Why are Trekking Poles Expensive? How Much Should You Spend?

Whether heading for a quick weekend trek or planning to go hiking across the country, trekking poles can add a significant level of comfort and stability to your trek.

Although trekking poles are not strictly essential, people choose to take them because of their numerous benefits.

The major benefit of using trekking poles is that they take off most of the strain from your joints and help maintain balance through various types of rugged and tricky terrain.

While most people find that they hike faster with trekking poles, others find them cumbersome. If you choose to go hiking with trekking poles, you must have all the right information about the types of trekking poles and their cost.

We have done extensive research and compiled all the information that will surely be useful for you. Read on to know more!

Cost Of Trekking Poles

The market is flooded with limitless trekking poles options, making it sometimes overwhelming to choose the best option. Trekking poles have various features that help improve the hiking experience.

The more advanced features you choose, the costlier they get. The key is understanding your specific requirements to get value for money.

If you are only planning to use your trekking poles occasionally, you can go for cheaper options readily available in most sports goods stores.

For those who like to go hiking frequently, buying a good pair with ergonomic handles and shock-absorbers, among other features, is a good idea.

As with most hiking gear, there is a wide range in prices when buying trekking poles.

The cheapest trekking poles usually start at around $20 and go up to over $200. The average cost of a decent pair of trekking poles is around $100.

The cheaper options readily available at around $60-$80 are usually the basic ones with minimal features, while the more expensive ones with all advanced features can cost approximately $200-$250.

Factors that Influence the Price of Trekking Poles

If you are wondering why there is such a big difference between the price, consider the four main categories that contribute to this wide price range.

This will give you a fair idea of how much money to spend on trekking poles and what you might miss in the cheaper options.

1. Weight

Weight of trekking poles

This is one of the primary concerns while buying trekking poles, as you need to lift your trekking poles hundreds of times while hiking.

A heavier pair will undoubtedly prove cumbersome and tire you out within no time.

Typically the more expensive trekking poles are lightweight and result in less fatigue than the cheaper options.

So, if you like to go on long hikes, investing money in lighter ones will be a good idea in the long run.

2. Locking Mechanism

Locking Mechanism in trekking poles

While all trekking poles can be adjusted to a certain level, the more expensive ones have certain hi-tech locking mechanisms.

They can be adjusted to suit your stature for enhanced comfort while hiking.

These built-in locking mechanisms help you adjust the poles per your comfort and requirement.

3. Construction Material

Construction Material used in Trekking poles

The heavier options are usually made from aluminum or steel, which is relatively more expensive than carbon fiber in many models.

Carbon fiber is very light, thus reducing the weight of the trekking poles, but it is not as durable as aluminum.

4. Durability

Durability of Trekking poles

The expensive trekking poles are typically made of good quality materials and can withstand the rigors of hiking on difficult terrains better than the cheaper options.

Nevertheless, with a wide variety of options available, you might find a quality pair of cheap, durable trekking poles if you look hard enough.

Classification of Trekking Poles by Cost Range

Based on the cost and features offered, the trekking poles can broadly be divided into three categories:

1. Budget Trekking Poles ($20 – $50)

Everyone has their own set of requirements, depending on how and where you will use your trekking poles.

Trekking poles can be bought for $20 -$40, which is very affordable. You can always move on to better models once you get the hang of it.

2. Mid-Range Trekking Poles ($50 – $1120)

If you buy trekking poles for an occasional hiking trip, you don’t necessarily have to spend $100 or more to feel safe and secure.

You can easily find a highly recommended option at around $50 – $70.

3. Expensive Trekking Poles ($120 and above)

For those of you who are looking for the best trekking poles available today, several options are available: comfortable, high performing, versatile, and built to last.

Of course, these features come for a price!

Why are Trekking Poles Expensive?

The cost of Trekking poles can go well beyond $300. The question now arises that why trekking poles are so expensive.

After all, these are just a type of walking stick with some added features! Well! Let us look at the reasons behind the exorbitant prices of some of the high-end trekking poles available today.

Trekking poles are used mainly for three reasons:

  • Making Hiking easier: Help distribute body weight evenly.
  • Balance and support: Provide support while hiking and reduce pressure on joints.
  • Propulsion: Help propels you forward, especially on long hiking trips.

A wide variety of features enhance the functioning of trekking poles besides providing the above benefits.

We have outlined some features that contribute to your comfort but at a high cost.

1. Adjustable

Many trekking poles can be adjusted in length to enhance stability on different terrains. Typically, it would be best to shorten the poles while going uphill and lengthen them while going downhill.

2. Shock-absorbing poles

The high-end trekking poles are equipped with internal springs that absorb shock when you walk downhill. Moreover, you can turn off these features when you don’t need them, for example, while walking uphill.

3. Ultra-Light

Ultra-light poles offer the added advantage of less swing weight, which makes them quicker to move and consequently less fatigue.

4. Camera Mount

Who doesn’t want to capture those moments when you challenge the elements? The more expensive trekking poles come with a built-in camera mount under the handle, enabling the pole to be used as a monopod. 

5. Foldable poles

Foldable trekking poles function more or less like tent poles. They are typically the most packable and quick to deploy.

6. Locking Mechanism

The locking mechanism allows you to adapt the poles according to height and terrain.

You will find four types of locking mechanisms in the trekking poles: external lever lock, push-button lock, twist lock, and combination lock. The type of locking mechanism also affects the overall cost of the pole.

7. Trekking Pole shaft

The shaft of the trekking pole is a key determinant of the pole’s overall weight and cost. Aluminum is the more durable and economical, usually weighing 18-22 ounces.

The composite pole shafts are made either entirely or partially with carbon fiber. These options are lighter and more expensive, weighing 18 and 22 ounces per pair. They reduce vibrations but are not as strong as aluminum poles.

8. Grip Material

Grips come in various materials such as cork, foam, and rubber. The rubber grip is suitable for cold climates as it insulates hands from cold but feels sweaty in summers.

The foam absorbs moisture from hands but is not durable. Cork resists moisture, decreases vibration, and conforms to the shape of your hands. Although expensive, this is the best option to go with.

These features, along with the quality of wrist wraps, pole tips, baskets, and other accessories, contribute to the overall cost of the trekking poles.

How Much Should You Spend on Trekking Poles?

For as long as humans have been hitting the rugged terrains, they have been using trekking poles.

What were once wooden sticks with bone handles now have advanced features such as springs, straps, locks, and baskets, so much so that it can be hard to know where to start and how much to spend.

Before you buy your trekking poles, let’s take a closer look at whether they are worth all the hype.

Even the most seasoned hikers often deliberate whether to buy an expensive pair of trekking poles or not. Most backpackers carrying heavy loads on long trails will find that poles relieve a lot of pressure from their feet and protect their ankles on rugged terrain.

Others looking to move fast and light may prefer leaving their trekking poles home. Ultimately, the decision lies with you and the circumstances!

As discussed earlier, trekking poles can cost anywhere from $20 to $250. If you have decided to go for a decent pair, be ready to shell out at least $50-$70.

Anything less than that may not last long enough, and anything above $200 may be a waste of your money.

Ideally, you will find a quality pair made of carbon fiber, packable, adjustable, has shock absorbers, and is quite durable in the price range of $100-$ 150 approximately. 

Understanding your needs and what you want to do before buying trekking poles is important. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before going shopping spree.

1. What kind of terrain will I use them on?

Go for one-piece poles for flat trails or buy two-piece poles if you climb mountains and need extra support. Collapsible poles are great for all-purpose Trekking.

2. How much weight should my trekking poles be able to support?

Trekking poles can range from 200 to 500 grams—the strength and durability of the poles depending on the material of various components.

3. How long do I want the poles to extend?

Trekking poles used for mountaineering should ideally be at least 125cm in length. Shorter models can be used for flat terrains.

4. Do I want fixed shock absorbers or anti-shock absorbers?

Anti-shock models, though lighter and compact, do not provide adequate support on rugged terrains. Fixed shock absorbers provide more safety and prevent injuries.

5. How much do I want to spend?

There are myriad options in the market to choose from. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, always look for a chance to go Trekking- go for the high-end model with all the latest features. If you are an occasional user, you can opt for a cheaper option to take care of your needs.

Different Types of Trekking Poles

Once you know what you want, you can opt for one of the three types of trekking poles available in the market. These are:

1. Fixed Trekking Poles

Cost of Fixed Trekking Poles

They are the simplest trekking poles exactly as they sound- fixed!

They are one solid piece of material with a predetermined height and resemble a ski pole.

They are light and rigid as they do not have any additional features to change their length.

These poles are suitable for people who want a simple and lightweight design.

2. Folding trekking poles

Folding trekking poles Price

They usually have three or four pieces of a fixed length strung on a rope so that the pieces are not lost.

The pole can be broken down into smaller pieces, so to speak, and is packable.

They can be put together or taken apart very quickly.

They are easy to carry around in a backpack and are usually recommended for thru-hikers, uphill skiers, trail hikers, and split boarders.

3. Telescoping Poles

Telescoping Poles Cost

These are by far the most popular kind of trekking poles used worldwide.

They typically have two or three pieces that conveniently slide in and out of each other so that you can adjust the height according to your needs.

They are equipped with a locking mechanism to hold the pieces in place. These poles are generally heavier than the fixed poles.

These poles are ideal for people who engage in tough and demanding activities like cross-country hiking, snowshoeing, etc.

Comparison of Top 5 Trekking Poles

Trekking PolesGrip MaterialShaft MaterialWeightCollapsed lengthKey features
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking PolesFoamAluminum19.2 Oz24 inchesAffordable, durable and easy to adjust
Black diamond Trail ergo CorkCorkAluminum18 Oz27 inchesDurable, reasonably priced, adjustable
LEKI Micro Vario CarbonFoamCarbon Fibre16 Oz15 inchesIncredibly packable, flick-lock system, small collapsed length
Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z-PoleFoamCarbon Fibre9-10 Oz13-17 inchesUltralight, small collapsed length
Drop+Fizan Compact Trekking PoleFoamAluminum11 Oz22 inchesAffordable, lightweight, several basket sizes included

Final Words:

Whether an experienced hiker or a beginner, trekking poles can help improve your balance while picking your way along the unstable and rough ground, a fast-moving stream, or climbing up a steep hill.

Trekking poles reduce the impact on your joints and help absorb shock on the lower part of your body.

Although there may be some downsides, the pros surely outweigh the cons.  We hope this article helps you find the perfect pair of trekking poles for your next adventure.

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