POG Offers the Best Trekking Poles

POG’s best Hiking Poles (Trekking Poles) are Engineered to Provide the Ultimate Balance between Strength,  Durability and Ultra-Light Weight.  POG offers choice between the ultra compact Kephart and adjustability Katahdin.

POG Kephart Z-Fold Trekking Poles Title
Folding Trekking Poles
ConstructionTri-Folding, Three Section
Shaft Material100% 3K Carbon Fiber
GripNatural Cork + EVA Foam
StrapPadded Adjustable Strap
Adjustment systemEasy Flip Speed Lock
Color:Exposed 3K Carbon Fiber
Folded size:14 inches (35.6 cm)
Adjustable size:From 45 in to 53 in (115 cm to 135 cm)
Weight:8.8 ounces per pole – Just over 1 pound per pair!
Features:
  • Ultra Compact Storage
  • Flip Lock Adjusting
  • Ultra-Lightweight 3K Carbon Fiber Strong poles
  • 4 Season Accessories
  • Natural Cork Grips + EVA Foam

Premier Outdoor Gear’s exclusive Kephart 3K Carbon Fiber Ultra Lightweight Z-Fold Hiking Poles measure up against the highest priced Hiking Poles on the market. You can easily spend over $150 for comparable trekking poles and still not get all the features that you do from Premier Outdoor Gear. Travel a lot? These poles are for you, they fold down to easily fit in luggage or a day pack.

Many companies charge extra for Nordic, Snow and Mud accessories, while POG includes them and a carrying bag at no charge. Premier Outdoor Gear’s Kephart Z Fold Compact Hiking Poles are the perfect trekking poles for the deepest snow, roughest terrain, or even just walking through your neighborhood park.

POG Katahdin Telescoping Trekking Poles Title
POG Katahdin 3K Carbon Fiber Collapsible Trekking Poles
ConstructionTelescoping, Three Section
Shaft Material100% 3K Carbon Fiber
GripNatural Cork + EVA Foam
StrapPadded Adjustable Strap
Adjustment systemTwo Easy Flip Speed Locks
Color:Exposed 3K Carbon Fiber
Collapsed size:24 inches (61 cm)
Adjustable size:From 24 in to 53 in (61 cm to 135 cm)
Weight:7.6 ounces per pole – Under 1 pound per pair!
Features:
  • Ultra Adjustable – Kids or Adults
  • Flip Lock Adjusting
  • Ultra-Lightweight 3K Carbon Fiber Strong poles
  • 4 Season Accessories
  • Natural Cork Grips + EVA Foam

Premier Outdoor Gear’s exclusive Katahdin 3K Carbon Fiber Ultra Lightweight Telescoping Hiking Poles give you the ultimate in adjustability. Why spend over $150 on similar poles and still not get all the accessories you need to hike in snow, mud or over solid rock? Our exclusive 3K Carbon Fiber is used in aerospace and other applications that require ultra light weight, strength and durability.

This strong, durable hiking pole will serve you and all the members of your family for years to come on all of your outdoor adventures. Premier Outdoor Gear’s Katahdin Telescoping Hiking Poles are the perfect trekking poles for the deepest snow, roughest terrain, or even just walking through your neighborhood park.

100% 3K Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles

Watch Our Video

Learn more about what makes POG 100% 3K Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles the best in the industry. In the video, you will see all the features of the product, including accessories, so there will be no surprise in quality and performance.
Go Further, Travel Faster with Less Joint Stress

Discover Our Ultra-Lightweight, Ultra-Strong Hiking Poles

POG has worked with experts to engineer the lightest, yet strongest trekking poles on the market. Whether on a walk outdoors in your neighborhood park or tackling a week long backpacking trip in the snow, you can count on POG’s 3k Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles to deliver durability but at an extremely competitive price.  POGs 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and Warranty insure you will be happy with your purchase.
Hiking Poles Infographic
Excellent comfort, superior balance, ultimate adjustability

POG KATAHDIN TELESCOPING TREKKING POLES

POG’s Katahdin 3K Carbon Fiber Telescoping Trekking Pole will complement your outdoor lifestyle, helping you master difficult terrain, snow, and mud with near infinite adjustability (from 24 to 53 inches). Adjust the pole using our easy flip locks to get a length that suits you. Then use the Natural Cork Grip and Extended EVA Ridged Foam Handles to quickly adjust your grip and length for fast changing inclines and terrain.

POG has brought aerospace materials together with intelligent design to create hiking sticks that might very well be the last you’ll ever buy. The durability and strength of 3K carbon fiber combined with great features and accessories will give you one hiking pole to meet your walking, hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing needs. POG includes accessories for most any terrain free which includes mud baskets, snow baskets, and rubber tips all in addition to the fixed hardened carbide steel tip.

Compare these poles to the big brands and you will see that POG matches feature for feature.  POG is currently the only pole manufacturer to use 3K carbon fiber, renowned for its strength and resilience.  3K carbon fiber is the choice for many aerospace applications as well as auto racing and competitve cycling.  They all choose 3K carbon fiber for its strength to weight ratio.  When you need strength combined with lightweight, 3K carbon fiber is often the first choice.

  • Shaft Material: Lightweight 100% Carbon Fiber
  • The length is adjustable from 24in to 53in (61cm to 135cm)
  • Available in Matte 3K Exposed Weave Carbon Fiber
  • Weight: 7.6 ounces per pole - Under 1 pound per pair!
  • Designed Applications : Day Hiking, Nordic Snow Shoeing, Walking, Trekking, Backpacking, Maintaining Balance, Minimizing Impact to Knees and Other Joints.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Love Them or Return within 30 Days for a Full Refund
POG Katahdin 3K Carbon Fiber Collapsible Trekking Poles
Folding Trekking Poles
Ultra Compact, Ultra Strong and Still Adjustable

POG KEPHART Z FOLD TREKKING POLES

POG’s Kephart 3K Carbon Fiber Z Fold Trekking Pole will complement your outdoor lifestyle, helping you master difficult terrain including snow and mud with the ability to store them in a day pack or weekend travel luggage. The trekking pole is adjustable (from 45 to 53 inches), and amazingly folds down to 14 inches for storage and transport. It is easily adjusted using our easy single flip lock and with the Natural Cork Grip and Extended EVA Ridged Foam Handles, you can adjust the length quickly for fast changing inclines and terrains.

POG has brought aerospace materials together with intelligent design to create hiking sticks that might very well be the last you’ll ever buy. The durability and strength of 3K carbon fiber combined with great features and accessories will give you one hiking pole to meet your walking, hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing needs. POG includes accessories for most any terrain free which includes mud baskets, snow baskets, and rubber tips all in addition to the fixed hardened carbide steel tip.

Compare these poles to the big brands and you will see that POG matches feature for feature.  POG is currently the only pole manufacturer to use 3K carbon fiber, renowned for its strength and resilience.  3K carbon fiber is the choice for many aerospace applications as well as auto racing and competitve cycling.  They all choose 3K carbon fiber for its strength to weight ratio.  When you need strength combined with lightweight, 3K carbon fiber is often the first choice.

  • Shaft Material: Lightweight 100% Carbon Fiber
  • 14-inches in length that is adjustable from 45in to 53in (115cm to 135cm)
  • Available in Matte 3K Exposed Weave Carbon Fiber
  • Weight: 8.8 oz per pole
  • Designed Applications : Day Hiking, Nordic Snow Shoeing, Walking, Trekking, Backpacking, Maintaining Balance, Minimizing Impact to Knees and Other Joints.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Love Them or Return within 30 Days for a Full Refund
See what customers have to say about our products!

Trekking Pole Reviews

There are a lot of trekking poles to choose from. Here is why people choose POG.
Why Choose POG Poles
Here At Premier Outdoor Gear, Your Satisfaction Is Our Number One Goal!
Why POG Hiking Poles?
Premier Outdoor Gear researches and develops products to meet your needs. We then engineer them to deliver strength, durability, ease of use and lastly aesthetic appeal so you will have a product you will use and love for years.
  • We partner with national fulfillment centers to deliver your order.
  • We offer competitive price while delivering industry leading quality hiking poles.
  • Secure ordering with flexible payment options.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Love Them or Return Them Within 30 Days for a Full Refund
  • Our satisfied customers are our best advertisement.
  • We have your items in stock and ready to ship
  • Our support staff is understanding, efficient and knowledgeable.
What is the Correct Trekking Pole Length For You?

Hiking Pole Length Guide

The best trekking pole length for you is based on your height. A good starting point is to adjust your poles so your elbows are at a 90-degree bend when you hold the poles with tips on the ground near your feet. All of POG’s trekking poles are adjustable, so you get a great fit every time in all kinds of terrain. These guidelines will help find the right length poles for you:
HeightSuggested Pole Length
< 5 ft. – Below 100 cm (39 in.)
5 ft. 1 in. – 5 ft. 7 in.110 cm (43 in.) Note Kephart Minimum Length is 115cm
5 ft. 8 in. – 5 ft. 11 in.120 cm (47 in.)
6 ft. – 6 ft. 4 in.130 cm (51 in.)
6 ft. 5 in – up135 cm (54 in.)
trekking poles length

POG Kephart Z Fold 3K Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles adjust from 115 cm to 135 cm (45 in to 53 in) and POG Katahdin Telescoping 3K Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles adjust from 61 cm to 136 cm (24 in to 53.5 in).

Here are three easy steps for getting the right length for your POG 3K Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles:

  1. Loosen all the locking mechanisms and completely extend the trekking poles (careful not to go beyond the STOP markings!).
  2. Compress the trekking poles until your elbow is at an approximate 90-degree angle.
  3. Close the locking mechanisms securely. Press on the trekking poles a few times to make sure the locks are fully engaged before starting your hike.

You may want to experiment with increasing the trekking pole’s length slightly when hiking downhill and decreasing it slightly for hiking uphill. And remember, the EVA foam handles on all POG Walking Sticks makes it easy to adjust length on the go for short rapidly changing sections of terrain.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You have questions about hiking sticks, we have the answers

Why Use Trekking Poles?

There are a number of reasons. Once you get used to trekking poles you will naturally put some of the weight and shock of long-term hiking and backpacking on the poles instead of your legs, knees, feet and lower back. The Use of walking sticks will also give your arms a workout, strengthening them over time. The transfer of some of the workout to your arms will give the additional benefit of strengthening your core. In time you will get the full benefits of “Nordic Walking” which is the integrated use of trekking poles in your gait.

Trekking poles provide additional stability and support in a wide array terrain. Hiking poles increase your balance, by providing a third and sometimes fourth point of contact while hiking. The additional point of contact becomes a huge benefit in crossing streams and other obstacles on your walk.

Some people worry that trekking with poles will make them tired because they’ll use more energy since now they’re using their arms. Using your arms will actually spread the work over more of your body and allow you more endurance and strength, particularly once you are practiced with your hiking sticks. You will find in time that you can hike farther every single day without having as much pain and stiffness as you otherwise would have. The use of trekking poles will allow you to spend more time outdoors enjoying your hiking, snow shoeing or trekking.

Patience while your body gets used to Nordic walking will pay great dividends as your body increases its strength, durability and endurance.

What is the diameter of the shaft of the Trekking Pole?

Our poles taper from larger at the top to smaller diameters at the bottom of the pole. The key thing to note on trekking poles is not the diameter, but the strength of the pole itself.   Many factors go into pole strength apart from pole diameter.  Wall thickness, materials, stress point reinforcement and design all play a role in providing durability to a hiking pole.  For the ultimate in strength, look for poles made of 3K Carbon Fiber. This is the same type of carbon fiber used in aerospace applications and even Tour de France winning bicycles.

What are the Key Benefits of Using Hiking Staffs?

Key Benefits Include:  Reduced Strain on Joints, Increased Endurance, Enhanced Stability, Less Fatigue, and Less Post Hike Pain.  The ways that hiking poles deliver benefits is very simple.  The biggest benefit are all related to spreading effort and stress over more of your body.  If you think of stress on joints as cumulative, which some experts state that it is, then reducing stress on one part of your body by spreading it to another, reduces overall stress on joints over time.  This in turn reduces knee pain, hip pain and other joint pain after a long hike.

Trekking poles also allow you to negotiate difficult terrain with confidence.  You can cross log bridges, deadfall and streams more easily and with greater stability than without poles.  Hiking poles also provide a degree of protection where you can use them to move reptiles along from a safe distance and poke at suspicious logs or branches in the trail before stepping over them and risking a bite or sting.

Which are Better, Telescoping or Z Fold Poles?

We feel either pole is as good as the other.  The decision you need to make is which attributes are most important to you.  If compact storage is most important, select Kephart Z Fold Poles. If adjustability is most important then select Katahdin Telescoping Poles.  If you are below 5’5″ in height, you may want to select the Katahdin, as the Kephart Z Fold Poles may not adjust short enough for you.  Many people will choose telescoping trekking poles or zfold hiking poles based simply on their personal preference. I have a set of each and prefer the telescoping poles most of the time, while I use my zfold trekking poles when I travel.

Travelling with your Walking Poles?

Full length walking poles may pose a problem when travelling, particularly using public transport such as trains and airplanes. Compact, ultra light trekking poles that telescope or fold offer the best solution for travel. Some hiking poles can fold to as small as 14 inches for travel while still offering up to 54 inches when extended. 3K carbon fiber trekking poles with accessories like a carrying bag will always make travel easier.

When travelling on airplanes, you need to check with the airline or the security administration on trekking poles, but most won’t allow poles to be taken into the cabin as they are. Folding poles that will fit in a checked bag or suitcase will always offer the easiest option here.  Make sure you check with your airline on their policies regarding hiking poles.  Taking this step will insure your trekking poles make it to your destination with you.

Why do Trekking Poles have a Strap?

The straps make a useful addition to the poles, which allow you to walk with a looser grip and a more relaxed style. When properly adjusted, the straps offer additional support and will transfer loads to your hiking pole more efficiently.

To make best use of the straps place your hand up through the strap so the strap rests in your palm and with a loop around your wrist. Then adjust the strap for comfort. Too loose and it will not carry any load, too tight and it may loss of circulation in your hand.  There is an article in our blog on how to use and adjust trekking pole wrist straps here.

When you apply downward pressure to propel yourself forwards, it is transferred not from your tight grip on the pole handle but from the tension applied between the hand and strap. As you hike, your poles become an extension to the flow of your wrist, arms and whole body movement.  Effective us e of wrist straps will increase your endurance and reduce forearm fatigue.

Do Lighter Hiking Poles Make a Difference?

While we are not aware of any extensive studies focused on the benefits of lighter weight poles, intuitively, it would make sense that lighter poles will require less effort to use, and so leave you with more energy for post hike activities or enable you to go for longer hikes.  We at POG believe that lightweight gear enhances your outdoor experience.

You may also consider that when travelling, less weight is always better.  This will make luggage and bags easier to handle and you never know, having lightweight carbon fiber hiking sticks just might save you from the dreaded overweight bag charge that has become common on many airlines.

Why Use 3K Carbon Fiber?

There are many grades of carbon fiber with a great many differences in properties.  The lightest and strongest carbon fiber, 1K is very expensive.  We have found that 3K carbon fiber exhibits remarkable strength especially compared to the unwoven “UD” or unidirectional carbon fiber our competitors use.  3K carbon fiber has the ability to flex along many different axes, while maintaining its strength, and all this while offering extremely light weight.

We also feel the exposed 3K finish on our poles is aesthatically pleasing and also gives you assurance of exactly what our poles are made of.

I have decided I want trekking poles, which are best for me?

Pick Your POG Hiking Poles

Both the POG Kephart and Katahdin trekking poles are built with same high quality materials: 3K Carbon Fiber, Hard Anodized Aircraft Grade Aluminum, Natural Cork, EVA Foam and Tough Injection Moulded Nylon.  Both models include the same free accessories:  Carrying Bag, Mud and Snow Baskets and Rubber Tips.
Tips for Using Hiking Stick

How to Use Trekking Poles

Using hiking poles is intuitive for most people. You can be using them like an expert with just a few techniques and tips.

Alternate Poles with Your Gait – Hikers using hiking poles tend to quickly adopt their own rhythm. For most their natural rhythm is alternating their hiking stick by planting the hiking pole with the opposite foot (right pole, left foot planting at the same time). This gives the effect of pushing off with the leg that is moving forward. For most hikers in most conditions this is the best and most efficient use of hiking poles and will most benefit your endurance.

Double Planting – On steep terrain or difficult loose rock, snow or soil, you may consider double planting. This technique will keep three points of contact all the time you are in motion. You plant both trekking poles, take two steps and then pull up and replant the trekking poles.

Negotiating Obstacles – Hiking poles are worth their weight in gold when you need to get over, through, or around nature’s obstacles. Boulder fields, streams, and fallen trees are easier to overcome with an extra point of contact helping you maintain balance in precarious situations.

Use Wrist Straps – We cannot emphasize enough that proper use of wrist straps will increase the effectiveness of your poles dramatically.  By properly using the wriststraps on your hiking poles, you will increase your endurance by putting more of your body to work.  Once you have a good technique, you will find yourself hiking further and feeling better post hike.

How to Choose the Best Trekking Pole

Trekking Poles Buyer’s Guide

To find the best trekking poles, there are a number of things to consider. Here are a few pointers on the technical aspects of hiking poles/sticks selection.
Added Hiking Pole Benefits

THE BENEFITS OF HIKING STICKS

Hiking with Trekking Poles (Nordic Walking) is a great whole body workout.

Helps Smooth Out Hills
Uphill hiking calls for extra exertion. By spreading some of the work through your upper body, you can increase your endurance and reduce fatigue. Hiking poles will allow you to walk farther and faster all with less stress on your knees, hips, and back.  The use of poles will also reduce shock on downhill segments as well.

Hiking Poles Reduce Muscle Soreness
Hiking poles spread shock that causes joint stress and muscle soreness through your whole body rather than focusing it on the ankles, knees, and hips. Hiking poles will allow you to hike with less stress, pain, and inflammation once you develop a consistent technique of using them.  A recent study gave one group poles to use hiking and while the control group used none.  “The results present strong evidence that trekking poles reduce, almost to the point of complete disappearance, the extent of muscle damage during a day’s mountain trek,” stated the author of the study: Dr. Glyn Howatson.

Stability during creek and stream crossings
Hiking poles can make a precarious and dangerous stream crossing much safer and not to mention drier! The additional point of contact will help you maintain balance across logs, rocks and can be planted in the stream bed for balance. No reason to rule out some of the countries best hikes due to water crossings when you have a pair of walking poles!

Minimizing Impact of Obstacles
I love cross-country hiking (hiking off trails). Hiking Sticks are indispensable on these adventures as they make the crossing of boulder fields easier, and can push branches and brush out of the way as well as fend off spider webs strung across my path. The poles allow for the checking of footing on loose rock before attempting to cross. They also add stability when having to cross over dead fall trees. If you are interested in cross-country hiking, you need a set of dependable poles before you set out.

More Consistent Pace
When Nordic Walking (walking with trekking poles), your whole body is in sync with the motion of moving up the trail. This synchronized motion helps you develop and maintain an efficient gait that will help you develop the ability to move farther and faster.

Hiking Poles Offer Balance and Stability on Tough Terrain
Uneven and challenging terrain make falls a danger, and when you are far from medical help, the extra degree of safety that hiking sticks offer is indispensable. Steep uphills and downhills can present real challenges and can be dangerous. You can remove a great degree of risk in these situations by having poles to stabilize yourself on treacherous terrain.

Find Animals Before you Step on Them
When crossing dead fall logs or rocks, it is a great comfort to check the other side with my walking stick before putting my foot down on a snake, skunk, or other wild animal. I have had the bad experience of stepping onto a skunk that promptly rewarded my clumsiness with a spray over my foot and leg. I had to camp by myself that night because my backpacking buddies wanted nothing to do with the smell… Learn from my experience and check the other side of that rock or log before you step.

Health Benefits of Walking Sticks

Walking with Walking Sticks, like any new exercise, causes your body to build new neural pathways. Studies have shown that continual development of new neural pathways improves balance and decreases the likelihood of falls.  Since scientists agree that walking is just catching an induced fall, the development of neural pathways is very important to maintaining balance as one ages.  It may be that using trekking poles will keep you walking and exercising well into your advanced years.
A study indicated that, Nordic Walking (walking with trekking poles) significantly increased the amount of oxygen the participants used and the number of calories they burned. One burns approximately 200 calories per half an hour walking without poles, but by adding poles to your workout, you will increase the rate you burn calories. If losing weight is one of your goals, Nordic Walking may help you reach your goals more quickly.  You will also find that you cover more ground with trekking poles, reaching your destination sooner, having burned more calories, but with less fatigue!
Nordic Walking with trekking poles will strengthen your core abdominal muscles, which are the muscles you use to lift, bend over and support yourself as you walk. When you use walking poles, you engage your abdominal muscles every time you lift and plant the poles in front of you and as you bring the poles back to front. The weight transfer from your legs to the poles engages your entire upper body, including abdominal muscles, strengthening and conditioning them. As you introduce more hiking into your exercise regimen with hiking poles, you may see toning and definition in your abdominal muscles with a corresponding reduction in lower back pain.
They call walking with Trekking Poles Nordic Walking for good reason. The motion used is very similar to cross country or Nordic skiing. This motion involves the whole body and engages the legs, back, abdomen, shoulders, and arms. Most agree that working the whole body at once offers increases in coordination, balance and overall conditioning and strength. The benefits of an exercise regimen including Nordic walking can lead to a lifetime of health benefits.
By using a trekking pole you improve your posture while walking or hiking. To use trekking poles effectively, you must walk upright. The improvement in posture leads to a healthier back and improved breathing as upright posture opens one’s chest making deep breathing easier.  It has also been postulated that better posture leads to increases in self confidence and greater resistance to depression.
Start Right: Selecting the Right Pole

Step 1: Types of Trekking Poles

What should you look for when buying a pair of poles? Here are a few pointers on the technical aspects of pole selection.

There are many different types of trekking poles and hiking sticks? Here is some background on them that will make your hiking pole selection easier.

Trekking poles, hiking poles, walking sticks, hiking staffs and Nordic poles are just a few of the names one will see referring to poles one uses when hiking or walking. Some of these terms refer to distinct types of poles, and some are just generic names for the same thing. We will spend a few moments discussing them and this should give you a clearer idea of what is available, and what may best meet your needs. You need to have a clear idea of how you will use your trekking poles, where you like to go (terrain), and what activities you like to engage in. Here are the basic questions that one should ask:

  • What types of terrain do I hike on?
  • What weather conditions do I spend most of my time in (snow, rain, mud, or dry)?
  • What is my budget?
  • What distances do I routinely travel?

Standard hiking poles are just that, basic reliable, enough to get the job done, but no more. They typically are aluminum, fixed length, with a plastic handle and a non-adjustable wrist strap. They are inexpensive, with few features and are good for the occasional short walk on even, easy terrain. Typically these are purchased by entry level hikers with a budget constraint. They aren’t as durable as some other types, and most likely will break rather quickly.

Adjustable trekking poles allow you to adjust the length of the pole to meet your needs. You can also adjust them to better suit the terrain you are moving on. Adjustable hiking poles allow you to shorten them for uphill use and lengthen them for downhill use. Adjustable poles also allow people of different heights to use the poles, so one set of poles can be used at different times by different users.

Compact trekking poles allow for easier transport and use. Compact poles are usually either folding (also called z-poles) or telescoping. They allow the most in terms of adjustability and are easy to transport and store. Though the locking and folding mechanisms come with a small weight penalty, most feel the increased utility far outweighs the minimal increase in weight.

Ultralight trekking poles are usually made from exotic and often more expensive materials. The best lightweight poles give up nothing in strength and durability by using titanium or carbon fiber. Some of these poles even use exotic 3K carbon fiber for the ultimate in strength and durability. Carbon poles are seen as a necessity for long distance hikers and ultra-light backpackers concerned with every gram of weight. Often these poles will weigh less than a pound for the pair and can seriously reduce fatigue in long distance hiking.

Shock-absorbing properties add to the price and weight of hiking poles. Many different designs are used, but these poles all use some type of a device that dampens shock. Some use springs while others use air. These types of hiking poles are often recommended to individuals with a history of joint problems. These types of poles are rarely used by long distance hikers due their increased weight and complexity.

The hiking staff, also known as a walking staff or stick, is a single pole. While hiking poles are used in pairs, staffs are not. Staffs are usually longer and heavier than poles and are most effective when used on relatively flat terrain and with little or no load on your back. Some hiking staffs are adjustable and may incorporate a shock absorbing device. Staffs are generally used on casual walks and short hikes.

Pole Adjustment - Choosing the best hiking poles

Step 2: Number of Sections

There are three basic designs that almost all compact trekking poles use. Each design has its advantages and disadvantages. Lets exam the different types and compare them.

SINGLE ADJUSTMENT POLES
Two Section Telescoping Poles are made up of two sections with one fitting inside the other. They have a single adjustment point and are very simple and sturdy. They are also easy to adjust, since they only have a single adjustment point. Due to only having one joint in the pole, they are the strongest compact pole. The drawback is they do not pack up as compact as three section poles.

DOUBLE ADJUSTMENT POLES
Three Section Telescoping Poles have two separate adjustment points and are the most common trekking pole. You usually adjust both points once at the beginning of your hike and use the upper only for minor adjustments during your hike. Three section telescoping poles are the most versatile and allow for the most adjustment, usually from as little as 24 inches to as much as 53 inches. These poles are best for someone that needs a compact pole, but also needs the most versatility in length adjustment. Three section telescoping poles are best for long distance backpackers, experienced snowshoers, advanced day hikers, and people who share their poles with others.

FOLDING POLES
Three Section Folding Poles offer the lightest weight and the most compact option of all trekking poles. Most will fold down to about 14 inches, making them easy to stow in luggage or your backpack. Some folding poles are not adjustable and must be bought in the length you need. The best folding poles offer some degree of adjustability with the best offering adjustment from as little as 45 inches to 53 inches. Folding poles are ideal for travellers, ultra light backpackers and nordic trekkers.

Keep in mind that almost all trekking poles, telescoping or folding, can use a full range of accessories. Many come with the most used accessories. Those accessories being: snow baskets, mud basket and rubber tips. These accessories will dramatically increase the utility of your hiking pole. The most used is the rubber tips which will protect the hard steel or carbide tips when walking on rock or pavement. The hard steel tips are useful on ice or hard dirt. The snow and mud baskets keep the tips from sinking in mud and snow. Snow baskets are essential when trekking on snow or snowshoeing.

Choose the right Hiking Poles

Step 3: Choose a Pole Length

Most hiking poles on the market are adjustable. Many can adjust so that you have the right fit for the right terrain and your style of Nordic Walking. Folding poles tend to have a narrower adjustment range than telescoping poles. Typically folding poles adjust from 45 to 53 inches while telescoping poles adjust from 24 to 53 inches. These types of poles will accommodate anyone from 4’11” to 6’4”. If you are over 6’4”, then you should very carefully look into the length of the poles before you do any purchasing.

Pole Adjustment Mechanism

Step 4: Pole Locking Mechanism

All adjustable trekking poles have locking mechanisms that are used to adjust the length of the pole usually from 24 to 53 inches. The locking mechanisms prevent the pole from slipping and changing lengths while you are using them. There are several types of locking mechanisms and we will discuss each type below.

There are three common mechanisms used to lock the length of adjustable poles:

Twist-Expansion Lock: Uses an screw actuated expander. You turn a collar on the pole to tighten or loosen the lock. This lock is usually found on telescoping poles.

Push Button Lock: This locking mechanism has a rounded or bevel topped spring loaded button that pops through a hole to lock the pole in place. You press the button back into the hole to unlock the pole. This type of lock is usually used on folding trekking poles.

Cam Lever Lock: This lock uses a collar clamp around the pole. A cam lock with a lever is used to tighten the collar and lock the pole in place. The collar usually has an adjustment screw to fine tune the tightness of the collar. This type of lock is most common these days and is found on telescoping and folding adjustable hiking poles.

You can find combinations of the above locks on some poles. On folding poles, the push button in combination with the cam lever lock is the most common.

Carbon vs Aluminum Trekking Poles

Step 5: Choose Pole Shaft Material

Aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber are the most popular materials for hiking pole construction today. Carbon fiber is lighter, stiffer, stronger, and typically more expensive than aluminum. Titanium is used rarely, but you can find trekking poles made from it. In terms of durability, all are a good choice. Titanium is the best at taking abuse, so if you use your poles to whack brush, then titanium may be for you. If weight is your primary concern, then carbon fiber is the way to go. Always look for Toray or 3K carbon fiber poles. This is typically stronger than other types of carbon while remaining the same price. Carbon fiber also has excellent flexing and shock absorbing properties. Comparatively, aluminum is slightly less expensive and significantly heavier, but it is able to take a dent or two and keep going. Aluminum can also be repaired.

3K carbon fiber trekking poles are generally considered the best with a great amount of strength and low weight. They are usually the most expensive, and a good pair may last you the rest of your life. Aluminum is the least expensive, but also not as strong as carbon and is usually close to a pound heavier than carbon fiber per pair of trekking poles. A good lightweight set of 3K carbon fiber poles will weigh about a pound while aluminum sets weigh in at about 28 to 30 ounces (roughly 1.8 pounds).

Lastly, titanium poles are rare and usually fairly expensive. They do offer the lightness and strength of carbon fiber with the ability to take abuse like aluminum poles. There are very few on the market due to the expense of the metal, however they may offer the best weight strength and durability compromise.

Selecting the best trekking pole

Step 6: Choose your Grip Material

There are a number of types of grips for hiking poles. Some higher quality poles have two types of grips on the same pole for use depending on conditions. You will usually find that the lower the performance of the material, the lower the cost of the hiking pole.

Cork is considered the best hiking pole grip material, and as such is a little more expensive. Many consider cork superior due to its “feel”, texture, durability, and look. Cork tends to maintain its properties even in hot, sweaty weather compared to other materials.

Polyethylene is quite durable and less expensive than cork, though tends to be less comfortable. Often it becomes slippery when wet with sweat. It also tends to chafe, easily causing blisters with prolonged use.

Synthetic rubber provides a good gripping surface, and is better suited for cold weather. Compared to other materials, rubber may cause hands to sweat more in hot weather. The sweat on the handle can cause slipping and chafing of the hands. Ideally this pole would only be used with gloves.

EVA foam offers the most softness and cushioning, but may also cause hands to sweat more in hotter weather. Many poles offer EVA foam as a second handle. This extended grip zone offers more versatility, allowing you to quickly lower your grip without having to stop and shorten the pole length.

EVA foam as a primary handle wears quickly and is not as durable as other handles.

Grips Ergonomics and Material

Step 7: Selecting Type of Wrist Straps

Wrist straps are often overlooked in importance when buying a trekking pole. Wrist straps offer the benefit of supporting the hand on the pole, allowing for a looser and less fatiguing grip on the pole. A well designed and properly used wrist strap will offer the user an easier and less stressful walk. There are fixed, adjustable, padded, and unpadded wrist straps on trekking poles. For obvious reasons, padded and adjustable handles perform the best. An adjustable strap allows you to fit the strap to your hand, making the weight transfer more effective. A padded strap offers more comfort, while also minimizing the chance of chafing and blistering to the palm and back of your hand.

Factors to consider when shopping for trekking poles

Step 8: Portability, Weight, & Versatility

Portability
Portability is an important feature to many people. Climbers, back packers, paddlers, and world travelers find portability important in a trekking pole. Having a pole that will fold or telescope down to a size that is compact enough to be easily carried in a day/climbing pack, or even in a small carry on bag is an important attribute for these people. If you do not plan on carrying your poles in luggage or a pack on your outdoor adventures, then portability may not be a big factor in your trekking pole decision.

Weight
For most people, given durability is constant, lighter is better. You will usually trade off other attributes for having an ultra light weight trekking pole. Generally, the lightest poles are made of 3K carbon fiber and can weigh a full 8 ounces less per pole than a chunky aluminum pole. 8 ounces may seem like a minuscule amount of weight, however with 2 poles, that is a ¾ of a pound, and considering that you move your arms thousands of times on a day hike, the work that this creates is incredible. Think of lifting a soda can from the counter to the shelf 5,000 times. You’ll get tired pretty quick. Weight can be a huge factor.

Versatility
Having a pole that can serve you across most of your activities can have real value. Considering trekking poles are used for trekking hiking, backpacking, climbing, Nordic walking, skiing, snowshoeing, and mountaineering you can see how having the right pole for you is important. Having a lightweight and adjustable pole that is compact and easily carried will fit the bill for most of these activities. You may also consider how it may substitute for other types of equipment as well – such as standing in for shelter poles or for use as a camera mono-pod.

Pole Adjustment

Step 9: Snow, Mud Baskets, & Protective Tips

The most common accessories for trekking poles are rubber tips to protect the steel tips of the poles on hard terrain and “baskets” for helping the pole not sink into soft surfaces. Most trekking poles come with small removable rubber tips. Some poles also come with two sizes of “baskets” as well. Small, non-perforated baskets are generally used in mud and sand and spread the weight of the pole across a larger surface area to prevent it from sinking. Larger, perforated baskets (they often look like a snowflake) are designed for snow, and are very effective at preventing the pole from sinking. Poles come standard with steel tips. The best poles have carbide tips which are harder and more durable than steel and are best for use on hard soil and ice.

We have a blog article you may want to read for more information on accessories titled “The Lowdown on Trekking Pole Accessories”.  You can find the article on our POG Blog under the About Us tab on our website.