If you’ve ever hiked a rocky trail, or tried to balance a backpack up a steep incline, then you know that a good pair of hiking poles is essential to keep you balanced on the trail. Especially when you are first starting out and trying to buy all the gear you need for hiking, a pair of expensive hiking poles can seem like an extravagance. We’ve put together a list of the best budget hiking poles for everyone.
You can also find a list of things to look for when shopping for the best budget trekking poles and a few tips on how to make the most of your hiking poles out on the trail. We’ve been using different hiking poles for 20 years and will share our hard-earned insight to help you get out on the trail.
Quick note that you will see hiking poles also called trekking poles, walking sticks, or walking poles. You can expect to pay between $25 and $75 for a good pair of hiking poles. I would be wary of anything below that price unless you are buying second hand.
Quick Look at the Best Budget Hiking Poles
Take a quick look at the best budget hiking poles in the table below and then scroll down for complete details on each pole.
Best Overall Budget Hiking and Trekking Poles
Best Lightweight Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles
Excellent lightweight hiking poles
Best Inexpensive/ Budget Hiking Pole
Best Budget Hiking Poles for Travel
High Quality Budget Hiking Poles
Best Hiking Poles for Kids
Why do you Need Hiking Poles?
Hiking poles have become all the rage lately, but do you really need these poles? The quick answer is yes and no. When hiking poles first hit the stage, they were touted as the knee-saving cure to hiking. Over the years there has been some disagreement about how much hiking poles really help with knee problems, but we’ve found that especially on downhill sections, they can decrease the weight of your steps easing discomfort.
But it’s not all about the knee pain, below are some excellent reasons that hiking poles are helpful on the trail:
- Hiking Poles Help with Balance: Hiking poles can help balance and avoid falls or ankle rolls when used on the trail. We find them especially helpful when you are hiking downhill, through a stream, on ice and snow, and when carrying a heavy pack.
- Hiking Poles are great for Seniors: lets face it as we get older our balance and our knees will appreciate a good pair of hiking polls. The best walking sticks for seniors will help with balance.
- Hiking Poles help with Power and Endurance: Using hiking poles gets your arms in on the work and can help with speed, going uphill and downhill.
- Hiking poles Improve Posture: Well sized hiking poles help you stay more upright.
- Trekking Poles can help Build Arm Strength: When you use poles, you are getting a full body workout.
- Hiking Poles can be used as a Weapon: Lets hope you don’t need it, but a hiking pole is in your hand and ready to fend off an attack or encounter with any animal.
- Hiking Poles can be used as a Splint: A few winters ago, my son had an injury nordic skiing. We used a trekking pole to stabilize his leg until we could get back to the car and medical help.
The conclusion is that hiking poles are a helpful addition to your hiking gear but also are not completely essential. If you are trying to budget and decide what gear to get first, you should consider prioritizing a good pair of hiking boots and other hiking day essentials. Then over time consider adding a good pair of hiking poles to your gear bag!
The Best Budget Hiking Poles
BEST OVERALL BUDGET HIKING POLES
These are an excellent trekking pole for the price. Lightweight and made from aluminum, these hiking poles have cork handles and can be used all year long. The poles come in a range of colors and are adjustable so you can adapt them depending on the hiking conditions.
The tip of this hiking pole is made from tungsten carbide and works well on slippery and icy conditions. These truly feel like a much more expensive trekking pole.
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT BUDGET HIKING POLES
These are excellent hiking poles and the carbon fiber makes them lighter than the aluminum poles. They would have gotten my vote at the best overall budget hiking pole, but they are a bit more expensive than the Foxelli Poles. If you are willing to pay a little more, these poles are worth it.
These come is a variety of color options with strong tips for traction in the snow and ice.
Another excellent and lightweight trekking pole, these poles are just 7.8 ounces and are made from twilled carbon fiber. The plastic cork handles are very comfortable and the locks on the telescoping poles are very easy to use.
The poles themselves are thin and sturdy. The only complaint around these poles is that they make a vibrating sound when struck on the ground.
BEST INEXPENSIVE BUDGET HIKING POLES
There are two big benefits of these hiking poles. The first is that they are generally less expensive then the other budget poles on this list, and the other is that these poles are only 24 inches when fully collapsed.
These poles are made from aluminum so are a bit more heavy that the carbon fiber options above.
BEST FOLDABLE BUDGET HIKING POLES FOR TRAVEL
These budget hiking poles are foldable and pack down to an amazing 14 inches! This means that they are excellent if you plan to pack these for travel or just want to option of putting them inside your backpack.
With comfortable foam handles and aluminum staff these are sturdy and comfortable to use. Like all the other poles listed here, these poles are fully adjustable up to 51 inches.
These are high quality hiking poles and while they are still budget compared to many other trekking poles, they are on the high end of this list of the best budget hiking poles.
They are lightweight and made from carbon fiber. The poles also come with a number of different tip accessories that you can adjust based on the hiking conditions. I also really like the grips on these hiking poles.
BEST OVERALL BUDGET KID’S HIKING POLES
These are the best budget hiking poles for kids and come in several different colors. The poles can telescope making them easy to store and fun to use. They are perfect for kids under 5 foot 1 inch. If you are shopping for trekking poles for tweens or teens that are taller than 5 feet, you should look for adult hiking poles.
These can also be used for nordic skiing.
How to Select the Best Budget Trekking Poles
If you want to dive deeper into the world of hiking poles and decide for yourself which are the best budget hiking poles, you can see a few of the top things to consider when selecting your trekking poles.
The biggest consideration is the material used to make the poles themselves and the overall weight of the poles. Since you are swinging the poles back and forth, a little weight difference can make a big difference. This is also true if you will be carrying your poles in your pack for part of the hike.
Most budget hiking poles are made from aluminum or carbon fiber. Aluminum poles are strong but heavier and will cost less money. Carbon fiber poles generally start at prices above $50 and are very strong and weigh less.
The best weight for hiking poles is under 9 ounces. You will see many of the best budget hiking poles made from aluminum come in at just above this weight. The diameter of the hiking poles is also important in terms of the overall weight.
Unless you are planning a long distance hike where small weight differences make a big difference, Aluminum hiking poles are a great place to start!
Every hiking pole on this list is adjustable, but there are two lengths you should pay attention to. The first length is how long the poles are when they are fully compressed. This is important if you will be traveling with your poles or carrying them in the pack.
You also want to make sure the poles are the right length for your height. Below you can see a sizing chart. This is just the starting point for selecting the best budget hiking poles as you will adjust the poles as you hike based on the hiking trail.
The tips of the hiking poles are important, especially if you will be hiking in the winter. The best tips are made from tungsten-carbide. These will grip the rock and ice, and won’t wear out like steel. Most hiking poles also come with different tip options for hiking in the snow.
Handle and Straps
Most handles are made from cork or foam. I prefer a cork handle, but this is a lower consideration compared to the weight. A comfortable handle and strap will make the poles more comfortable to use.
The best budget hiking poles are easy to use and adjust on the trail even with gloves on. You don’t want to be spending time on the trail messing with your gear. Most hiking poles now have easy to adjust locking mechanisms that allow you to extend or shorten your poles quickly.
Summary of the Best Budget Hiking Poles
Whether you are looking for the best hiking poles for your next multiday trek, the best walking poles for seniors or a pair of hiking poles for your kids, the list above has the best options for budget hiking poles. We’ve selected the best poles based on weight, material, length, and ease of use.
Looking for more hiking gear suggestions? Check out our Gear Page!