Can You Bring Hiking Poles on a Plane? Explained 2023 – Europe & USA

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So, can you bring hiking poles on a plane?

It’s the classic nightmare. You’re flying somewhere like Europe to go on an epic hiking trail and either:

1️⃣ The airline loses your checked luggage (where poles are allowed).

2️⃣ They confiscate your trekking poles because they are “weapons” (in your carryon).

So what’s a hiker with screaming pain in their knees on the downhills supposed to do when they want to tackle the Tour du Mont Blanc or Alta Via 1 in Europe?

Or even a domestic flight to see a sweet National park? Should your fancy trekking poles with shock absorption, even if they fold down?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: It depends. Want to gamble?

When it comes to bringing hiking poles on a plane, it’s important to understand the policies of the airlines you’ll be flying with.

While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides guidelines on what items are allowed through security checkpoints, airlines may have their own restrictions or requirements in other countries, airports or airline specific.

And frequently, you are at the mercy of one security persons’ mood or interpretation at the moment. Sometimes you get away with them and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes they can be considered an assistive device, but how? Nobody knows.

🔥 ➡️ Related Reading – Hiking Travel Tips:

Can You Bring Hiking Poles on a Plane Youtube

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TL;DR: I wouldn’t bring expensive ones. They get lost, broken or confiscated.

Inside USA:
TSA Carry-on ❌
TSA Checked ✅ – but they can get broken or metal tip tears luggage.

Bottom line: It’s a hassle.

Trekking Poles Carryon IN EUROPE:
Sometimes they take them, sometimes they don’t.
Some require rubber tips, some don’t allow them at all.

I’ve had both situations where I’ve flown with them no problem in carry-on, and I have had to throw them away–on the same trip! At the connection the rules changed apparently.

Best course: Either buy a cheap pair at your destination, or stow in checked luggage and get rubber tips to put over ends and pray they don’t get destroyed by aggressive luggage handling.


Airline Policies On Hiking Poles

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to airline policies on hiking poles:

  • Carry-on vs. Checked Baggage: Some airlines may allow hiking poles as carry-on items, while others may require them to be checked. It’s important to check with your airline before your flight to determine their specific policies.
  • Length Restrictions: Some airlines may have restrictions on the length of hiking poles that can be brought on board. For example, United Airlines limits carry-on items to 22 inches in length, while Delta Airlines allows up to 45 inches. Be sure to check with your airline for their specific length restrictions.
  • Baggage Fees: If you’re planning on checking your hiking poles, be aware that some airlines may charge additional baggage fees. These fees can vary depending on the airline and your destination, so it’s important to check with your airline before your flight.

It’s also worth noting that some airlines may have different policies for international flights compared to domestic flights. For example, some international airlines may not allow hiking poles as carry-on items, while others may have different length restrictions.

If you check any facebook groups for the famous trails like the Tour du Mont Blanc, you’ll see almost weekly where luggage is lost in Zurich and what should I do?

Lost luggage tip: Go to Decathlon in Chamonix (or pretty much anywhere in Europe) and get cheap trekking poles. If not available go to google maps and type in “sport store” and you’ll almost always find one.


How to Pack Hiking Poles for Flight

If you’re planning a hiking trip that requires air travel, you may be wondering if you can bring your hiking poles on the plane. The good news is that you can bring your hiking poles, but there are a few things you need to know to pack them properly.

Disassembling Hiking Poles

First, you’ll need to disassemble your hiking poles. Most hiking poles are made up of two or three sections that can be unscrewed and separated. You should also remove any attachments, such as baskets or rubber tips, and pack them separately.

Securing Hiking Poles

To prevent your hiking poles from getting damaged during transport, you’ll need to secure them properly. One option is to use a padded case that is specifically designed for hiking poles. These cases are typically made of durable materials and have compartments for each section of your poles.

If you don’t have a padded case, you can use bubble wrap or foam padding to protect your hiking poles. Wrap each section of your poles separately and secure them with tape or rubber bands.

can you bring hiking poles on a plane
Can you bring hiking poles on a plane? Yes and No.

Proper Case or Bag

When it comes to transporting your hiking poles on a plane, you have two options: carry-on or checked baggage. If you plan to bring your hiking poles as carry-on luggage, you’ll need to make sure they meet the airline’s size and weight restrictions. You may also need to remove the rubber tips from your poles to comply with TSA regulations.

If you plan to check your hiking poles, you’ll need to pack them in a sturdy case or bag that can withstand the rigors of air travel. Make sure your case or bag is clearly labeled with your name and contact information, and consider adding a luggage tag with a tracking number.

A Guide to Air Travel with Trekking Gear

By following these tips, you can pack your hiking poles for a flight with confidence. Just remember to disassemble your poles, secure them properly, and use a proper case or bag for transport.

Location and TypePoles Allowed?
Europe CarryonNo
Europe CheckedYes
USA CarryonNo
USA CheckedYes

Alternatives to Bringing Hiking Poles on a Plane

If you don’t want to bring your hiking poles on a plane, there are a couple of alternatives you can consider. Here are two options to consider:

Renting Hiking Poles

If you don’t want to bring your hiking poles on a plane, you can always rent them at your destination. Many outdoor gear rental shops offer hiking poles for rent. This is a great option if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of traveling with your own poles. Renting poles can also be a good option if you only need them for a short period of time or if you don’t hike frequently.

Before renting hiking poles, make sure to do some research to find a reputable rental shop. Look for reviews online and ask for recommendations from locals or fellow hikers. You should also make sure to inspect the poles before renting them to ensure that they are in good condition and will meet your needs.

Buying Hiking Poles at Destination

Another option is to buy hiking poles at your destination. This is a good option if you plan on hiking frequently or if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of renting poles every time you go on a hike.

Before buying hiking poles at your destination, make sure to do some research to find a reputable outdoor gear shop. Look for reviews online and ask for recommendations from locals or fellow hikers. You should also make sure to inspect the poles before buying them to ensure that they are in good condition and will meet your needs.

Keep in mind that buying hiking poles at your destination can be more expensive than renting them. However, if you plan on hiking frequently, it may be worth the investment to purchase your own poles.

Potential Issues and Solutions

Lost or Damaged Hiking Poles

One potential issue with bringing hiking poles on a plane is the risk of losing or damaging them during transit. If you check your hiking poles in your luggage, there is a possibility that they may get lost or damaged in transit. To reduce the risk of this happening, consider investing in a sturdy and protective carrying case for your hiking poles. Additionally, make sure to label your carrying case with your name and contact information so that it is easily identifiable.

Another solution to avoid losing or damaging your hiking poles is to ship them ahead of time to your destination. This may be a bit more expensive than checking them in your luggage, but it will give you peace of mind knowing that your hiking poles will arrive safely and be waiting for you when you arrive.

Security Concerns

Another potential issue with bringing hiking poles on a plane is security concerns. Hiking poles can be seen as a potential weapon, so it is important to follow the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines when packing them. According to the TSA, hiking poles are not allowed as carry-ons, but walking canes are allowed, provided they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed.

To avoid any issues with security, pack your hiking poles in your checked luggage and make sure they are secured and not easily accessible. It is also a good idea to carry a printout of the TSA guidelines with you in case you encounter any issues with airport security.

Conclusion

Hiking poles offer many benefits for longer hikes. Bringing hiking poles on a plane can present potential issues such as lost or damaged poles and security concerns.

However, with proper preparation and following TSA guidelines, you can minimize these risks and enjoy your hiking adventure with your trusty poles by your side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are trekking poles allowed in carry-on luggage?

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), trekking poles are not allowed in carry-on luggage. However, collapsible hiking poles may be allowed if they meet the carry-on size restrictions and do not have sharp edges that could be considered a potential weapon.

Is there a TSA-approved walking stick for air travel?

The TSA does not approve or endorse any specific walking stick for air travel. However, if you have a walking stick that meets the TSA’s size and weight restrictions and does not have sharp edges, it may be allowed in your checked luggage.

Can hiking poles be checked in as luggage?

Yes, hiking poles can be checked in as luggage. However, it is important to check with your airline beforehand to ensure that they allow hiking poles as checked luggage and to determine any additional fees or restrictions.

What are the rules for bringing walking sticks on a plane?

Walking sticks are allowed in checked luggage, but not in carry-on luggage. The TSA considers walking sticks to be potential weapons, and they may be confiscated if found in carry-on luggage.

Are hiking poles permitted on Ryanair flights?

Ryanair’s policy on hiking poles is clear, they are not allowed. Ryanair is also famous for charging excessive fees for sports equipment.

Do TSA regulations allow for walking sticks to be carried on?

No, TSA regulations do not allow for walking sticks to be carried on. Walking sticks are considered potential weapons and are not permitted in carry-on luggage.



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We hope this guide answered your question: Can you bring hiking poles on a plane? I hope this gives you the proper information to plan your next adventure.

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Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a physical therapist and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.