Skip to content

Backpacking Gear for Beginners: Trekking Poles

This post is part of the Backpacking Gear for Beginners course.

Why do you need trekking poles? 

Trekking poles are walking sticks with soft handles, like ski poles. Sometimes they have wide discs around the end at the ground to keep them from sinking into mud.

Poles help you keep your balance on slippery logs and river crossings and help take weight off your knees going down hills. You can also use them to set up a tent or a tarp. 

Trekking poles are optional. Some people love them, others don’t like the extra pieces to bring them. I personally love using them. They’ve kept me from falling head first into some large mud puddles.

Look for adjustable poles

Good poles will be adjustable in 1 or 2 places. They’ll pack down smaller and are easier to set at the right height. It’s nice to adjust them shorter for going uphill and longer for going downhill. 

Carbon is lighter but breaks easier

Carbon and aluminum are the most common materials for trekking poles. Carbon is lighter but will break easier. Aluminum is stronger and will bend if it gets stuck in a rock before it snaps. 

Go lighter

Try to get the lightest trekking poles you can. You’ll be carrying them in your hands or on your pack the entire hike so lighter will be easier on your arms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *