13
YEARS TESTING
300+
ITEMS TESTED
4
GEAR TESTERS
2.5
MILLION READERS

Quick heads-up: some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). This small bit of income helps keep our site running.

Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Maya Rivera

Written by Maya Rivera

From Utah canyons to Thailand cliffs, Maya is a rock climbing aficionado who enjoys a bit of camping and hiking in the off-season.

This post was last updated on March 04, 2024.

Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Every avid trekker knows that a good pair of trekking poles are a must-have for any serious hike. They enhance your stability, allow for better balance, and reduce the workload on your knees. But all trekking poles are not created equal! There are a multitude of factors to consider such as durability, weight, packability, and more, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task of finding the right fit. And that's where we come in. We have evaluated the top picks keeping these factors in mind.

The clear winner in our book is the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork. From durability to tip traction, it leads the way. As savvy outdoor enthusiasts, we know that the real-life performance of a product matters more than the number of features it boasts. That’s why we've concentrated on how these poles perform in the wild, rather than how many boxes they tick off in a spec sheet.

However, one size needs not fit all! Depending on planned activities, personal budget, or desired lightweight gear, you might be drawn to other options. Worry not, we have runners-up and other category-specific choices too. Also, consider checking out our top picks for Best Hiking Boots for Men, Best Hiking Boots for Women and Best Hiking Socks for Women to fully equip yourself for the next trail conquer. We've got your back every step of the way!

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

8.4 /10
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork
Adjustability
9
Build Quality
9
Locking System
10
Packed Size
7
Weight
7

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork snagged the top spot because of their excellent build quality and our favorite locking mechanism on the market right now. They lose some points due to their weight however. If you want ultralight, these are probably not the right poles for you.

Runner Up #1

8.2 /10
MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon Trekking Poles
MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon
Adjustability
7
Build Quality
9
Locking System
8
Packed Size
10
Weight
7

The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon get a runner up spot because of their comfort, solid build quality and that they pack up very small. But they're not the lightest option out there.

Runner Up #2

7.8 /10
Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ Trekking Poles
Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ
Adjustability
5
Build Quality
8
Locking System
8
Packed Size
9
Weight
9

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ earns its top pick status because of its ultralight and compact design that packs down very small. They're not quite as durable as the competition though, and they lose some points for having only a small amount of adjustability, though as long as you buy the right size this shouldn't be an issue.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Weight

The weight of shoes matter a lot, because you're swinging them around all day on the trail. The same logic applies to trekking poles. Look for trekking poles that are lightweight. Even a small difference in weight will add up when you swing them ten thousand times on a hike.

Comfort

Look for trekking poles that have comfortable, preferably ergonomic handles (cork, foam, rubber) to help avoid blisters and discomfort. We like cork in particular.

Durability

Trekking poles often get a lot of abuse, and they will break over time, so look for poles that are made to last, especially if you're someone who is hard on gear. Carbon fiber is great, but can be brittle. However, some carbon fiber shafts are thicker than others. Aluminum is a good, durable choice, but often a bit heavier (and less expensive).

Size and Adjustability

Size and adjustability often go hand in hand. It's good to have poles that can be adjusted. You may want to make them shorter or longer for uphill, downhill and side-hilling. At the same time, you will probably want poles that pack down small and can fit easily in or on your bag when you're not using them.

8.4 /10

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork

$199.95
The Best Trekking Poles

Based on our research and testing, we think the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork are the best Trekking Poles on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Adjustability
9
Build Quality
9
Locking System
10
Packed Size
7
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Superb durability and build quality
  • Good for 4 seasons
  • Our favorite locking mechanism of any poles

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not the lightest option on the market
  • Don't pack down super small

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork is a firm favorite amongst many outdoor enthusiasts and trekking fans. This highly rated trekking pole stands out for its combination of strength, comfort, and versatility.

One of the major attractions of this trekking pole is its carbon construction, a feature that makes it lightweight yet remarkably sturdy. Whether you're climbing steep, rocky terrain or navigating gentle slopes, this trekking pole provides the support you need while barely adding to your pack weight.

What makes the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork so comfortable? It's the cork grip. According to buyers, it's not just comfortable but they say it also has an excellent grasp, which can improve your trekking experience by enhancing your stability and control. The grip is anatomically designed to reduce hand fatigue, a fantastic feature for those long haul hikes.

Moreover, they appreciate its three-section collapsibility which easily fits in most backpacks, making it ideal for hikers who appreciate portability. The fact that it comes with both rubber and carbide tips means it can adapt to different types of terrain, highlighting its versatility factor.

Some users expressed concern over the durability of the clips that adjust the trekking pole's length. A smaller number of buyers encountered issues with the locking mechanism failing after extensive use. While this was certainly a drawback for some, most users did not encounter this issue and spoke highly of their durability over time.

In terms of value for money, many users deemed the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork to be an excellent investment. It may sit on the higher end of the price spectrum for trekking poles, but its host of beneficial features and notable performance certainly seemed to justify the cost for most purchasers.

8.2 /10

MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon

$189.95
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon are a great choice if you're looking for trekking poles to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon Trekking Poles
Adjustability
7
Build Quality
9
Locking System
8
Packed Size
10
Weight
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Packs very small
  • Very good locking system
  • Foam grips are comfortable

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not quite as durable as other options

When it comes to keeping your footing on tricky terrain, trekking poles can be a talented hiker's best friend. The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon has earned its reputation as one of the go-to options in the market for those serious about their outdoor adventures.

Crafted from lightweight carbon fiber, the DynaLock Ascent is no lightweight when it comes to reliability and toughness. This pole doesn't compromise an iota of strength for the sake of shedding weight. A standout feature, the DynaLock, for which this little gem is named, offers a hassle-free adjustment system that is both secure and easy to modify, even when wearing gloves - a true lifesaver in frosty, precarious conditions.

Buyers often rave about the comfortable non-slip grip, a crucial detail that many poles overlook. This grip fits comfortably in hand and does a bang-up job of reducing fatigue during long treks.

In terms of versatility, these poles really rack up the brownie points. They break down into three sections for easy packing and come with snow and summer baskets, making the transition from mountaineering to simple summer hikes as smooth as a well-worn trail.

There are, however, a few hiccups that some users have reported. A handful of customers have mentioned that the poles may sometimes unexpectedly collapse during use. This could potentially lead to an annoying, if not dangerous, surprise on the trails. That said, these cases seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

Additionally, limited size options might be a peeve for some taller or shorter hikers. But most found the available sizes satisfactory and easy to adapt to their needs.

Lastly, the MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon poles are not the cheapest on the market, and some may balk at the price tag. But remember, high-quality, durable gear is an investment. The enthusiastic online reviews suggest that these poles are worth every penny for the convenience, durability, and peace of mind they bring to the trails.

7.8 /10

Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ

$209.95
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ are a great choice if you're looking for trekking poles to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ Trekking Poles
Adjustability
5
Build Quality
8
Locking System
8
Packed Size
9
Weight
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Super lightweight
  • They pack very small

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not the most strong or durable
  • Minimal adjustability (but they come in 3 sizes)

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ is a beast of a trekking pole. Made from carbon fiber, it's incredibly light but immensely strong at the same time. Don't let its weight fool you into thinking it cannot endure the rigors of a long expedition. It can and it does.

Its main appeal lies in its compact design and packability. The FLZ collapses down to an impressive, travel-friendly size, making it easy to stow in your backpack when not in use. Despite its collapsible design, transitioning from stowed to active use is straightforward with the Speed Cone Deployment system. Takes only a few seconds, and you're good to go!

The adjustable length is another highlight. It provides the flexibility you need to adjust the pole to your height or the terrain you are hiking or climbing. The SlideLock technology incorporated in this model ensures that once adjusted, the pole stays in place, eliminating any worry about it unexpectedly collapsing.

The grip is made of what's known as EVA foam. It's soft to hold but provides a firm grip, even for sweaty hands. It does seem quite durable, showing little to no signs of wear after multiple uses. However, some users have reported it to be less comfortable on longer treks.

The equipping of an interchangeable, non-scarring rubber tech tip deserves a mention. It provides excellent traction on various surfaces, from slick rocks to muddy trails. Lets you walk with confidence, regardless of the weather conditions.

As for durability, for the most part, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ has been praised for holding up well to regular usage. Some users did note that when it was heavily put to the test - think scrambling up steep, rugged terrains - the carbon fiber shaft dealt with a few cracks.

On the downside, this pole isn't the cheapest option out there. But for the lightweight design, packability, and adjustability it provides, many users feel the price tag is justified.

In a nutshell, while it's not entirely without a few minor downsides, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ has a lot going for it and has garnered many fans in the outdoor community. It's worth considering if your hiking or backpacking adventures demand a reliable, versatile, and lightweight trekking pole.

Black Diamond Trail Sport 3

Best Budget Trekking Poles

Based on our research and testing, we think the Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 are a great pick if you're looking for trekking poles that are more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 Trekking Poles

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable and sturdy
  • Comfortable foam grip
  • Easy to adjust

Reasons to Avoid

  • No true shock absorption system
  • Grip material may wear down with extended use

Black Diamond does an outstanding job with their Trail Sport 3 trekking poles. The champions of durability and practical functionality, these babies are crafted to endure the most grueling off-road adventures without burning a hole in your wallet.

These poles are derived with a three-section design which means they're a snap to adjust and resize. Whether you're scratching the 6-foot mark or you're pocket-sized, you'll likely find a comfortable fit with the Trail Sport 3. Plus, with their efficient and secure FlickLocks, there's no fear of unexpected collapse or readjustments.

On the comfort front, the Trail Sport 3 ticks all the right boxes. The rubber grips are gently contoured to optimally mold to your hands, reducing any chances of blistering on those more demanding, super sweaty hikes. Plus, the lower foam extensions ensure you can effortlessly switch grip positions during slope transitions.

The standout feature, however, is their rugged construction. Made from sturdy aluminium, the Trail Sport 3 can take a beating - from bashing against rocks to supporting your weight in rugged terrain - they’ll come out the other end barely scathed.

Another noteworthy aspect is their versatility in diverse weather conditions. Yes, the rubber tips hold up well on dry, rocky terrains but it's when the weather turns; that's when the Trail Sport 3 really shines. With the replaceable carbide tips, these poles promise you a steadfast trek - be it rain, snow or slush.

The feedback from customers is overwhelming. Users extoll the pole’s durability and reliability. Many users are pleased with their ability to withstand rough trails. Some shorter users also expressed appreciation for their wide range of adjustability. The comfort-focused design, especially the rubber handgrips, came in for much praise. Many users reported their hands stayed blister-free even after day-long hikes.

On the flip side, though, a few users reported that the poles could be a little heavy for super long-distance hikes or for more elderly trekkers. Some also raised concerns about the rubber tips wearing off a bit more quickly than they had expected.

In short, the Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 is no roped-off VIP, but rather a reliable, rugged workhorse that promises solid performance in all terrains and weather conditions. For hikers on a budget, they're an incredibly wise bet, adding value with every sturdy step you take.

No prices found. Check back later!

Gossamer Gear LT5

$195.00
Best Ultralight Trekking Poles

Based on our research and testing, we think the Gossamer Gear LT5 are a solid choice for those looking for a lightweight trekking poles option to go play hard outside with.

Gossamer Gear LT5 Trekking Poles

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent Durability for an ultralight model
  • Solid and comfortable grip
  • Easy to adjust and secure locking system
  • Great shock absorption for smoother trekking experience
  • High value for its price

Reasons to Avoid

  • Might be too lightweight for extremely heavy backpacking
  • Grip might not be comfortable for all hand sizes
  • Locking mechanism may need frequent adjusting on rough terrain

The Gossamer Gear LT5 Trekking Poles are a gem in the ultralight category because they're lightweight yet sturdy, ticking major boxes for seasoned hikers and backpackers. These poles, crafted from carbon fiber, weigh in at a barely-there 10 ounces per pair. This makes them perfect for the long haul, when even the slightest weight can make a big difference.

Effectiveness isn't sacrificed for weight in these poles. They're tough and sturdy, and users reported that they hold up well on rough terrains and steep descents, providing reliable stability when things get tough. The LT5s' maximum length is surprisingly long for such light poles, giving some versatility in use.

The three-section design ensures the LT5s are compact when packed away, a necessary feature for the backpackers, thru-hikers, or climbers who need to preserve as much space as they can in their packs. Buyers have also appreciated how easy they are to adjust, with their simple twist lock system that's secure when tightened, but easy to loosen when needed.

Equipped with comfortable EVA foam grips, the LT5s make for an easy hold even in wet conditions. Some users have mentioned that the handle could be more ergonomic, but overall, they have been well-received in terms of comfort.

There is one shortfall that buyers often discuss – the LT5s' price point. The cost is on the higher end of the spectrum, which can be daunting to some. However, most buyers reaffirmed the adage, 'you get what you pay for,' feeling that their durability, functionality, and feather-light weight justified these poles' cost.

Black Diamond Traverse

Best Trekking Poles for Backcountry Skiing

Based on our research and testing, we think the Black Diamond Traverse are a solid choice if you want trekking poles that's really well suited to Backcountry Skiing.

Black Diamond Traverse Trekking Poles

Reasons to Buy

  • Made with durable aluminum
  • Comfortable grips
  • Great for backcountry skiing
  • Highly adjustable

Reasons to Avoid

  • May be overkill for casual hikers
  • Some find the locking mechanism difficult to use

The Black Diamond Traverse trekking poles have carved quite a niche in the market, getting lots of love and appreciation from backcountry skiers all over the globe. Their sturdy build ensures that these poles are reliable companions on the trail, even in demanding conditions.

These poles are crafted from sturdy yet lightweight aluminum, so they don't weigh you down during a long trek. Moreover, they have a maximum length of 140cm, providing a decent reach. An advantage is the flick-lock which adds up on feasibility, allowing you to adjust length quickly when you move from even to uneven grounds.

What sets the Black Diamond Traverse apart from its peers is its excellent grip. The ergonomic, non-slip foam grip extension allows skiers to handle the pole confidently and securely, even in damp or cold weather. It also has padded straps, which offer comfort for long hours on the trail.

In terms of versatility, these poles serve more than just a skiing partner. They can be safely used for summer treks or even trail running, making it a durable and versatile addition to trekking gear collection.

However, some users have left reviews talking about the limitations of the Black Diamond Traverse. The most common issue is related to the pole's durability. While the aluminum makes the poles light-weight, some users have mentioned that they can bend or break under high stress. Some reviewers also found the adjustability limited compared to other poles on the market.

Another minor gripe that users have pointed out is the absence of shock-absorbent features. It's noted that in rough terrains, the impact can be directly felt on arms, which can be a bit harsh on the wrists and hands.

On the whole, the user feedback for the Black Diamond Traverse is quite positive. Users love the stability, lightweight, and the superior grip. However, if you are into intense skiing or plan to cover very rough terrains, you may want to consider the durability issue some users have reported.

No prices found. Check back later!

Related Posts

Best Women's Hiking Boots

Best Women's Hiking Boots

Footwear

If you're a woman with a passion for the great outdoors, you know that a great hike starts with the right pair of boots. That's why we've put in the hard yards to research and throw light on the...

Best Backpacking Backpack

Best Backpacking Backpack

Hike & Camp

Welcome fellow adventure enthusiasts, to our take on the 'Best Backpacking Backpacks'. If you're one to heed the call of the wilderness, a durable, comfortable and aptly-sized backpack is not just...

Best Women's Backpacking Backpack

Best Women's Backpacking Backpack

Hike & Camp

Ladies, let's break the stereotypical 'I'm just coming for the marshmallows' camping image and gear up for some serious backpacking adventures. Don't you just love splitting away from the mundane...

Best Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots

Footwear

Introducing Salomon Quest 4 GTX, the golden standard for hiking boots. When it comes to the best balance of comfort and performance, these bad boys are in a league of their own. We've tested boots...

Best Hiking Energy Bar

Best Hiking Energy Bar

Hike & Camp

Welcome, fellow adventurers! We all know that while out on the trail, keeping energy levels up is just as vital as a sturdy pair of hiking boots or a top-notch tent. And let's be honest, we've all...

Best Women's Hiking Socks

Best Women's Hiking Socks

Footwear

Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a greenhorn just starting out, you'll quickly realise that a pair of reliable hiking socks make a world of difference on the trail. They are your ultimate defense...