Michael Lanza

One of the most immutable truisms about hiking is this: Backpackers, dayhikers, climbers, mountain runners, and others who start using trekking poles almost never hit the trail without them again. No matter how much weight you’re carrying—from an ultralight daypack to a godawful heavy monster backpack—using poles will lessen your chances of an accidental fall and your leg muscles and joints, feet, back, and body will all feel better, thanks to the reduced strain, fatigue, and impact on them.

this: I do not know a single experienced dayhiker or backpacker who does not use poles.

This review covers the best trekking poles available today. My picks are based on testing all of them (and many other poles) extensively on backpacking trips, dayhikes, mountain climbs and scrambles, backcountry skiing, and/or ultra-trail runs and dayhikes—as well as my experience of thousands of trail miles over more than a quarter-century of testing and reviewing gear, for many years as the lead gear reviewer for Backpacker magazine and even longer for this blog.

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

Backpackers hiking over Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park.
” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ width=”900″ height=”598″ src=”″ alt=”Backpackers hiking over Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park.” class=”wp-image-36556″ srcset=” 1024w, 300w, 768w, 1080w, 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Backpackers hiking over Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park. Click photo for my e-guide “The Best First Backpacking Trip in Yosemite.”

the reviews below:

The poles are listed in order from lightest to heaviest because weight best distinguishes them in terms of intended uses and will be the key factor influencing your choice. I’ve given every pole an overall score—but keep in mind that, with poles, you should first figure out whether you need ultralight, lightweight, or heavier and sturdier poles, and then compare the scores and details of the models in your chosen category (which is why I list the poles in order of weight, not score). You will see that some poles
Did you miss our previous article…