Reviews

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 February 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.

Best Overall
TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • Durability of the cork grip handles can be an issue
  • Handles have been known to begin to deteriorate and break down after extensive use
Best Overall
TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
Best Value
Bafx Products Hiking Poles
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • Some customers have reported that it is difficult to get these poles to lock and unlock using the twist-lock mechanism
Best Value
Bafx Products Hiking Poles
Honorable Mention
Trekology Trek-Z Hiking Poles
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • 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
Honorable Mention
Trekology Trek-Z Hiking Poles
Best Walking Sticks
Amazon

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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

Single

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

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.

Adjustable

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. 

Top Brands

TrailBuddy

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

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.   

Trekology

Founded in Portland, Ore., and currently headquartered in Wyoming, Trekology has become one of the best manufacturers of outdoor equipment and survival gear in 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.

Key Features

Foldable

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.

Weight

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

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.

Other Considerations

  • 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

Best Overall
TrailBuddy Trekking Poles

The TrailBuddy Trekking Poles are an excellent overall choice for sturdy, reliable, and quality walking sticks. These 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. They’re durable and able to withstand a lot of pressure and impact, thanks to their tough aluminum construction. And these walking sticks weigh just four ounces, making them the perfect lightweight companion for walking, hiking, and backpacking anywhere. The sticks feature cork handles, which remain comfortable and grippy in hot and cold weather. The handles will hold to the shape of your hand and help prevent chafing while you walk. To top it all off, these walking sticks also come with everything you need outdoors: rubber tips, connectors, mud baskets, and even snow baskets.


One downside of the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles is the durability of the cork grip handles. These handles have been known to begin to deteriorate and break down after extensive use. The poles are very sturdy and durable, but the handles may need to be taped or replaced after using several times for long hiking trips.

Best Value
Bafx Products Hiking Poles

Bafx Products Hiking Poles are affordable and budget-friendly, yet they’re lightweight and perfectly equipped to handle any adventure you take them on. These walking sticks are great for absolutely everyone, from children to seniors to inexperienced hikers to seasoned pros. They’re suited for anyone who stands between 3 feet, 6 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches. You can adjust and customize the height of each pole via a twist-lock mechanism that’ll meet your height. The sticks are comfortable to use, featuring ergonomic grips, an anti-shock feature, and an extra-wide padded wrist strap. They’re lightweight and easy to lift at a weight of just 12.4 ounces, and you can top off the bottom of these walking sticks with included rubber tips for extra stability. 


A downside of the Bafx Products Hiking Poles is the locking mechanism. Some customers have reported that it is difficult to get these poles to lock and unlock. If this issue occurs with your poles, reach out to Bafx about the manufacturing defect and ask for a potential replacement product.

Best Folding
Trekology Trek-Z Hiking Poles

The Trekology Trek-Z Hiking Poles are an excellent choice for anyone who needs walking sticks that are compact, lightweight, and can be carried anywhere. These sticks are built to be compact — they collapse and fold down to a very portable 12 inches in size with a unique retractable, tri-fold design. You can fit them into a backpack, into suitcases, and even into a duffel bag for easy carrying. Each pole weighs just 11 ounces. When you’re ready to hit the sidewalk, trail, or other walking terrains, these walking sticks will unfold quickly and adjust via innovative flip-lock technology. Each pole can be adjusted over 7.8 inches in height, and they’ll suit anyone who stands just under 5 feet, 8 inches as well as those 5 feet, 9 inches or taller. You’ll enjoy total comfort when you use these walking sticks thanks to firm grip, even on muddy surfaces, and support you as you walk. 


Some customers have reported that there have been issues with the locking mechanism of the Trekology Trek-Z Hiking Poles. The spring-loaded locking mechanisms have been known to become jammed so that the two pole sections are unable to lock together. If this manufacturing defect happens while still under warranty, reach out to the company for a refund or replacement product.

Most Durable
TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Poles

TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Poles are a highly durable and sturdy companion on any walk. These walking sticks are built to deliver again and again, thanks to their high-quality 7 series aviation-quality aluminum material. They can absorb shocks while you walk, which can help reduce damage from impacts. The sticks themselves are strong, and they can adjust and extend from 26 inches to 53 inches in just seconds. A twist-lock secures the poles in place at your desired height. They’re comfortable to use even for long periods — each stick features a soft, cushioned, and comfortable EVA foam handle that offers great grip and absorbs moisture. At the end of these walking sticks, you’ll find Tungsten metal tips covered with rubber grips to offer increased stability, support, and durability on any kind of terrain.


One potential issue with TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Poles is durability. For beginners or casual hikers, this is a great set of poles. But for avid hikers or those into long hikes, you may want to consider another set of poles. The wrist wraps and holds have been known to break and come apart after extensive use.

Most Adaptable
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

A good pair of walking sticks should be able to handle any kind of terrain, but the Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles are truly equipped for all surfaces and walking experiences. These walking sticks include everything you need to achieve a comfortable gait and stability on any trail, sidewalk, or path. They’re made with aircraft-grade aluminum for durability and light in weight, and they weigh just 10.4 ounces each. Each walking stick can adjust to suit your height as well as your walking excursions, adjusting from 26 to 54 inches. A comfortable cork grip gives you comfort and keeps your hands dry as you exert yourself. Most importantly, though, you can adapt these walking sticks to any environment. They come with Tungsten carbide tips, which you can top with rubber feet, snow baskets, or boots. You can change these sticks to offer the right level of support for snow, mud, or uneven surfaces.


One potential downside of the Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles is the product's durability. The rubber boot tips have been known to wear down after extensive use. If you are an avid hiker or will be using these poles multiple days per week, then you may want to consider another product or purchase replacement tips to use as a backup.

Honorable Mention
LEKI Micro Trail Vario Pole Pair

The LEKI Micro Trail Vario Pole Pair features an extremely comfortable grip with an adjustable height. These hiking poles can be folded and easily packed within your luggage or backpack, with a light weight of just over one pound for the set. This product is made from carbon, which helps with shock absorption while remaining very strong and durable after extensive use. These hiking poles are ideal for use on a variety of tough terrains and weather conditions. They feature a two-lever locking mechanism so that your poles always remain locked into the proper height for your needs. A Carbide Trail running tip provides a strong, secure grip on rocks, dirt, and other loose terrain. A convenient storage bag is included with each purchase in case you need to travel with your hiking poles on a long trip.


One downside of the LEKI Micro Trail Vario Pole Pair is its premium price tag. This set of hiking poles is rather expensive and weighs a bit more than some comparable products. If you are just a casual hiker or a trail runner, you may want to look elsewhere for a more affordable and lightweight product.

Honorable Mention
Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles

The Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles are some of the most lightweight, travel-friendly options on the market. This set of trekking poles are made from an aluminum shaft, which provides durability. With a weight of just under one pound and the ability to fold up into three sections, these trekking poles can be packed away seamlessly into your luggage or backpack. If you will be backpacking for long distances or participating in long hiking trips, then this product is an excellent choice. The SlideLock technology allows you to lock your poles into the proper position so that they do not slip or break on rough terrain. This product is ideal for hiking on a variety of terrains and in several different weather conditions.


One issue with the Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles is that they are not fully adjustable, unlike comparable walking sticks that can be purchased in today's market. They are available to purchase in several different sizes, so make sure to choose the exact height needed to fit yourself and to maximize comfort while walking.

Honorable Mention
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles

The Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles deliver excellent quality at a nearly unbeatable price. This set of trekking poles features extremely comfortable cork grips. The poles are fully adjustable, featuring a quick-lock adjustment, that can be adjusted on the fly without the use of any additional tools. They are ideal for hikers of a variety of different heights, as they can simply be adjusted to any height ranging from 26 inches to 54 inches. At a weight of just under 1 pound, these trekking poles are extremely convenient to pack away and travel with while on long trips. There is even a convenient kit with each purchase that includes snow baskets, sand/mud baskets, rubber boot tips, rubber tips, a trekking pole clip, and a carrying bag.


A potential issue with the Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles comes courtesy of its locking mechanism. Some customers have reported that the locking mechanism has come loose while on long hikes. For this reason, you may want to double-check to make sure the mechanism is working properly before setting out on a long hike. For the price point, this is still an excellent product from a trusted outdoor equipment company.

Tips

  • 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.

FAQS

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.

Final Thoughts

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.