No matter if you are hiking or backpacking, stability and support are of the utmost importance out on the trail. One wrong step and a nasty ankle injury could even put your life in danger if you get stranded in the wild. So, trekking poles are a must-have.
With that said, it’s crucial to understand that these handy pieces of equipment come in all shapes and sizes. Thus, it is essential to choose the right option, and that is why we wanted to present you with the best trekking poles on the market. We evaluated and examined the top-rated models to save you the time and allow you to get back on the trail as soon as possible.
So, without further ado, here are the top five trekking poles in 2020:
LEKI Makalu Lite
We always like to start our lists strong, and we’ll use the same approach on this occasion. The LEKI Makalu Lite is a top-tier model, and thousands of these trekking poles are currently in use worldwide. Of course, this should not come as a surprise, given the fact that LEKI is a prestigious German brand. We all know those tales about the legendary German quality, and this manufacturer strives for excellence with each product.
In essence, the LEKI Makalu Lite is a classic model that provides impeccable performances for all types of terrain. Believe it or not, the first generation of Makalu stepped onto the scene back in 1974. Over the years, these trekking poles have evolved into sophisticated and reliable outdoor gear.
For example, Makalu Lite comes with HTS 6.5 aluminum shafts, which are durable and robust. The telescopic pole also comes equipped with Speed Lock 2 Adjustment System. This advanced technology will let you adjust the length without any hassle. No tools required. On top of that, LEKI Makalu Lite includes the so-called AERGON Thermo Grip. In short, this type of edgeless grip provides outstanding comfort while allowing the poles to stay ultralight.
All told, it’s not surprising to see the LEKI Makalu Lite at the sides of so many climbers and hikers. Even so, this is only the first model in our list, so stay with us to see what more we have in store.
Black Diamond Distance Z
We started with high-end trekking poles, so now it’s time for something budget-friendly. Of course, we never compromise with quality, and Black Diamond Distance Z is also an award-winning model.
Unlike most trekking poles out there, the Distance Z is a fixed-length type. What this means is that you can fold these poles in three segments, but you cannot modify the overall length. Once the sections are in place, the Distance Z is ready for adventure. What’s more, these trekking poles come with a lightning-fast deployment. The inner Kevlar cord is in charge of this feature, and it tightens when you unfold the segments. All the while, the 7075 aluminum shafts remain as light as a feather.
In essence, the letter Z in the name of these trekking poles comes from the shape in which they collapse. Once folded, Black Diamond Distance Z will fit nicely into any backpack. That is why this model is one of the most popular options on the market.
As if that’s not enough, Distance Z comes equipped with optimized joint support as well as Velcro straps. Also, EVA foam allows for a comfortable grip. On the other side of the spectrum, interchangeable carbide tips are compatible with snow baskets and other accessories that can help with all-day hiking or trail running.
Trekology Trek-Z Nordic
As a startup from Portland, Oregon, Trekology is not as widely known as LEKI or similar brands. Nonetheless, the products from this American company are always well-built, and the Trekology Trek-Z Nordic trekking poles are no exception.
Collapsible and versatile, the Trek-Z model is lighter than your average umbrella. At the same time, the aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum is built to last. In other words, these trekking poles can endure plenty of wear and tear while offering impressive performances out in the open. For instance, the shafts come with reinforced joints that boost stability and durability.
As we said, Trekology Trek-Z Nordic poles are collapsible. The system consists of 3 sections that can fold down to only 15 inches in length. Therefore, you will have no trouble placing these poles in the backpack when not in use. The innovative Flip Lock technology is easy to use, and it allows effortless adjustments without any extra tools. Of course, the name Trek-Z comes from the foldable shape of the poles.
On top of that, this model offers top-notch comfort and usability. Namely, the ergonomic cork grip is moisture-wicking and convenient. Underneath this area, you will also find an EVA foam sleeve that offers various grip positions. As expected, wrist straps are at your disposal as well. Likewise, Trekology Trek-Z Nordic trekking poles come equipped with tungsten carbide tips, but the range of options in this section is almost unlimited.
LEKI Legacy Lite
Even though we already talked about LEKI, we had to include one more of their models to the list of the best trekking poles. After all, LEKI Legacy Lite also boasts impeccable German craftsmanship. We didn’t expect anything less from a company that has more than 70 years of experience in the business.
So, the Legacy Lite is a durable and lightweight set of trekking gadgets that will support your weight, prevent injuries, and allow you to walk comfortably. The aluminum shafts are collapsible, and you can fold the segments by using the high-tech Speed Lock Plus system. This quick release technology is user-friendly and intuitive. You can even use it with gloves on, so no worries there.
The cork grip works in combo with an EVA foam sleeve to provide world-class comfort. The so-called thermo-foam performs well in all weather conditions. Of course, the use of cork is a nifty trick because this material is fast-drying and effective in moisture-wicking. LEKI Legacy Lite comes with carbide flex tips as a standard option. Later on, you can rotate the tips and baskets to suit the terrain you wish to conquer.
Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber
In the end, we wanted to provide you with an alternative to aluminum poles. We scoured the internet, and it seems that Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber trekking poles are among the cream of the crop when it comes to non-aluminum models.
The use of carbon fiber is making these poles somewhat more massive than the competition. Nevertheless, Cascade Mountain Tech is a renowned American brand that knows what it’s doing. In other words, their products are sturdy and well-built. For that reason, these trekking poles are perfect for hikers and backpackers who enjoy exploring rugged terrain.
To be precise, the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber trekking poles consist of three telescoping segments. By using the quick-lock levers, users can adjust the length and tighten the shafts. However, this model only collapses down to 26 inches in length, which is above the industry standard.
On the other hand, Cascade Mountain Tech did not cut corners on the use of premium materials on the handles of these poles. The cork grip is gently contoured, and it also comes with a rounded rubber top. Likewise, the wrist straps are padded and comfortable as well.