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Top 9 Hiking Poles and Trekking Poles in Pairs

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Updated April 16, 2014

Hiking and trekking poles can be used in two ways. First, using poles you take strain off of knees and ankles and give yourself more balance. Second, you work the upper body to burn more calories per mile, while actually feeling like you are exerting yourself less. Burn more, feel less. Using the right technique is essential, and these poles come with instructions. As with shoes, which pole is best in an individual choice. The following poles are all of good quality.

1. Leki Trail Trekking Poles

Wendy with Leki Trekking Poles at Lake Bachalpsee Switzerland
Wendy Bumgardner © 2005

These 3-section poles can be adjusted for height - to share them or to modify for up and downhill trekking. The positive angle grips are comfortable. They telescope down small enough to pack in a suitcase for travel. I bought a pair to see me through a mountain walking vacation and it was money well spent to provide stability on the trail. Removable snow or trail baskets.

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2. Black Diamond Contour Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Contour Trekking Poles
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Collapses down to 25 inches for packing. Non-slip foam grips and padded webbing for comfort. FlickLock adjustment system for securely changing the height of the pole.

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3. REI Traverse Trekking Poles

REI Traverse Trekking Poles
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REI is a name I trust for outdoor gear. This is their store brand of trekking poles and come at a value price for the regular version, which is also available in a junior version for youth. They are 3-section adjustable poles that collapse down to 27.2 inches for packing.

4. Exerstrider OS2 Fitness Trekker

Exerstrider OS2 Fitness Trekker Poles
Wendy Bumgardner ©

Two-piece telescoping aluminum alloy fitness walking poles. Compacts down to 31" for travel. Fits any user 3'11" to 6'2". "Paw" tip perfect for street or sidewalk use. These poles come with an Exerstrider instructional video and manual. The OS2 were finalists for the Readers' Choice Award for Fitness Walking Poles in 2013 and 2012.

5. Exerstrider TR3 Traveler 25-Inch Telescoping Poles

Exerstrider TR3 Traveler Gold Edition 25-Inch Poles
Wendy Bumgardner © 2013

When you want to take your poles along on a trip, you want a pair that will fit into your luggage. The TR3 is made in three segments and they telescope down to 25 inches. They have hand markings on one of the segments for height adjustment in both English and metric units. The ergonomic handgrips are beefy. I love the clear markings on top as to which is left and which is right and what direction they should be facing. They come with trekking baskets and snow baskets, so you can use them for snowshoeing as well as hiking. They have a cushion boot for pavement and a carbide tip to bite into the surface.

6. REI Carbon PowerLock Trekking Poles

REI Carbon PowerLock Trekking Poles
Courtesy of REI

These poles are made with lightweight but strong carbon fiber. The carbon fiber damps vibration and doesn't go through the same expansion and contraction that metal poles do in different temperature conditions. They have padded wrist straps as well as a foam-padded grips. The poles contract to 27.5 inches for travel, and have an external lever lock mechanism. They come with trekking disks and snow baskets but do not have a rubber paw to cover the carbide tip for use on pavement.

7. Leki Makalu Anti-Shock Trekking Poles

Anodized aluminum shafts have internal springs to absorb shock on rough ground. Telescopes from 28" to 56" for packing and adjusting to users and terrain. Ergonomic soft grips.

8. Exerstrider AT/S All-Terrain

Exerstrider AT/S All-Terrain Fitness Tre
Wendy Bumgardner ©

Two-piece adjustable/telescoping fitness and trekking poles. This model features a carbide tipped ferrule for use on ice, packed snow, gravel or in wilderness trails. In addition to the cushion grip tips, it comes with removable small baskets for walking on gravel road, sand, wooded areas and fording streams, and large baskets for skiing or snow shoeing. Comes with manual and video.

9. Exerstrider SE Walking Poles

These are the classic one-piece aluminum alloy design with ergonomic grips.

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