gives you multiple options when buying these. We tested these with foam grips, which are slightly lighter.

There is also an option to get cork grips for an extra ounce for a set of two. And there is an option to buy these individually, but you get a discount if you buy two. Though these are very affordable, the grips on these clearly come from the same mold as many of the even less expensive trekking poles we tested for this review. Once we realized they’re all coming from the same place we started to wonder why Zpacks is charging more for these.

AVAILABLE AT ZPACKS

trekking poles

Considerations

TYPES: TELESCOPING, FOLDING, FIXED

Telescoping: These poles “telescope” to get longer or shorter. This is the most common kind of trekking pole and they are the most adjustable since there are usually two places to shorten or lengthen these. Telescoping poles are great for hikers who are going to use their trekking poles most of the day. They don’t pack down quite as short as folding poles, though. So if you don’t plan on using your trekking poles for the majority of the day, there is a more packable option.

Telescoping poles are usually the lightest type of trekking pole, too. So even though they might not pack down as small, they are going to be the lightest option for carrying around in your pack.

Adjusting the telescoping Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock

Folding: These trekking poles fold down similar to how tent poles collapse. They break down into three sections that are held together by a wire. The top section of folding trekking poles is often adjustable in length, but only the top section. Since they break down into several small sections, folding trekking poles are usually the most packable kind of pole. And, they’re often quite light since they have only one or no adjustable points.

Folding trekking poles are usually not as adjustable, so if you’re getting this kind of pole be sure the range of length will work for you as you hike and for supporting your shelter if you’re using a trekking pole tent.

hiker using trekking poles

Fixed: These trekking poles are not adjustable in length. Fixed-length poles often break down into three sections, so they’re usually also folding poles, technically. But, the fact that they’re not adjustable in length is the most relevant here. Fixed-length poles are usually the lightest because they have no extra materials. But unless you happen to use the same height trekking pole as your shelter does, you can’t use fixed-length poles with a trekking pole tent.


Gossamer Gear LT5 has a collapsed length of 23.5 inches

WEIGHT: 8-18 OUNCES

You’ll be carrying your trekking poles all day, whether they’re on your back or in your hands. So, be sure to get lightweight trekking poles. Lightweight trekking poles are between 8 and 18 ounces (about 4-9 ounces per pole). Get Carbon Fiber or Aluminum poles to save weight. Aluminum is generally a tad stronger and more flexible than carbon fiber, but it is slightly heavier.

The differences are negligible, in my opinion. Some might think the most ultralight trekking poles could lack the durability of heavier, burlier poles, and that may be the case sometimes. But, we’ve seen some really light poles last for entire thru-hikes.

hiker using trekking poles on a rocky trail

DURABILITY: CARBON FIBER VS. ALUMINUM

This might be surprising to some people, but carbon fiber trekking poles tend to be more durable than aluminum poles. Carbon fiber is considered fragile in the outdoor world, but it is really very strong. We’ve seen more bent aluminum trekking poles than we’ve seen broken carbon fiber poles. That being said, carbon is more prone to breaking from lateral impacts.

hikers with trekking poles

PRICE: WEIGHT VS. STRENGTH VS. PRICE

You can get any two of the desired ends of these spectrums in a trekking pole, but not all three. To get a strong, lightweight pole, you’re going to have to pay at least a little more.

You can get an inexpensive trekking pole that is strong and heavy. Or, you can get an inexpensive pole that’s lightweight but not very durable. Or, you can get an expensive trekking pole that is lightweight and durable.

hiker using trekking poles

LENGTH

This is how to determine how long your trekking poles should be. While holding the grip, your trekking pole should contact the ground with your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Some people prefer their trekking poles to be slightly longer or shorter than this, but this is a good place to start for figuring out how long your poles should be.

hiker walking with trekking poles

COLLAPSIBLE LENGTH (PACKED SIZE)

The collapsible length of a trekking pole determines the packed size. Telescoping trekking poles collapse to about 2 feet long. This required you to stow them on the outside of your pack.

Fortunately, most backpacking packs have ice ax loops that can also be used to store trekking poles. Folding trekking poles usually fold up to just over a foot long. If you want to be able to quickly stash a trekking pole, we recommend getting folding trekking poles since they pack down smaller.

hiker holding collapsed trekking poles

LOCKING METHODS AND MECHANISMS

Trekking poles use a variety of methods to adjust and lock that length in place:

Unfold-and-Slide Lock: These are typically less flexible in length and potentially more fragile, but they don’t collapse inside themselves unexpectedly. This type of locking method is common on folding trekking poles. It uses an internal cord to hold the sections of the trekking pole together and a push-button lock to keep it secure just like tent poles. To set up these poles, line the sections up and slide in one pole into another to put tension on the internal cable and lock all the pieces into place.

helinox passport
Helinox Passport Tension Lock has an unfold-and-slide locking method

Flip-Lock: Flip-locks are easy to use and generally last longer than twist-locks. However, the flip lever can break if you tighten the tension nut too much and press too hard on that lever. A flip-lock, or external lever lock, operates like a quick-release lever on a bike. You flip the lever open to adjust the trekking pole length and flip it closed to secure it in place.

hiker hunger carbon fiber
Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber is a flip-lock trekking pole

Twist-Lock: With a twist-lock, you twist individual pole sections in opposite directions until an expanding mechanism locks the two sections in place. Though easy to use and cheap to manufacture, this locking mechanism has a tendency to loosen over time and collapse when you least expect it. If you over-tighten the lock, then you risk not being able to loosen the poles, forcing you to hike with fully extended poles.

gossamer gear lt5
Gossamer Gear LT5 is a twist-lock trekking pole

SHAFT MATERIALS

As mentioned above, most trekking poles are made of either carbon fiber or aluminum. Both of these materials work very well for trekking poles. Carbon fiber will absorb shock better and be slightly lighter. Aluminum is slightly more resistant to lateral impact and is generally less expensive. But, aluminum bends and carbon doesn’t. This debate can go on forever–we recommend getting a well-made trekking pole that suits your needs.

grip of trekking pole

GRIPS: 

Make sure they feel comfortable in your hand.

  • Cork: Cork grips are the most popular grips found on trekking poles. It molds to the shape of your hand and has a comfortable, ‘natural’ feel. It's the middleweight option of the three types of grip and is not often found on ultralight poles.
  • EVA Foam: Foam is the lightest material used in grips and feels comfortable in your hand. It absorbs rain, sweat, and dirt. So, it can get spongy when wet but dries quickly. Foam is less durable than cork or rubber as well.
  • Rubber: Rubber is the heaviest on the list but is well-liked by hikers. Unlike foam, it does not absorb water or any oil from your hands. It also provides some insulation for your hands, which makes it better for winter sports like snowshoeing or skiing.

trekking poles

Some trekking pole handles have other useful features like an ergonomic shape and choke-up extensions.

Ergonomic grips are nice because they let your wrists stay at a more comfortable angle while using your poles. Some people prefer a standard, non-ergonomic grip, though. This ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Other poles come with choke-up extensions, which are great for hiking uphill. They let you move your hands down below the main grip area and still have something to grip other than a skinny trekking pole shaft.

using trekking poles

POLE TIPS:

All poles have metal carbide or steel tips about twice the size of the lead tip of a pencil. The sharp point is helpful to grip small contours of a rock or stab into a slick surface. Most metal tips last about 2,000 miles before needing to be replaced.

Some poles provide mini rubber tips that are used to protect sensitive alpine areas or gear when the poles are stowed inside a pack. Multi-use poles may include angled, shoe-like rubber tips that are useful on the pavement.

hiker holding trekking poles

GENDER-SPECIFIC TREKKING POLES

While there are gender-specific trekking poles, the only difference between a “women’s” trekking pole and a “men’s” trekking pole is that women’s poles tend to be slightly shorter. Get a trekking pole that is the right length for you. Don’t worry about the gender that manufacturers intended their poles to be used by.

hiker using trekking poles

OTHER FEATURES:

  • Wrist Straps: If you slide your hand under the wrist strap and then grab the grip around the strap, it will keep you from needing to grip your trekking poles as tightly. Plenty of people remove the wrist straps on trekking poles because they don’t use them.
  • Baskets: Baskets keep your poles from sinking into snow as far. They’re useful for winter activities and early-season alpine hiking, like in the Sierras on the PCT. The wider the basket, the more they prevent you from stabbing into the ground. Big baskets are great in the snow, but not necessarily helpful in the warmer weather. They naturally make a pole a bit clunkier and heavier and may tangled in trailside vegetation as you walk.
  • Shock-Absorption: Shock absorbers keep some of the impacts from hitting the ground repeatedly with your poles from traveling up to your hands. Some people like that extra flex, while others feel the additional inch or two of movement from the spring makes them feel unstable.
  • Camera Mount: Some trekking poles have a top handle that unthreads and allows you to thread your camera’s tripod mount on it.
  • Trekking Pole Tents: Many ultralight tents require trekking poles to set up. They save weight since you don’t need to carry tent poles.
hiker hunger carbon fiber
Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber

TREKKING POLE ANATOMY

anatomy

CONSTRUCTION: A trekking pole can be one "fixed" piece or break up into two-piece, or three-piece sections for packability. 

LOCKING MECHANISM: To ‘lock’ the sections of the pole in place after adjusting length: a twist lock, a flip-lock, or an unfold-and-slide lock.

  • Twist Lock: A twist-lock requires you to twist the individual pole sections in opposing directions until they are firmly locked.
  • Flip Lock: A flip-lock is like a small clip that folds over. You flip it open to unlock, adjust the length, and then flip it back closed to lock it again.
  • Unfold-and-Slide Lock: An unfold-and-slide lock uses an internal cord to hold the sections of the trekking pole together and a push-button lock to keep it secure (like tent poles). To set up these poles, line the sections up and slide in one pole into another to put tension on the internal cable and lock all the pieces into place.
climbing using trekking poles

SHOCK ABSORBERS: Just like a car, it is a spring-loaded cushion located at the joints of the pole sections. These soften the impact you place on your poles, and subsequently your arms, as you hike.

GRIPS: Grips are your connection to your pole over the long miles of your hike. There are three main types of grips: cork, EVA foam, and rubber.

using trekking poles on a rocky surface

POLE TIPS: This is the endpoint of your trekking pole that actually makes contact with the ground. All poles have metal or steel tips. Some have additional rubber tips.

BASKETS: These are plastic circles fixed about 4 inches above the pole tip. Most metal tips last about 2,000 miles before needing to be replaced. They help prevent your pole from jabbing too deep into soft ground or snow.

cascade mountain tech
Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock includes 2 baskets suitable for all seasons.

HOW TO USE TREKKING POLES

How to Hold Trekking Poles?

The right way to hold trekking poles is with your hand through the grip in a way that supports the wrist and doesn’t require you to grip the handle too tightly. Put your hands through the straps and then grab the grip. You want your wrists to rest in the straps. 

how to hold trekking poles

How to Adjust Trekking Poles?

Adjust the trekking poles when you have your hands on the grip so that your arm has a 90-degree bend when the trekking pole tip is just touching the ground. 

Now, get hiking! As you step with your left foot, place the tip of the pole in your right hand on the ground and push off slightly. Now do the same with the right foot and left hand. 

Repeat this as you keep hiking.

hikers using trekking poles

Trekking Poles Advantages

1. Weight Distribution: Poles help to distribute your body and pack weight off your knees and onto your arms. When you first start using poles, your arms might be sore for the first few days.

trekking pole/s

2. Balance: No more looking like you are walking a tightrope. Poles help prevent you from falling at slippery river crossings, log bridges, rocks, steep downhills, muddy patches, etc.

hikers with trekking poles

3. Rhythm: There is something about having all four limbs working in tandem on the hike. Poles help with that flow.

hiker using gossamer gear lt5

4. Spider Webs: First on the trail in the morning? You will take lots of webs to the face. Use the trekking poles to do the blocking for you.

official jabber

5. Official Jabber: If you see a muddy patch in front and you are not sure how deep it is, jab the poles to see if you can step in it or need to step along the side.

helinox in backpack

6. Save Gear Weight (maybe): You can trim ounces by using trekking poles instead of tent poles on some ultralight non-freestanding tent shelters.

trekking poles

7. Protection: A trekking pole will help act as a barrier in the rare occasion you accidentally get too close to any grouse, snakes, or any aggressive wildlife really. (Related: Snake Bite Kits: Do They Really Work?)

One of my most ‘vicious’ wildlife attacks happened in Maine. I heard a loud rumble in the bushes next to me. I was convinced it was either a silverback gorilla mating call or a massive black bear that was hidden three feet away under some flowers. I was terrified and confused. A small chicken-like bird then flew out from the brush and head-butted my shin. My trekking pole helped whack it away. It was a very territorial grouse. Grouses make bizarrely deep rumbles on the ground with their feathers (wtf, I know). - Chris (Founder, Greenbelly)

hiker using trekking poles on a rocky surface

DIY Options

diy

When it comes to trekking poles, you don't have to shell out $200 for the latest technology.

You can be creative and make your own. Many people use old graphite golf clubs as the shaft and add grips (bicycle or fishing pole) and replacement tips to round out the pole.

Others use bamboo, a broom handle, or a hiking stick as the shaft and add the grip and tip of their choosing. If you fancy a pair of collapsible poles for travel or storing on a pack, you can even hack together a couple of those, too.

what are trekking poles for

FAQs

What are trekking poles for?

Trekking poles are used to support you while hiking by helping you maintain balance and relieve stress on your joints.

trekking poles in backpack

How to attach trekking poles to a backpack?

To attach trekking poles to a backpack, collapse the trekking pole down to its smallest possible size then loop the tip through the trekking pole/ice ax loop. Secure the top with a strap or a piece of shock cord to hold it in place.

📷 Some of the photos in this post were taken by Dana Felthauser
(@danafelthauser

Sam Schild photo

About Sam Schild

By Sam Schild (aka “Sia,” pronounced sigh): Sam is a writer, thru-hiker, and bikepacker. You can find him in Denver when he’s not out exploring in the mountains somewhere..

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

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