How we pick our products
Do you want to make your daily walk or even your walk up the mountain easier? Then you should think about buying trekking poles that are right for you. These take the strain off you, especially when hiking, as your muscles are not strained as much and your joints are also protected.
Where and at what price can you buy such poles? What different types of trekking poles are available for you to buy? Answers to the most frequently asked questions can be found here in the big trekking poles test 2022.
We present different trekking poles to help you decide what to buy. In addition, you will find helpful tips and tricks in our guide on which trekking poles are suitable for which areas of use. No matter whether you choose Nordic walking trekking poles, hiking poles, telescopic or folding poles, we will tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of the different types.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Best Trekking Poles: Our Choices
- 3 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a trekking pole
- 3.1 What are the advantages and disadvantages of trekking poles?
- 3.2 What types of trekking poles are there?
- 3.3 What does a trekking pole cost?
- 3.4 When is a folding trekking pole the right choice?
- 3.5 Where are folding trekking poles often used?
- 3.6 How much does a folding trekking pole cost?
- 3.7 When is a wooden trekking pole the right choice?
- 3.8 Where are wooden trekking poles often used?
- 3.9 How much does a wooden trekking pole cost?
- 3.10 When is a telescopic trekking pole the right choice?
- 3.11 Where are telescopic trekking poles often used?
- 3.12 How much does a telescopic trekking pole cost?
- 3.13 When is a Nordic walking pole the right choice?
- 3.14 Where are Nordic Walking poles often used?
- 3.15 How much do Nordic walking poles cost?
- 4 Decision: What types of trekking poles are there and which is the right one for you?
- 4.1 How does a folding trekking pole work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 4.2 How does a telescopic trekking pole work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 4.3 How does a walking stick work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 4.4 How does a Nordic walking pole work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 5 Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate trekking poles based on these factors
- A trekking pole supports you in difficult passages when hiking and relieves the strain on your muscles and joints.
- Telescopic poles can be pushed together, folding poles can be folded. The latter have a much smaller pack size and weight, but are also correspondingly more expensive.
- Due to the wide variety of materials, features and workmanship, there is quite a wide price range for hiking poles. Inexpensive models start at around €40, high-quality poles can cost up to €200.
The Best Trekking Poles: Our Choices
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a trekking pole
Many see them as a useless “walking aid” that has a negative rather than a positive influence on coordination. Others would not want to do without them, appreciate their positive effects on the musculoskeletal system and the additional safety in rough terrain.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of trekking poles?
- Relief for the joints when descending, especially the knees
- Safe walking even when tired and exhausted
- Special support and protection for older people or people with previous damage due to injury/wear and tear
Disadvantages of trekking poles
- In case of excessive use, possible restriction of coordinative abilities
- In case of falls there is an increased risk of injury due to the poles
- If the poles are not used in the meantime, they can be a hindrance, for example on via ferratas
Our conclusion: The use of trekking poles is particularly useful on descents or difficult passages. However, you should not use the poles excessively in order not to negatively influence your coordination skills and surefootedness.
On easy passages or on level terrain, you can do without your poles and thus maintain a healthy balance. By the way: trekking poles are excellent to stow away in trekking backpacks when not in use!
What types of trekking poles are there?
However, they have a large pack size that can exceed the length of a trekking rucksack. Folding trekking poles are among the more modern designs. The individual segments of the pole are connected with a thick band, similar to a tent pole.
For assembly, you can put the segments into each other and fix them with a push button or clamps. Folding poles are lightweight and have a very small pack size. However, they are significantly more expensive than other models.
Wooden trekking poles are the rustic classics of trekking poles. It is important to know that with wooden trekking poles you only ever use one pole. Wooden trekking poles are robust and faithful companions. However, they are not suitable for demanding tours.
Which trekking pole is suitable for which area of use? Are you looking for a trekking pole for specific undertakings? Here you will find an overview of which type of pole is best suited.
|Hiking||The poles should primarily be comfortable. For the descent, we recommend poles with a light suspension. There are trekking poles specially designed for hiking that are available for a reasonable price.|
|Mountaineering/high altitude touring||Robust, reliable poles are an absolute must for more elaborate tours. If you are travelling with a lot of luggage, light and well-packable trekking poles such as telescopic or folding trekking poles are an advantage.|
|via ferrata/climbing tours||poles with a small pack size are particularly suitable for climbing, as they disappear completely in your rucksack and are not too much extra weight. Telescopic or folding poles are also best here.|
|Walks/Nordic-Walking||For sporting activities on flat terrain, the poles do not need any special equipment. Light Nordic walking poles that also allow you to change your grip if the terrain is slightly uneven are pleasant.|
Regardless of the occasion for which you want to use trekking poles, always make sure they are of good quality. Don’t go for cheaply made poles, as they may not only be uncomfortable, but may also increase the risk of injury.
What does a trekking pole cost?
When is a folding trekking pole the right choice?
Where are folding trekking poles often used?
In this way, the pole can be reduced to a fraction of its original size in no time at all. This small pack size is also becoming increasingly popular with climbers, as the poles can disappear completely in the rucksack on climbing tours and are quickly ready again later for a secure hold on the descent.
How much does a folding trekking pole cost?
When is a wooden trekking pole the right choice?
If you want a very special wooden pole, you can also have a unique piece made to your specifications by many manufacturers. The absolute plus point of a wooden stick is its stability and durability. If it is made of high-quality wood and professionally processed, the wooden trekking pole can become a companion for a lifetime.
Where are wooden trekking poles often used?
For high alpine or demanding tours, the wooden stick or the use of only one walking stick is not recommended for safety reasons. Nevertheless, on narrow ridges it can be advantageous to use only one pole, because often the path is simply not wide enough for two poles.
Ultimately, using only one walking stick also supports your sense of balance and safety. If you move frequently on hikes with the support of two poles, your sense of balance and surefootedness can suffer. So frequent use of a wooden trekking pole is definitely recommended.
With a good wooden trekking pole, you can make your hiking routine safer and more relaxed. Especially for routes that are easy to master, this pole is ideal.
How much does a wooden trekking pole cost?
You can get solid wooden trekking poles for as little as €20 – depending on the type of wood and other features, such as hand straps or carvings, the price can rise to around €200.
When is a telescopic trekking pole the right choice?
Where are telescopic trekking poles often used?
If you temporarily do not need the trekking poles during the hike, the telescopic system makes it easy to slide them into each other. This allows you to carry them comfortably in your hand or stow them on your trekking backpack.
For high-altitude tours or via ferrata, folding trekking poles can be a useful alternative for you due to their even smaller pack size.
How much does a telescopic trekking pole cost?
In principle, however, it makes sense not to go for the cheapest model straight away, but to pay close attention to the material and features of the poles. Poorly made trekking poles can do more harm to the body during the hike than support and relieve it.
For beginners, a model with basic equipment is recommended, priced at around 50 €. Experienced hikers can invest considerably more in their new trekking poles, depending on their preferences and extras.
When is a Nordic walking pole the right choice?
This endurance sport, which has come down to us from Scandinavia, involves using Nordic walking poles to move your arms in rhythm with your feet. Nordic walking poles are therefore an essential part of this sport.
Where are Nordic Walking poles often used?
How much do Nordic walking poles cost?
Decision: What types of trekking poles are there and which is the right one for you?
Basically, you can distinguish between four different types of trekking poles:
- Telescopic trekking poles
- Folding trekking poles
- Hiking poles
- Nordic walking poles
Trekking poles are indispensable for hiking and have long been part of your basic equipment. A trekking pole is a useful support during difficult passages when hiking, as it relieves the muscles and joints.
In addition, trekking poles make hiking more pleasant, especially when ascending or descending and on difficult terrain. Due to the different materials and workmanship, there is a wide price range for trekking poles.
Depending on how far you want to travel and how often you want to use the trekking poles, a certain hiking pole is best suited for you. In the following sections, we would like to introduce you to these four different types.
We will also briefly explain the differences between them so that you can find out which trekking pole is right for you. The advantages and disadvantages of each type are clearly presented for comparison.
How does a folding trekking pole work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Folding poles are short and consist of four individual parts. The folding trekking pole is most similar to the telescopic trekking pole. Unlike the walking stick, they are used in pairs and are extremely small and light.
Folding trekking poles solve the typical packing problem that can quickly occur on long hikes. However, this is solved by folding the poles into small individual parts.
These can be placed in a bag, which can then be attached to the backpack. However, there is also a disadvantage, as the folding poles cannot be individually adjusted in length. The handle can therefore sit a few centimetres outside the usual range.
How does a telescopic trekking pole work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Most trekking poles are the so-called telescopic poles. They are easy to use because the telescopic poles can simply be pushed into each other for storage. Telescopic poles are ideal for short or long tours where the telescopic pole is not to be used for the entire tour.
The extendable telescopic hiking poles are mostly made of aluminium or carbon. With telescopic trekking poles, the classic twist locks are light and slim. However, the classic twist locks have the disadvantage that they wear out more quickly and can loosen by themselves due to twisting movements during the hike.
To fix them, the individual parts are screwed tight or have clamps. Clamping systems are very compact and can be easily operated even with gloves. In addition, a clamping system can be quickly replaced in the event of a defect.
How does a walking stick work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Hiking poles made of wood are among the oldest models and still correspond to the shapes of poles from earlier years. The varnish makes the wooden walking stick weatherproof and scratch-resistant.
As a rule, the wooden walking stick is only used individually, unlike trekking poles. In addition, most wooden walking sticks have a nickel-plated walking stick tip, which ensures optimum grip on difficult passages.
Wooden trekking poles are robust, but less suitable for demanding and long tours. These poles have the disadvantage that, unlike modern models, they are relatively heavy and not adjustable.
How does a Nordic walking pole work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
The endurance sport of Nordic walking involves an effective whole-body workout. With the help of the walking poles, fast walking is supported. Nordic walking poles are available in different versions. The market offers different models in different sizes.
In addition, each Nordic Walking pole has a rubber buffer that is placed on the tip of the pole to ensure optimal grip on asphalt surfaces. However, Nordic walking poles are more commonly used for sports. Trekking and hiking poles, on the other hand, are used more for hiking.
Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate trekking poles based on these factors
For trekking poles, you can choose between poles made of hardened aluminium and carbon. The absolute classic here is aluminium. It ensures that the trekking poles are light, hard-wearing and therefore durable.
Aluminium trekking poles are quite flexible and bend easily when overloaded, which makes them the perfect companion for changing terrain. Unfortunately, aluminium also transmits vibrations, which can be unpleasant and not particularly beneficial for the bones, especially when descending.
Therefore, look out for specially installed anti-shock systems, these counteract the vibrations and relieve the arms in particular. Modern poles made of carbon fibre composite are characterised by the fact that they are even lighter than hiking poles made of aluminium.
The carbon absorbs vibrations, so there is no annoying vibration in the poles when hiking. However, they are much stiffer and also more expensive. If overloaded, there is also a risk of the poles breaking, which can happen very suddenly due to micro-cracks in the carbon.
A combination of the two materials is also possible: special trekking poles are made of carbon at the bottom and aluminium at the top. In this way, the respective advantages of the materials can be combined in one pole.
An important criterion when choosing your new trekking pole is the right pole length. Of course, this depends on your height: on level ground you should be able to hold the poles so that your elbow is bent at about 90 degrees.
There is also a rule of thumb for the optimum pole length: body height in cm x 0.68 = pole length. For a person with a height of 1.80 m, a walking stick with a length of 122 cm is therefore perfect.
Nevertheless, you should make sure that your trekking pole is variably adjustable: It is optimal for your body if you adjust the poles 5-10 cm shorter uphill and 5-10 cm longer downhill and at a fast pace.
Not only can your safety be negatively affected by the wrong pole length, but your posture can also suffer. Make sure that your poles are the right length for your height.
The handles are the connection between you and the trekking poles. Therefore, you should also make sure that you choose the right material. It is definitely not advisable to use pure plastic grips, as they are usually found on particularly inexpensive trekking poles.
They make your hands sweat more and inevitably lead to blisters. Grips made of foam or, especially for summer hikes, light cork are much more suitable. Hand straps are standard equipment on most poles.
They take the strain off the hand, as the force from the wrist is transferred more easily to the handle. Many trekking pole models also offer a handle extension, which can be particularly useful for ascents.
Hardened steel is particularly suitable for the tips of your trekking poles, as it is especially robust and durable. With cheaper pole models you will mostly find aluminium tips, but these can wear out quite quickly.
Rubber buffers for the tips are almost always included. The buffers should be placed on hard, e.g. asphalted, surfaces when touring. This prevents increased noise and protects the tips. Snow pads can also be attached to the tips so that you can use your Nordic walking poles safely even in winter.
Depending on your individual needs and wishes, many trekking poles offer useful extras and gadgets. For example, rubber pads for the pole tips on hard surfaces such as asphalt can be a useful addition.
Replaceable plates let you make your poles a safe companion even on winter tours. And for amateur photographers, there are hiking poles that can be converted into a camera tripod in a few easy steps.
Picture source: pixabay.com / Simon