Walking poles got me back on my feet, and back hiking after a traumatic pregnancy left me with a ruined pelvis. So I can tell you straight off, hiking poles arent for professional hikers, old people or the infirm they are great for everyone…from 6 to 86!
A good set of trekking poles can give you stability, especially on uneven ground, protect your knees when coming down hills and give you power and endurance going uphills. Other added benefits are an improved posture (no stooping here), and that means you breathe better!
Our whole family have walking poles – My 6ft 8in hubby swears by his Black Diamond Distance Flz Trekking Poles, our little kids love their colourful FitTrek Kids Walking Poles, and I am a two-stick girl and use Leki Makalu Lite Walking Pole Pair. These are our best walking poles for hikes, treks and walks but don’t take our word for it. Check out our list of the 10 best walking poles.
From heaps of customer feedback and personal testing, we bring you our ten best walking poles buys, ranging from budget walking poles to Nordic Walking poles to an actual wood walking stick!
Need help choosing the perfect walking poles for you, then check out our in-depth walking poles buyers guide here.
Buyer’s Guide to the Best Walking Poles
Irrespective of the types of terrain you want to go walking, hiking, trekking, or backpacking, finding the best walking poles can help. They provide you with stability while going uphill and downhill. They’re also crafted to take the weight and impact off your knees, reducing your injury chances.
However, with several types and varieties of walking sticks available today, let’s look at the best walking poles you can buy first. After this, our buyer’s guide will discuss the factors you must consider to buy your perfect walking poles.
Best Walking Poles Types
Nordic walking poles: Nordic walking is a type of enhanced walking. Its goal is to involve your upper body muscles to add greater intensity to your exercise level. At the same time, it decreases the impact on your legs compared with running.
Unlike regular walker’s poles, Nordic walking sticks differ in one key area – the grips and straps. The straps of Nordic walking poles typically stay wrapped snugly around your hands. They also offer a sturdy grip to keep your hands in place and quickly swing the sticks.
Using Nordic hiking poles, you can activate all the muscles of your upper body and those in your legs. This way, you can combine a vigorous muscle workout with cardiovascular exercise.
Wooden walking poles: Wooden walking sticks can be made from ash wood, blackthorn wood, beechwood, chestnut wood, or hazelwood. These wonderful and natural walking sticks aren’t just practical and look good.
Depending on the type of wood, these walking and hiking sticks have different advantages. For instance, wooden walking sticks made from beechwood are wear-resistant, hardy, and strong. They also have excellent bending capabilities.
Those made from ash wood are incredibly resilient and tough. If you’re looking for functionality with unusual colouring and texture, hazelwood walker’s poles would be ideal. These traditional products are believed to protect you against evil spirits as well. Chestnut walking sticks are durable, while blackthorn hiking sticks are hardwearing and tough.
Carved walking poles: Whether a novice or a pro hiker, carved walking sticks can add some oomph to your walks and hikes. Apart from being functional, they’re typically personalised to some extent and pleasing to look at. Whether you want to ease yourself in as a beginner or push your capabilities as a pro, these walking sticks can help.
Carbon walking poles: These hiking sticks are usually made of carbon fibre. They’re highly durable and lightweight. These heavy-duty walking poles are ideal for carrying heavy loads over challenging terrains.
Aluminium walking poles: Are you a regular walker looking for lightweight hike sticks? Do you enjoy long days in the hills and mountains? If yes, try ultra-light aluminium trekking poles like the TheFitLife Carbon Fibre Trekking Poles. Apart from their lighter load, they’re robust, easy to swing, and have comfy handles. You can even find some compact folding walking sticks if you need easy packability.
Z-poles: If you plan hiking with walking sticks and need easy packability, Z-shaped walking sticks are your ideal bet. These walking poles fold into thirds and collapse automatically to a very compact size. This makes it easier to stow them in your trekking rucksack.
Telescopic poles: This is another good option for easy packing. These walker poles slide into themselves like a telescope, making them easy to pack and carry along. Though they’re cheaper than Z-poles, they’re less compact.
Single sticks for trekking: A single walking pole is enough unless you’re walking over loose scree with a heavy load on your back. For instance, you can buy this Black Diamond Walking Stick. You can get adequate stability and support from it. And having your other hand free can help pull out a GPS map, click a photo with your phone, or wipe the sweat off your brow.