Trekking Poles: Ratings of Sources
Total of 19 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
by Doug Johnson
Our AssessmentThis trekking pole comparison examines ultra-light poles. Testers review 12 models for weight, stiffness/stability, vibration damping, durability and value. The favorite among fixed-length poles is the Gossamer Gear Lightrek, with the Alpkit Carbonlite winning among collapsible poles. This report concludes that carbon poles are lighter, stiffer and offer better vibration dampening than aluminum poles. It also seems to favor fixed-length poles, which are lighter and more durable. Backpacking Light also has up-to-date reviews of individual models of trekking poles.
March 2008 Essentials Review: Trekking Poles
by Editors of Backpacker magazine
Our AssessmentBackpacker magazine's 2008 gear guide issue recommends ten trekking poles based on test hikes. However, no comparison ratings or test results are given, so we rank this review a bit lower. Editors identify the Life-Link Guide Ultra-Light as the Best Buy, and single out the MSR Denali III as a bargain. The Leki Makalu series earned an Editors' Choice Gold Award in 2004, and the editors say that recent upgrades, including an improved anti-shock system, make the Leki Super Makalu Cor-Tec PA SAS-L even better.
Hiking / Trekking / Walking with Poles
by Jayah Faye Paley
Our AssessmentThis entire site is about trekking poles, with information from trekking-pole gurus Jayah Faye Paley and her husband, who've taught hundreds of hikers to use trekking poles correctly in workshops around the United States. They've also produced an award-winning instructional DVD. They recommend and sell a number of trekking poles, mostly made by Leki.
Reviews: Trekking Poles
by Contributors to BackpackGearTest.org
Our AssessmentThe reviews of trekking poles and hiking staffs here are much more complete and detailed than at most review sites, with reports often done in three stages: initial, field and long-term. To enroll as reviewers, people have to be active hikers or campers, meet certain qualifications and state their experience as part of their reviews. Most users like the Black Diamond poles with FlickLocks (Black Diamond's patented locking system for adjusting pole length), though a few have trouble with the binary lock (a push-in lock for the bottom section of the pole). Some reviewers say the grip can be uncomfortably large for small hands. The ultralight Gossamer Gear trekking poles get praise for their light weight, but can break, while Leki trekking poles get consistent praise on all counts.
Poles, staffs offer power, stability -- and they're lightweight, too
by Dan A. Nelson
Our AssessmentThe author of this review is a regular contributor to Backpacking magazine, and author of several outdoor guides. The recommendations here are based on his testing, but comparisons with other trekking poles, if any, aren't made clear. He says the top-of-the-line Leki Ultralite Ti Air Ergo trekking poles are well worth their price, praising the positive-angle ergonomic grip and the secure, reliable length adjustment. He notes, though, that the rubberized grips can get slippery with sweat. For the best hiking staff, he recommends the REI Four Winds Travel Staff, which adjusts in length from 21 to 51 inches, with a long foam grip and a camera mount.
by Allen Pierleoni
Our AssessmentThis is an excellent article extolling the virtues of trekking poles as knee-saving devices that shift hikers' weight to their core, reducing pressure on the lower joints. The author says trekking poles are rising in popularity as the Nordic walking trend is catching on in the U.S and as folks with disabilities such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease find them useful not to mention their popularity among hikers. Of many brands mentioned, Black Diamonds are singled out due to their FlickLock system. However, this is not a detailed comparison review.
by Darren Scruggs
Our AssessmentStaffers at GearReview.com test five trekking poles, evaluating each pair for adjustability, adjustment range, packed length, lateral strength, hand-grip composition, grip angle, baskets, tips and anti-shock effect. The top rating goes to the Leki Super Makalu Cor-Tec A/S PA (Anti-Shock Positive-Angle) trekking poles, which have three levels of anti-shock action. Second place goes to the Life-Link Variant 3 A/S. Though it is undated, we know this review has not been updated in at least three years.
Top 10 Fitness Walking Poles
by Wendy Bumgardner
Our AssessmentThis brief article by About.com's Guide to Walking explains fitness or "Nordic" walking and recommends ten models of trekking poles. However, Bumgardner only reviews three of them. Still, the information is helpful. The top model is the Leki Traveller Fitness Walking Pole, which is collapsible down to 26 inches for easy travel. The Leki's Supreme Fitness Walking Poles and VIP Very Important Ski Walking Fitness Poles are also reviewed, although she qualifies the latter pick by saying its gloves don't detach from the poles as they do with other brands. (Note ConsumerSearch and About.com are owned by the same parent company, but are not affiliated editorially.)
"I Need Trekking Poles!"
by Contributors to Backpacker.com
Our AssessmentThese are short postings in the website's forum by users who comment on trekking poles. These are in narrative form so require some wading through, but they are among the most recent recommendations we found. Black Diamond emerges as the clear favorite among users.
Exel Nordic Walking Poles
by Editors of Diet and Fitness Resources
Our AssessmentThis British website has a good explanation of Nordic walking with a helpful sizing chart for poles, although it doesn't rate or compare brands. It mentions only one brand, Exel, and includes a link to the company's website that details proper Nordic walking technique.
by Contributors to Trailspace.com
Our AssessmentUsers post reviews and ratings of trekking poles here. This is one of the most convenient sites to check, since you can sort the list by average rating, and the list shows the number of reviews on which the rating is based. You can also filter the list by brand, or sort the list by price. Many brands have just one review, but others have several. The highest-rated poles with more than one review are the Black Diamond Spire; users praise its quick, no-fail locking system.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com offers the best searching functions by price, popularity, rating, brand - and its widespread appeal makes it a great place to detect trends and best-sellers. The Swiss Gear Hiking Pole is a very popular pole commonly used as a walking stick or cane. The price is low but some users warn that the carbide tips easily fall off.
Are trekking poles just one more thing to carry?
by Douglas Gantenbein, aka the GearGuy
Our AssessmentSeveral question-and-answer discussions in Outside magazine's online gear-review column cover trekking poles. In this article, the columnist recommends the REI Summit trekking poles as a fine budget choice, the Black Diamond Contour poles as a mid-priced pair and the Leki Super Makalu Cor-Tec, with cork handles and shock absorbers, as a luxury choice. Another article reiterates the value of the Black Diamond FlickLock mechanism for locking pole-length adjustment, since it's easy to use even with gloved hands. The 2007 Buyer's Guide names the Black Diamond Spire as a "Killer Value."
The Walking Stick: Hiking Poles & Walking Sticks & Staffs
by Editors of Backpacking.net
Our AssessmentThis article is more a guide to using hiking sticks and trekking poles than a review of specific models, but the author, an experienced hiker, does make two recommendations. For hiking on moderate terrain he prefers a homemade long wooden hiking staff (he also provides simple directions for making one). Most often, though, he carries Black Diamond carbon-fiber hiking poles that weigh only about 15.5 ounces a pair, with three sections that can adjust in length from 26 to 55 inches.
Our AssessmentThis site lets you sort a list of poles not only by average rating, but also by number of reviews -- thus skipping the models reviewed only by one or two people. The site is helpful, but its utility is weakened by the fact that most reviews on this site were written before 2003.
by Contributors to BackCountry.com
Our AssessmentWe found only a handful of reviews here, but this site might be worth a visit once you've narrowed your choices. Black Diamond's Spire and Trail trekking poles are praised for their FlickLock systems and lightweight design. Though it only has one review, the Black Diamond Alpine CF poles are recommended for the pole's design rigid with a great shape and extended hand grips.
by Contributors to Altrec.com
Our AssessmentWhile other models are listed, this retail site features just a few reviews of one model of poles the Leki Wanderfreud Single Pole (*est. $50). Most reviewers used it as a cane. They like the stability it gives them and its carbide tip.
by Contributors to TheBackpacker.com
Our AssessmentThere are a few reviews of poles here, but no way to easily sort them and most are fairly old. The search term "trekking poles" on the site brings up only nine models of poles, followed by other related items.
Revolutionary Gear Eased Burdens of Hiking
by Leonard Adkins
Our AssessmentThis isn't an article on poles per se, but it's written by an experienced outdoorsman who wraps up a piece on trendy equipment with an interesting postlude: He issues an "environmental plea" for hikers to use rubber feet on their trekking poles because metal tips are damaging pathways. His preferred poles are Black Diamond Enduro CF.