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Fad workouts and expensive gym memberships can make working out feel overwhelming, but one of the best and most affordable ways to get fit is by walking. It can be done just about anywhere, including outside in the fresh air. Walking can be performed regardless of age or ability, and minimal equipment is required. You can even do it barefoot, although we don’t recommend hitting the trails without shoes.
If walking leads to hiking or if you have stability issues, adding trekking poles to your workout can help reduce the impact on joints and prevent injuries. Trekking poles help to provide a point of stability and bring hands mid-chest, which can improve circulation.
Unlike hiking staffs, which are sold in single units and designed for flat terrain, trekking poles are sold in pairs and are better designed for use with heavy backpack loads and steep or uneven terrain. The trekking poles included on our list are telescopic and can be easily adjusted, which is important not only to fit a users’ height but to adjust depending on the altitude (poles should be shortened when hiking uphill and lengthened for downhill).
If you’re ready to hit your daily step goals and want to get outside, check out our list of the best trekking poles below.
1. TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
For trekking poles that can stand up to rocky conditions, try the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles. The TrailBuddy poles are made from aircraft-grade aluminum and can withstand pressure and impact even on rocky and uneven ground. The TrainBuddy poles are one of the lightest aluminum poles available and come with interchangeable tips that are designed specifically for use on ice, mud or sand, paved and rocky surfaces and snow. The affordable set is available in a variety of colors and comes with a carrying bag, two pairs of rubber tips, one pair of connectors, a mud basket and a snow basket for light snowshoeing. The telescopic poles can be adjusted from 24.5 inches to 54 inches high. We like that the TrailBuddy poles are available in eight color options, making it easy to distinguish between poles when in a large group.
Pros: The handles on the TrailBuddy poles are wrapped in cork, which is naturally moisture-wicking and keeps hands comfortable in both hot and cold weather.
Cons: The tips can sometimes loosen or fall off completely when walking.
2. Foxelli Trekking Poles
Foxelli’s trekking poles are made of 100% carbon fiber materials, a substance known for being lightweight and durable at the same time. Each pole only weighs 7.6 ounces, so you can move faster and climb quicker while using less energy. Carbon fiber is also known for being shock-absorbent and minimizes the impact on your joints greatly. These poles are equipped with quick-lock technology that’s easy to adjust and stays in place. They also have anti-slip cork grips that absorb sweat and moisture, and the adjustable wrist straps make sure your poles don’t drop.
Pros: Lightweight carbon fiber that’s durable enough to withstand tough conditions, easily adjustable poles, cork grips that absorb sweat and an included carrying case.
Cons: The hand grips might be too narrow for folks with arthritis.
3. Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Adjustable Trekking Poles
These trekking poles are made with extra-long handles for consistent comfort, regardless of your grip position. The standout feature is the cork grip, which is a natural material you may best associate with wine bottles — the cork grips are comfortable, moisture-wicking and have enough give without being squishy. The quick-lock feature makes the telescoping pole very easy to adjust, and a variety of tips are included to suit different conditions including mud and snow. Plus, a carrying bag is included.
Pros: Comfortable cork grip with an extended EVA handle if you want to grip it lower. Variety of tips included for different ground conditions. Stylish patterned aluminum handle.
Cons: Cork can wear down over time.
4. TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Poles
Reduce the impact of hiking and walking on your joints by using TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Poles. The poles are anti-shock and absorb impact to give users a more comfortable walking experience. The lightweight poles are made from aviation-grade aluminum and are designed with extra-long EVA-foam handles that are comfortable and help to wick away moisture. The quick-lock system makes it easy to extend and collapse the poles between 26 inches and 53 inches high. The poles come with a carrying case, which can also hold the two clips, two mud baskets, two snow baskets, two walking caps and four rubber tips that enable the poles to be used on any terrain. TheFitLife poles are available in five colors, including blue, purple and red, which are bright and highly visible.
Pros: TheFitLife poles come with an e-guide to help users understand how to use their poles.
Cons: At a 53-inch max extension, TheFitLife are the shortest poles on our list and the least suited for taller hikers. The hard plastic handle is not as comfortable as poles that use cork on their handles. The tips can come off during reasonable use.
5. TREKOLOGY Trek-Z Trekking Hiking Pole
While many options on this list have a telescoping design, this set from Trekology is collapsible, making them even more compact when not in use. The grip is made from durable EVA foam with a faux-cork look. The adjustable wrist straps prevent the poles from falling if your grip slips, without digging into your wrists. Plus, multiple tips are included to suit a variety of terrains ranging from snow or mud to rocky gravel. The poles are ultra-lightweight to reduce your load.
Pros: Lightweight design with a collapsible handle for compact carrying. Multiple feet included for handling different terrains.
Cons: The collapsible handle doesn’t telescope, so the length is not adjustable. That means you’ll need to choose the right size from the listing. Handle is not genuine cork, but EVA.
6. Bafx Products Adjustable Anti-Shock Aluminum Hiking Poles
For beginner and intermediate hikers, the Bafx Products Adjustable Anti-Shock Aluminum Hiking Poles aid when navigating flat, rocky and uneven terrain. The poles are designed with an anti-shock feature that helps to absorb impact and provide a more comfortable walk for users. The ergonomically designed handles have strips of cork for comfort and are easy to grip, with a wrist strap keeping them secure to the user. Each pole comes with two rubber tips for pavement and two spare tips for sand and snow, plus a carbide tip for gravel and ice that is built into each pole.
Pros: The Bafx can be adjusted to comfortably fit users between 3’6” and 6’4” and are ideal for taller hikers.
Cons: The Bafx poles weight 12.4 ounces each and are one of the heaviest poles on our list. The lock feature can be difficult to twist when wearing gloves or in wet conditions.
7. Covacure Trekking Poles
Covacure’s trekking poles are another good option for anyone who’s looking for a small and convenient option. These trekking poles easily fold inward for convenient carrying when not in use, and the convenient flip-lock makes it easy to secure and disassemble the poles. Multiple tips are included, making these trekking poles well-suited to different terrains. Not only are they collapsible, but they also have an extending portion to adjust to different heights.
Pros: Collapsible design with a telescoping portion to suit different heights. Multiple tips included for different terrains.
Cons: Rubber tips could be more durable.