The Hiking Poles We Pack in the RV
Don’t Hit the Trail without a Good Pair of Trekking Poles
Whether you’re taking a short walk along an easy trail or crossing through mud, snow, and ice on your way to a mountain summit, a good pair of trekking poles are a must-have for any hiker. Not only do hiking poles provide support and stability, but they can also keep your legs feeling fresh and strong by reducing fatigue. They can even make it easier to cross a stream, avoid outdoor nuisances like brambles or poison ivy, and keep a steady pace on the trail.
Despite all of these benefits, many hikers are still reluctant to give trekking poles a try. Admittedly, they can feel a bit awkward to use at first, but their benefits far outweigh the downside once you get the hang of it. After a bit of practice, using hiking sticks becomes second nature, and you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them.
What to Look for in a Trekking Pole
When shopping for trekking poles, there are a few things that you’ll want to consider, starting with length. Hiking poles usually come in several sizes, and it is important to get a set that is appropriate for the height of the hiker. Generally speaking, if you are over six feet tall, look for trekking poles that are 51-inches (130 cm) in length. If you’re under six feet, get a pair that are 43-inches (120 cm) in length. There are other sizes available, but because most poles are highly adjustable, these models should accommodate most people.
Weight is another consideration to keep in mind, as adding trekking poles to your hiking equipment will certainly add ounces as well. Most modern hiking poles are relatively lightweight, but some models are bulkier than others. As is common with most outdoor gear, the weight of most trekking poles is inversely proportionate to their price. In other words, less expensive poles tend to weigh more than their pricier counterparts, usually due to the materials used in their construction. For instance, aluminum poles are durable and affordably priced but are on the heavier end of the spectrum. Meanwhile, carbon fiber models are extremely lightweight but aren’t as ruggedly built and tend to be pricer.
It is also essential to find trekking poles that have comfortable grips. Most fit ergonomically in your hands, but the material they are made from can influence how they feel. Usually, this comes down to personal preference, with some hikers preferring cork or foam grips while others gravitate toward rubber handles. Which one feels best is entirely subjective, but since you’ll be trekking with the poles for hours at times, it is a good idea to find a set that feels natural in your hand.
Other handy features include wrist straps to prevent accidental drops and baskets that connect to the bottom of the shaft to provide more stability in snow or thick mud. Many poles can also come apart and break down to a smaller size, making them easier to store or carry with you when traveling.
The Hiking Poles to Pack in Your RV
Keeping all of that criteria in mind, which hiking poles make the best sense for RVers? Here are the models you should have on your shortlist for your next outdoor adventure.
Leki Makalu Lite Trekking Poles
Leki makes some of the best trekking poles on the market, and its Makalu line has been a mainstay in the outdoor world for years. The Makalu Lite model is the evolution of that product, offering a durable and lightweight pole at an affordable price. Made from rugged aluminum and sporting comfortable grips, this is a hiking pole designed for use on just about any trail.
Available in sizes ranging from 40 to 54 inches, this pole collapses down to a surprisingly short length when not in use. Leki’s patented Speed Lock system makes adjusting the shafts for individual hikers a quick and easy affair. The Makalu Lite comes with wrist straps and carbide tips that ensure a solid connection with the trail.
Kelty Upslope 2.0 Trekking Poles
An excellent option for casual hikers or those just getting started, the Kelty Upslope 2.0 is an affordable trekking pole that offers solid performance. This model features anodized aluminum shafts, padded wrist straps, and carbide tips that come with rubber covers for use on paved trails. The poles weigh 10 ounces each and are compatible with snow baskets for use in the winter.
The Upslope 2.0 is a one-size-fits-all pole with an adjustable length that ranges from 35 to 54 inches. That makes them versatile enough for most hikers, although they don’t collapse quite as small as some other models, making them a bit more challenging to store. This pole’s budget price makes them a very attractive option for hikers looking for more stability and support on the trail without spending a lot of money.
Black Diamond Trail Sport 2 Trekking Poles
Another budget-friendly option, the Black Diamond Trail Sport 2 trekking poles are a no-frills model that is a dependable companion on any hike. Thanks to their rugged aluminum shafts, these poles weigh in at 10.2 ounces each. That extra weight equates to improved durability, ensuring the poles can survive in the most demanding environments. Lightweight wrist straps and rubberized grips with ventilation channels provide added comfort on the trail.
The Trail Sport 2 trekking poles are only available in a single size but are adjustable from 40 to 55 inches in length. That is a wide enough range to support the majority of trekkers, however, making these a good option for most people and provides room to grow for younger hikers. When collapsed down for transport, the poles still measure 32 inches in length, making them easier to store but not quite as convenient as some other models. Still, the low cost of entry that these hiking sticks deliver is hard to ignore.
Black Diamond Distance FLZ Trekking Poles
Built for versatility on the trail, the Black Diamond Distance FLZ hiking sticks are as equally adept at short day hikes as they are extended backpacking trips. This pole uses high-quality aluminum shafts and durable EVA foam grips but still manages to weigh less than 8 ounces. It comes with interchangeable tips for use on different types of surfaces and moisture-wicking, breathable wrist straps for improved comfort.
Available in three different sizes, the Distance FLZ uses Black Diamond’s SlideLock system to secure its three independent segments. This makes it easy to adjust the length while on the go while also providing stability and durability. After the hike, the poles break down to a length of just 16 inches, allowing them to fit inside a backpack, carry-on luggage, or a drawer in your RV.
Leki Legacy Lite AS Trekking Poles
As with most of the other trekking poles on this list, the Leki Legacy Lite AS offers excellent durability and support, along with comfortable grips, wrist straps, and carbide tips. What sets it apart from the competition is the shock-absorbing technology built into its aluminum shafts. This system uses internal springs and air pistons to allow the pole to compress slightly, absorbing some of the impact with the ground. The result is less wear and tear on the body with reduced pressure on the hiker’s joints.
Leki’s Dynamic Suspension System does add additional weight, but the Legacy Lite poles still tip the scales at a svelte 9.2 ounces. They are also easily adjustable for all lengths ranging from 40 to 54 inches and quickly break down to a surprisingly small size when traveling. Better still, the poles are a relative bargain, even with the shock-absorbing features.
If you like to hike while camping and don’t already own a pair of trekking poles, do yourself a favor and order a set. They can be a real gamechanger in terms of stability and support, making every trek easier and more enjoyable.