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Best Trekking Poles 2021

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Best Hiking Poles Gear Review

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You may be tempted to think that trekking poles aren’t an essential when you’re out on the trail. Perhaps you think they add unnecessary weight to your pack but there is a reason that thru hikers love hiking poles.

There are many benefits to taking a pair of hiking poles with you on your hike. Not only can they remove the strain from your ankles, hips, and knees when thru hiking long distances or heading downhill, but they also give you greater stability over tricky terrain.

But how can you find the best lightweight trekking poles? Not to worry, I’ve done all the hard work for you! I’ve researched and reviewed lots of the best trekking poles for backpacking to find you the best of the best.

All of the models I’ve selected are from reputable brands and have been designed to be as lightweight as possible. So let’s take a look at the 10 Best Lightweight trekking poles.


Lightweight Trekking Pole Review

The best lightweight trekking poles are:

Keep reading the review below to learn what is best trekking poles of 2021.


Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

Gear Testing the Leki Micro Vario Carbon on the CDT

The Leki Micro Vario Carbon hiking poles are just the thing to invest in if you’re serious about your hiking. Weighing only 240 grams per pole these lightweight hiking poles are one of the most popular among thru hikers.

These are one of the Best Trekking Poles for the Appalachian Trail and are the hiking poles I used when I thru hiked the Appalachian Trail.

They feature a hollow core carbon construction to save on weight, so you won’t have to worry about them weighing you down.

The Leki Micro Vario feature a security strap for you to attach to your wrist while walking. This helps you to maintain a good grip on the poles. You can easily adjust them to be more comfortable on your wrists, too.

Another great feature of these poles is the interchangeable basket system. This allows you to switch the baskets on or off for different seasons.

The Leki poles have been manufactured using a strong, durable carbon fiber. This gives you a more reliable performance when out on the trail.

Weight per pair– 1lb 0.9oz

Pros:

  • Carbon fiber – makes for a pair of ultralight trekking poles
  • Security strap – gives you better grip and are adjustable for your comfort
  • Interchangeable basket system – easily adjust your poles to suit the season

Cons:

  • Expensive – one of the priciest options available

Check Prices:


Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Trekking Poles

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z trekking poles are just the thing you need if you’re looking for a set of poles that are easy to pack away after use.

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z feature a foldable Z design to make them easy to store away in your backpack because of their small collapsed length. This also makes them easier to bring with you on hiking holidays.

These are one of the Best Trekking Poles for the Pacific Crest Trail. Their ultra lightweight and double use on the Best Trekking Pole Tents make these the best option for this long distance hiking trail.

The trekking pole is constructed using 100% carbon fiber shafts. This makes for a lightweight set of poles that won’t hold you back while you’re out on the trail. In fact each pole weighs less than 150g. That’s one of the most super lightweight trekking poles of 2021!

The handles of the Distance Z Poles have been completed with a lightweight EVA foam grip. There’s also a grip extension, as well as a moisture-wicking strap. The strap can be easily adjusted for your comfort, and will work to give you a better grip.

Weight per pair– 10 oz

Pros:

  • Collapsible – can easily be packed away while traveling
  • Lightweight – made using 100% carbon fiber shafts
  • Foam grip – more comfortable while walking for long distances

Cons:

  • Price – price can vary depending on the size you pick

Check Prices:


Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles

The Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork trekking poles are the perfect choice if you prefer poles that feature cork handles. These cork handles are soft to the touch, and offer you an ergonomic grip. And I must say, I am a big fan of the use of cork on the handles of trekking poles.

Cork grips mold to the grip of your hand over time, making them more comfortable. There’s also an EVA foam grip extension.

These particular Black Diamond Trail Ergo hiking poles come with a fusion comfort strap. This helps to give you premium support while out on the trail. They work to give you a better grip on the poles, as well as being more comfortable than competitive models.

You can easily adjust these trekking poles to suit your needs. They come with FlickLock adjustability, which makes them easier to adjust at a moment’s notice.

Weight per pair– 1lb 2oz

Pros:

  • Cork handles – molds to your hand shape over time for better comfort
  • Comfort strap– gives you premium support while out trekking
  • FlickLock adjustability – makes the trekking poles easier to adjust to your needs

Cons:

  • Price – costs a little more than standard trekking poles

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Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

These Cascade Mountain Tech carbon fiber trekking poles are wonderfully lightweight.

They feature a carbon fiber shaft that will be lightweight enough for your needs, while also being able to handle the pressure of hiking.

The 2×2 twill weave carbon fiber is stronger than normal carbon and works to suppress vibrations and noise.

You can easily adjust these trekking poles to your needs. They are extendable and come with a quick lock function.  You can easily adjust the height of the poles between 26” and 54” to suit the terrain.

These particular trekking poles come with a cork grip. This gives you superior comfort while out on the trail, and works to lower the vibrations as you walk. The cork will also wick away any sweat.

Pros:

  • Cork grips – more comfortable than foam and wicks away sweat
  • 2×2 twill carbon fiber – stronger than normal carbon and ultra lightweight
  • Extendable – choose between heights of 26” and 54” for your terrain

Cons:

  • Price – price varies depending on the size you choose

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Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles

The Cascade Mountain Tech aluminum trekking poles are a great choice if you’re looking for a more budget friendly option.

They are certainly one of the best budget trekking poles on the market right now. These particular poles are available at a much more affordable price than most of their carbon counterparts.

These Cascade Mountain Tech trekking poles feature cork grips and extended EVA foam grips. The cork makes for a more comfortable grip that will mold to your hand over time. The cork also wicks away moisture and works to lower vibrations as you walk.

Even though these trekking poles are manufactured using aluminum, they are still lightweight. Each pole weighs less than a pound, making them the perfect addition to your trekking adventure.

The aluminum shafts are also highly durable, which will be essential when hiking through frigid temperatures and across rocky terrain.

Pros:

  • Lightweight – each pole weighs less than a pound
  • Comfortable – features cork grips and extended EVA foam grips
  • Budget friendly – more affordable than some of the competitive models

Cons:

  • Cork covering – not as thick as some competitive models
  • Heavy – These are among some of the heaviest poles in this review

Check Prices:


Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon cork trekking poles are another fantastic choice if you want a set of lightweight poles.

These particular poles are manufactured using 100% carbon fiber, making for truly lightweight. So you won’t have to worry about these walking poles weighing you down when you’re out hiking.

Another handy feature of the The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork is that they come with cork grips. These are soft-touch ergonomic grips that will work to mold to your hand over time and are arguably the best grip material you can use. The hiking poles also come with an EVA foam grip extension for maximum comfort.

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon poles come with a solution strap to give you a premium performance. This works to improve your grip on the poles when you use them. You can also adjust the straps to make them more comfortable.

Weight per pair– 1lb 1oz

Pros:

  • Lightweight – manufactured using a 100% carbon fiber shaft
  • Cork grips – more comfortable the more you use them
  • Strap – gives you better grip of the trekking poles

Cons:

  • Pricy – costs a bit more than some competitive models

Check Prices:


Leki MCT Superlite Trekking Poles

The Leki MCT Superlite trekking poles are the creme de la creme of ultralight lightweight poles. They weigh only 7 oz / 200 g per pole.

Constructed using high modulus carbon, the trekking pole is made up of one 14mm and three 12mm carbon poles for a lightweight, durable addition to your hiking gear.

The foldable Leki MCT Z Carbon model weighs a little more than the trail running version that is a fixed length and not recommended for backpacking, even though the trail running model weighs only 5.5 oz / 158 grams each.

The Leki MCT Z Carbon have been designed with speed in mind. Their lightweight nature lends itself well to those who prefer to speed hike. You’ll be able to leave all the other hikers in the dust with these Leki MCT Superlite trekking poles in your grip.

Another great feature is the grip and strap system. The combined trigger cross shark grip and mesh frame strap work together to give you the support you need while speeding through your hike.

Weight per pair– 14.1oz

Pros:

  • Super lightweight – each pole only weighs 158g for superior performance
  • Speed – built with speed in mind
  • Superior support – gives you better placement and control during speed hiking

Cons:

  • Expensive – a lot pricier than some competitive models

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TrailBuddy Lightweight Trekking Poles

The TrailBuddy lightweight trekking poles have been built to last. These particular poles have been constructed using a durable material, aluminum.

This means they can withstand more pressure than carbon trekking poles. This will be crucial if you prefer to hike over rocky terrain or need support for a heavier weight.

Another great feature is the super lightweight. They each weigh 9.7 ounces, which is much lighter than some competitive aluminum poles. Great if you want a pair of sturdy walking poles that are still lightweight.

These walking poles are easier to adjust than competitive models that feature a twist lock. You can easily adjust the height of the trekking poles from 24.5” to 54” to suit your terrain. Even when you’re wearing gloves, or trekking across tricky terrain!

Pros:

  • Durable – constructed from a durable aluminum for superior performance
  • Lightweight – each pole weighs 9.7 ounces
  • Easy to adjust – easily adjust the height from 24.5” to 54”

Cons:

  • Noisy – can be noisy when in use

Check Prices:


Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

The Hiker Hunger carbon fiber trekking poles are just the thing to add to your hiking arsenal if you want strong, durable poles. These carbon fiber poles are lightweight and have been designed to last. They feature a heavy duty construction to improve longevity.

These particular trekking poles come with cork grips for added comfort. This cork works to wick away moisture as you walk. The cork is very ergonomic, and will be especially comfortable the more you use them.

You can easily adjust the height of the poles to suit your terrain, too. This makes them great for everyone regardless of their personal height.

You can adjust the height of the trekking poles between 24” up to 54”. You can easily adjust the height of the trekking poles via the flip lock mechanism.

Pros:

  • Carbon fiber – lightweight design makes for easier use
  • Ergonomic – features a cork grip for your comfort
  • Adjustable height – height can be adjusted between 24” and 54”

Cons:

  • Tricky locking mechanism – some customers found the locking mechanism tricky to master

Check Prices:


Trekology Collapsible Trekking Poles

The Trekology collapsible trekking poles will be the perfect fit for those looking for a lightweight design that’s also more affordable.

These trekking poles work to give you the support you need, when you need it most. You can prevent unnecessary injury when hiking with these trekking poles.

These aluminum poles have been designed to be durable and lightweight. Each pole only weighs 11.5 ounces, which is much lighter than most competitive aluminum poles. This aluminum construction also makes them more hardwearing than carbon poles.

Another great feature of these trekking poles is the cork grips. These work to wick away unwanted moisture, and are more comfortable than foam grips.

Pros:

  • Comfortable – features cork grips that wick away moisture
  • Budget friendly – more affordable than carbon trekking poles
  • Durable – made using a lightweight aluminum construction

Cons:

  • Height – not the best for shorter people

Check Prices:


Buyer’s Guide

Searching for the best lightweight trekking poles can be a challenge. There are so many different trekking poles to choose from and at such varying prices, that it can be difficult to distinguish between them.

It might be tempting to opt for the cheapest trekking poles that you come across. However, there are a few factors you will need to consider first.

We’ve put together a handy list of all the features you’ll need to consider when it comes to choosing the best lightweight trekking poles for your needs.

As long as your chosen trekking poles have these covered, then you can rest assured that you’ve found the product.

Take a look at everything you need to know about lightweight trekking poles below!


Carbon vs Aluminum

One factor to consider is what material you want your trekking poles to be made from. The main choices will be between carbon and aluminum.

Carbon fiber shafts are lightweight, and ideal for taking with you on hikes. These types of trekking poles will be lighter than the majority of aluminum poles. However, they might not be as durable as aluminum.

Carbon will tend to shatter rather than bend and break. And I know, I’ve had it happen on 3 separate occasions. Yes, not once, not twice but three time! It is an expensive accident when you slip and fall onto a Carbon Fibre pole and it breaks.

Another thing about carbon fibre poles, they have a great ability to absorb that shock of constant banging into the ground. Making them more comfortable than aluminum over time.

Aluminum poles are slightly weightier than carbon fiber poles, however, they are much more durable. They can deal with trickier terrains and support heavier weights. If you are unfortunate enough to take a fall and land on the poles they will tend to bend. If you are careful they can be bent back into shape. Well, most of the time anyway. And did I mention they are cheaper than carbon!


Handles

Crossing a river with hiking sticks
Trekking Poles are great when trying to keep the feet dry crossing a river!

You should look for a set of trekking poles that come with comfortable handles. The main handle grip to think about is handles made from cork. These will be more comfortable the longer you use them as they mold to your grip.

They will also work to wick away moisture as you walk. Then there is the fact that they absorb some of the constant vibration that poles go through as they are used over thousands of miles of their lifetime.

It will be worth looking for handles that also feature an extended foam grip. These will be more comfortable to use over tricky terrain.


Straps

Backpacking on the snow with trekking poles while doing a Trekking pole review
Adding Snow baskets to trekking poles help when backpacking in the snow

Trekking poles that come with a strap will be much easier to use. These work to give you a better grip of your trekking poles. It might be worth looking for straps that are able to wick away moisture, as this will make them more comfortable to use on long hikes.

The better straps should be easy to adjust along your wrist so that they’re more comfortable. Take a look at how easy the straps are to adjust so that you can get the right support.


Adjustable Height

Best Trekking Poles for thru hiking gear testing in the mountains
Trekking poles in the high mountain of the Sierra, California

Another great feature to look for is adjustable height. This will make the trekking poles easier to use across different terrain, as well as different parts of your hike. When walking downhill, you will need to extend the trekking poles to give you the proper support you need to prevent injury or unnecessary strain on your joints.

Trekking poles with adjustable heights will also be more versatile. You can easily adjust them to suit your personal height, so you can get the right support when you need it most.

As a general rule the height of the trekking poles should be set so that the angle of the elbow is 90 degrees when the hands are placed on the grip of the trekking pole. This is not a rule and some people enjoy the poles to be adjusted a little higher or lower.

You should also look at how to adjust the height of your trekking poles. Is this easy to do while you’re out hiking? Does it feature a twist lock design or a flip lock design?

Best Trekking poles gear review crossing a river with hiking poles
Trekking poles can assist in crossing deep, fast flowing mountain streams

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lightest trekking pole?

The best lightweight trekking poles are:

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.

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