Best Ultralight Trekking Poles

7 Best Ultralight Trekking Poles

If you like backpacking or hiking over long distances and rugged terrain, you need one of the best ultralight trekking poles. You may think that trekking poles will only add more weight in addition to the heaviness of your camping gear, but buying an ultralight trekking pole can save you the joint and muscle pain that typically follows after your strenuous outdoor excursions. In other words, trekking poles provide you with the comfort and stability that you desire during your hike. 

Top 7 Ultralight Trekking Poles

ImageProductDetails 
Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

  • Customer Ratings: 4.8 out of 5
  • Brand: Foxelli



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Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Black Diamond



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Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Cascade Mountain Tech


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Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Hiker Hunger



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LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Pole Pair
LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Pole Pair

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Leki



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Black Diamond Distance Z Poles
Black Diamond Distance Z Poles

  • Customer Ratings: 4.6 out of 5
  • Brand: Black Diamond


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Paria Outdoor Products Tri-Fold Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Paria Outdoor Products Tri-Fold Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

  • Customer Ratings: 4.3 out of 5
  • Brand: Paria Outdoor Products


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1. Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles 

The best thing about these Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber poles is that they’re made from 100% carbon fiber, making them very light and easy to carry with your hiking gear. These poles also have a moisture-wicking and comfortable cork grip with an EVA foam grip extension. A flip lock is used to secure and lock the poles, and these poles can be length-adjusted when in use and collapsed when not in use.

Sample Customer Review: Having come back to backpacking after a 10 year hiatus, I wanted to explore trekking poles as I’d seen so many peeps using them. After reading reviews, I wish they were half as popular back when I was running deep backpacking, peak hopping. At half the cost of the big name (Bl*ck Di*m*nd), I knew I was taking a chance on these, considering the big name is known for its quality as its reviews attest to. I went on a 14 mile day hike yesterday. Started at 4200′ elevation and within the first 2 miles, ascended 2100′ to 6300′ over some rugged trail including rock, shale, etc. Peaked at 7000′ and returned. Checked the poles this morning and they were basically in new condition with some dust. I’m 6’3″ 240lbs and put some muscle into the poles. They were awesome! I absolutely see the benefit of poles, less impact on my somewhat aging knees, assist in going up and down hill, assist on the ankles and more stable footing. I took a chance on striking out or hitting a home run at half the cost and hit a home run! I was NOT paid in anyway for my review as most of the others here were lol. Great quality from a neat little company. Take the chance on these poles, you won’t be disappointed!

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Pros
  • Multiple attachments
  • Cheap
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Subpar locking mechanism
  • Poor durability

2. LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Pole Pair

The LEKI Micro Vario Carbon poles have a carbon fiber shaft and great foam grips that provide insulation, which you would greatly appreciate if you were hiking or backpacking in cold weather or freezing climates. But the best thing about these trekking poles is that they have a small collapsed length. In other words, the LEKI Micro Vario Carbon poles are incredibly packable and hassle-free to carry around because they collapse down to a fraction of their length.

Sample Customer Review: I have my well-worn Black Diamond poles but they aren’t practical for traveling. My recent balance issues meant I needed something light, collapsible, and adjustable that I can toss in my carry-on when I travel. These poles are terrific for that. Strong and light weight they are everything I hoped for. The instructions aren’t as clear as they should be but don’t let that discourage you. Once you figure them out they go together in a flash. I love them. At 1 pound total you can carry them all day and hardly notice it. These are a well engineered product and I highly recommend them.

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Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Easily set up and collapsed
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Small collapsed length
Cons
  • Foam grips aren’t very comfortable
  • Expensive
  • Z-pole takes getting used to

3. Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

These Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles are made of 100% carbon fiber, which makes them very light and less of a burden to use and carry. These trekking poles are also equipped with cork grips and an EVA foam grip extension. Length-adjustable and secured by flip lock-technology, these trekking poles offer much support and stability on any terrain you may come across–flat or rugged.

Sample Customer Review: Took a pair of these on the AT in 2016. They weighed 14.2 ounces* (without the baskets, or rubber tips) which is about as light as you’ll find, at any price. The grips were comfortable, the straps didn’t chafe, even when wet. (for medium/large man hands) One of the straps loosened initially, but once they got a bit of grit and dirt on them, it held much better. They lasted 590 miles. The metal tips were nearly worn down by that point, and the material supporting the tip blew out. Cascade doesn’t sell replacement tips, but you can buy the lower third directly from Cascade at a reasonable price. The locking adjustment was rock solid, with no slippage, and they supported my 215 to 190 pound weight easily.

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Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Cheap
  • Foam grip extensions
Cons
  • Poor durability
  • Lightweight carbon shaft more likely to break than other poles

4. Paria Outdoor Products Tri-Fold Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

These Paria Tri-Fold Carbon Cork Trekking Poles are three-section folding poles that have cork grips and carbon fiber shafts. These poles can be adjusted to up to almost 5 feet, and they collapse down to 15 inches! These Paria Tri-Fold trekking poles would make a great addition to your camping gear due to their small weight and incredible collapsibility. 

Sample Customer Review: Took these poles up to Gore Mountain for a 4 day backpacking trip. Previously I was never a fan of trekking poles, I used to think of them as extra weight. All of those thoughts have been buried now that I have used them 4 days in a row. I carried a 44lb pack with having blown out knees from the Marine Corps…. The weight of the poles are incredibly light and I like how compact they are when folded up. Gore Mountain has a killer ascent from 8.7K up to 11.5K, which takes you 12.2 miles round-trip over granite rubble/boulders with several creeks crossings. Having the poles saved me from a handful of falls, either slipping/tripping/missing a footing. The tips bite nicely on granite and stay put, the straps will stretch out a little once they are broken in and remained very comfortable. Something I was very impressed with was the coating on the carbon shafts. While Climbing/Hiking around on boulders the poles are going to clank/bang around and I do not have any chips (impressive!!!). The cork handles never lost their grip, they did a superb job of absorbing moisture from my hands and molded to my hands within the trek, making them extremely comfortable. The tops of the poles is made from a harder rubber/plastic material which feels great if you like to palm your poles on a descent… It also serves as a perfect platform to use a clamp on camera mount to take group pictures with a timer. The adjustable feature of this pole is also a plus!.. I was able to quickly shorten/lengthen the poles while on the go w/o having to stop…takes seconds.

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Pros
  • Durable
  • Adjustable
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Can be difficult to assemble

5. Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles 

These Foxelli Carbon Fiber poles are made of 100% carbon fiber, which makes them light and allows you to expend less energy than you would use with a heavier trekking pole. These poles are also shock absorbent, which lessens vibrations and any potentially harmful impact on your joints. The Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles ensure a non-slip grip and secure locking technology, making them a great option for staying stable and balanced while on the trail.

Sample Customer Review: I was so excited to receive these trekking poles. My husband and I are trying to hit as many national parks as we can. We love to hike but the old knees aren’t what they use to be. These fit into the luggage perfectly. We spent three hours in Rocky Mt. National park hiking. Normally, after a long hike I would have painful and swollen knees, not this time. I also used them in Maroon Bells and was excited to have no pain the next day. These will also be coming along on our trip in August to Arcadia National Park. I also love the cork handles, no slipping when the hands got sweaty. I did loose one of my baskets because I didn’t tighten it well enough, but over all love my new trekking poles.

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Pros
  • Cork handles
  • Cheap
  • Multiple attachments
Cons
  • Lacking locking mechanisms
  • Poor durability

6. Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

These Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles weigh just a little over a pound, but they are still worth mentioning in this list. These trekking poles are made to withstand excursions and outdoor activities through all four seasons. The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork poles are made of carbon fiber and have a premium cork grip with a rubber grip extension. These poles are length-adjustable, and they have secure flip lock systems. Basically, they have almost everything you could want in a trekking pole, which makes it one of the best ultralight trekking poles. 

Sample Customer Review: Moving from a single Argus Le Trekking pole purchased 4Q2017 to Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles – One Pair (2 Poles) (White) in June 2020 was a step upward in performance. Several weeks later, my older daughter gifted me with these Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles via Amazon. Carbon fiber construction has superior balance and subjectively feels lighter than the Montem’s aluminum. Black Diamonds have become “natural” extensions of my arms, increasing enjoyment during Nordic walking and frequency of exercise sessions. Ground contact with poles is whisper quiet. Transmitted vibration is also substantially lower on pavement than the Montems. (I’m using Alafen Replacement Rubber Tips; the “feet” are especially appropriate on paved trails and streets.)Black Diamond Wrist straps are more comfortable for me than the Montems. Robust construction of the Black Diamonds gives practical confidence that they can sustain my weight (currently 271+ pounds). Recommended.

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Pros
  • Easy to adjust
  • Packable
  • Comfortable grips
  • Well-built
  • Sturdy
  • Black Diamond warranty
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Heavy

7. Black Diamond Distance Z Poles

These Distance Z Poles by Black Diamond weigh less than a pound despite having a strong aluminum shaft. But the coolest thing about these poles is their versatile folding design. They can collapse down to 14 to 17 inches, which will save you so much room in your hiking gear! So if you value collapsibility and easy storage, these Black Diamond Distance Z Poles may be the ones for you!

Sample Customer Review:  bought these for strenuous trail runs. I practiced with them before my race and wasn’t sure if they would really be helpful or not. Come race day I completed the first big hill without them and then used them for the remainder of the vertical climbs. I must say, I’m impressed. I think they saved my back, quads and calves. They are easy to deploy and fold up if your hands aren’t sweaty. They are very light weight and I ended up carrying them throughout the race because they were so light weight. I would recommend to all my hiking and trail running friends.

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Pros
  • Small when collapsed
  • Light
  • Black Diamond warranty included
Cons
  • Foam grips not super comfortable
  • Expensive
  • Unadjustable

After exploring these great options for the best ultralight trekking poles available to you, let’s look at some other advantages of ultralight trekking poles.

Weight Distribution

Using a trekking pole on your hike can help with weight distribution and can keep you from having lower body pain. These poles can take the weight off of your knees (an area that most experienced hikers feel pain) and put it on your arms. Your arms may be sore after a couple of days when first using the poles, but that effective bicep workout may be well worth it.

Balance and Stability

Hiking and backpacking trails can have uneven, rugged, and environmentally impacted terrain. Because of this, it can be hard to maintain balance by just solely using your legs and arms. Trekking poles can help prevent painful falls due to slippery crossings, steep hills, and muddy holes. Trekking poles can also help you maintain a bodily rhythm, which will make for a more enjoyable hike.

Protection

Who says that trekking poles are only supposed to be used for walking? Effective non-traditional functions of the pole could be to swipe down any spider webs that are blocking your path. Trekking poles could also be used to “test” the depth or danger of questionable areas you encounter during your hike. For example, you may encounter a large muddy hole or even what looks like quicksand blocking your path. Why take your chances and step foot in these areas when you can use your trekking pole as a device to first test these spots? 

It must also be noted that you do not use the poles in such a way, either accidentally or deliberately, that causes mild or severe damage to the environment or any wildlife. Make ethical and conscious decisions when using your ultralight trekking poles outdoors.

Saves You Weight (and Pain)

This is probably an obvious advantage, but if you buy one of the best ultralight trekking poles, you are saving a lot of weight in your hiking and backpacking gear. It can sometimes already be a burden to carry such heavy gear, so save yourself some of the weight and the pain of using anything other than an ultralight trekking pole on your excursions.

Now, let’s look at some things you may want to consider before buying one of the best ultralight trekking poles.

Buying Guide

Materials

Aluminum and carbon fiber are the two most common materials used for trekking poles. Carbon fiber trekking poles tend to be lightweight. However, carbon fiber poles may be more expensive than aluminum poles, and they are vulnerable to breakage if they are bent or twisted the wrong way with too much force.

Aluminum trekking poles are typically stronger than carbon fiber poles, as they can handle more stress and bending without breaking or snapping. But, as you might have guessed, aluminum poles are heavier than carbon fiber poles, which may make them an added burden to haul around on the trail, but the slight difference in the weights of the two materials is miniscule and probably barely noticeable.

Nevertheless, as if to incorporate the advantages of both carbon fiber and aluminum, some poles are made with both materials, so you can get the best of both worlds if you’d like to!

Construction

Although trekking poles resemble ski poles, you want to avoid buying a trekking pole that is “fixed” like a ski pole. Instead, look for a collapsible trekking pole for easy storage. Typically, trekking poles will come with either two- or three-piece sections. Trekking poles that come in two-piece sections don’t collapse as small or store as easily as poles that come in three-piece sections. However, the three-piece trekking poles may have increased chances of breaking more easily, as they have more connecting parts than two-piece section trekking poles.

Pole Design

Trekking poles typically come in three designs: telescoping, folding, and fixed. Below are detailed descriptions of each of these designs.

Telescoping

Telescoping trekking poles are probably the most common option among backpackers and hikers. They usually consist of two- or three-piece sections (as mentioned above) that are equipped with a locking system to hold them in place when extended for use. These telescoping trekking poles are highly adjustable and good for easy storage.

Folding

Folding trekking poles commonly have three sections that are foldable. These poles are held together by an internal tension cord, and each section unfolds to create a single, tall shaft when properly locked into place. Unfortunately, poles of this design aren’t able to be adjusted to a desired length. However, there are some folding trekking poles out there that do offer one telescoping section that allows length adjustment.

Fixed

Remember the ski poles mentioned earlier? Well trekking poles of this design are very similar to ski poles due to their fixed-length and straight, nonadjustable shafts. Because fixed trekking poles are fixed-length, they can’t be collapsed for easy storage. 

Locking Mechanism

For trekking poles that are length-adjusted and can be extended to a desired length, there are three ways that the pole’s sections may be locked into place: twist lock, flip lock, or unfold-and-slide lock.

Twist Lock

A twist lock on a trekking pole allows you to twist the pole sections in opposing directions until they are firmly locked. 

Flip Lock

A flip lock on a trekking pole is basically a small clip that folds over. These locks are pretty much easy to use, and they have a good hold. 

Unfold-and-Slide Lock

An unfold-and-slide lock on a trekking pole uses an internal cord to connect the individual sections of the trekking pole together and a push button lock to keep it locked in place. 

Grips

The grips of the trekking pole are what you’ll be holding onto when using the pole. Therefore, you want to choose a grip that is comfortable to your hands and won’t give you pain. Three main types of grips are cork, EVA foam, and rubber.

Cork

Cork grips are the most popular grip on trekking poles. These grips feel natural, as they mold to the shape of your hand. 

EVA Foam

EVA foam grips are lightweight and feel nice and comfortable to the touch. EVA foam grips absorb sweat and dry quickly, which means that your hands have decreased probability of letting the pole slip. These EVA foam grips are also very durable.

Rubber

Rubber is heavier than cork and EVA foam, but most hikers are keen to rubber grips. Unlike the EVA foam grips, rubber grips do not absorb water or oils from your hands. But rubber grips do provide insulation, making them ideal grips for backpacking or hiking in the winter time or in cold climates.

Straps

Most trekking poles have straps attached to them. These straps are helpful, but they’re only of good use to you if you know how to use them correctly. To use the straps correctly, simply put your hand through the strap before grabbing the grips on the pole. If you do this, a loop will be created on the back of your hand with the strap running through your palm. Using the straps this way will transfer pressure from your body to the pole, making for a more comfortable trek on the trail.

Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers in trekking poles are spring-loaded cushion mechanisms located at the joints of the trekking pole’s sections. These absorbers soften the force or impact you may place on the hiking poles.

Gender Specifications

Some brands of trekking poles offer poles specifically made for a particular gender. However, the main differences in gender-specific poles have to do with color, decorative design, and pole length (poles made specifically for men are generally taller than poles targeted towards women).The majority of trekking poles are unisex and gender-neutral and should work equally well for whomever uses them.

Conclusion

Hopefully after exploring the benefits of ultralight trekking poles, and viewing the several options you have to choose from (if you want the best of the best), you feel convinced to add them to your hiking arsenal. Do not let the opportunity to get one of the best ultralight trekking poles pass you by–having one can improve your hikes and allow you to focus more on making memories rather than focusing on the pain and hassle that comes with hiking without trekking poles.

Written by Artesa Cox; Contributors: Ciaran Carbery-Shaha, Leah Jarrell, Josie Dennis, Charlene Pepiot

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