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Finding the Best Walking Sticks and Hiking Poles

Avatar for Samantha Biggers Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: January 24, 2020
Finding the Best Walking Sticks and Hiking Poles

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Walking sticks and poles have more uses than you might imagine. No matter how short or long of a trip you are taking, trekking poles and canes can help you get there. There are a lot of affordable options out there that are a great addition to your get home or bug out bag. No matter what age you are, you can benefit from trekking poles and canes.

Extra Support

Physical condition varies with the individual. A walking stick or pole can help you have the support you need to have better mobility. My father has an artificial foot and shrapnel but with the help of his cane, he can get around some without a walker.  It is pretty amazing what a good cane can do to help out.

Offers Better Traction

Who couldn’t use a bit more traction and support on a trail? Getting over mountains and steep and rough terrain is easier when you have something to dig into the soil or catch between rocks.

Self Defense

A lot of men used to carry canes not just for style and support but for self-defense.I don’t care what type of stick or pole you have, it is not something anyone is going to want to get whacked with!

Some walking sticks even have swords in them. A few walking sticks have been designed to have a hammer like a shape or another object on the pommel that can be used as a bludgeon.

Helps With Injuries

If you hike long or far enough, there are going to be aches, sprains, and injuries. Any type of support is going to help you take the weight and strain off of an injured ankle or foot. Trekking poles can be used as crutches to get you out of a bad situation quickly and as comfortable as possible. If you have someone helping you then any type of crutch or pole that you can use to take some of the strain off of them is worth a lot and may even buy you the extra time you need to survive a dire situation.

If you are bugging out alone or live alone, an injury or accident can mean you are on your own. Being able to get to the things you need in a survival situation makes all the difference. It doesn’t take much to make it hard to walk. Just stepping in a small hole and turning wrong is enough to do it no matter who you are!

Cost and Durability

Like any piece of gear, there are a ton of materials in a big range of prices. Strength and durability are the main factors to be concerned with and like anything you buy that is going to be put to the test, I recommend going with something in a mid-price range for the material you are choosing.

Too cheap and the quality is questionable while super expensive is often more than what you need or you are paying for a lot of expensive advertising.

Wood Versus Metal

Wood is nice because you can make your own walking stick or trekking poles if you get a suitable thickness of the wood and carve it yourself. You will want to treat the stick with some type of preservative. Linseed oil is a popular choice for many. Stain or other wood preservatives like polyurethane can also work well.

A suitably sided rubber chair leg tip like you get to avoid skid marks can help add traction and anti-skid properties to your cane or poles. You might want to glue it on especially if the fit is not precise. This also protects the wood bottom from moisture and wear so you get more use out of your creation. I advise adding one to any wood cane or trekking pole you buy that doesn’t already have one.

I carved all kinds of sticks when I was a kid so personally, I think making walking sticks is a pretty cool project for kids that know how to use a knife responsibly. I am a member of a Facebook group SurvivalPunk Punks and I am impressed with how some members make such an effort to get their kids out and teach them survival skills. It is not just boys either. They are getting their daughters out and showing them how to know a lot about the world around them and how to survive in it.

The modern polycarbonate poles are very strong and lightweight, especially when compared to wood. If the wood is light then it is not as strong. There are a lot of aluminum poles on the market but you have to be careful because the thickness, strength, and overall quality of the aluminum alloys they are made of can vary drastically between brands.


A lot of poles are adjustable but you should always double check the fine print in any description to see just how adjustable the height is.  Those of average height should be alright with most poles. If you are really tall it might be worth it to get out a tape measure and see if the pole comes up to a height that is going to be comfortable and supportive for you.

Walking Sticks

Cascade Mountain Hiking Stick

Alpine Summit Aluminum Hiking/Trekking Poles

Trekology TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Hiking Poles

Height26-54 in.25.3 in.39-53 in.
Weight7.8 oz1.5 pounds0.6 pounds
MaterialCarbon Fiber--Aerospace grade aluminum
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Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Trekking Poles

These poles are made of 100% carbon fiber for strength and durability. Comfortable cork grip handles reduce hand fatigue during those long treks while also assuring a firm non-slip grip. At this price with the carrying bag and accessories, this is a good deal. Each pole weights a mere 8.32 ozs so these are not going to add a lot of weight to your gear. The height is adjustable from

I like that they include 4 tips & baskets. The rubber tips, boot tips, snow baskets & mud baskets help you get over tough terrain. The tips, of course, can be replaced if you wear them out and your pole is still going strong.

United Cutlery M48 Kommando Survival Hammer

I have to include United Cutlery’s mean looking cane. The overall length is 37-3/8 inches. This is not an adjustable height walking stick but you can always add a tip to the bottom to adjust a little bit. For those that want the support of a walking stick but a strong defensive weapon, this is the real deal.  2Cr13 Stainless steel makes up a lot of the body while the handle is 30% fiberglass reinforced nylon.

BAFX  2 Pack Anti Shock Trail Poles

If you want to try out trekking poles or just have an economical set on hand just in case, these budget-priced poles have been positively reviewed thousands of times. These poles are super easy to adjust and incredibly lightweight.

The wide range of height makes this a suitable hiking pole for almost anyone. Poles can be adjusted from 25.5” up to 52”! This means kids and teens can use these as well. If you want to have a set of poles for each member of your family, this is about your best option. The non-slip grips and comfortable padded wrist straps encourage you to use your poles.

G2 GO2GETHER Hiker Trekking Poles

These lightweight aluminum alloy poles are strong and include two types of rubber feet for traction on varying types of terrain. Poles are adjustable from 25″-52″. I like it when poles can go down far enough to easily strap to a regular size backpack if needed. Also these are well priced so having a few pairs is not out of the question.

Aluminum is strong but it is not made as durable as the carbon fiber poles on this list. That doesn’t mean that you won’t like the aluminum better though because of how lightweight they are. For most people, aluminum is going to serve them just fine over the years. I could not find an exact weight but the total shipping weight for two poles and all the accessories was under 1.5 lbs so they don’t weight much!

Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Quick Lock Trekking Poles

Cascade Mountain Tech is a name that you see fairly often in the world of trekking poles because they offer a good level of affordability and quality. This pole is a lot like the carbon fiber poles mentioned earlier in the post except this version is aluminum and a little more affordable. I like that it comes with different types of tips so you can get a lot of use out of it over varying terrain.

These poles weight an amazing 10.4 oz each so they are not going to weigh you down no matter what type of trip you are going out on.  There are some poles out there that are lighter but the increased cost may not be worth it to you to save less than a 1/4 lb combined when carrying two poles.

Alpine Summit Aluminum Hiking/Trekking Poles

These poles have anti shock tips which can be a very nice for reducing fatigue and strain. This means the tips have a bit of a spring back effect when you put pressure on them when trekking. The body is high-quality 7075 aluminum while the handles are cork so you get a comfortable grip no matter how long or hard the trip you are embarking on. This grade of aluminum is stronger and lighter than 6061 aluminum. These poles are kind of snazzy in that you can get different colors and they have a pretty design on them. These poles can be adjusted from 25″-52″ inches to accommodate most people including kids and teens.

Trekology TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Hiking Poles

While I am typically a little wary of anything that goes together like these poles, they do collapse down to a very small size and they come in two different adjustable sizes. The handles are made of comfortable cork on the outside. These fold up to an impressive 15 inches compared to the 25 inch minimal length of most of the trekking poles on this list. Each pole is around 9.5 oz. If you really want a pole that fits in the smallest space and doesn’t take a lot of money to get, this is a solid choice that a lot of people have been happy with.

Brazos Hawthorn Wood Walking Stick

This old style hand carved walking stick is made of Hawthorn which I think is kind of neat. I sure know how tough a wood it can be! My husband and I have battled quite a few Hawthorn trees over the years clearing fields for grazing and I can tell you that it is formidable. This is an old fashioned classic design with a latex rubber bottom tip for traction. This tip can be replaced of course. I just feel that I need to mention the latex part for those that are allergic. A leather wrist strap is another classic touch. This is typical of the style of homemade sticks so if you like the look and don’t want to make your own, this is an option. This walking stick comes in several different lengths.

SE Rope Wrapped Wooden Stick

This is a remarkable wood walking stick for the price. Now I usually am in favor of wood walking sticks that are made of hardwoods like hickory but they also weight a lot more and cost more too. This walking stick is made of hard pine and sports a metal tip that you can use for digging into terrain or you can cover it with the included rubber tip for typical hiking conditions and for walking on slippery surfaces like rock or floors if you find yourself inside.

This is a 55″ stick. While I know I mentioned that sticks can be resized with a saw, this is a stick where you would have to do some work to refit the metal tip since the stick tapers to such a small point. This is probably not the best stick if you are looking to customize the size. The metal tip also makes this stick a formidable weapon regardless of its harmless overall appearance.

Resizing & Care Of A Wood Walking Stick

One advantage of wood is that you can definitely saw it off and make a stick shorter if needed. Just remember that if the diameter changes you may need a different tip and the strength of the stick may be greater per inch if you are cutting off the thinner parts. A very basic saw is all that is needed.

You can use a pocket knife or sandpaper to help change the diameter of the wood tip if needed. Remember to occasionally just replace the tip if it starts to look cracked. Moisture is your enemy and could crack your walking stick over time.

A lot of wood stick users make sure to occasionally rub oil or wood preservative on their stick. Just remember to make sure that oil doesn’t cause the grip to be slippery. If you have a leather or otherwise wrapped handle you may be able to take it off and rewrap after treatment.

Do you have a favorite type of walking stick, trekking poles, or canes? Any tips on care and use?

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13 Responses to “Finding the Best Walking Sticks and Hiking Poles”

  1. Exerstrider walking,hiking poles. Have been on the market for many years well made and you tell them your height,they send you the correct size poles. They can build you poles in concert with your physical therapist to if you need them. I got mine in 1994 for me and wife. We still use them,I have replaced the runbber tips about 23 times. walk streets trails dirt roads railroad tracks.. Very nice and have held up well.

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