Trekking Pole Overview

Trekker resting near lake with mountains with snow


With all of the various outdoor activities it is clear that every activity has an accessory made to accommodate the activity. If mountain climbing, hiking, backpacking, or even snowshoeing is your outdoor activity of choice, trekking poles are a necessary accessory. Although a lot of the outdoor activities mentioned seem to only require walking, stability and balance play a big part. When treading different types of terrain on a quiet hike or conquering a steep mountain trekking poles can serve as a great tool to maintain balance and keep your footing. They also distribute body weight in a way that takes some of the tension off of knees, legs, and ankles in addition to added safety. Besides, no one wants to embark on an adventure and leave with a sprained ankle. Therefore, trekking poles are often used as a safety practice in outdoor activities. Trekking poles can also be used as tent poles if you decide to camp out. The multipurpose use of this simple accessory can make a significant difference in outdoor events.

Similar to other outdoor accessories, trekking poles are optional, but when added to certain outdoor activities, become essential. The type of trekking pole used should be related to the activity that will be taking place and the features of the trekking pole to accommodate such. Here is a breakdown of the main types of trekking poles and their features, in order to help with making the best decision for your specific excursion.
Anti-shock Trekking Poles
In order to accurately reduce strain on wrists while hiking or mountaineering, trekking poles that feature anti-shock technology are essential. This feature ultimately dampens shock by the use of a mechanism that in manufactured into the shaft of the trekking poles. This prevents the typical strain that is placed on the wrists when hiking and performing other outdoor activities.
Standard Trekking Poles
Standard trekking poles are light weight and easy to pack and store. They are very simplistic yet assist in maintaining the level of stability while treading various types of terrain in the outdoors. These trekking poles are modestly priced and are typically very durable. Although no fancy bells and whistles, these trekking poles will last for many outdoor adventures to come.
Compact Trekking Poles
Compact trekking poles are specifically designed for consumers who are shorter in height. These trekking poles feature a collapse option that makes them more compact and easier to pack or store. Additionally, these trekking poles have a smaller grip in order to accommodate smaller hands, and are very light weight making adding them to your load a breeze.
Hiking Staff
The typical trekking poles are available in a set of two. However with a hiking staff, there is one single pole that can be used for more well maintained terrain. The hiking pole is not intended for extreme conditions or challenging hikes. These staffs are specifically designed for adding a little extra stability to an outdoor adventure. Many hiking staffs that are available feature other accommodating attributes such as anti-shock technology and camera mounts. Thus, allowing your hiking staff to be a multipurpose accessory that can also assist with outdoor photography.

Choosing a trekking pole can be tricky. All of the options available look cool and have enticing features. However, choosing the right trekking pole for the specific outdoor adventure in which it is intended is very important. The area and terrain in which you will be trekking is the main factor to consider when choosing a trekking pole. Because all of the trekking pole types have different features for various uses, the features must match the activity. Additionally, the feel of the trekking pole must scream comfort in order to be truly efficient in the outdoors. The ergonomics, packability, and durability all play a major part in the right trekking pole for your outdoor adventure. Here are some other factors to consider, when choosing the ideal trekking pole for your next outdoor escape.
Pole length
The length of a trekking pole is very forgiving and can typically adjust from 25 inches up to about 55 inches. Children and shorter adults can also have the necessary comfort in length by selecting a trekking pole from the compact options available to consumers. Both lengths accurately accommodate various heights with maximum comfort.
Shaft material
The material of the shaft of a trekking pole is most important because of the weight that it could add, as well as the durability factor. Although trekking poles manufactured with carbon fiber tend to be lighter in weight, they are slightly more costly. Whereas aluminum based trekking poles are extremely sturdy and inexpensive.
Grip material/Extended grip
Trekking poles actually feature multiple grip options to accommodate the specific preferences of consumers. Your ability to accurately maintain your trekking pole in adverse weather conditions, while wearing gloves, or in varying terrain is very important to safety. Therefore, the grip types available for consumers to choose from include: cork, which is pricey but durable, polyethylene, which has a smooth texture and is inexpensive, synthetic rubber, which has a great grip and works best in colder weather, and last the EVA foam which is soft and is gentle on hands.
Wrist straps
Wrist straps are one of the most important and least talked about aspect of trekking poles. These little guys maintain even weight distribution on the hands, fingers, and arms which keeps fatigue from settling in those areas. Therefore, it is essential to look for trekking poles that have this feature.
Tip material
The tip material of a trekking pole can be comprised of either carbide or steel. Choosing which tip is best for you depends on the terrain in which you will be trekking. Carbide tips are much harder than the tips made of steel. Therefore if you know that you will need additional durability for the area in which you plan to explore carbide is your best option.
The size and weight of the trekking poles that you choose not only reflect on the terrain of the area in which you will be trekking, but also during your hike. Your trekking poles should not weigh you down or add undue stress or strain to the body. The lightest trekking poles available are about 6 ounces per pair, however some aluminum poles can be 17 ounces per pair. Therefore, it is important to compare your options and choose the weight that feels the best in contrast to your normal movement.

One of the most popular accessories and most practical accessories for trekking poles are snow baskets. These baskets are manufactured to enhance the performance of trekking poles in snowy areas. Also, there are other components that can be added to your trekking poles such as grip protectors, LED pole lights, and various types of wrist straps. All of the accessories available for trekking poles also add an additional level of comfort or safety, making them great investments.