Best Lightweight Trekking Poles 2016
Trekking poles shouldn't be considered an essential item, but many lightweight backpackers love to hike with them for a variety of reasons. The largest benefit to trekking poles is reduced impact on your knees, especially on long uphill and downhill sections of trail. For that reason among others, the majority of thru-hikers use trekking poles to hike the long trails.
If you're new to trekking poles and you think you might enjoy them, we recommend borrowing or renting a pair to try them out. You could also consider purchasing an inexpensive pair to see where your preferences lie before making a bigger investment.
If you want to go ultra-inexpensive, you might be able to find cheap options at bulk retailers like Amazon for very low cost, but you will get what you pay for with trekking poles. Lighter poles generally cost more money, but we recommend staying away from costly extras like shock absorption, which add cost but not value.
The weight of your trekking poles is an important consideration. Just like with lightweight footwear, heavy trekking poles will waste energy with every step. Lightweight poles feel incredibly different compared to heavy, clunky models, but they'll usually cost more too.
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Learn the foundations of lightweight footwear and trekking poles with this video:
LT4S Trekking Poles
The LT4S carbon fiber Trekking Poles from GG are incredibly light, comfortable, and durable. They are built with simple twist locking system and they're a favorite of the ultralight backpacking community. We also love the simple camera mount attachment that screws into the top of the LT4S, forming a makeshift tripod. The one downside with these poles is that they tend to sell out quickly on the Gossamer Gear website. Check with GG for a timing estimate on new batches.
Distance Carbon Z-Pole
The Distance Carbon Z-Poles from Black Diamond are incredibly light, strong, and convenient. They are sleek, comfortable, and break down to a small size for easy storage. The one downside with these poles is they come in fixed lengths (100-130cm), which could be an issue depending on your needs. Hikers that use poles to support their shelters should measure carefully to make sure these poles are the correct length to serve both purposes. The Z-Poles also come in an aluminum version (13oz) that will save some money but add some weight.
Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
The Trail Ergo Cork poles from BD won’t be the lightest poles you’ll find on the market, but they are tough, easily adjustable, and dependable. Their ergo cork handle is comfortable on the hands and their dual flick lock system makes adjusting to different lengths easy. For aluminum poles that fall in the 16-22oz range, the Trail Ergo Cork poles come with solid benefits and a good value.
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