The 4 Best Women’s Trekking Poles for Hiking

Trekking poles are a commonly misunderstood piece of gear. Sometimes thought of as unnecessary, they can act as an essential tool to get you hiking faster, safer, and with less injury.

While thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, my trekking poles became an extension of my arms and saved my face from hitting the dirt on several occasions.

If you want to read about my full packing list for my AT thru-hike, check out my before and after gear list here. Or click here to see my full current packing list – a lot of my recent gear choices are direct because of what I learned NOT to carry on the AT.

Pros of Using Trekking Poles

I tend to leave my trekking poles at home for day hikes, but bring them along on overnight hikes when I’m carrying more weight in my pack. I typically find them most useful while traveling downhill.

Trekking poles can help you by:

  • Stopping a fall
  • Reducing impact on your knees when going downhill
  • Keeping your hands elevated to stop swelling from long periods at your sides
  • Improving balance over tricky terrain

Cons of Using Trekking Poles

Hiking up very steep terrain, or in areas that require hand over hand climbing, trekking poles tend to just get in the way.

On more than one occasion, I’ve jammed my pole in between two rocks mid-stride, resulting in a swift punch to the gut.

What Makes a Trekking Pole “Good”?

Here are some things you’ll want to consider when buying trekking poles:

  • Weight – you’ll be carrying them after all!
  • Length – they should be able to extend to where the tips are touching the ground, and while grasping the grips, your hands are just above elbow height.
  • Minimum length (size when not in use) – most telescope into themselves, but some break apart for easier packability
  • Shaft material – aluminum alloys are more durable but weigh more than a lighter carbon fiber pole
  • Locking mechanism – push button, lever lock, or twist lock

Related posts about women’s hiking gear:

4 Best Women’s Trekking Poles

 

Trekking Poles

Best Selling | Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles – Pair – Women’s $99.95

Weight -1 lb. 0.2 oz.
Length – 100-120 cm
Minimum length – 15 inches minimum length
Shaft material -Carbon
Locking mechanism -External Lever Lock

Black Diamond seems to hold the majority consumer share when it comes to affordable and quality hiking poles. At $99.95, these are the least expensive poles that you’ll find on a gear oriented site like REI.com. And you get a lot for that price, too. Carbon shafts keep the weight minimal, and the external lever lock is durable and reliable. The poles are missing features like shock absorption, but that saves on weight, making these the most practical, and biggest bang for your buck.


Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles – Pair – Women’s $139.95

Weight – 1 lb. 3 oz.
Length – 63-125 cm
Minimum length – 24 inches minimum length
Shaft material – Aluminum
Locking mechanism -External Lever Lock

You can think of these as the big sister to the Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles. The poles are made out of aluminum, instead of carbon. While carbon weighs less and tends to typically come on more expensive items, aluminum is of sturdier construction and can take more of a beating.

The Trail Pro Shock Poles feature shock-absorbing cushions right below the grip. Each time you put a lot of weight on the pole, it compresses slightly, making accidental high impact events a lot less stressful on your joints.

The tips of the poles are carbide, so they are really tough and durable, and the hand grips are a really dense foam, making those more durable, too.


Trekking Poles

REI Co-op Traverse Power Lock Cork Trekking Poles – Pair – Women’s $99.95

Weight -1 lb. 1 oz.
Length – 61-124.5 cm
Minimum length – 24 inches minimum length
Shaft material – Aluminum
Locking mechanism -External Lever Lock

REI’s rival to the Black Diamond Trail trekking poles, the Traverse trekking poles are the first on our list to feature cork hand grips. Cork grips break into the shape of your hand over time, giving a more ergonomic and comfortable grip. They absorb less sweat than foam, however, so they’re better used in cooler climates.


Trekking Poles

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Lady Trekking Poles – Pair – Women’s $199.95

Weight – 15.6oz
Length – 59-125 cm
Minimum length – 23 inches minimum length
Shaft material – Aluminum
Locking mechanism -External Lever Lock & Pushbutton

These carbon hiking poles are super light and compact. A push button unlocks the bottom two pieces for easy carrying and packing, while and lever lock allows you to control the length. Also the lightest weight poles on our list, the Vario Carbon Lady poles are the best suited for travel.

For the higher price, you also get a lot of little add-ons, like a Kevlar reinforced tension cord, carbide Flextips, and stainless steel connectors.


My current hiking pole of choice happens to be the REI Traverse Power Lock, but I’d happily hike with any of the trekking poles on this list. My general advice is to go with a more durable aluminum pole for long distance hikes, but a lighter weight pole for travel and occasional use.

If your favorite hiking poles aren’t on this list, shout them out in the comments!

 

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