The Best Trekking Poles of 2022

MSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry Poles

MSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry Poles

Trekking poles are very useful for hiking and mountaineering because they reduce strain on your legs for up to 25%. They also increase traction and are very useful for probing the terrain. Nevertheless, they also have drawbacks; they are bulky when not in use and they prevent you from using your hands freely for other things – like for example taking photos, using a map etc. However, modern trekking poles pack small and therefore you can easily attach them to your backpack when you are not using them. Most quality backpacks have attachment system of some sort for trekking poles. For example, Osprey backpacks have the Stow-On-The-Go trekking poles attachment system which works really well.

Below is our selection of the best trekking poles. But let’s start with the basics and explain what is important when you are buying a new pair of trekking poles.

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1. Our Picks of Trekking Poles

Best Trekking Poles

Best Trekking Poles

  1. Komperdell Carbon C3 Pro
  2. Leki Micro Vario Carbon
  3. Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Trekking
  4. Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork
  5. MSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry

2. Comparison of Trekking Poles

Scroll Horizontally
Feature/Product Komperdell Carbon C3 ProLeki Micro Vario Carbon Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z TrekkingBlack Diamond Trail Ergo CorkMSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry
Weight (Pair)14.1. oz.1 lb. 1 oz. 1 lb. 1 oz. (39 in. version) 1 lb. 3 oz. 1 lb. 3.4 oz.
Weight - Metric (Pair)400 g480 g485 g (100 cm version) 512 g550 g
Type CollapsibleFoldable + collapsibleFoldableCollapsibleCollapsible
Shaft Material CarbonCarbonCarbonAluminumAluminum
Grip Material Foam Foam Cork CorkFoam
Packed Length 22.5 in.15.7 in.14 in, 15 in, 17 in, 18 in27 in.24 in.
Packed Length (Metric) 57 cm40 cm35 cm, 38 cm, 42 cm, 45 cm69 cm62 cm
Adjustable in Length YesYesNoYesYes
Locking MechanismLever lockLever lockLever lockLever lock Lever lock
Length 35-47 in.43-51 in.39 in, 43 in, 47 in, 51 in39-55 in.39-55 in.
Length (Metric) 90-120 cm 110-130 cm100 cm, 110 cm, 120 cm, 130 cm100-140 cm100-140 cm

3. The Selection

Komperdell Carbon C3 Pro

Komperdell Carbon C3 Pro

1. Komperdell Carbon C3 Pro

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Approaching climbing routes

 

The Komperdell Carbon C3 Pro trekking poles are a great option for hiking, backpacking and mountaineering because they are very comfortable and super lightweight. The pair weighs merely 14 ounces. The trekking poles have shafts with three sections. The top two sections are made of carbon fiber and the bottom section is made of titanal for better durability and robustness. The C3 Pro poles are collapsible and can be adjusted in length from 35 to 47 inches which is very useful if you, for example, want to borrow them to your friends or family. When they are collapsed, they measure only 22 inches in length which allows you to easily attach them to your backpack. The trekking poles come with Powerlock 3.0 locking mechanism which is made of aluminum and is easy to use. The grips are made of foam. They are extended which is very useful for steep terrain. The baskets can be easily changed. Komperdell sells several different baskets for these trekking poles.

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Size when collapsed
  • Lever lock
  • Quality
  • Adjustability

Cons:

  • /
Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

2. Leki Micro Vario Carbon

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Approaching climbing routes

 

The Leki Micro Vario Carbon trekking poles pack smaller than the Komperdell Carbon C3 Pro above – they measure less than 16 inches (40 cm) when folded. They consist of three sections (foldable construction) and the section closest to the grip can be adjusted in length for good fit (the length of the pole can be increased for up to 8 inches). The pole is secured at the desired length with the Speed lock 2 lever lock mechanism which is easy to use even when you are wearing gloves. The extended Leki Micro Vario Carbon pole measures from 43 – 51 inches in length. Folding the poles is also very easy – they have a push-button beneath the grip which releases the mechanism. Leki also offers many different baskets and tips for this model – which you can put in the nylon bag that comes with the poles. The Leki Micro Vario Carbon also comes in a women’s version where the poles are 10 cm shorter and have pink handles.

Women's Version: Available - Leki Micro Vario Carbon for Women

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Super short when packed
  • Lever lock

Cons:

  • /
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Trekking

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Trekking

3. Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Trekking

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Approach to climbing routes

 

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Trekking poles differ from the models listed above by not being adjustable in length. However, the Alpine poles are available in four different sizes (from 40 to 51 inches). They have foldable construction and are made of carbon fiber. Therefore, they are very light and can be packed super small. The shortest version of the Alpine Carbon Z poles (40 in.) weighs merely 1 pound and measures only 14 inches in length when folded. They are equipped with the Z-Pole Rapid Deployment System where you can release the locking mechanism simply by pressing a button. The trekking poles also have comfortable grips, moisture-wicking straps, and can be used with either carbide or rubber tips.

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

Pros:

  • Length when packed
  • Reliable Z-Pole Rapid Deployment System
  • Length when packed

Cons:

  • Not adjustable in length

Video

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles

4. Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Mountaineering

 

The Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork trekking poles are very popular with hikers and backpackers. They have aluminum shafts and are thus very robust and sturdy. In terms of weight, they are very light considering that they are not made of carbon fiber. The pair weighs one pound and two ounces. The length can be adjusted from 39 to 55 inches and the collapsed length is 27 inches. They are a bit big when collapsed but if you are not doing technically demanding trails that shouldn’t be a problem. The Trail Ergo Cork poles also have lever lock mechanism, cork grips, replaceable tips and trekking baskets which are easy to change.

Women's Version: Available - Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork for Women

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Quality
  • Reliable locking mechanism

Cons:

  • Collapsed size
MSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry Trekking Poles

MSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry Trekking Poles

5. MSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Walking

 

The MSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry trekking poles feature robust aluminum shafts and are thus perfect for outdoor activities in variable and rugged terrain. They come with DynaLock locking mechanism which allows you to easily adjust the length of the poles from 39 to 55 inches. When the poles are collapsed, they measure 24 inches in length. These MSR trekking poles also have EVA foam grips and come with winter and summer baskets. They are the least expensive product in this selection and offer a lot for the price. The only downside is that they are a bit heavier than the competitive products.

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Sturdiness
  • Quality

Cons:

  • Weight

Video

4. Trekking Poles Buying Advice – What is important?

Weight:

Hiking is easier with lightweight gear and thus it’s important that your new trekking poles are lightweight. In this selection we only listed lightweight products. To learn more about why it is important to use lightweight gear for hiking, read our article Why hike lightweight.

Type:

There are three different types of trekking poles; collapsible, foldable, and foldable + collapsible

Collapsible:

Collapsible trekking poles are adjustable in length which is very useful as you can make them longer when you are going downhill and shorter when you are going uphill. However, they can’t be packed as small as foldable trekking poles and are typically heavier, although the material also plays a role here. These trekking poles are best for technically undemanding trails.

Foldable:

Foldable trekking poles consist of several sections which are connected with a Kevlar cord (like tent poles). They can be packed very small and are thus great for technically challenging trails because they don’t get in the way when they are attached to the backpack. Some pack so small that you can simply put them in the backpack. However, foldable trekking poles can’t be adjusted in length which is a big downside.

Foldable + collapsible

Foldable + collapsible trekking poles combine the two mechanisms. They consist of several sections. However, here you can extend the section closest to the grip and thus adjust the length of the pole.

Locking Mechanism:

The locking mechanism secures the trekking pole at the desired length. There are two different locking mechanisms: Lever lock and twist lock. The lever lock mechanism is easier to adjust when you are wearing gloves. The twist lock mechanism uses a screw setup and requires more time. It is also more prone to malfunction.

Length:

Getting trekking poles of the right length is especially important if you are buying foldable trekking poles because they are not adjustable in length. Your elbow should be in a 90-degree angle when you are holding the trekking pole at the grip. To figure out how long trekking poles you need, measure the distance between your elbow and the floor. Foldable trekking poles are typically available in multiple sizes.

Shaft Material:

The shaft of a trekking pole is made either of aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber shafts are lighter than aluminum shafts. However, trekking poles made of carbon fiber are also more expensive and less sturdy.  When high force is applied to a carbon fiber shaft it breaks whereas an aluminum shaft will only bend.

Grip Material:

Grips are made of EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam or cork. EVA grips are known to be very comfortable. However, they are heavier than cork grips.

Shock Absorption:

Some trekking poles feature an internal spring to reduce the impact on hands and elbows. These trekking poles are usually slightly heavier and pricier than those without shock absorption systems.

Baskets:

The round rings at the bottom of trekking poles are called baskets. They prevent the poles from getting stuck between rocks, roots etc. If you are often hiking on snowy terrain you might want to get wider baskets for better flotation. Some trekking poles come with multiple baskets for different terrain types, but otherwise you might able to buy them separately.

To learn more about different parts of trekking poles, read this article from Trailspace.

5. Questions and Answers

Do you need trekking poles?

Trekking poles reduce the strain on your legs and are therefore very useful, especially during ascents. They also increase your traction and can be used for probing the terrain. They are not essential for hiking, but they do make your hiking trips more enjoyable and less demanding.

What are trekking pole baskets for?

Trekking pole baskets prevent the poles from getting stuck between rocks or sinking deep into snow. In winter wider baskets are used than in summer because wide baskets provide better flotation.

How do you walk with trekking poles?

As you step forward, one trekking pole and the opposite foot should hit the ground at the same time.

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Author Information

Blaz

Outdoor enthusiast with experience in all types of hiking and mountaineering. Hiked in the Alps, Iceland and other countries. In love with via ferrata trails and snow-covered slopes. Check out my hikes.

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