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Prevent Knee Pain: Key Features to Finding the Best Trekking Poles

Using trekking poles is comparable to being an all terrain vehicle.

By using the best trekking poles you will provide stability to pull yourself up an arduous hike and relieve the pressure on your knees and ankles on the way down. But not all trekking poles are made the same, here are some keyblaze features you should look out for.

You will probably like trekking poles if you…
  • Have a heavy backpack
  • Have weak knees
  • Have weak ankles
  • Like having things in your hands while you hike
  • Cross a lot of rivers
  • Walk on snow often
  • Like poking things with
The best trekking poles can help in steep terrain. With a few tactical pole placements, you could go up with ease while excreting less energy from your legs. You should use trekking poles on anything approaching 10 miles, your knees will thank you for it, both short and long term as you get older.

Don’t just take my word for it there has been numerous research like this Northumbria University study that states “trekking poles can reduce forces on lower-limb joints by as much as 25%”

Trekking Pole Features to Look For

Pole Weight
Ultralight poles offer the benefits of less movement weight, which can make them simpler and faster to move. Over the course of a lengthy hike, this means a reduced amount of tiredness. Ultralight poles are additionally simpler to pack. The pole shaft’s material is a crucial determinant of the pole’s general weight. REI classifies ultralight poles as those that weigh fewer than one pound per pair.

On flat terrain – your arms should be parallel to the ground when you’re holding the grip.
Hiking uphill – shorten the poles somewhat (for better “push”).
Hiking downhill – extend the poles somewhat (for better stability).


Cork Handles
Do you have very sweaty hands? Buy trekking poles with cork handles, they’re less slippery than synthetic grips. Additionally, cork grips end up being lighter than synthetic grips, which you’ll be grateful for on an extended hiking trip. They also change to fit the shape of your hand the more you use them.

Rubble handles are durable and repel water, so they’re perfect for adverse conditions and mountaineering. However, some hikers don’t like the constant rubbing that a rubber grip causes, so consider the sensitivity of the skin on your palms.

Foam handles can get slick and slimy in wet conditions, but are quite pleasant to use when dry.

Trekking Poles with Ergonomic Grips

You can ascertain an ergonomic grip by its front lean and the way it’s designed to accurately accommodate a palm. This element is not a necessity for trekking poles, but it does make them less difficult to carry.

Wrist Straps

Trekking pole wrist straps let you loosen up your grip somewhat and move some of the stress to your arm. This can create a big difference on a long trek. All wrist straps ought to be adjustable. For long-distance trekking, having some cushioning on the strap can be good. Having the option of allowing your trekking pole(s) to suspend from your wrists also allows you to go on all fours during a particularly steep scramble.

Shock absorbing poles

On long hikes on variable terrain, trekking pole featuring shock absorbing construction further reduces the impact of hiking on your joints. A spring loaded shock absorber in the shaft of some trekking poles provides excellent dampening properties during a hike, while rebounding smoothly for a more comfortable ride. If you have particularly troublesome issues with your joints, knees and ankles, shock absorbing poles will have a significant effect on your comfort when hiking.


Unlike ski poles which have a fixed length and must be chosen based on your height, modern versatile trekking poles will suit almost everyone. Foldable trekking poles, like Black Diamond’s Z-pole series, still demand appropriate sizing to attain a correct fit. Preferably, your arm will make a 90 degree bend when you hold your trekking pole. If you are in between sizes, size up for standard use such as hiking, trekking, backpacking and walking, or size lower for high pace ascents and trail running.

Trekking Pole Locking Mechanisms

Trekking poles can be identified by their 2-3 interlocking segments that enable for an adjustment in length. This adjustability (which usually ranges from 24 to 55 inches) lets you adjust the poles to your height and surface. Locking systems are used to secure the poles at your desired length and keep them from slipping while in use.

Most poles use one of these four types of locking mechanisms.

External lever lock: A lever-based, clamp-like mechanism that is quick and easy to adjust, even when wearing gloves.

Push-button lock: Poles with this locking mechanism snap into place and lock with single pull. Press the push button to release the lock and collapse the poles.

Twist lock: The basic locking system for trekking poles is a twist lock. A twist lock method tightens when the two shaft are twisted in opposing directions, thereby locking the trekking pole in place. The pole can be loosened by twisting the sections in the opposite direction. Twist lock systems are rudimentary and therefore cheaper, yet they are also prone to sliding or freezing up in cold weather.

Clasp lock: The safest adjustable locking mechanism is a clasp lock. A clasp lock features a plastic or metal jacket at the junction between two sections of a trekking pole, which showcases a clasp to tighten and lock the system in place. Clasp locks are secure and tight, while staying easy to operate in any weather.

Pole tip proper protection – You need something to cover the metal prong when packing it in a suitcase. The rubber nubs (friction fit) work okay, but are a semi-nuisance. Section locking mechanism – should be able to be field stripped to be cleaned and or reworked for when it isn’t working as desired.