Hiking

Trekking Pole Materials: Which is Best?

Beatiful vista, clouds, mountains with rock pile altar in foreground

When searching for your perfect trekking pole, you want to choose the best material available. This is important, because the type of material determines strength, weight, and resistance. In this article, we will explore the 3 main types of material: carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminum. By the end, you will be well on your way to identifying the best kind of trekking pole for you!

Carbon Fiber

Build Quality

Carbon Fiber (CF) is extremely durable. To make CF, the material is burned until only atoms remain. Then, the leftover fibers are braided into a matrix and covered with a special resin. This epoxy covered woven carbon fiber is used in creating the pole shafts.

Strength

CF is also extremely strong. However, the type of carbon fiber used plays a role in how well-built the pole is. There are 2 primary materials used for hiking poles: 3K carbon and unidirectional (UD) carbon fiber. The strength of the original 3K fibers makes the poles more sturdy than those made from UD carbon fiber. We recommend looking for 3K carbon to decrease the chance of your trekking poles breaking on you!

Weight

Carbon fiber is lightweight yet very strong and durable. This makes CF poles a great choice for anyone going on a hiking or backpacking adventure! When every ounce counts, 3K carbon has the benefit of weighing less than UD carbon.

Resistance

Carbon fiber is usually highly resistant to cracks, rust, corrosion, and breakage. Unfortunately, that edge starts to fall apart the lower the temperatures fall. Cold weather makes CF poles brittle and more prone to breaking.

Titanium

Build Quality

Titanium is a highly durable element found in nature, and trekking poles made completely of this material are a rare find. Typically, they are created from a mix of CF and titanium. Read on to understand the unique benefits offered by this heavy-duty element.    

Strength

Some types of titanium are as strong as steel. Therefore, trekking poles made of this material are guaranteed to be strong enough to offer the support you need when you need it. They literally won’t let you down!

Weight

Titanium is a lightweight material. That makes it good for carrying long distances, especially if you plan on storing your poles in a backpack. Of all of the materials on our list, titanium has the best weight-to-strength ratio. This means you get the biggest bang for your buck!

Resistance

Titanium naturally resists rust and corrosion caused by rain and other environmental factors including seawater.  This material’s strong and durable nature also makes it difficult to bend and break.

Aluminum

Build Quality

Aluminum is a metal known for its durability. In fact, this kind of trekking pole can simply be bent back into shape after suffering abuse. We recommend aluminum if you plan on boulder hopping, river crossing, or a steep descent.

Strength

The 7075 aluminum used to manufacturer trekking poles is the same kind used to produce cars, planes, and other strong items. That means your poles are guaranteed to be sturdy enough to support the weight of any human.

Weight

The worst part about high-quality aluminum poles is the weight. If you plan to hold your poles in your hands for the majority of the trip, the weight isn’t that big of a deal. For those that want to stash their hiking helpers, lightweight is better.

Resistance

One of the best features of aluminum is its ability to withstand a wide range of temperatures. Whether you want to take your trekking poles snowshoeing or on a summer hike, you can trust aluminum won’t crack or break. It is, however, susceptible to rust and corrosion.

One Final Word on Trekking Poles

No two poles are alike, and no two materials are either. Carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminum all have their benefits and drawbacks, and each excels at something different. Now that you know more about trekking pole materials, what kind will you choose for your next outdoor adventure?

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