Best Trekking Poles 2016-17 Review & Buying Guide

Best Trekking Poles: A common trekking accessory, the trekking pole has come a long way since people first started using it. Considered as a descendant of the walking stick, the hiking poles have become an essential hiking gear these days. As you already know that hiking poles also called walking poles and trekking poles, are used to balance heavy loads and dissipate the pressure from your knee thereby saving your joints from eroding. It facilitates easy hiking and saves you a lot of trouble.

  • While there are many advantages of owning the best trekking poles, the primary advantage is that it reduces stress on your body while ascending and descending or walking on flats. Today out of the several hiking poles available in the market, only a few may meet your approval.
  • Since milling through the entire lot is both hectic and time consuming, we have come up with 10 best hiking poles available for our readers to choose from. Our goal is to give you unbiased trekking pole reviews you need to choose the right kind of hiking pole for yourself.

best trekking poles

Best Trekking Poles

Why Use Trekking Pole?

Walking upright while mounting a hill takes a heavy toll on your body. You can see how much we keep stressing on the strain of the knee that’s because when it comes to hiking, although your back, hip, legs too suffer straining but it is your knees that suffer more than any other part of the body while.

  • Scientists suggest that on an eight hour route, using poles will relieve the strain on your knees by 250 tones, which, to say the least, is a lot. It’s almost equivalent to 60 elephants bearing down on you.

 Here are a couple of ways a trekking pole will help you in your trip:

  • On level ground the poles are going you give you stability, improve your body posture and allow better walking rhythm. Using the hiking pole while climbing a hill is going to make the whole thing less of an ordeal and will take off strains from your hamstrings. They’ll keep the pressure off of your knee while walking downhill.

Besides saving your body a lot of stress, the trekking pole can be useful in a couple of other ways. It can be used to check the depth of bogs, can be poked to check the strength of the land where you’ll be walking on, it could come handy when crossing a shallow stream or when fending off animals.

The best trekking poles are made of different materials. Handle tips, angle, weight and length. While some hiking poles have built-in camera, others have shock absorbers that offer excellent service. These are of course better than normal hiking poles.

There are basically four ways of using hiking poles. Those are:

  • On level ground adjust your arms to 90° angle. When walking uphill, reduce the length of the poles because that'll make sure that you are not overstretching when placing them.
  • When going downhill, you need to increase the length of the poles in order to avoid having to stretch and bend. And finally, when contouring, you should set one pole longer and use the short pole on the uphill side.

Best Trekking Poles: Perfect Buying guide

To buy yourself one of the best hiking poles you’d need to look into a couple of things like comfort, durability, size and weight, and gender. It’s advised you understand each of these criteria separately based on your individual needs and desires. Here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind before you choose the perfect pole for yourself among the best trekking poles listed below. Think of what you’d be need the pole to do, how you intent it to support you for the majority of the time and then buy accordingly.

  • Comfort The primary reason behind using hiking poles is to make your journey as comfortable as it can get. And when it comes to comfort, it depends on two key factors – one is the material it’s made of and the second one is the design of the handle. Poles with cork handles are resistant to absorbing sweat and is a personal favorite of several of our testers.  
  • Rubber is the best option for cold weather. So anyone planning to buying hiking gears for mountaineering should definitely go for rubber grips in hiking poles.
  • Foam, on the other hand, is the lightest of all but is the least durable. For those who are going to serious hiking trip, we’d recommend them to stay away from foam.
  • Durability: when judging the pole for its durability, you need to look into the construct and the material it’s made of. Most poles are made either of aluminum or carbon. While the aluminum poles are more durable the carbon ones are lighter. Based on your needs, you decide what you want to use.
  • Size and Expedition: When you plan an expedition, you would have to consider the weight you can carry. A heavy pole is the last thing you’d want to carry.  
  • It’s important to take a good look at what the material of the pole is and what is the package size. Is it convenient for you to carry?
  • By a rule of thumb you should choose the pole that packs the smallest and the lightest, and for this you have a number of options in the market as well as in our little list of best trekking poles.
  • Grip Diameter: The diameter of the grip will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as model to model. Relying on you previous experience with poles, you’d be able to best judge if you require a small or larger than average hand grip diameter. This is perhaps the biggest comfort factor and that is precisely why we made a specific point to emphasize the importance of the grip diameter.
  • Gender: Companies these days are selling products specific to genders – namely, only male and female. The primary difference between trekking poles for women and men is in length, straps, grip and a bit light on weight to make the hiking poles suitable for women

BEST TREKKING POLES OF OUR LIST


How to Maintain a Trekking Pole?

Trekking poles are life saver. They save you from falls, absorbs shocks, helps you keep balance while crossing streams or icy water bodies. The adjustable poles are a life saver and costs exactly what they are worth. It’s important that they should be taken care of properly or else you’ll have to buy a new hiking pole every other month or year. Moreover, poorly maintained pole risk becoming useless in the middle of your journey, so it’s a good idea to gave an effort towards making your trekking pole last forever. Here are few steps you must follow daily.

Expander Poles

Always follow the manufacturer’s instruction. Some of the things to must do while taking care of Expander Poles are as follow: after every wet trip, you must disassemble the poles. Leave it to dry and later don’t forget to inspect the components for wears and tears. Next, you’d need to clean the interior with a brush, or a damp rag. You’d have to attach the rag with a wire so you can push it inside the pole. Remove the remove the retainer clip and plug, and clean the central screw threads. Following this, you’d want to increase fiction for which you’d have to sand the plug’s surface using sandpaper.

Push-Button Poles

The methods to clean these poles are similar to Expander Poles. However since there’s no expander plug so that means you’ll have to use lubricants for cleaning and oiling. You must also lookout for cracks that would primarily appear around the adjustment holes.

Snap-Lock Poles

Cleaning these trekking poles are pretty same but avoid the lube on this one. You must look out for the screw and pin so as to prevent rusting or any sort of damage. If the mechanism losses up from the locked position, it needs to be replaced. Know that when slipping persists in your hiking poles, you’d need replace them with a new one. For that, we have got a list of best trekking poles of 2016-17 for you to choose from. So read our trekking pole reviews thoughly before making your final purchase.

10 Best Trekking Poles of 2016-17


1

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

Engineered by Black Diamond, the Alpine Carbon Cork Poles are one of the best hiking poles available in today’s time. There are several reason this turned out to be our Editor’s Choice. Let us see those. It’s a multipurpose, four season pole designed for all sorts of terrain. It’s an ultra light, narrow diameter aluminum shafts that reduces weight but without compromising the strength of the pole.

best hiking poles

Black Diamond is at the pinnacle of making ultra light trekking poles. They feature 3 compact carbon fiber shafts, dual FlickLock Pro adjusters and a natural cork grip. The 360 degree adjustable Nubuck wrist straps have padding and are Left and Right hand specific that adds to the comfort and convenience. Interchangeable carbide Tech Tips can easily be switched out for rubber Tech Tips that needs to be bought separately and two sets of baskets can be tailored to trail or snow activities.

  • Comfort: The poles features simple cork and small diameter handle. Our tester felt this pole ensured a more comfortable grip than the once in the rest of the list. Although its cousins Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z and the Black Diamond Distance Z that feature with premium cork grip are lighter, we’d recommend you to go with this one because the design of foam grips often change.
  • Locking Mechanism: Like we said, the pole has got the same Flicklock Design which is a signature locking design used by Black Diamond for a decade. We didn’t find any faults in the locking system nor the need if any calls for modifications. The locking mechanism seems reliable, durable and pretty easy to use. No complains here and for the number of times we tried to use it, it had never failed us.
  • Measurements and Packability: The poles weight 475 grams/ pair (1 lb. 1 oz/ pair) per pair, which makes it lighter that most standard hiking poles that comes with similar aluminum design. The poles are available in color and pearl colors. Its usable length is 63-130 cm (25"-51") and the minimum shortage length is 63 cm (25"). They are longer than most of their competitors (you would see if you scroll down and see the Measurements and Packability of other poles in the list).
  • Durability: One of the primary reason we choose Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles as our top pick is because it comes with the most durable carbon fiber. These folding poles are stronger and tougher than most of their competitors. We have had several years of experience with the pole and thanks to some of our testers personal experience of the poles in tough expeditions, we can assure you these poles are going to last for a good many years and journeys.
  • Affordability: This is among the most expensive trekking pole in our list and it’s totally worth the money. No doubt on that. If you have a budget of around $150, you should totally go for it. Or you can take a couple of less expensive ones in our list. Who Should Use it? The pole is bets for mountaineer, splitboarder, hiker, backpacker, trekker, and climbers.
2

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles feature patent-pending Control Shock Technology (CST) for progressive four-stage shock absorption and come with Dual FlickLock Pro pole locking mechanisms that allows easy adjustment in lengths, improved strength and clamping force. The adjustable 360 degree Padded Wrist Straps in the pair of poles provide added comfort. Its light-weighed, multi-use, four season pole designed for all sorts of terrain. The extensions at the top of the shaft are useful for trails with steep uphill sections.

  • Comfort: the trekking pole sports a foam grip with the foam extending a short way down the pole that adds comfort to the user by allowing additional gripping area. Compared to other poles in the list, the strap is soft and really above average. There’s a shock absorption system that helps you take the weight of a sudden fall and save you from breaking the pole and a leg or two. During testing we found the pole very agreeable, enough to put it to number two in our list of best trekking poles.
  • Locking Mechanism: There’s an external lever locking style closure system called the FlickLock which is easy to use and durable. The name is given by Black Diamond who was the first to make this locking mechanism popular way back. They have been using their trademark lock for long and continue t update it. When it comes to the locking mechanism of hiking poles the FlickLock remains our top pick.
  • Measurements and Pack ability: Usable Length of the pole is 68-140 cm (27"-55"). Minimum storage length 66.5 cm (26").And the pole weighs 568 grams/ pair (1 lb. 4 oz./ pair). It’s a little heavier than an average hiking pole but on the bright side it’s slightly lighter than the shock absorbing poles available in the market at the present moment. So it’s a good one to go for. It comes in Fire Red and Grey colors.
  • Shock absorbing poles are usually large in terms of length and therefore can be very tricky when it comes to packing. Although not the most packable pole of our list, it can be travelled without being too inconvenient. It is considered to be the best trekking poles of 2016 by many hikers. 
  • Durability: During our test with this particular pole and also when we talked to people using the pole for a couple of months, the Trail Pro Shock seems a bit more durable that more. The pole isn’t just strong but its supported by a strong locking mechanism. The shaft is pretty tough and wouldn’t let you down when you maneuver through difficult terrain.
  • Shock absorption: being the highlight of the pole, while testing we liked the compression system better than most shock absorbing poles that we checked to create this list. It can bear between light shock to heavy loads and works with a very cool shock absorbing system that works like a charm.
  • Affordability: Like its cousin Trail Pro is affordable by anyone who has a budget of around $150. With the kind of facility this particular hiking pole offers, we’d say the money is worth it. If you take a look at its Amazon page, it full of glowing reviews by users, for the most part.

Who Should Use it? Can’t really find fault with these poles and we’d recommend this product to folks interested in serious trekking.

3

Leki Carbon Ti Trekking Pole

Leki poles combine strength with light weight and are ideal for long distance hikers. Made in three parts, the carbon lower shafts of the pole keeps the weight off for more comfort on long journeys and the upper shaft ensures reliable strength for the users protection. As per the company, the SpeedLock 2 adjustable system keeps each pole's length secure whether it's sized to your height or compactly stowed away in your backpack. Leki pole’s Aergon Thermo grip offers more versatility on steep terrain. It also features an air-textured strap for moisture-wicking comfort, a carbide tip that sticks to slippery stones and performance trekking baskets. Carbon Ti comes with a minimal looking strap and an airbrush finish that adds to the charm.

  • Comfort: Carbon Ti has got one of the most comfortable foam handle in the list. Its overall shape and the foam handle are great and come with a much more simpler design than compared to others. Several of our testers believe, the Carbon Ti features an oval shaped top handle which is larger than normal hiking poles. These handle truly the hallmark of many of Leki’s models and they are normally easier to hold on to.
  • Locking Mechanism: Leki Carbon Ti comes with improved SpeedLock that is a both reliable and durable locking mechanism. One of the things that our testers liked about the mechanism is that it’s access; you can do it using simply your hands, without the need of such screwdrivers or any other equipment. But the mechanism is as dependable as the one’s we’ve mentions in the other two poles above.
  • Measurements and Pack ability: This carbon fiber and aluminum pole weighs 425 grams, which is lighter than both Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles and Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles. Carbon Ti packs down to 26.5" (67cm) which is longer than most poles that we review in this list. Despite this seeming disadvantage, the compactness of the pole should be given a plus point and that is all that matter when it comes to packabililty.
  • Durability: Carbon Ti’s durability is, of course, above average and offers a level comfort and toughness that remains unmatched by others. Although when compared with the two poles mentioned above, it’s not quite as tough. It’s worth mentioning that Leki sports a break-away tips feature which is engineered to protect your hiking pole.
  • Affordability: one of the most expensive poles in the list, the price of Leki Carbon Ti ranges between $180 to $200. The price is an issue and so is the fact that it doesn’t pack small.

Who Should Use it? For all its excellent features, this is, pretty evidently, for those who can afford to lay their hands in a $200 hiking pole. But for those who can’t, they better go for the both Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles or the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles or any of the poles below.

4

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

This one is made of 5 separate Carbon shaft section. It sports a push button "lock" system for quick, easy assembly. The Leki Speed Lock provides easy assembly and packing of 20 cm of length of pole. The strongest external lock (TUV) PE coated, Kevlar reinforced tension cord for long term reliability. The internal spring in lower shaft Carbon section ends are protected by machined Aluminum sleeves for extra long wear. While the stainless steel connectors help to center shaft sections for quick, snag free assembly. The pole sports Aergon grip or Thermo grip or extension Air-textured security strap Carbide Flextip, compact performance basket that are interchangeable and includes nylon or mesh bag for carrying or packing. Its foam handle and incredible design makes it a perfect choice for warmer climate.

trekking pole reviews
  • Comfort: The Leki Micro Vario Carbon trekking pole like its cousin has a slightly larger than average foam grip which truly is an advantage in several ways. What our teams of testers really liked was the design of the grip that make it all the more comfortable to use. As is Loki’s trademark, the pole has oversized grip, the oval shaped pommel on top on the handle that gives it a cane like feel and advantage. The soft air-brushed nylon strap around the handle is pretty convenient too. The pole is very basic looking and appealing.
  • Locking Mechanism: Like we said, the pole uses the company’s new Speed Lock 2 which is an external locking system placed on the top of the shaft. The lower three section is locked by another mechanism. The upper lock allows 20 cm of length adjustment so anyone can adjust it according to their needs and as well as the terrain they plan to use it on. One of the highlights of the locking mechanism is that it is fairly easily adjustable by hands without the need of any specific tool.
  • Measurements and Packability: Its weighs 413 grams, which, if you recall the earlier poles we reviewed is lighter than most standard trekking poles. It packs down to 15 inch and has a functional adjustment range of 40 to 50 inch.
  • Durability: when it comes to the weigh and the carbon construct, they don’t hold back the durability of the pole. The pole can withstand harsh terrain; the only catch is that it needs maintenance, like all other trekking poles. The large secret behind Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles durability is the design. The cane like handle allows users to put pressure in the right place, which then gets dissipated throughout the stick, without causing it break any sweat, hypothetically.
  • Affordability: You have to shell out quite a lot of money on this one. One has to have deep pockets on this pole. But despite the huge drawback of being one of the most expensive poles in our list, Micro Vario is worth every penny or so our testers believe. Its price varies between $180 to $200.

Who Should Use it? The pole comes with a nice cane-like grip, so for people who are looking for just that, should get their hands on this one. It’s awesome grip, combined with lightness and the fact it packs down pretty small, makes a must buy for serious hikers who are looking for the best trekking poles available in the market..

5

Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC Trekking Poles

The pole supports five separate Aluminum shaft sections, with push button "lock" system for quick, easy assembly. While the packing 20 cm of length adjustment is provided by Leki Speed lock 2, strongest external lock (TUV) PE coated, Kevlar reinforces tension cord for long term reliability. The internal spring in lower shaft Stainless steel connectors help to center shaft sections for quick and snag-free assembly. Like in the Micro Vario, this pole too sports Aergon grip or Thermo grip or extension Air-textured security strap Carbide Flextip, along with an interchangeable compact performance basket and includes nylon or mesh bag for packing or carrying.

  • Comfort: Made of lightweight aluminum with a Cor-Tec cork and rubber grip, the Ti COR-TEC’s collapsible design provide plenty of support all along the trail. When the terrain doesn’t call for extra support, it collapsible design comes to play as it makes them easy to pack up and strap onto your pack. The Cor-Tec grip combines comfortable cork and rubber, which is really a perfect combination for perfect hiking pole grip. It's comfortability makes it one of the best hiking poles of 2016-17 for sure.
  • Locking Mechanism: The Ti COR-TEC is a collapsing style trekking pole that uses a combination of "push-pin" style locking system in the lower three sections of the pole and a Speed Lock lever lock style system on the upper section of the shaft. Like the locking system of Black Diamond, our testers found the locking system of Loki pretty reliable as well as long lasting.
  • Measurements and Pack ability: At 524 grams the pole is one of the heaviest poles in our list of best trekking poles. To tell you the truth, it’s slightly heavier than most average folding or collapsing style trekking poles, in general. But if leaving behind its heavy grip, the pole comes with durable lower sections and brings ultimate comfort. The pole packs at 15.5 inch which is convenient enough but a little less than a couple of its competitors.
  • Durability: The pole is a bit heavier than normal but our across both rugged and smooth terrain prove, the pole is better than we expected. These durable poles feature innovative Aergon grips known for their edgeless shape and comfortable hand positioning. Moreover there’s an internal tension cord that boost durability of the pole.
  • Affordability: The price of the pole isn’t as high as other Loki trekking poles. Anyone with a budget of $150 can easily afford the Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC Trekking Poles.

Who Should Use it? Folks, who are up for quick and easy assembly, should go for this pole. The nonslip mid extension ensures a variety of gripping options on steep traverses which is great for hefty terrains. As the air-textured strap wicks away moisture and dries quickly so it’s a great pick for cold frozen terrain.

6

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Poles are built for four-season trailbreaking and gear-laden approaches. They are light and stiff and come with a comfortable grip. The Alpine Carbon Z are extremely stable and strong, more so than aluminum poles, as well as lighter and quieter than the aluminum poles on asphalt. The poles sport adjustable nylon straps labeled L (left) and R (right) so you know which is left and which is right and they are very comfortable on hold. Alpine Carbon Z remains as one of the highest scoring poles in our list.

  • Comfort: The pole has a smaller-than-average diameter cork grip that makes is a favorite with small handed users. It has a decent weight, folds and opens very easily and is extremely packable. The trekking baskets that don't sink into mud or sand but won't get hung up on branches and bushes, either. The pole is also slightly narrower than most average trekking poles. It’s lighter than usual foam grip is a stellar and our tester found it slightly better than its other lightweight sisters like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z.
  • Locking Mechanism: The locking mechanism of this one, like its counterparts are reliable as well as durable. There aren’t many range of adjustment in length unfortunately, which is a pitfall. The FLZ or Flicklock adjustment offer around 20 cm of adjustment for a single user. Our testers found the pitfall, not to bothersome, as they constantly tweaked the length of the pole while travelling.
  • Measurements and Packability: The pole weighs 481 grams which is a decent weight that one can hope of. Pressure on the pole gets equally distributed that makes it feel light while using the pole during hiking. Made of carbon fiber, this collapsible trekking pole comes with a collapsible shaft for easy storage and travel. The pack comes down to 12 inches which is only an inch longer than the Black Diamonds Distance Z or the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z. The pole sports a breathable and moisture-wicking strap and Flex Tech Tips for warm-weather journeys.
  • Durability: The pole along with its incredible locking mechanism is pretty durable and reliable, more than what we had first anticipated. Our team of testers was satisfied with the results of Alpine Carbon Z. We did quite a few excursions on the country-side time and again, the pole seems to be holding well.
  • Affordability: You need to have deep pockets to get this one. A budget of $200 will suffice you to lay your hands on the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z trekking poles. It’ll be a mistake to miss this one, since its four-season construction and natural cork grip provide robust support to the pole.

Who Should Use it? Anyone who likes a non-slip EVA foam mini-grip extension with a dual-density top and breathable, moisture-wicking strap. It’s has proven to be great for a cross-country expedition, so anyone planning on going on one, can go right ahead and get this.

7

Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Pole

Undoubtedly, the Distance Z Trekking Pole is Black Diamond's most affordable collapsible poles. The price doesn’t mean the quality or the functionality has been compromised. Made of aluminum, with just one push of button you can release sections, or pull the grip to reassemble when you're ready to go. The pole comes with non-marking rubber tips and carbide tips, spare tips that are located inside a small pocket on the hook-and-loop retaining strap. And it can be hooked up with interchangeable carbide and rubber Tech Tips that helps in handling all sorts of terrain.

  • Comfort: Distance Z comes with an EVA foam grip has an extended mini-grip and breathable, padded straps. It allows for easy traversing and side-hilling, while providing plenty of support and comfort in both hot and cold weathers. It has low weight, foam grip its one of the lightest pole in our list of best trekking poles. Because the cork handle isn’t too big, if you’re looking for a big one, you’d have to be disappointed here.
  • Locking Mechanism: Distance Z comes with a functional and durable locking system with no frills and no useless tidbits. Users can simply grab the grip and the first shaft section, and pull them away from each other. The pole will snap into place and lock. There’s one catch though, Black Diamond Distance Z barely offers any range for length adjustment. So the pole is inconvenient for users who’d like to tweak the length of their pole based on the terrain they are traveling in.
  • Measurements and Pack ability: At 340 grams, the Distance Z comes at 110 cm length feels very light and feather-like as per our testers. Though not the most light-weighed, it is lighter than a handful of other poles in your list. When it comes to packed size, Distance Z "tent-pole" packs down to 14 inches making it a great choice for those who look forward to good pack ability of their poles.
  • Durability: Despite its lighter-than-average construct, the hiking pole has passed our entire durability test (which, we’d like to mention, a few poles couldn’t withstand) and was holding great by the end. The pole handled terrains fantastically during our long testing period. After more than 20 days of testing we were impressed with how they held up to a fair amount of abuse acquiring only a minimal amount of nicks and scratches. The Distance Z is durable in the toughest of weathers and terrain.
  • Affordability: Made of strong aluminum shafts that stands up to everyday use on the trail is one of the most affordable poles in our list. It costs anything under $100 which is the least one has to invest when buying hiking poles.

Who Should Use it? The pole meets the everyday demands of day hikers, backpackers and trail runners. Its innovative folding Z-Pole system offers simple, compact and reliable support with a concealed inner cord, single push-button release and speed cone deployment making it a great choice for most hikers.

8

Leki Corklite Trekking Pole

Leki Corklite gave us a reliable on-trial performance and during our climb up a path on the hills, the hiking poles offered convenient length adjustment. The aluminum shaft features SpeedLock design that also includes the SAS-L Antishock on the lower section for trekking options. Besides the Speed Locking mechanism, the pole also sports Aergon Cor-tec Grips. By using smaller diameter, thinner wall tubing along with a proprietary heat-treating process, Leki establishes superiority in high-grade Aluminum technology. The Aergon Cor-tec Grips are made of natural, ground cork and natural rubber that offers enough comfort and durability. While the pole comes with an ultra sonic finish, the air-textured straps wick moisture and dry pretty quickly

  • Comfort Extremely comfortable Aergon Cor-Tec grip is made of 80% natural cork whose Speed Lock external locking system allows for simple and fast adjustments in pole length. Functionally of the trekking pole gets better as the miles wear off. Despite having drawbacks like being heavier and less compact, it’s pretty versatile and incredibly tough. We think that our testers best liked the small diameter grip largely because it could be comfortable used as a cane.
  • Locking Mechanism: Like we had earlier mentioned Leki Corklite sports a locking mechanism called Speed Lock which is pretty similar to the external lever like locking closure found in the Black Diamond Flicklock locking mechanism. When it comes to the ease of use and durability, the Speed Lock is among our top grade choice and our testers came to the conclusion that the lock was much better that what we often see in traditional twist lock mechanisms of other hiking poles.
  • Measurements and Pack ability: The pole weighs 538 grams making it heavier than a lot of poles in our list of best top hiking poles. As we said before the internal twist lock closure mechanism on the Leki Carbonlite slightly more durable than most poles so that makes up for the drawback. The Leki Corklite packs down to 26 inches which is one of the longest minimum length among poles the comes without anti-shocking mechanism. Although pack ability is an issue in small and medium bags, the pole can be easily packed in large backpack. We believe it shouldn’t be too much of an issue but if you are specifically looking for poles that pack small, you will have to skip on this one.
  • Durability: Time and again we have praised Leki Corklite’s grip which is in fact one of the narrowest grip that one can find on this list of best trekking poles. 
  • Out of the several poles we tested, this one is one of the most durable in our list. Our testers seem to think, the pole is more durable than most other poles they tested. Besides its cork grip that is better than most foam grip, the shaft too appears to resist bending. Looks like Corklite is light enough and versatile enough that it could provide great service in all weather condition right from mountaineering at cold heights to desert hiking in extremely hot weather. 

  • Affordability: You need to have a minimum of $150 dollars in your pocket to lay your hands on this one. It comes in Black/Grey color with different size basket options allowing users to customize the pole for all seasons, all activities.

Who Should Use it? The Leki Corklite poles could be used for trekking, snowshoe, backcountry touring, etc. It’s a perennial favorite of long-distance backpackers and thru-hikers.

9

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles

The aluminum shaft is incredibly light weighed and its corn grip is very comfortable enough to wick moisture away from your sweaty palms, making it anti-slip and durable. The 15-degree angle of the grip ensures optimal grip position for the user by reducing swinging motion from your wrist. For easy and access and extra comfort, the poles with a 360° padded webbing strap that makes each pole specific to your left and right hands. It has a locking mechanism called FlickLock clamps using which hikers can easily adjust the length with ease during their journey.

  • Comfort: Trail Ergo Cork is the lightest telescoping aluminum pole on our list. It’s got a nice grip it’s tough and is reasonably priced. Like Leki Corklite, this too isn’t the most compact pole available and in fact has one of the longest minimum lengths. Despite these pit falls, the pole is extremely tough, durable and very versatile. Our team of testers were very pleased with the cork handle and agreed that quiet similar to Corklite, Trail Ergo Cork has a fantastic grip which the makers say provides optimal grip position. The grip is slightly larger in diameter on this one and therefore our testers with small hands weren’t too pleased. For folks looking for smaller grip we recommend you some of the other hiking poles on this list.
  • Locking Mechanism: The pole comes with Black Diamond’s signature external lever locking style system called the FlickLock. The system was first popularized by Black Diamond and has come a long way ever since it was first introduced and the makers keep updating it. Besides SpeedLock, found in Leki hiking poles, FlickLock has now become our top choice, when it comes to locking mechanism of poles. It’s pretty easy to use and durable too.
  • Measurements and Packability: Trail Ergo Cork is incredibly is incredibly light-weighted at 510 grams and although we have had even lighter poles on our list, the Trail Ergo Cork is extremely durable and sports a great design. The pole packs down to 29 inches. It’s one of the longest minimum lengths we have seen for a trekking pole. It’s not impossible to carry since any medium to large backpack can strap it on its side and take it to practically anywhere they want.
  • Durability: While a compact pole is important because otherwise regular travelers may not be able to use to use it, toughness and durability is equally significant. After using Trail Ergo Cork for about a month, we did notice a couple of dents and scratches. The pole isn’t as good as we thought it’d be initially but overall it might be slightly stronger than Leki Corklite. It is after all a four season pole but we wouldn’t rely on it during tough journeys.
  • Affordability: For anyone with a budget of $150, the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles could be a choice. But to be fair, at the same price you can get better hiking poles already listed here.

Who Should Use it? Like we said, we’d avoid it during rigorous journeys like going for backcountry or downhill skiing. But if you are looking for simpler adventure, then you can go for Trail Ergo Cork.

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Leki Cristallo Speedlock Trekking Poles

The Leki Cristallo has an excellent all-round pole that sports an intelligent overall design. It’s lightness, thinness and stability makes it extremely comfortable. The pole features an Aergon Soft Rubber grip and the innovative next generation SpeedLock adjustment system for an unparallel hiking experience and is made from high-tensile strength Aluminum. The air textured strap wicks moisture on hot summer days for a cool, airy feel and keeps your wrist from soaking in sweat. Moreover, the straps sport a built-in mechanism so you don’t fall unexpectedly or snag your pole. As for the trekking basket, they provide extra stability and grip.

  • Comfort: the Speed Lock system offers an extremely high locking force for enhanced safety. It comes with one of the most comfortable rubber grip ever as it chaffed the hands of our tested far less than any other rubber grip in our list. What our testers seems to have really liked is that although rubber grips don’t usually wick the moisture away from the users hand but Leki Cristallo does perform better than most runner grip trekking poles. The adjustable strap too is pretty cool and very soft to touch.
  • Locking Mechanism: Very functional and durable, the Speed Lock is as easy to use as Black Diamond's Flick Lock. Unlike other locking mechanism, the lock can be handles bare handed without the need of any special tools. Also you don’t need to take your gloves off to manage the locking mechanism.
  • Measurements and Pack ability: the pole weighs 510 grams which makes the pole slightly lighter than most other hiking poles in the market. And is little lighter than general telescoping poles. The three sectional pole packs down to 27” which is pretty big and among the least packable trekking poles in our list. But, like we have mentioned time and again, the primary purpose of the pole to support you in your journey, for poles that pack big can simply be packed in a medium to big backpacks.
  • Durability: one of the most durable poles that our testers have laid their hands on, Leki Cristallo was in a very good shape after we came back from a brutal cross –country trip. The pole has battled one of the most rugged terrains and it held up pretty well by the end. Following our tests we came to the conclusion that Cristallo is more dependable than most other poles. Made of strong and durable high-tensile-strength aluminum shaft, it sports a carbide tip for excellent grip on ice as well as rock. It’s likely to be tougher than the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles.
  • Affordability: you can get the pole for a budget of $130, which isn’t among the highest priced trekking and neither among the lowest. The pole is a strong durable trekking pole with sound locking mechanisms. It’s pretty popular and often runs out of stocks. Better get your hands on it as soon as you decide you want it. It is arguably the best trekking poles under $150.

Who Should Use it? The pole is well-suited for backcountry missions and fast-moving day hikes. Owing to its unparallel durability, it offers lightweight, adjustable performance with incredible strength for rugged treks and adventures. It’s an excellent choice for the hardest users.

To wrap it Up

Hiking poles have a great many benefits and if you choose the right one then they’ll help you in times of dire needs during your journey. Hiking can be rough on your joints whether it's your first time on steep trails or your second time or any other time. Trekking without the support of poles comes with major health risks. Researchers claim that trekking pole re-disperses 10 lbs of pack weight from your knees. The poles are going to support you when you cover miles on foot without becoming sore or too beat down.

One of our main goals here at Pro Gear is to make your life easier when it comes to following your true calling. To create our list of best trekking poles we have had to test several poles before picking the top ones. We have considered almost all kinds of top models available in the market right now and we found there aren’t too many big hiking poles makers out there and of them all, two such manufacturers – Leki and Black Diamond – offer top-notch products. The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles is our editor’s pick as it’s a four season pole designed especially for rugged alpine terrain. Although super strong, lightweight and comfortable, its premium cork grip may not be ideal for many; which is why we have a number of other options for you to choose from. Consider your needs, consider the ease of use, and then invest on your best pick after checking our exclusive trekking pole reviews in this masterpiece article.

While all these poles have their own pros and cons, we’d recommend you either go for Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles, Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles or Leki Carbon Ti Trekking Pole. These are our top pick. But if these aren’t what you are looking for, we have seven other top-notch hiking poles for you to choose from. If there’s something we haven’t covered yet, something that we should have covered, then let us know in the comment section below.

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