Updated on: April 14, 2017
Some years ago, you would barely see hiking sticks anywhere. They’ve become more and more popular and hiking sticks are used even by trippers.
Hiking sticks have a great influence on your balance on uneven ground and save your energy as you go up/down your trails. They seem to be able to also lower the impact force by up to 40% on your knees. And this means so much when you’re heavily backpacking.
Why even use hiking sticks?
There are many reasons for which we find the hiking sticks useful. For instance, you can also use them the deflect backcountry nuisances. They give you rhythm and ensure stability on a muddy, slippery surface.
You can also get more information on your trails. Hiking sticks can give you some hints on a puddle, some melting snow bridges or quicksand.
Hiking relates also to bigger chances of meeting some wild animals, so hiking sticks may become a defending tool. A simple swing overhead might be enough for you to look bigger in front of your “enemy”. And, if this doesn’t work, you can always throw it like a spear.
If your load becomes too heavy, you can use the hiking sticks to alleviate some of that load.
And, let’s not forget that hiking sticks may easily become the tent poles for a shelter when in need. As they are tough and more rigid than typical tent poles, the hiking sticks stand better on a very windy day.
What makes good quality hiking sticks?
Even though twist lock hiking sticks are quite common, it seems that the ones with lever lock action have a longer life span and are in fact easier and faster to adjust. So go for this type if you have the chance to choose.
When we talk about the design on the hiking sticks, there are three major designs: two section telescoping, three section telescoping and folding/tent versions.
The two section hiking sticks are tough and stiff and address for activities like skiing, snowshoeing or…if you simply like very hard hiking sticks. They are not packable and they are a bit difficult to travel with as they don’t shrink down as short a you’d want. As they are strong, they are also heavy weight, which seems to be a good thing for some hikers.
The most popular hiking sticks are the three section telescoping sticks. They are compact and all three section options may be strapped to a backpack or easily fit in a medium sized suitcase. This design is typically lighter than the two section design, but way less powerful than the previous type. They are a great choice for hiking, trekking, mountaineering or climbing.
The folding, “tent pole” design is very new and gives the lightest and most compact sticks on the market at the moment. They are not durable but can take your hiking on medium trails.
When we talk about material on hiking sticks, we mention aluminum and carbon fiber as the most popular materials. Carbon is light, stiff and strong, but it damages for good from an impact. Aluminum might be heavier, but it’s more resistant to shock, which makes it better for your hiking trips.
Keep in mind to take a look at the size of the baskets as they are not interchangeable and fit various activities. A large basket is good for the snow, for instance.
You want hiking sticks with shock absorbency abilities (thanks to its padding) and good, ergonomic grip. Cork grips are popular as they give a perfect fit, but rubber grips don’t absorb any water. A foam grip feels warm, whereas a rubber grip is heavy.
There are many things to consider when you go shopping for hiking sticks. Pack ability, grip, weight, comfort, versatility count and it’s up to you, your needs and abilities to make the final call.
The Top 5 Hiking Stick Reviews
Strong, versatile and providing good stability, the Alpine Summit Trekking Poles are a good choice as your new hiking sticks for many reasons.
The sticks are lightweight and low impact. They are made with aerospace-grade 7075 aluminum. They are able to reduce with 30 % impacts so the hikes are more comfortable and not that difficult for your joints.
The hiking sticks are adjustable height telescopic poles and they can go from 25.5 inches to 53 inches. The flip lock height adjustment is efficient and the sticks fit any height.
The hiking sticks are gender neutral so you don’t need to worry on this part. They look nice, with shiny black and green camouflage.
The cork handles are ergonomically designed for more secure grip. They all-day sweat-absorbing and feature adjustable hand-straps so that you can hold better the sticks.
The tungsten-tipped ends make the sticks good for any kind of terrain and the removable rubber ferrules, along with the mud/snow baskets are useful and efficient.
The sticks are very well made and give you stability on all types of terrains. They are easy to store and to travel with.
Let’s make a very short list of pros:
- The hiking sticks are made of aero-space grade aluminum
- The sticks are tough, lightweight and shock-absorbent
- The sticks are gender neutral and highly versatile
- The sticks give you stability and are easy to store and to carry around
When it comes to the cons, there are only few minor things to mention:
- You need to lock clamp so it doesn’t accidentally open when hiking in tall grass
- The colors differ a bit from pictures
As you can see, the cons are way to less important to count on the overall quality of the hiking sticks and they are a great choice for any hiker, woman or men.
Fully collapsible and easy to travel with, the Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles bring stability and comfort for your hikes, no matter the type of your trails.
The sticks are made of tough Aluminum 7075 so they are strong, able to take shocks and long lasting at the same time.
The adjustable bolts make the stick fit any height and you can easily and fast lengthen the poles from 24” to 53”.
The hiking sticks come with nylon straps that keeps them secure to your hands.
The sticks are lightweight, yet strong and dependable. The comprising tungsten tips and the EVA foam handles are useful features. The sticks have a good grip, that doesn’t wick moisture and doesn’t slip. As the grip extends down the pole, it’s easy to adjust the grip for the hiking uphill.
The bottom traction is efficient and the sticks are very sturdy. They are well thought out and have a durable build. And, they also look very good.
Fully collapsible, the hiking sticks are easy to pack and to travel with.
Let’s pinpoint the main pros:
- The sticks are made of strong 7075 Aluminum
- The sticks are lightweight, yet tough and reliable
- The sticks are fully collapsible and easy to pack in your suitcase
- The sticks have a good grip and give reliable stability
The list of cons is rather short:
- The sticks have no anti-shock system
- The poles have a small vibration when touching the ground
Despite the minor issues, the hiking sticks are still lightweight, strong and reliable poles to take when hiking.
if you go for the classical look on your hiking sticks, the Leki Makalu Retro Trekking Poles is a good option as they are so much more than looks. The sticks are made of 7075 Aluminum shafts so they are strong and reliable, no matter the difficulty of your trail.
The Super Lock system is very strong so the sticks don’t open accidentally.
The Pas Cor-Tec grip material consists of 80% natural ground cork and 20% plastic. The grip is comfortable and doesn’t soak in moisture and the handles are long lasting.
The straps keep the sticks safely tight on your wrists and they are not bulky or over-sized. They are lined with wicking material that dries fast, providing more comfort.
The sticks extend easily and quick from 25” to 57”. The Carbide Flextip are concave and give secure hold on all types of surfaces. The whole tip Ferrule is replaceable.
The Interchangeable basket system gives you the chance to easily thread on and off. You can customize the sticks for all seasons as the baskets come in various sizes. You also get the trekking baskets with the sticks.
The most important pros would be:
- The sticks are made of tough 7075 Aluminum
- The sticks are sturdy, reliable and strong
- The grip is good and the straps keep the sticks tight
- The stability is reliable in all types of trails
As for the cons, we have none at the moment.
Classical looking, the sticks are reliable, versatile, strong and easy to use.
If you go for the natural cork grip on your hiking sticks, a good pair of hiking sticks to try is the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles.
The sticks are made with 100% Carbon fiber and are tough and lightweight at the same time. The 3 compact carbon shafts feature dual Flick Lock pro adjusters and a natural cork grip
The sticks come with cork handles that ensure good, sturdy grip even on wet hands. The dual-density top and the 360-degree Nubuck straps safely secure the sticks to your hands so you don’t drop them when hiking. The straps have also padding for more comfort on the grip. The non-slip EVA foam extension is efficient and dependable.
The sticks are left and right hand specific for improved comfort. The Tech Tips are interchangeable and you can use rubber Tech Tips instead.
You can use two sets of baskets for trail or snow activities. The sticks are easy to extend from 25” to 51”. They pack to 25” and are not difficult to store.
The sticks are lightweight, comfortable and versatile. They sustain all season hike and all types of trails. They give a god range of eight and pack pretty compact.
Let’s make a very short list of pros:
- The sticks are strong, yet lightweight
- The sticks are versatile and go all seasons and types of trails
- The sticks have a comfortable, dependable cork grip
- The sticks provide stability and improve your hiking experience
As for the cons, there aren’t many:
- The shock-absorbency could be improved
- The wrist straps are not that tight
As they are versatile, comfortable, lightweight and strong, the sticks make a good investment anytime.
Lightweight and great to travel with, the Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles are a dependable option for many types of hiking.
The sticks are made of 100% HM Carbon shaft which makes them strong and long lasting at the same time.
The Aergon Thermo Extended grip is sturdy and reliable and the sticks don’t slip even when you have sweaty hands.
The Air-textured strap wicks and dries fast and keeps the sticks safe and secure to your hands. The sticks extend easily from 43” to 51”. They pack very small (15”) and are very easy to carry around.
As they feature carbon fiber shaft and are fully collapsible, the sticks weigh very little. The push button and internal spring system offers quick assemble. The Speed Lock 2system is tough and ensures easy length adjustment, even when wearing thick gloves.
The rubber tips ensure stability and the sticks are highly functional. The crown of the grip is comfortable and sticks are well balanced.
The sticks are sold as a pair and come in a practical nylon carrying bag.
Let’s make short list of pros:
- The sticks are made of HM Carbon shaft
- The sticks are tough, yet lightweight and long lasting
- The sticks pack very small and they are very easy to carry in their nylon carrying bag
- The sticks have a good grip and give stability in various situations
As for the cons, the list is also very short:
- The stability isn’t very reliable in the snow
- The sticks might not be as tough as you’d want
All in all, for many hiking situations, the sticks are an option to consider.
Best hiking sticks for the money/best value
For a fair price you can get good quality hiking sticks that present many good things and features. The Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles are strong and great when it comes to shock-absorbency.
The sticks come with dual-density grip and 360-degree padded webbing strap. The straps are left/right hand specific for better comfort. The grip is sturdy and comfortable, no matter how difficult your trails get.
The non-slip foam grip extension is efficient. The Control Shock Technology is functional and the stick bring great relief to your joints and knees.
The double Flick Lock Pro is reliable and the sticks don’t open by accident. The carbide Tech tips are interchangeable and the trekking baskets have a low profile.
The three piece sticks are collapsible to 26” so they are easy to pack and travel with. They are easy to adjust and provide progressive four-stage shock absorption.
The sticks have a good build and are well thought out. They look nice and provide great balance.
Let’s sum it all up and highlight the main pros:
- The sticks are strong and easy to adjust
- The sticks are great for shock-absorbency and give good stability
- The grip is sturdy and straps are hand specific
- The sticks have a good build and are made to last
When it comes to the cons, we only have few:
- The rubber tips and powder baskets are sold separately
- The mud baskets are rather small and attached high
- The sticks are not in the lightweight area
The cons don’t minimize the overall quality of the sticks that are strong, reliable and amazing when it comes to shock-absorbency.
Best cheap/budget hiking sticks
When you’re short on the money but still want good performant hiking sticks, give it a try with the Compact Foldable Trekking Pole by Sterling Endurance. The sticks have a good weight and are easy to adjust for height.
They pack very small and compact to 13.5” so they are great to take when travelling.
The sticks are made of aircraft 7075-T6 aluminum alloy so are strong and quite long lasting.
The handle is comfortable and with sturdy grip. The wrist straps keep the sticks secure and safe to your hands. The straps are wide, thick and highly breathable. They absorb sweat and keep your hands cozy when hiking.
The Tungsten steel tip is tough and the sticks can take the challenging trails.
The sticks pack very compact and are very easy to store.
Let’s make a short list of pros:
- The sticks are pretty strong and durable
- The sticks pack very small and compact and are easy to travel with
- The sticks have long, comfortable handles and wide, thick wrist straps
- The sticks give stability on many trails
As for the cons, the list isn’t that long:
- The sticks aren’t very reliable on mud/wet trails
- The sticks might wear out faster if used constantly on tough trails
All in all, for the little money you pay, the sticks bring stability, comfort for many hiking experiences.
Best hiking sticks brands
One of the best brands out there when it comes to hiking sticks is Leki. The manufacturer is able to create good, reliable, lightweight, yet tough hiking sticks like the Leki Corklite Trekking Poles.
The Leki Corklite Trekking Poles have aluminum shaft Speedlock 2 Lock system for a safe and secure use and give a compact grip. The sticks include the SAS-L anti-shock on the lower section for great versatility. The high-grade aluminum used on the sticks gives them strength and lowers the weight on the same time.
The three section shafts adjust from 25” to 53” and the grip is made of natural, ground cork, along with natural rubber for comfort and longer life span. The sticks feature also automatic comfort straps and Carbide Flextips. They come with interchangeable basket system and various sized basket option for customizing the poles to according to your needs.
Black Diamond is another brand that manages to create reliable hiking sticks for all kinds of budgets, without minimizing the performance. The Ultra Mountain Carbon Trekking Poles comes with lightweight construction and Z-pole compatibility. The sticks are made of 100% Carbon fiber, which means they are tough and lightweight, at the same time.
The 3-section Z-pole folding design features fast cone deployment and an EVA foam grip. The wrist straps are breathable and moisture-wicking.
The sticks come with rubber tips, 60 mm trekking baskets and compactor powder baskets also.
It’s easy to travel around with the sticks as they pack small and deploy instantly.
Best lightweight hiking sticks
Lightweight, yet made to last forever, the MSR Talus TR3 Trekking Poles are a great investment for any dedicated hiker.
The sticks are made of aerospace-grade aluminum which makes them lightweight, strong and long lasting.
The trigger release one-handed adjustment is efficient and well thought-out. You can easily adjust the height you need, on a specific trail/
The SureLock System is a positive-locking mechanism that is reliable and eliminates the risks for slippage.
The sticks present an ergonomic grip that fits a great variety of hand sizes. The straps are breathable and wicks moisture on a warm day.
The adjustment mechanism has a low profile and minimizes shaft weight for an easier swing.
The sticks are great for hiking, mountaineering, trekking as they are lightweight, strong and easy to adjust.
The three-section shat makes the sticks easy to pack and to travel around with also. the workmanship is top notch and the tips are tough as nails. You can easily and safely use the sticks to build up a tent also.
Built as a rock, the sticks are tough, despite their low weight.
Let’s highlight the most important pros:
- The sticks are lightweight, yet tough and long lasting
- The sticks adjust easily and pack small
- You can use them as pole tents also
- The workmanship is amazing the sticks are made to last forever
When it comes to the parts we like less, there aren’t many things to mention:
- The handle is not cork, which might be a downside for some
- The release is not as quick as you’d think
As these are too minor to count when we see the whole picture, the sticks are an amazing lightweight, strong and durable option to consider.
Best hiking sticks monopod
The most important things you want from your hiking stick monopod is stability and comfortable use. The Vanguard VEO CM-264 Carbon Fiber Monopod is a reliable monopod that ensures stability in all kinds of situations.
The monopod is compact and s made of Carbon fiber, which gives t strength and durability.
The multifunctional hiking monopod may be used also for photo, video and for gaining stability when walking/trekking.
The 4 section 64” carbon fiber leg features strong flip leg locks for the best load capacity. It’s 69” with ball head altogether.
The monopod has a soft rubber handle that gives a safe and cozy grip, no matter how sweaty your hand gets, no matter the weather conditions.
The anti-slip ball-type convertible rubber on spiked foot is functional and efficient.
When we talk about the technical info, along with the extended height (63”), we see a folded height of 21.3” and a maximum load capacity of 13.2 pounds.
The monopod packs easy and is cozy to take around. The ball locks well and the monopod is rather lightweight.
Let’s make a short list of pros:
- The monopod is made of Carbon fiber
- The monopod is versatile, lightweight, yet strong and long lasting
- The monopod has good stability and a good load capacity
- The monopod packs easy and is comfortable to take around
When we talk about the cons, there aren’t many to remind:
- The paint on the monopod tends to wear off after a while
- Some needed time to get used to using the monopod
But, when in need for a strong, versatile, lightweight and durable hiking monopod, this is fair option to consider.
Best hiking sticks made of wood
For the hiker that really likes wood and wants wood hiking sticks, the Generic 55″ Take-Apart Wood Walking Hiking Stick Pole is a reliable, long lasting choice.
The full-size hiking stick is easy to pack and travel with as it weighs only 16 oz.
The design on the stick is well thought out and the stick consists of three 18” sections with hardened steel threaded inserts. It’s easy to assembly the parts.
The rubber tip is reinforced and removable so that you can use steel spike on ice or rocky trails. The stick features also a wrist lanyard for easier handling and secure use.
The stick has a rubberized grip that is safe and sturdy, no matter the weather conditions.
The stick is made of tough and light natural Bianbai wood. The Bianbai wood has a dense fiber structure that combines the power of hardwood with the low weight of bamboo. Each stick has a one-of-a-kind flora hand-carving. The finish is high quality and weatherproof also.
The nylon-canvas, water-resistant case with rip&stick flap makes it easy to carry the stick. The loop for backpack strap is also a useful and functional feature.
The rubber tip ensures non-slip platform and expands the life span on the stick.
Let’s pinpoint the main pros:
- The stick is made of Binbai wood, which is strong, yet lightweight
- The stick is made of three sections, easy to assemble
- The stick is durable and gives reliable stability
- The grip is good and the stick is easy to travel with
When it comes to the cons, we have few:
- You need to pay attention when assembling the stick as you don’t want to ruin it
- The stick is not quite on the low end side
But, if you want the comfort, durability and reliability of a wood hiking stick, this sure fits the description.