Best Budget Trekking Poles of 2023: Review By Physical Therapist

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Want to test out affordable trekking poles?

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Ummm, can I go out and say, a trekking pole is better than a stick?!?? My husband may disagree, but once you try a pair of solid trekking poles (or called hiking poles) it’s hard to go back to a tree branch, but a stick works for Yoda so it may work for you too.

For people just starting to experience a little back of the kneecap pain on the downhills, but not entirely sure if they want to invest in expensive trekking poles this best budget trekking poles review is for you.

Best Budget Trekking Poles

Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

Best entry level carbon fiber trekking poles. These trekking poles have all the features of poles 3 times the price like tungsten carbide tips and adjustable straps.  While they don't have flicklock or shock absorption technology, these poles will certainly help you get into more serious hiking. 

If you end up making use of trekking poles and want to upgrade, you'll have a very cheap tester to ensure that it's not a waste of money. 

Many people think they "need" poles and only end up carrying them on their pack the whole hike. So be sure that you really need them with this starter set. 

  • Cheapest and most loaded options

  • Great reviews

  • Good value for the money

  • Not for extremely serious hikers, but a great entry point

But Are Trekking Poles Worth it?

I’ve included adjustable & lightweight trekking pole solutions that offer:

⏬ Reduced forces on lower body joints that cause pain on the downhills
🥾⚖️ Improved balance and stability and security
🥾 Increased stamina for long distance hikes, birdwatching, skitouring, snowshoeing, fishing or hunting
⛰ More Freedom in the Outdoors, especially after a knee surgery

Don’t trust me and my 15 years of physical therapy practice, see what the research suggests on using trekking poles for hiking and backpacking:

***Journal of Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 2020.

Need help learning how to use trekking poles? My dog and I do our best to teach trekking pole skills via youtube.

Quick Links for Best Trekking Poles

My Pick for People with Bad Knees : Black Diamond Trekking Poles

best budget trekking poles

These Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Trekking Poles are my top choice of all the trekking poles I’ve reviewed below for those with knee problems! They have great potential to protect your knees on hiking trails and backpacking adventures with it’s innovative shock absorption technology.

Knees are my problem and these really help on the downhills.

I much prefer multi-functional devices that are of high quality. These can also be used for skiing with different baskets attached to the bottom. The handgrips don’t make my hands sweaty and have a very nice groove so you never feel like you have to have the “death grip.”

I took them up the Olpererhutte Zillertal Alps bridge on a flying dress photography trip and they stayed attached to my wrists easily even when handling my camera.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Trekking Poles of 2023

ImageProductQuick SummaryPrice
Best on Budget : Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

Best on Budget : Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

Best entry level carbon fiber trekking poles. Has all the features of poles 3 times the price like tungsten carbide tips and adjustable straps.

  • Cheapest and most loaded options

  • Great reviews
Check Current Price
Best for Knees :  Black Diamond Women's Trail Pro

Best for Knees : Black Diamond Women's Trail Pro

With hikes in the steep mountains, these are a lifesaver. It still hurts on steep declines, but far, far less.

  • Shock absorption technology

  • Author is probably biased - I LOVE these!!!
Check Current Price
Absolute Cheapest : Trail Buddy Trekking Poles

Absolute Cheapest : Trail Buddy Trekking Poles

Great starter trekking poles for people unsure if they want to utilize them on hikes.

  • Super cheap trekking poles

  • Comes with rubber tips and baskets.

  • Come with padded straps, cork grip and external locks.
Check Current Price
Best for All Season : BD Trail Back Trekking Poles

Best for All Season : BD Trail Back Trekking Poles

Perfect for those people that want to keep their outdoor adventures going into winter with snowshoeing, skitouring or even just safely walking to the mailbox on icy roads.

  • The baskets can be changed out for snowbaskets.
Check Current Price
Popular REI Trekking Poles : Mountainsmith Roamer

Popular REI Trekking Poles : Mountainsmith Roamer

Super value trekking poles. They come with powder ski baskets and trekking baskets and rubber tips so you don't have to buy them separately. 

  • Has OLS - Outer lock system to make adjustments easy and quick.

  • Shock absorption
Check Current Price
Best Warranty : Summit Carbon Compact Komperdell

Best Warranty : Summit Carbon Compact Komperdell

Best priced carbon fiber trekking poles and with a 3 year, no questions asked full repair service they are an excellent value for hikers going long distances. 

  • 3 year warranty no questions asked

  • Built in Austria for serious hikers

  • Most expensive

 

Check Current Price
Best Budget Lekis : Trekking Poles Legacy Lite

Best Budget Lekis : Trekking Poles Legacy Lite

Best for people that want a sturdy, yet lightweight trekking pole with an exceptionally comfortable grip.

  • Cork grip and with ergonomically designed grip to alleviate wrist pain on prolonged hikes.
Check Current Price
Best for Photographers : Camera Mount Hiker Power Lock

Best for Photographers : Camera Mount Hiker Power Lock

This is a hiking staff, so great for those that prefer to carry only one pole. The globe shaped top also allows more pressure to go through shaft.

  • Great for people creating video content on their hikes

  • Only one pole
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Best Ultralight Trekking Poles : Alps Mountaineering Momentum

Best Ultralight Trekking Poles : Alps Mountaineering Momentum

Perfect for people who want to go the distance as these are the lightest budget trekking poles on market.

  • Comes with powder ski baskets and trekking baskets so you don't have to buy them separately. 
Check Current Price
Images courtesy of www.cascademountaintech.com

The aim of this article is to talk you through all the features and considerations that go into choosing the best budget trekking poles. I’ve only included the products that I love and that have a proven reputation of being a sound investment for hiking.

ANOTHER THING: If you plan to walk or hike over hard surfaces like asphalt, you’ll do yourself a favor by buying rubber tips for your poles as the metal tip makes annoying noises and provides less traction. Or if you want to use your trekking poles for hunting, I’d recommend the quieter tips.

Best Budget Hiking Pole Review

Choosing the best budget trekking poles can feel a bit overwhelming. Read these detailed hiking pole reviews to help you find the best way to walk comfortably, even downhill for your next trip outside.

💃🏻 What is a “women’s trekking pole”?
The same thing as a unisex pole but meant for people (any gender) with smaller hands and less than 6 feet tall.

Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Trekking Poles

gifts for outdoorsy women


What do hikers think?

​I picked up these poles after my husky crashed into my left knee resulting in a full thickness cartilage tear on the backside of my kneecap. With hikes in the steep Alps, they are a lifesaver.  It still hurts on steep declines, but far, far less.

Type: Telescoping with twist lock, Aluminum shaft

Grip:  Eva foam grip

✅ Pros: Flicklock Pro adjustability to change length on the fly, 4 way shock control technology to dampen forces and make downhills much more comfortable, very lightweight, fits in carryon baggage

▶️ Size: 23 inches collapsed, Useable length 37-49 inches.  Weight per Pair:  1lb 2.8oz
 

🛑 Cons: More expensive, but ideal for people who only want to buy once


Best Trekking Poles for 4 Season Use

Black Diamond Trail Back Poles

budget trekking poles


What do hikers think?

These are the best budget trekking poles for people that want to keep their outdoor adventures going into winter with snowshoeing, skitouring or even just safely walking to the mailbox on icy roads. The baskets can be changed out for snowbaskets.

Type: Telescoping with twist lock, Aluminum shaft
Grip: Eva foam grip

✅ Pros: Flicklock Pro adjustability, 4 season flex carbide tips, baskets can be interchanged (*not included)

▶️ Size: 24 inches collapsed, Useable length 39-55 inches. Weight per Pair: 1lb 1oz

🛑 Cons: Can create small vibrations with heavy use, no shock absorption


Top Pick: Best Budget Trekking Poles

Best Budget Leki Trekking Poles

Leki Legacy Lite Trekking Poles

leki budget trekking poles


What do hikers think?

​Ahhh, Leki. The porsche of trekking poles and most of them are definitely not budget but these come in under $100.

Some hikers absolutely love a cork grip and these are ergonomically designed to alleviate wrist pain on prolonged hikes.

Best for people that want a sturdy, yet lightweight trekking pole with an exceptionally comfortable grip.

Type: Telescoping with external lever lock, Aluminum shaft
Grip: Cork and Rubber grip

✅ Pros: Ultralight poles, Ergonomic handle, cork handle, carbide flex tips, sturdy even for heavier hikers

▶️ Size: 26 inches collapsed, Useable length 39-53 inches. Weight per Pair: 1lb 2oz

🛑 Cons: Difficult to fit in carryon luggage


Popular REI Trekking Poles

Mountainsmith Roamer Trekking Poles

best budget trekking poles


Best Budget Trekking Poles from REI

Fantastic budget-friendly trekking poles. They come with powder ski baskets and trekking baskets and rubber tips so you don’t have to buy them separately.

Has OLS – Outer lock system to make adjustments easy and quick.

Type: Telescoping with lock, Aluminum shaft
Grip: Plastic grip

✅ Pros: Great value for the cost, unisex sizing

▶️ Size: 26 inches collapsed, Useable length 26-53 inches. Weight per Pair: 1lb 4oz

🛑 Cons: No markings on bottom to visually see your height adjustment level, poles can collapse on themselves with heavy useage


Top Trekking Poles by Need

Best for People with Bad Knees : Black Diamond Trail Pro Trekking Poles w/ Shock Absorption

Best for Heavier People, Ultralight Yet Sturdy : Leki Legacy Lite Trekking Poles

Cheap Trekking Poles : Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles- Cost Effective Trekking Poles

Cascade Mountain Tech

best budget trekking poles


Best budget trekking poles on amazon.

Best entry level carbon fiber trekking poles. Has all the features of poles 3 times the price like tungsten carbide tips and adjustable straps. Includes snow baskets, sand/ mud baskets, rubber boot tips, rubber tips, trekking pole clip and a carry bag.

Great value trekking poles for most day hikers and long distance thru hikers that don’t need all the bells and whistles.

Type: Telescoping with external lock, carbon shaft
Grip: Cork grip

✅ Pros: Price, Ultralight, Moisture wicking handles

▶️ Size: 26 inches collapsed, Useable length 26-54 inches. Weight per Pair: 15.6 oz

🛑 Cons: bulky levers to change the height


Protip: How to fit trekking poles : Measure the height of your trekking pole by placing the tip 4 inches away from your pinkie toe. The height of the handle should be at your wrist with a 90 degree bend in your elbow.


Best Ultralight Trekking Poles

Alps Mountaineering Momentum Trekking Poles


Best inexpensive trekking polesmade of carbon fiber.

Perfect for people who want to go the distance as these are the lightest budget trekking poles on market. Not so perfect for taller and heavier users who might need stronger poles.

They come with powder ski baskets and trekking baskets so you don’t have to buy them separately.

Has ELL – External lever lock to make adjustments easy and quick. Tungsten carbide tips help provide excellent traction.

Type: Telescoping with lock, Carbon Fiber shaft
Grip: EVA Foam grip

✅ Pros: Ultralight weight, unisex sizing

▶️ Size: 24.5 inches collapsed, Useable length 24.5-53 inches. Weight per Pair: 14.5 oz

🛑 Cons: Reports of poles snapping with heavier users, consider REI return policy


Trailbuddy Trekking Poles : Best Low Budget

Trail Buddy Trekking Poles


Best Budget Trekking Poles with Accessories

Great starter trekking poles for people undertaking their first long distance hike or just want a really great price.

Super cheap trekking poles that come with rubber tips and baskets. They come with padded straps, cork grip and external locks.

Low-cost trekking poles perfect for people who prefer longer walks and don’t need ultralight or maximum strength poles.

Type: Telescoping with external lock, Aluminum shaft
Grip: Cork grip

✅ Pros: Cost, tips and baskets included

▶️ Size: 24.5 inches collapsed, Useable length 24.5-54 inches. Weight per Pair: 1lb 4oz

🛑 Cons: quality and customer service, weight, handles tend to break off and baskets get lost


Sustainable Choice

Best Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles + Free Repairs

Komperdell Summit Carbon Compact Trekking Poles

best budget trekking poles komperdell

$199.95
Best Budget Trekking Poles Warranty

Reasonably priced trekking poles made of carbon fiber trekking poles and with a 3 year, no questions asked full repair service they are an excellent value for hikers going long distances. Made in Austria for serious hikers.

Type: Telescoping with powerlock, Carbon fiber shaft
Grip: Plastic grip

✅ Pros: 3 year repair service free of charge, ultralight, padded wrist straps

▶️ Size: 22.44 inches collapsed, Useable length 35.43-47.24 inches. Weight per Pair: 1lb 0.6oz

🛑 Cons: price


Camera Mount + Best Hiking Poles

Hiker Power Lock Staff – Single Monopod

best budget trekking pole


What do hikers think?

This is a hiking staff, so great for those that prefer to carry only one pole.

The globe shaped top also allows more pressure to go through shaft.

Great for people creating video content on their hikes as the handle comes off to

Type: Telescoping with external lock, Aluminum shaft
Grip: Eva foam grip

✅ Pros: Camera mount inside handle

▶️ Size: 26 inches collapsed, Useable length 26-55 inches. Weight per one: 10.2 oz

🛑 Cons: Single staff


What to Look for When Choosing Trekking Poles

I’ve included a comparison chart of all the best budget trekking poles, as well as in depth reviews of each product that make finding the best budget trekking pole, much easier.

Only high-quality, adjustable length poles are included in this review. I bought a $30 pair of Viking trekking poles that broke within 2 hours of use on a 5 day backpacking trip in the Dolomites. So not only did they not provide me any support, I still had to carry them out!

best budget trekking poles

The purpose of these lightweight and collapsible trekking poles is not only safety, but to reduce the strain on your lower body joints and muscles, especially if you’re wearing a backpack.


How to Choose the Best Hiking Poles

First of all, you’ve got to decide which kind of hiking you’re going to do and if you will be challenged in stamina, balance, traction or incline.

Maybe you want a camera mount? Trekking poles will have different benefits but the one you choose should be based on what you need.

  • Steep Inclines and Declines
  • Uneven Terrain
  • Icy Paths
  • Long distance hikes

How to Use Trekking Poles?

I teach people all of the time how to use crutches at work so I put together an article on How to Use Trekking Poles Correctly if you need a quick lesson on how to use your best budget trekking poles.

What Are Features of Good Trekking Poles?

Trekking Poles Review : Collapsible Trekking Poles

What are the features of good hiking poles? Every size does not fit all. One has to keep various factors in mind including durability, weather conditions, weight etc. etc.

  1. Collapsible vs non collapsible – if it’s not collapsible then a stick may work better
  2. Material- Usually the hiking poles are made of aluminum or carbon fiber.  Both are good but each offers different benefits. Aluminum poles are cheaper, while carbon fiber poles are typically lighter. Other names for carbon shaft material: carbon fiber poles, foxelli carbon fiber, alpine carbon cork, trail ergo cork
  3. Pultruded vs rolled shaft carbon fiber processing
  4. Hand grips- Usually made of cork, rubber and foam. Cork is all weather, though rubber is good for winters as it insulates the hand whereas foam is excellent for summers as it absorbs sweat. Sometimes they will be called carbon cork, cork grips or ergo cork depending upon brand.
  5. Warranty length
  6. Packed Size : especially for travel in carryon bags
  7. Weight
  8. Locking Mechanism: Internal vs External: Twist lock mechanism vs External lock

FAQ About the Best Trekking Poles:

What is the best length for trekking poles?

Adjustable is the best so that you can adjust it to your limb and trunk height and whether you will be going uphill, down or flat.

Why do hikers use these poles?

People use the best budget trekking poles for increased balance, safety and speed.

Is hiking with poles a better workout?

Yes, you tend to move faster and have increased cardiovascular demand when you utilize the best budget trekking poles. Some studies indicate a 20% increased heart rate, but it will depend on the personal situation.

Do inexpensive poles break easily?

Yes. I bought a $30 pair of Viking poles and they broke within 1 hour of use by an 11 year old. You don’t need an ultra strong trekking pole, but the cheapest are more likely to fail. This experience is why i put together this review of the best budget trekking poles. I would love a $300 carbon fiber set, but it’s not realistic for most of us normal hikers.

Is it better to hike with one pole or two?

This is entirely personal preference. It’s an old hikers tale that speed hikers should use 2 and amblers only use one. Decide what feels best to you.


Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Outdoorsy Women

We would love to hear about your experiences on the best budget trekking poles. Black diamond distance carbon and leki have proven themselves to me. But everyone has a different experience.

If you’re looking for something special for the outdoorsy woman in your life see our 2023 gift guide. Mother’s day is coming!

Tag us on Instagram at #CravethePlanet

I hope you enjoyed this buying guide and review and you make plans to get outside with your new trekking poles.


Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a passionate hiker and writer, physical therapist, and photographer. She is living near Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and featured giving science-based hiking tips and advice.

​When not out exploring the mountains or sea, she’s writing articles and gear reviews to empower Outdoor Journeys that include family and good food.

With 💞, Crave the Planet

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