The Best Walking Sticks (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Consider these walking sticks to improve your balance and stability on uneven hiking trails.
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BY Zach Faulds / LAST UPDATED ON September 21, 2021
Walking sticks can be highly beneficial when you hit a trail. Although they may seem like just another piece of gear you have to carry with you when hiking or backpacking, these slim sticks can deliver a whole host of benefits. A pair of walking sticks can improve your balance and stability, particularly if you’re traversing uneven trails. They can help your posture, ensuring you aren’t feeling back pain once your long day of hiking has ended. They can even intensify your walk or hike, helping you push off each stick for an increased aerobic workout. And of course, walking sticks offer support when you need it most. To find a great pair of walking sticks, check out some of the best options right here.
Sturdy, reliable, and quality walking sticks are adjustable, giving you the option to change their height from 25.5 inches to 54 inches tall and lock in the perfect length with a lever-lock system.
- Durable and able to withstand a lot of pressure and impact, thanks to their tough aluminum construction
- They weigh just 4 ounces, making them the perfect lightweight companion
- Durability of the cork grip handles can be an issue
- Handles have been known to begin to deteriorate and break down after extensive use
Affordable and budget-friendly, yet they’re lightweight and perfectly equipped to handle any adventure. Great for absolutely everyone, and suited for anyone who stands between 3 feet, 6 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches tall.
- You can adjust and customize the height of each pole via a twist-lock mechanism
- Sticks are comfortable to use, featuring ergonomic grips, an anti-shock feature, and an extra-wide padded wrist strap
- Some customers have reported that it is difficult to get these poles to lock and unlock using the twist-lock mechanism
Walking sticks are compact, lightweight, and can be carried anywhere. Collapse and fold down to a very portable 12 inches in size with a unique retractable, tri-fold design.
- Each pole weighs just 11 ounces
- Can be adjusted over 7.8 inches in height, and will suit anyone who stands under 5 feet, 8 inches or anyone 5 feet, 9 inches or taller
- Some issues with the locking mechanism
- Spring-loaded locking mechanisms have been known to become jammed so that the two pole sections are unable to lock together
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Benefits of Walking Sticks
- Balance: Perhaps the most important benefit of walking sticks is that it helps you keep your balance. They are intended to be used on uneven surfaces or rough terrain to prevent slipping or falling over.
- Core workout: A possible unintended benefit of walking sticks is that they help improve your core. Not only do walking sticks give you a great arm workout, but they also give your abs a workout by tightening and contracting with each step.
- Improve posture: Another benefit of walking sticks is that they help improve your posture. This provides a great benefit for your lower back muscles and is helpful for people with minor back issues.
Types of Walking Sticks
Some walking sticks are sold as a single pole, also referred to as a hiking staff or walking staff. The single pole type of walking stick is best used on flat terrains or walking paths. If you are an avid hiker or into long hikes on rough terrain, then this type of walking stick is probably not the best option for you.
Double walking sticks are sold as a pair and are often referred to as hiking poles or trekking poles. The pair of walking sticks help to improve your stability and is ideal for hiking on rough terrains. If you are an avid hiker who enjoys long hikes or will be using your sticks while backpacking, then a pair of walking sticks is a better choice than a single walking staff.
It is essential that you find a set of walking sticks that is the ideal length for your size and height. Proper walking sticks should create a 90-degree bend of your elbow when the sticks are touching the ground. Adjustable walking sticks are fully adjustable and allow you to alter the height of your walking sticks to fit your height. They are typically spring-loaded with internal springs for shock absorption while hiking.
Started as a family-owned business and headquartered in Hayward, Calif., TrailBuddy has become one of the most reputable manufacturers of hiking and outdoor equipment. Each purchase of the company's trekking poles comes with a 90-day no-questions-asked guarantee.
BAFX Products are one of the most trustworthy manufacturers of both outdoor equipment and household appliances. All purchases come with free standard shipping to any address in the United States. In addition to walking sticks, BAFX produces electronics, audio tools, pet supplies, and more.
Founded in Portland, Ore., and currently headquartered in Wyoming, Trekology has become one of the best manufacturers of outdoor equipment and survival gearin the United States. In addition to walking sticks, Trekology produces camping tables, survival kits, sleeping pads, camping cookware, and more.
Walking Stick Pricing
- Under $25: Walking sticks in this price range provide excellent value. Products at this price point may not be as durable as other options and may be best suited for casual walkers.
- $25-$35: This is the most common price range for walking sticks. Products at this price point can be used for casual hiking as well as on rough terrains.
- $35 and up: Walking sticks in this price range are priced at a premium. These walking sticks typically are of the highest quality, provide excellent stability, are fully adjustable, and often include other special features.
One of the great features of walking sticks is their foldability. Foldable walking sticks can be collapsed into themselves, similar to foldable tent poles. This allows walking sticks to be easily packed away in your tent or backpack while on long hiking or camping trips. These foldable sticks are typically easy to unfold for use when needed.
Walking sticks are typically very lightweight, allowing for easy portability and transportation on long hiking or camping trips. Walking sticks that are compact and weigh very little are easy to pack away, and you won't even notice them in your luggage or backpack. Many popular walking sticks weigh less than one pound.
Shock-absorbing poles feature internal springs that absorb shock while hiking uphill, downhill, and on rough terrain. Many shock-absorbing poles include an on/off button to turn off the feature when it is not needed. Shock absorption technology is particularly useful for someone with ankle, hip, knee, back, or other joint issues.
- Material: The type of material that the shaft and handle of your walking sticks are made from are important considerations. Most shafts are constructed from aluminum, which is lightweight, durable, and affordable. Other shafts are made from carbon, which is more expensive and can be prone to breaking. The grip handles of walking sticks are typically made from cork, which resists moisture, foam, which is very comfortable, and rubber, which is great for cold weather.
- Locking Mechanism: Even if your walking sticks are not adjustable in length, most of them contain some type of locking mechanism to prevent slipping while in use. Walking sticks typically feature external lever locks, which are easy to use, push-button locks, which snap into place, twist locks, which may require additional tools, or combination locks, which feature two of the previously mentioned lock types.
- Warranty: The length and type of warranty included with your walking sticks is another important consideration. Most of the most reputable outdoor equipment manufacturers will include some type of warranty with your purchase. The warranty will typically cover any manufacturing defects or issues within the first few months after your purchase.
Best Walking Sticks Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Make sure to choose the proper length of your walking sticks based on your height. You can also opt for a fully adjustable option to fit your proper height.
- If you have issues with your ankles, hips, knees, backs, or other joints, then you may want to consider a set of walking sticks with shock absorption technology to reduce stress on your body.
- If you will be backpacking or plan to hike long distances, then you may want to consider a lightweight, foldable set of walking sticks that can simply be folded and placed within your backpack.
- If your pole features a locking mechanism, make sure to double-check that the lock is securely locked before beginning your hike.
- When you are walking or hiking with walking sticks, make sure to walk as if you do not have anything in your hands. If you alter your gait, it may cause stress or problems on your joints.
Q. Which type of walking stick is best?
The best walking sticks are typically sold as a set and come with special features such as adjustable heights, grip handles, and shock absorption technology
Q. Do walking sticks really help?
Yes, walking sticks can really help with your balance and stability. They are particularly helpful for maintaining posture and reducing the stress on your joints and lower back.
Q. Which is better: a cane or a walking stick?
In general, a walking stick is better for you than a cane. A walking stick does not put pressure on your shoulder and helps improve your posture while providing an excellent core workout.
Q. What's the point of a walking stick?
A walking stick is used to improve your posture, balance, and stability while walking or hiking. It is particularly useful for walking or hiking uphill, downhill, and on rough terrains.
For a high-quality set of walking sticks, consider the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles, which are fully adjustable featuring a lever-lock system, or the Bafx Products Hiking Poles, which are fully adjustable using a twist-lock mechanism.
Drop us a comment and let us know what your favorite walking sticks are and what you love about them.