9 Best Budget Trekking Poles in 2023 (+How to Choose the Best Set)
Hiking is one of the best ways to get out and see nature, but we can’t ignore the fact that it can be tough on our bodies.
Using trekking poles when setting out on a hike can not only help traverse rough terrain but also provide stability and take some load off of your joints.
In this post, you’ll find the best budget trekking poles and a guide on how to choose the best set for you.
A personal testament to trekking poles:
I used to think poles were useless and would get in the way.
That was until I hiked a short (0.8 miles) hike that had a crazy amount of elevation change!
I (thankfully) brought my hiking poles because they saved my knees on those hills and prevented me from slipping multiple times.
Without them, I likely would’ve struggled a lot more.
Best Budget Trekking Poles: Top Picks
Running short on time? Below you’ll find my top picks for the best hiking poles that won’t break the bank.
Overall Best: Montem Ultra Strong Aluminum Poles
Best Collapsible: Trekology Trek-Z Hiking Poles
Best Lightweight: Leki Journey Lite Trekking Poles
Best for Kids: Trail Buddy Youth Poles
Best for Backpacking: Black Diamond Distance Z Folding Poles
Overall Best Cheap Trekking Poles
Montem Ultra Strong
If you’re looking for a good-quality pair of poles for your next hiking adventure, check out the Montem Ultra Strong.
These poles have the best of everything that you want when it comes to trekking poles, and for an affordable price.
They weigh just under 10 ounces each, making for easy packing, storage, and carrying on your hikes.
Also making them easy to travel with, is the fact that they’re only about 2 feet when fully collapsed.
The poles are made of aluminum, so they’re strong and meant to be durable on tough terrain, in comparison to carbon fiber.
They also can accommodate users up to 400 pounds and 6’8″, meaning they’re usable by many different hikers.
You’ll also find that they come with a few different tips, which I love because you can use them year-round.
A unique factor about these hiking poles is that you’re able to choose between a variety of colors for the shaft of the pole.
The EVA foam handles are great, especially in the summer when the heat can cause sweaty hands.
The form of the handles also fits comfortably into your hand, making sure that you’re comfortable on your hike.
These affordable hiking poles allow you to save some money, but you’ll still receive a quality product.
✔️ Click here to check prices for Montem Ultra Strong! ✔️
Best Collapsible Trekking Poles
For travelers, backpackers, or just those who prefer a small, compact item, the Trekology Trek-Z hiking poles will be great for you.
Whether you bring your poles on airplanes often or need something to easily fit in a small backpack, these are great!
These poles are foldable and can pack down into just 15 inches, which is perfect for packing in a suitcase or just keeping in your car.
They’re also great for sliding right into the side pocket of a hiking bag, to make them easily accessible without taking up a lot of space.
On top of the packability of these hiking poles, they’re also very lightweight, weighing in at under 2 pounds for the set.
This means that they won’t take up all of your precious weight when packing for a trip or backpacking! 😆
They’re also available in two different sizes, either 100-120 cm or 115-135 cm, which can accommodate taller and shorter hikers.
For what you get with these poles, the price is at a perfect point, and you won’t have to splurge on a super expensive set.
One problem that users report is an issue with the locking mechanism, but customer service is typically able to help with this.
Overall, if you’re looking for a great pair of small, collapsible poles to bring on all of your adventures, the Trekology Trek-Z is a great choice.
✔️ Check prices for Trekology Trek Z poles by clicking here! ✔️
Best Lightweight Trekking Poles
Leki Journey Lite
The Leki Journey Lite trekking poles are a great option for backpackers or people who need something lightweight to carry along on their hikes.
These poles weigh just 9 ounces each, making them weigh just over 1 pound for the set.
The Leki Journey Lite poles are perfect for hikers who don’t want to feel like they’re lugging something around on the trail.
They have a telescoping mechanism for collapsing and are just over 2 feet long when fully collapsed.
One notable feature of these poles is that they have antishock technology, meaning that the poles will help reduce peak impact by about 40%!
This makes them perfect for older hikers as well as those with more prominent joint issues.
I also love that the SpeedLock mechanism allows you to quickly and easily extend or collapse them.
The poles have rubber handles, which can be both a pro and a con, depending on the season.
In the summer, the rubber may cause your hands to sweat more, as opposed to cork.
But in the winter, they’re less likely to absorb water and crack over time.
Overall, the Leki Journey Lite poles are a great option for hikers seeking out a great lightweight set of hiking poles.
✔️ Check prices for Leki Journey Lite Poles by clicking here! ✔️
Best Budget Trekking Poles for Backpacking
Black Diamond Distance-Z
Black Diamond has a great reputation for making some of the best trekking poles on the market, and Distance-Z is no different.
These poles come in as the best budget trekking poles for backpackers for many reasons.
First, they weigh just over 1 pound total for both poles, making them easy and lightweight to store in a pack.
Another great feature of these poles is that they are foldable and can collapse down to between 13 and 17 inches, depending on the size you order.
I personally love folding poles because of how small they can get and how easy they are to store.
When purchasing your Distance-Z poles, you can choose between multiple different extended lengths, including 100, 110, 120, and 130 centimeters.
Black Diamond makes this model of poles in both aluminum and carbon fiber, but I recommend aluminum because it’s more durable and cheaper.
If you prefer carbon fiber, you can check them out here.
The Distance-Z poles are more expensive than others on this list, but you really do get what you pay for here.
You’ll spend a bit more money, but you’re going to get a high-quality, durable product that is perfect for backpacking and that will last.
✔️ Check prices for the Black Diamond Distance Z Poles here! ✔️
Best Budget Hiking Poles for Beginners
Trail Buddy Trekking Poles
For beginner hikers who don’t want to spend too much money but want to expand their gear closet, the Trail Buddy poles are the best choice.
Not only are these poles extremely affordable, but they also have tons of awesome reviews stating that they’re worth the purchase.
I’ve personally used these and can also attest to the fact that these are great, even though they’re so cheap!
Made of 7075 aluminum, which is a very strong aircraft-grade material, the Trail Buddy poles are built to last.
They’re small and light enough that when fully collapsed they can easily slide into the side pocket of a backpack and store away when you’re not using them.
While they’re not the lightest or shortest on the list, they really aren’t too much more to handle, especially for shorter trails.
I also love that you can choose between a variety of colors to suit your personality.
The only downfall is that cheaper poles may be more prone to breaking, but I’d say that these are pretty durable for the price!
✔️ Check prices for Trail Buddy Trekking Poles by clicking here! ✔️
Best Trekking Poles for Kids
TrailBuddy Youth Collapsible Poles
Searching for a pair of budget trekking poles for your little ones can be tough because you don’t want to spend too much on something they won’t use forever.
With the TrailBuddy collapsible poles, you won’t have to worry about that.
These poles collapse down to 24 inches and can extend up to 43 inches tall.
They’re affordable so you can get these for your kiddos and not worry about breaking the bank.
Kids who are still pretty young may be able to use these poles for years to come, as they sit at 3.5 feet when fully extended.
If your child is on the very tall side, it may be best to choose another pair of poles on this list that will work better for their height.
A flick-lock locking mechanism makes the poles sturdy and strong during hikes and allows for easy adjusting, which even kiddos can do.
Because they’re made of aluminum, they tend to hold up for many, many hikes and are bound to last.
I also really like that with the poles, you’ll get snow baskets, and you can choose from a few different colors.
✔️ Check prices for the Youth Trail Buddy Poles here! ✔️
Best of the Rest
Hiker Hunger Trekking Poles
Weight: 7.6 oz each
Material: Carbon Fiber
The Hiker Hunger hiking poles are another great option to bring on your next hiking adventure.
While made of carbon fiber, which is typically more expensive and less durable than aluminum, these poles stand out from others.
Many users bring them on long, strenuous hikes and state that they hold up extremely well for a cheap hiking pole.
They’re still very affordable, even though they are made of 100% 3K carbon fiber.
The flip-lock mechanism on them is sturdy and doesn’t slip while moving around.
They’re also one of the lightest poles on this list, at only 7.6 ounces each, which is perfect for backpacking and travel.
The poles are able to extend up to 54 inches and collapse to 24 inches, so they’re even good for kids or shorter people.
Hiker Hunger also offers a 3-year warranty, in the event that anything goes wrong with your poles!
They’re backed by some of the best outdoor gear companies, so you know that they’re going to be great.
One potential issue with these poles is that because of their thin, carbon fiber shafts, they may be more prone to breaking.
But, if you’re searching for a lightweight, affordable hiking pole, then the Hiking Hunger set may be best for you!
✔️ Check prices for the Hiker Hunger Poles by clicking here! ✔️
Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles
If you’re on the hunt for a great pair of trekking poles that are affordable, durable, and comfortable to use, look no further.
These are perfect for those looking to purchase an affordable pair, but not give up the durability of its more expensive competitors.
(They come in at under $30!)
Coming in at only 10.4 ounces each, these are pretty lightweight, but just a bit heavier than other options.
They can collapse down and measure only 26 inches, so they won’t take up much space in your bag.
These trekking poles are perfect for most people, as they can extend between 26 and 54 inches.
They also come with a variety of interchangeable tips to use throughout all seasons.
I use mine for skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, and hiking in the summer!
They’re also comfortable, with the cork grips that fit nicely in your hand.
I have personally used these poles, and I can say that they are of good quality for the price that you pay.
Customers have also mentioned how fantastic the customer service at Cascade Mountain Tech is, making for easy returns if needed.
If you prefer having carbon fiber poles, they also sell a pair of those, which you can check out here!
✔️ Check prices for the Cascade Mountain Tech trekking poles here! ✔️
Foxelli Carbon Fiber Poles
Weight: 7.6 oz each
Material: Carbon Fiber
These carbon fiber trekking poles are one of the lightest sets on this list of hiking poles, weighing just under 1 pound for the set!
Because of the lightweight material that they’re made with, they make hiking easy and aren’t a hassle to carry around.
The quick-lock adjusting system allows you to easily and quickly collapse and extend them without much effort at all.
The Foxelli poles also have shock-absorbing technology to help take more of the impact from your joints.
Snow baskets, mud baskets, and more are included with these poles, so they’re great for all seasons.
They also have non-slip cork handles and EVA foam extended handles which are comfortable and won’t hurt your hands after a few miles.
One potential downside of these poles is that carbon fiber isn’t typically as durable as aluminum and is more expensive.
But, if something were to happen, Foxelli offers a 1-year warranty.
✔️ Check prices for the Foxelli Carbon Fiber poles here! ✔️
Best Budget Trekking Pole Comparison Chart
If you don’t have a lot of time, here’s a quick rundown of my top picks for budget hiking poles that you’ll find in this post.
|Trekking Poles||Type||Material||Collapsed Length||Weight (each)|
|Montem Ultra Strong||Telescoping||Aluminum||24 inches||9.6 oz|
|Trekology Trek-Z||Folding||Aluminum||15 inches||9 oz|
|Leki Journey Lite||Telescoping||Aluminum||25 inches||9 oz|
|Black Diamond Distance-Z||Foldable||Aluminum||Varies||9.8 oz|
|Trail Buddy||Telescoping||Aluminum||24 inches||9.7 oz|
|TrailBuddy Youth Poles||Telescoping||Aluminum||24 inches||7 oz|
|Hiker Hunger||Telescoping||Carbon Fiber||24 inches||7.6 oz|
|Cascade Mountain Tech||Telescoping||Aluminum||26 inches||10.4 oz|
|Foxelli Carbon Fiber||Telescoping||Carbon Fiber||24 inches||7.6 oz|
How to Choose the Best Trekking Poles for You
When looking for the best set of hiking poles, it can be overwhelming because there seems to be a lot of information out there.
Below you’ll find everything that you need to know when looking to purchase yourself a set.
There are two main types of materials that hiking poles are made out of, aluminum and carbon fiber.
Typically, alumnium is cheaper and holds up better while carbon fiber is more expensive and more prone to bending.
Many trekking poles are made of aluminum because it’s less likely to break and is fairly lightweight.
Aluminum poles can typically handle more weight loaded on them than carbon fiber poles can, making them more durable.
If aluminum poles bend, they’ll likely still work and can be straightened out, they may just have a slight dent.
For an affordable, durable, and lightweight pair of trekking poles, aluminum is the way to go.
While aluminum poles are lightweight, carbon fiber trekking poles are typically lighter.
They’re often used by backpackers and trail runners, as they’re easily packable and keep a pack light.
Carbon fiber poles tend to be more breakable and will snap if too much weight is placed on them.
They also are typically more expensive than the aluminum options.
There are a few different types of ways that hiking poles extend and collapse.
The three most common types include telescoping, fixed, and folding trekking poles.
Perhaps the most common type of trekking pole that you’ll see is the telescoping kind.
These, as the name suggests, typically have 2 or 3 sections that telescope into one another.
They’re locked into place by either an internal or external locking system. External usually tend to perform better.
An internal locking system is usually some sort of twist lock. Simply twist the pieces together, and the poles will lock.
An external locking system is typically a buckle that is snapped in order to lock the pieces in place.
Since telescoping poles have between 2 and 3 sections, they can collapse into either 1/2 or 1/3 the size of their fully extended length.
Folding trekking poles are the next option and are very similar to telescoping poles.
Instead of collapsing into itself, they have a strong wire that holds them together and allows the poles to fold in 3 places.
These can usually pack down smaller than telescoping poles, sometimes by up to 10 inches smaller.
For backpackers, this can be a great feature, as most prefer to have small, lightweight items.
Folding trekking poles tend to be less durable than fixed and telescoping because they’re made of a thinner material.
They also may be more limited in their abilities to be adjustable.
The last type of trekking pole is the fixed pole, which I personally don’t recommend for hiking.
These are the least popular among the hiking community, as they aren’t easily stored or transported.
Fixed poles have a set length and aren’t able to be collapsed or extended at all.
These can be more durable because there is no mechanism moving them in and out, but they’re bulkier and overall not as great as other options.
The locking mechanism of a trekking pole is what locks them in place when fully extended.
The two most common types of locks are a twist-lock and a lever lock.
I would typically recommend the lever lock because it’s stronger and easier to use.
The lever locks are an external system, are very secure, and don’t slip as easily.
These work the best because they are able to be easily unlatched and can be tightened or loosened to create a stronger lock on the pieces.
Twist locks aren’t seen very often, and that’s because they usually aren’t as durable or easy to use.
Slipping is more prone to happening with a twist lock.
Also, with a twist lock, you’ll likely need two hands to tighten or loosen the pieces.
The weight of a trekking pole is one of the most important considerations when looking to purchase a pair.
Lugging around heavy poles when you’re out on a hike is no fun.
Choosing a lightweight set won’t tire your arms as quickly and will allow you to pack them away easier.
Getting a lightweight pair is especially important for those embarking on longer hikes or backpacking trips.
Carbon fiber tends to be lighter than aluminum, but it’s also more expensive and tends to break easier.
Of course one of the top things to look for when choosing the right trekking pole for you is the durability of the item.
The weight and material of a pole go together to determine the durability of a specific hiking pole.
Aluminum is the best material when it comes to the durability of poles.
Although carbon fiber is stronger and can hold more weight, it’s also easier to snap, whereas aluminum will typically only bend, rather than break.
The weight also comes into play.
When companies work to cut down the weight of a pole, they typically make the shaft thinner.
When this happens, the pole can’t bear as much weight, therefore making them easier to break.
It can be tough to compromise with these and choose a good pair, but all of the ones on this list are pretty lightweight and still durable!
The most popular type of grip on trekking poles is cork, but you may also see ergo foam or rubber.
You’ll find that most cork retains little moisture and still feels cool in your hand in the summer heat.
You’d think that cork would rip away easily, but it tends to be pretty durable and lasts for a long time.
Other grips include foam and rubber, but these are less sought after, as they don’t perform as well as cork.
Foam handles are comfortable and soft, though they tend to soak up more moisture than cork ones.
Rubber handles do best in the colder months, as in the summer, they tend to cause your hands to sweat.
Some poles also have a foam grip that reaches farther down the pole which comes in handy when climbing steeper hikes.
Most poles have a strap attached to the handle. Some hikers like these, while others don’t.
The most important factor in a strap is ensuring that no material on it scratches or itches your skin.
Extendable and Collapsed Length
Trekking poles typically extend tall enough and collapse short enough to accommodate most people.
But before purchasing your set, ensure that they will fit your height.
The handle of your trekking pole should stand at about waist height when touching the ground.
To determine a specific pole height for you, lay your arms flat at your side, and then raise them in front of you to a 90-degree angle.
The distance between the ground and your hands is how tall of a hiking pole you should be using.
If you’re a backpacker or someone who packs their hiking poles in a suitcase, then the collapsed length may also be of importance to you.
A telescoping or foldable pole will be best for backpackers and travelers, but foldable ones can typically collapse more.
The collapsed length may not be as important to you if you don’t plan to pack your poles in a bag very often.
For some good information on how to set the height of your trekking poles, click here.
If you’re interested in winter hiking, snowshoeing, and possibly even skiing, choosing a set of hiking poles that is fit for all seasons might be important.
Some poles come with a variety of interchangeable tips, which usually will include snow baskets.
These are wide-diameter tips that keep the poles from sinking deep into the snow.
Not all are sold with these, and some aren’t interchangeable. So be sure to check this before purchasing yours!
This just saves you from having multiple poles sitting in your garage or closet!
After everything is said and done, the most important factor when choosing the best budget trekking poles for you is comfort.
You can follow through with all of these guidelines and still end up with an uncomfortable set.
So be sure to remember your comfort levels and choose what you think you would enjoy using the most while out on the trails.
Benefits of Using Trekking Poles
There’s some debate as to whether or not trekking poles are actually useful for hiking.
Here are some great reasons why you should consider bringing along one of these hiking pole sets on your next outdoor adventure.
Helps Protect Your Joints
One of the main reasons that people use trekking poles is to take some of the pressure and shock off of their joints.
This is important, as hiking can certainly do a number on your knees and hips.
Especially when hiking over rough terrains such as rocks, roots, or mud, they can be a lifesaver.
Using hiking poles can help relieve some of the pain that is associated with hiking.
Assists in Uphill and Downhill Hiking
On especially steep up and downhill hikes, I’ve found trekking poles to be extremely helpful.
Going along with taking pressure off of your joints, using your poles to lean against on a downhill helps protect your knees.
They also are great for lunging yourself forward on uphills ascents.
On descents that have loose gravel or sand that may cause slipping, hiking poles can be used to help keep you off of the ground.
Aids in Balance and Stability
Hiking poles can act as an extra balance when hiking over tough terrains such as boulders, water, or mud that otherwise may cause you to trip.
They’re also especially great for winter hiking, as they help you stay stable on icy trails.
Do I Actually Need Hiking Poles?
This is a question that I asked myself many times when I first started hiking.
Are hiking poles really necessary? Do I actually need them? Or are they just going to get in the way?
After one hike with them, I truly realized what a difference they can make in the comfort of your hike.
When I set out for a long hike (typically more than 4-5 miles), I find trekking poles to be an essential part of my gear.
Especially if that hike is in the winter when there’s a possibility of snow, or I know that there might be mud on the trail.
For shorter hikes, I don’t find them as necessary, unless it’s strenuous with lots of elevation gain.
Not too long ago I hiked a 0.8-mile strenuous hike that would have been absolutely miserable without my poles!
Are Trekking Poles Worth It?
While not a necessary piece of hiking gear, hiking poles are definitely helpful.
Especially for long or strenuous hikes, they can help keep you stable and take some of the pressure off of your joints.
They’re helpful for climbing over rocks, crossing streams, and on descents and ascents.
Can I Hike With Just One Pole?
While there’s nothing stopping you from hiking with just one pole, it’s going to be more beneficial to have two.
It’ll provide you with better balance and stability.
How Tall Should Hiking Poles Be?
When standing on flat ground, you should be able to hold the pole at a 90 degree angle.
Each person’s poles will stand at a different height, because of each individual’s height differences.
How Much Should Hiking Poles Cost?
The cost of hiking poles varies greatly, depending on the brand, quality, etc. that you get.
But they typically range from $40 to $130.
Why Are Hiking Sticks So Expensive?
Hiking poles can be expensive because of their materials and the quality of the product.
You can definitely buy budget ones, and that’s what you’ll find in this post.
Many budget poles are still made of great quality materials, so you don’t have to buy those $130 options.
Do Hiking Sticks Help With Knee Pain?
Using hiking poles on the trail can help with your knee pain when hiking.
They can help take the pressure off of your knees and help give you more stability, which is great for older people or those with bad knees.
Conclusion: Best Budget Trekking Poles
Choosing the best set of poles for hiking can be overwhelming. There are so many options out there!
And you might have other questions like, do I even need them? Or are they just completely unnecessary?
But, with this guide, I hope you were able to understand the benefits of hiking with poles and choose the best budget trekking pole for yourself.