How To Choose The Right Hiking Poles

Head out from any trailhead and chances are, you’ll hear the sound of trekking poles clanging against rock within minutes. From the great Austrian mountaineer, Peter Habeler, who used ski poles for stability on big approaches in the Himalaya to the advent of “nordic walking” in Finland as a means of training for nordic skiing in the summer months, poles have been used for hiking by dedicated mountain travelers for decades.

Nowadays, there are dozens of options on the market with features that cater to specific mountain endeavors. The benefits of modern day trekking pole provides stability and security on rough terrain, cushions joints on long down hills, and disperses the load of heavy packs. For Habeler and many others who have spent years and countless miles on foot in mountainous terrain, trekking poles are a crucial piece of equipment that have staved off knee injuries and prolonged hiking careers.

Before diving into the specific types of trekking poles, a bit about construction and materials.

Basic Construction of Trekking Poles

Most trekking poles consist of a few key components: shafts, grips, tips, and baskets. The shaft is usually made from aluminum, which is more cost effective, or carbon fiber, which is lighter weight. The grip is a super important part of a trekking pole since it’s the part of the pole you’ll have in hand for multiple hours at a time.

Trekking Pole Grips

Grips are made from either cork, a comfortable, natural material that’s both moisture resistant and conforms to the shape of your hand; foam, which has a soft feel but absorbs moisture; or rubber, a durable, moisture-resistant option.

Finally, most poles come with interchangeable tips that are made from either carbide or rubber, plus interchangeable snow baskets. You are also able to utilize a variety of trekking pole accessories with your poles.

The Best Length of Trekking Poles for You

There are fixed and adjustable length options that employ different technologies for collapsing and storing. Some hikers prefer a simple, fixed length pole with no option for length adjustment. This simple design is lightweight and always ready for quick deployment. Others prefer to have the option of adjusting the length of their poles based on the terrain. In terms of storage, there are two main styles: telescoping poles that collapse via multiple retractable sections and Z-poles that fold up into a compact z-shaped pattern when stowed.

Trail Series Trekking Poles

For some, hiking is the simple act of traveling through terrain, whether it’s a day hike or a quick walk on neighborhood trails. Trekking poles designed for this type of use are versatile, with interchangeable tips and optional snow baskets; durable, made with aluminum shafts; and comfortable, with ergonomic cork grips and EVA foam grip extensions. The Black Diamond Trail series is a great option for this style of mountain travel.

  • TRAIL POLES – Pair

    In stock

    R2,299.00
  • TRAIL EXPLORER 3 POLES – Pair

    Out of stock

    R1,099.00
  • TRAIL SPORT POLES – Pair

    Out of stock

    R1,749.00
  • Trail Pro Shock Trek Poles

    Out of stock

    R3,349.00

Alpine Series Trekking Poles

In some circles, hiking is (jokingly) considered “the approach to nowhere.” For these mountain travelers, hiking is a means to an end and usually includes heavy loads and technical terrain. A sturdy, durable trekking pole is the ideal tool for this style of hiking. Our Alpine series poles are designed with this type of user in mind, with lightweight carbon fiber shafts, compact Z-pole storage options, and a stiff, durable construction that can withstand the abuse of off-trail travel.

  • ALPINE CARBON CORK POLES Tundra – Pair

    In stock

    R3,999.00
  • W ALPINE CARBON CORK POLES Rhone – Pair

    Out of stock

    R3,999.00

Distance Series Trekking Poles



To ease the impact of miles and miles of pounding downhill and to aid grueling uphill climbs, trail runners have started using trekking poles as a key piece of equipment for ultramarathons and long mountain runs. For this style of mountain travel, moving quickly is key, which means that every ounce matters when it comes to equipment and supplies. The Black Diamond Distance series trekking poles are designed for these users. Carbon fiber shafts, FlickLock Pro adjustability for quick adjustments on the go, and stowable Z-pole construction are all combined to create an ultralight pole that is nimble, precise, and durable.

  • Black diamond carbon z poles 2022

    DISTANCE CARBON Z POLES – Pair

    Out of stock

    R3,499.00
  • W DISTANCE CARBON Z POLES – Pair

    In stock

    R3,499.00
  • DISTANCE FLZ POLES – Pair

    In stock

    R2,999.00

If you weren’t sure before, hopefully now it’s clear that trekking poles are an incredibly important piece of hiking and trail running equipment. On multiday trips, their use can often make the difference between limping back to the car and arriving back to the trailhead with a little extra in the tank. The designers at Black Diamond have been on the cutting edge of trekking pole innovation and technology for decades. No matter the mountain adventure you’re setting out on, there’s a trekking pole here that fits the mold.

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