Walking or trekking is easier when using a hiking pole

What's the difference between walking, trekking & hiking poles

Trekking poles or hiking poles tend to be sold as a pair and are used together to provide balance when climbing over rough or uneven terrain. Walking poles are usually used one at a time to provide lighter support over more common city landscapes or easy trails.

How to Select Walking/Trekking Poles

Decide what activity you'll use your poles for most often. If you're both a walker and a hiker, a set of two poles provides you more options. If you need support due to knee or joint troubles, being able to lean on two poles will provide more relief. If you don't need a lot of support but just want something to take the strain off, a single pole is a good bet.

Some trekking or walking poles have shock absorption built in. Small springs take some of the strain out of your activity and can be beneficial if you're looking for a bit more comfort.

If you often cross water like rushing rivers, trekking poles can also provide much needed anchoring in a strong current.

Materials: Aluminum or Composite

Hiking, trekking or walking poles are typically made of either aluminum or composite material.

Aluminum tends to be strong and less expensive. Composite material uses carbon to make the poles much lighter and stronger. While aluminum may bend in extreme cases, it's not likely to break, whereas composite can splinter if exposed to extreme stress.

How long do my trekking poles need to be

You'll chose poles based on their length; your height will determine the proper length for you. Many walking poles are adjustable or made with telescoping technology so you can adjust them to the precise length you need. A general rule of thumb is to adjust the poles so that your elbow is at a 90 degree angle when you grip it.

Fixed length poles are available and tend to be lighter since they have fewer parts. At the same time, they're not collapsible for storage or transport in a car trunk or backpack when you don't need them.

How do you use trekking poles properly

Ensure your trekking poles or hiking poles are adjusted to the proper length, so your elbows have a 90 degree bend. Next, adapt the poles to your activity.

Some hiking or walking poles come with interchangeable baskets or feet; from spiked tips, to small broad footed-style designs. If you routinely cross different types of terrain from asphalt to dirt, loose sand or gravel, and rock, you can adapt easily what you need for each journey.

When using poles, walk naturally whenever possible, and step with the opposite hand and foot when moving. (Think right hand/pole, left foot step, and so on)

Best trekking poles or walking poles

Best Buy offers a great selection of hiking, trekking or walking poles. No matter what kind of activity you'll take on, you can find a substantial selection with enough options to suit your needs. Get out and enjoy nature with confidence, thanks to the stability some extra support can provide.