If you don’t have time to read the entire review, we recommend the Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Pole as the best budget trekking pole.
Many people may think trekking poles are only used for demanding terrain hikes. The truth is they should be a part of your gear, even when climbing casually. These handy tools provide safety and stability while protecting your joints, whether trekking or hiking.
If you’ve looked into trekking, you know a pole can set you back a large sum of money. However, if you choose wisely, you can get all the good stuff without wasting money. We’ve rounded up the five best budget-friendly trekking poles to help you make the right choice.
What to Consider When Looking for the Best Budget Trekking Pole
The great thing about trekking poles is their versatility. You can use them as walking canes or for a fun hiking date. They’re also essential for safely tackling rugged terrains. Whatever your intended use may be, there are several factors to consider when looking for the best budget trekking pole.
A reliable locking mechanism is one of the essential features of a trekking pole. The pole might collapse when you apply pressure if this mechanism doesn’t work correctly. At best, this can be inconvenient. At worst, it can cause a severe injury.
Trekking poles use different locking mechanisms. Some poles use a clamp-like mechanism, while others include a twist lock. The former is quick to adjust, and the latter makes for a solid and durable setup. The choice boils down to your preference. Just test the mechanism before heading for the trail and embarking on your trekking adventure.
Most trekking pole shafts are made from aluminum or carbon fiber.
The lightest trekking poles are usually made out of carbon. They can feel more comfortable on longer hikes and hold the best when going downhill. However, they’re more expensive and prone to breaking when extended.
On the other hand, aluminum poles are usually more affordable. Still, they’re strong and durable and may bend but are unlikely to snap. However, this usually comes at the cost of weight. Aluminum poles often weigh more than the fellow carbon fiber models.
The most common materials used for trekking pole grips are foam, cork, or rubber.
Foam grips are the softest and the lightest choice. They’re also the most moisture-wicking, which might be handy on a hot day. These grips conform to your hands, losing their shape over time, making them the least durable option.
In contrast, cork is the priciest option and is typically reserved for the higher-end trekking poles. It’s smooth, and it conforms to your grip over time. In addition, it’s the most durable material, as cork grips fare well even after years of use.
Rubber grips are the most affordable choice, which is why they’re featured in many budget-friendly trekking poles. They perform the best in the winter as they shed snow. However, they don’t do well with sweat absorption and can sometimes cause blisters when used with bare hands.
Shock absorbers reduce the impact on your joints, particularly during more demanding treks. Unfortunately, they also add weight to your trekking pole, potentially making the trek more difficult. After all, every ounce counts.
Most trekking pole tips use carbide, enabling excellent traction on muddy, rocky, snowy, or even icy surfaces.
Rubber tip protectors are commonly used to extend the life of the tips when using the pole on asphalt or concrete. When looking for your perfect trekking pole, check if its accessories include these handy protectors.
The added accessories can make a world of difference when you’re on a budget.
Most trekking poles come with additional tips and baskets. This way, you’re prepared for a more enjoyable trek on different surfaces.
A bag is another helpful accessory. Some are waterproof, while others are only intended for comfortable carrying.
An additional important factor to keep in mind is the length of your trekking pole. As a rule of thumb, the handles should match your palms’ height when your arms are bent at the elbow at 90 degrees.
Most poles are adjustable to accommodate height differences. When looking for a suitable trekking pole, check if its length suits your height.
Best Budget Trekking Poles
1. The Cheapest Option | BAFX Products Hiking Pole for Walking or Trekking
BAFX Products offers one of the most popular trekking poles due to its affordable price and excellent quality.
These affordable poles feature an aluminum telescopic shaft with a twist lock. You can easily adjust your preferred height by extending them from 26.5 inches to approximately 52 inches. Just follow the measuring marks down the middle.
Despite having an aluminum shaft, these poles are very lightweight and easy to hold. A pair weighs around 1.5 pounds.
BAFX Products trekking poles have comfortable ergonomic grips made from rubber. They also feature an extra-wide padded wrist strap, adding to your comfort.
A cool thing about these trekking poles is the anti-shock feature inside each pole. It takes the form of a spring that helps reduce the sharp jolt every time the pole hits the ground, resulting in a more enjoyable trekking experience. However, if you’re not fond of this feature, you can easily disable it.
A carbide tip is built into each BAFX Products pole. When you buy these poles, you’ll also get two sets of rubber tips and a set of mud baskets used for trekking on softer surfaces. With these handy accessories, you’ll be ready to take on any terrain.
Another great thing to keep in mind is that anyone can use these trekking poles. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, a teen or a senior. You’ll be able to make the most of your trek with the BAFX Products poles.
Although the length of the poles makes them more height-inclusive, it can also be a drawback. Namely, the poles are rather long even when fully collapsed. This means you might have trouble fitting them into a smaller backpack or a suitcase. And let’s be honest, no one likes to lug things around in their hands.
Unfortunately, the length of the pole isn’t its biggest drawback. Many hikers claim they had issues with the twist lock, resulting in the pole not holding its position. Even if the pole falls an inch below your set height, it can cause you to lose balance and injure yourself.
The BAFX Products poles are available in three colors: black, blue, and silver.
2. The Most Height-Inclusive Option | TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Pole
If you’re looking for the best budget trekking pole, consider what TheFitLife offers. What makes these trekking poles an excellent choice is their ultra-lightweight material which still provides sturdy support. They only weigh around 0.6 pounds per pole but can withstand up to 440 pounds.
The shaft is made from high-quality aluminum that can survive many terrains. As far as a locking mechanism goes, these TheFitLife poles feature a twist-quick lock.
Further adding to your comfort during trekking, these poles include an anti-shock mechanism. It reduces damage from impact force, helps you maintain a consistent rhythm, and increases your speed.
The telescopic shaft can quickly extend from 26 to 53 inches. This makes the poles the most height-inclusive option on our list. The cool thing about it is that you can separate it into sections, making it compact enough to fit in most backpacks or suitcases.
Another convenient feature of these poles is the accessories. It comes with a waterproof bag, small and large snow baskets, and rubber tips.
Unfortunately, the rubber tips don’t seem to stay on. Many users claim they frequently lose these protective tips when reaching rougher terrains.
Also, there have been some issues with the pole grips. The grip is made from rubber and EVA foam. It’s supposed to adjust to your hand, making for a comfortable trekking experience.
Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Many claim that the handle material is too hard and gets slippery when wet. This can significantly impact your comfort during a trek.
TheFitLife trekking poles are available in five colors: black, blue, red, purple, and silver.
3. The Most Compact Option for Traveling | Covacure Collapsible Hiking Poles
Being designed by those hiking the most thrilling routes worldwide, it’s no wonder these Covacure poles made the best budget trekking pole list.
The Covacure hiking poles are made from aircraft-grade aluminum, giving solid and stable support while trekking. Although made from aluminum, a pair of Covacure poles weighs no more than 1.3 pounds.
Unfortunately, they can only be extended from 43 to 51 inches. This means only hikers over 5 feet 1 inch will be able to use them comfortably. A positive thing about their length is that they can be folded into a 13.7-inch pole, making them incredibly convenient and easy to pack in any bag.
However, assembling the pole takes more time and effort than usual. Fortunately, your pole will come with an instruction video to help you get the hang of the assembling process.
The handle is made from skid-resistant and sweat-absorbent EVA foam, and it features an adjustable wrist strap. You can use it to relax your grip and move some pressure to your arm.
As far as accessories go, you’ll receive two extra pole heads and replaceable tips. What’s unique about Covacure is that they offer a lifetime warranty and free replaceable tips.
However, the biggest downside of these poles is the many reports of banding or snapping. Many users claim the poles tend to bend while going downhill and snap without heavy pressure being applied.
4. The Option with the Most Reliable Lock | Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Pole
Trekology is an innovative company made by people passionate about enjoying the outdoors. So, it’s no wonder their poles are an option among our best budget trekking pole contenders.
They feature an aluminum shaft with a lever-lock mechanism and a cork handle.
A cork grip is rare to find in a more affordable pole. It contributes to a comfortable yet firm grip and efficient sweat absorption. You’ll also be able to adjust the wrist straps and easily grab the pole. Unfortunately, the wrist strap isn’t padded, which may cause discomfort, especially long term.
What’s great about the lever-lock mechanism is that it’s more durable than the traditional twist-lock most telescopic poles use. When you turn a pole with a twist-lock to tighten it, you might transfer sand and other grit to the opening, causing the pole to fail or jam up. This makes the Trekology pole’s lever-lock mechanism the most reliable option.
Another cool feature is the possibility to fold the pole into three sections, making it easy to pack and store. The height of the poles has an adjustment range of around 15 inches.
However, some users claim the three sections don’t always stay connected. They had issues with the lower portion sometimes falling out while climbing.
When it comes to accessories, they’re sold with a holder bag and include a full suite of replacements necessary for various terrains.
Unfortunately, these poles are the heaviest option on our list. This is primarily due to the aluminum shaft and metal reinforcements. While these extra reinforcements make the pole more durable, they limit their use to no more than a couple of hours.
5. The Best Overall Option | Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles
The Cascade Mountain Tech poles are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. You can use them for hiking on different types of terrain. Their affordable price and the fantastic features snagged them the top spot on our best budget trekking pole list.
What’s great about these Cascade poles is that you can choose between an EVA foam and a cork grip. Both options have an EVA foam padded sleeve that enables a quick and comfortable transition between terrains.
Choosing the cork grip is a great way to experience its comfort at a lower price. The cork grip lowers the vibrations caused by your steps and wicks away your sweat. You won’t have to worry about maintaining your grip even in scorching weather conditions.
These aluminum poles have a reliable quick-lock that secures them after extending them anywhere from 26 to 54 inches.
As long as you properly adjust the tension on the screw before locking the pole, they hold their height impressively well. Many users claim they’ve applied quite a weight on them, but they neither bent nor snapped.
Unfortunately, many users found adjusting the locks properly to be challenging. Make sure to practice until you get the hang of it to avoid any accidents on the trail.
While the collapsed size of the poles is on the longer side, you can still fit them in most backpacks and bags. Also, they only weigh a little over one pound combined, making them perfect for carrying and storing.
The accessories provided with the poles are a set of mud and snow baskets, small rubber tips, rubber boot tips, and a carry bag.
They come in three vibrant colors: orange, green, and light blue.
Cascading to Victory
You won’t go wrong with these choices if you’re looking for the best budget trekking pole. However, the Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Pole is our top choice as it’s exceptionally well-made, light, and reliable. This budget-friendly pole checks all the boxes in terms of features and accessories.
TheFitLife Trekking Poles feature an uncomfortable foam handle that can’t compete with our top choice’s cork grip.
Although the Trekology Trek-Z Pole also features a cork grip, it’s significantly heavier than the Cascade Mountain Tech’s pole. This makes it impractical to carry and pack, which can be a hassle considering the nature of trekking.