7 best walking poles for UK hiking and trekking

Find out everything you need to know about the best walking poles up for grabs for UK hiking and trekking adventures. 

Best walking poles for hiking and trekking in the UK

Although most equipment used in the great outdoors can typically be grouped in the winter and summer piles, walking poles seem to occupy that special “evergreen” zone.

Great in the summer and even better in the winter, a good pair of trekking poles is one of the best investments that a hiker can make and add to their hill walking essentials. But searching for the best hiking poles isn’t easy and with so many different types of trekking poles, hiking poles and nordic walking poles out there to choose from – the word “confusing” doesn’t quite cover it.

Allow us to try and simplify the situation with our top selection of the best walking poles for UK hiking and trekking!

Author’s top pick

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Walking Poles

Best overall walking poles for hiking – Leki Micro Vario Carbon

The best walking poles by category

Looking for a summary of the best walking poles to save a little on the reading? Check out the best walking poles by category in the bullet-pointed list below.

  • The overall best walking poles – LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Walking Poles (Amazon.co.uk)
  • Best budget walking poles – Brasher Country Trekker Walking Pole (Blacks.co.uk)
  • Top aluminium trekking poles – Black Diamond Distance Aluminium Flz Trekking Poles (Amazon.co.uk)
  • Best walking poles for trekking – Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Z-poles Trekking (Amazon.co.uk)
  • Top folding walking poles – LEKI Makalu Trekking Poles (Amazon.co.uk)

1. Leki Micro Vario Carbon Walking Poles

The Leki Micro Vario Carbon walking poles are not only our top pick of the overall best walking poles for UK adventures, but are infinitely adjustable – ensuring that all hikers can find the optimal height.

The walking poles make use of both carbon and aluminium, offering a lightweight design that doesn’t comprise durability. The poles are uber robust and, with 3 collapsible sections with speed locks, take up minimal room in the hiking rucksack.

A breathable grip and ultra-lightweight skin strap complete the package in a stylish and functional fashion. These definitely aren’t the cheapest walking poles – but they are the very best!

Best overall walking poles – Leki Micro Vario Carbon

The Leki Micro Vario Carbon are our overall top pick for walking poles for UK adventures. 

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Walking Poles
  • Infinitely adjustable pole length between 110 and 130cm
  • Breathable, ultra-lightweight skin strap 
  • 3 collapsible sections with speed locks
  • 100% pure carbon compatible with every Flextip
  • One of the most expensive pairs of walking poles available
  • Weight (Pair): 480g 
  • Usable length: 110cm to 130cm 
  • Collapsed length: 40cm
  • Material: Carbon

2. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Flz Trekking Poles

A close second place in the overall best walking pole running comes the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Flz trekking poles. These trekking poles are at the top of the Black Diamond range, only missing out on our top spot due to their fixed-length design.

These walking poles offer a Z-design with minimal adjustability, meaning that hikers should purchase the correct sizing to get the most out of the poles. This does mean that the carbon trekking poles do save a good chunk of weight and your arms will thank you for it in the long run.

A pair of EVA foam grips are the grasping material of choice, allowing for a moisture-wicking design that avoids those sweaty hands losing grip at the most vital of times.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Flz Trekking Poles
  • Top of the range Black Diamond pole
  • Lightweight carbon fibre shafts
  • EVA foam grip with moisture-wicking grip
  • FlickLock adjustability and a three-section foldable shaft
  • One of the most expensive pairs of poles
  • Weight (Pair): From 332g
  • Usable length: 95-100 cm (37-43 in), 105-125 cm (41-49 in), 120-140 cm (47-55 in)
  • Collapsed length: From 34cm (13.4 in)
  • Material: Carbon

3. Black Diamond Distance Aluminium Flz Trekking Poles

The Black Diamond Distance Aluminimum Flz trekking poles may appear similar to the poles above – and that’s because they’re very much part of the same family. The difference here is the materials of choice with these poles utilising the less expensive and stronger aluminium shafts. 

These may add a little extra weight to the poles, but your wallet will be just that little bit heavier, too. But there are more benefits to the aluminium poles than just the price tag and a more robust design sits firmly at the top. 

If you’re searching for a strong, rugged walking pole that doesn’t break the bank – the aluminium walking poles from Black Diamond is a good place to start. 

Top aluminium trekking poles – Black Diamond Distance Flz

The Black Diamond Distance Flz are our favourite aluminium trekking poles.

Black Diamond Distance Flz Trekking Poles
  • Well priced mid-range walking pole
  • Three-section foldable shaft
  • Multiple size options for a perfect fit
  • Slide lock technology
  • Aluminium shaft means a heavier pole
  • Weight (Pair): From 415g
  • Usable length: 95-100 cm (37-43 in), 105-125 cm (41-49 in), 120-140 cm (47-55 in)
  • Collapsed length: From 33 cm (13 in)
  • Material: Aluminium

4. LEXI Makalu FX Carbon Trekking Poles

The Leki Makalu trekking poles are brand new for 2022. They’re effectively an improved variation of the Micro Vario poles, featuring the re-worked Aergon Air Grip for ultimate comfort.

They’re also some of our favourite poles purely thanks to the simplicity of their design. A folding approach is taken with these, ensuring that every hiker can comfortably use them.

The packed size of these folding poles is larger than the Z-pole equivalents, but if you’re willing to either upsize your daypack or sacrifice a little rucksack room, these prove to be a good addition. Plus, with so much adjustment, these can be used for the whole family whenever a walking pole may be needed!

The Makalus are made using carbon, meaning they’re super lightweight. These poles are a smart investment for any serious hiker!

Top folding walking poles – LEKI Makalu FX Carbon

The LEKI  Makalu FX Carbon trekking poles are our top pick for the best folding walking poles for UK adventures. 

  • Well priced mid-range walking pole
  • 3 pole sections
  • Comfortable AERGON Thermo handle grip
  • Carbon and aluminium blend
  • Long collapsed length
  • Weight: 520g 
  • Usable length: 66cm – 145cm 
  • Collapsed length: 63cm 
  • Material: Carbon / Aluminium

5. Brasher Country Trekker Walking Pole

The Brasher Country Trekker walking pole is the least expensive option on our list of trekking poles – but that doesn’t mean that the quality matches the price tag. Sold as individual poles, the Brasher poles use simplicity to bring down their cost – not the quality.

The poles use a single telescopic design, avoiding the need for any complex collapsible options and highlights a no-fuss approach to a trekking pole. There’s a minimum length of 65cm and a maximum of 135cm that’s great for height adjustment and an umbrella basket prevents the poles from sinking in loose or boggy terrain.

The packed size of the poles are large, but with fewer moving parts the weight is low at just 160g per pole. Ultimately, if you’re searching for a budget walking pole – you can’t go wrong with Brasher.

Best budget walking pole – Brasher Country Trekker

The Brasher Country Trekker is our top choice when searching the web for the best budget walking pole available. 

Brasher Country Trekker Walking Pole
  • Budget-friendly walking pole
  • Ultra-lightweight 100% carbon body
  • On/off anti-shock system for different terrain
  • Umbrella basket design prevents pole sink
  • Two-piece design meaning long collapsed length
  • Weight (Pair): 320g
  • Useable length: 65cm to 135cm 
  • Collapsed length: 65cm 
  • Material: Carbon

6. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Z-poles Trekking

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Z-poles Trekking are yet another pair of Black Diamond walking poles that appear mighty similar to the pair above. However, these carefully created pair of trekking poles are our favourite pair of poles for long-distance trekking thanks to an uber lightweight construction of just 273g per pair.

These lightweight poles earn their impressive spec sheet due to their solid, unadjustable nature. Instead, the collapsible poles come in four different sizes with hikers choosing the closest length to match their build. As a result, the collapsible length of the poles is also the shortest at just 33cm, perfect for storing away in any lightweight backpack.

Unsurprisingly, the material choice for these poles is carbon fibre with a foam grip complete with a moisture-wicking strap. If you’re searching for a sturdy trekking pole that keeps space and weight as low as possible, your choices don’t get much better than these!

Best walking poles for trekking – Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Z-poles are our favourite pole for trekking thanks to their uber lightweight design.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Z-poles Trekking
  • Lightest pole offered by Black Diamond
  • Three-section foldable design with speed-cone deployment
  • EVA foam grip with moisture-wicking strap
  • 100% carbon fibre construction
  • Upper-end of the price range
  • Weight (Pair): From 273g
  • Usable length: 100 cm (39 in), 110 cm (43 in), 120 cm (47 in), 130 cm (51 in)
  • Collapsed length: From 33 cm (13 in)
  • Material: Carbon

7. Robens Ambleside C66

The Robens Ambleside C66 is the last of the walking poles on our list and offers a great solution to the collapsible trekking pole. The pole, like a handful of others on our list, uses a three-piece telescopic design to minimise the packing height when not in use.

Named after our favourite place in the Lake District, the Ambleside C66 is built predominantly of carbon fibre, ensuring that the weight is limited to 440g per pair. Wrist support and a comfortable EVA grip are also featured in the design, offering a sensibly priced pair of walking poles that pack a punch.

Robens may not be the first brand to mind when thinking about the top walking poles, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t make the top three! We think that the walking poles are super impressive and a great choice for hikers.

Robens Ambleside C66 Walking Pole
  • Sturdy quick-lock telescopic design
  • Sensibly priced pair of walking poles
  • Wrist support and comfortable EVA grip
  • Carbon construction
  • Telescopic design means a long collapsed length
  • Weight (Pair): 440g
  • Usable length: 62 – 135cm
  • Collapsed length: 62cm
  • Material: Carbon

The difference between trekking poles and nordic walking poles

As with everything in the outdoors business, there’s a sub-category for everything – often followed by another sub-category and, if you’re lucky, another one after that. 

Walking poles have been around, well, forever. Leki, the big name in trekking poles, arrived on the scene in 1948, but walking poles existed long before this and were often wooden, natural creations that often looked like sticks (okay fine, they were sticks). 

We’ve come a long way since those caveman times and walking poles now come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, each slotting nicely into their own category. This begs the question, what category of walking poles are there out there and what should I be looking for? 

Trekking poles 

Trekking poles are arguably the most common type of stick-shaped walking aid that you’re likely to come across when passing a hiker in the wild. 

These poles are designed with long distances and tricky terrain in mind and are often only pulled out of the walking rucksack when they’re of assistance to a hiker. As these are often packed away for the bulk of a walk, the poles are designed with a collapsible mechanism to reduce the size without compromising the stiffness. 

There are two main types of collapsible mechanisms available – a telescopic walking pole and a Z-walking pole. The former acts much in the same way as a telescope, offering unlimited adjustment and can be locked in place at the perfect height. These telescopic walking poles are typically less expensive than the fixed height equivalent. 

The Z-walking poles are split into 3 parts, held with a kevlar rope – much in the same was a tent pole and offer no adjustment. The Z-walking poles are often the favourite of hikers but require a measurement before purchase to select the correct sizing option. 

Nordic walking poles

There seems to have been an explosion of people searching for Nordic walking poles in recent years which has muddied the water as to what they actually are. 

Put simply, Nordic walking poles are used specifically for Nordic walking – a “new type” of walking that is designed to use the upper body alongside the lower. The upper body is stimulated with a pair of nordic walking poles, used to match each step taken by a walker. This “enhanced” walking technique can reduce the stress on joints, strengthen the back and increase the number of calories burned by as much as 20%. 

The poles themselves differ from a standard trekking pole, offering a solid design rather than a collapsible shaft. This makes the walking poles impossible to pack in a hiking rucksack with a typical length between 110 and 130cm. 

Other examples of walking poles

There are a handful of other types of walking poles including, but not limited to, trail running poles, touring poles and cross trail poles. 

For the bulk of hikers looking for a simple walking pole that isn’t tailored to a specific area of sports or niche in the mountaineering world, a trekking pole will be more than enough. If you’re a hiker that’s looking to accomplish semi-superhuman feats, it might be worth checking out those super niche poles.

What to look for when buying walking poles for hiking or trekking

Although trekking poles are one of the simplest walking accessories, there is quite a list of features to look out for when searching for the best poles to buy. 

Lightweight and sturdy

First are foremost, walking poles should be lightweight and sturdy. 

Striking a good balance between the two is not easy and often requires some serious research and development. There’s a reason that Leki and Black Diamond are well-known for making the best walking poles and it’s not because they spend all of their cash on good marketing. 

Walking poles often use either aluminium, carbon or a combination of the two to make a lightweight and sturdy pole. Aluminium poles are a little heavier, but often more durable and cheaper than their carbon equivalents. However, carbon poles are uber-lightweight and can be collapsed to smaller sizes. 

Adjustable length and small collapsed length

Depending on the type of walking pole that you’re looking to buy, adjustable length may or may not be an issue. 

Telescopic walking poles, the ones designed with two or three parts that extend and lock just like a telescope, offer unrivalled adjustability and can be used between their minimum collapsed length and their maximum permitted (often around 130cm). These poles do often have a large collapsed length (around 60cm+) as they must house the additional pole length. 

Alternatively, the Z-style pole does not offer an adjustable length meaning that walkers are required to measure themselves before purchasing their correct size. These are often lighter in weight as a result but are tailored to the user only. The collapsed length is often smaller as this can be equally divided into 3 parts.

A short collapsed length is good when storing the walking poles when not in use. 

Shock absorption 

Shock absorption is a feature offered by some walking poles that can reduce the load on the hand’s and elbows. 

Trekking poles that offer shock absorption may be a little pricer than alternatives without but may be particularly useful if you often navigate hard surfaces or are recovering from joint injuries. 

Comfortable, breathable grips

It should go without saying that the grips of a walking pole should be comfortable, but breathable is a little less obvious. 

Cork is a commonly used material thanks to its moisture-wicking capabilities and its ability to mould to the hand over time. Alternate high-performance materials include EVA foam or rubber with the top grips often utilising a combination of two or more of these materials. 

Interchangeable tips 

Just as your footwear should change depending on the type of terrain that you’re navigating, the tips of the walking poles can be swapped out, too. 

For standard trails, the single point carbide is often the best solution whereas a rubber tip is good for a hard surface such as asphalt. A walking pole that has interchangeable tips is best for a variety of purposes. Most walking poles offer different tips for this purpose. 

Security strap 

A security strap ensures that the trekking poles don’t develop a mind of their own and take off down the face of a cliff. 

Straps aren’t often designed to be sturdy and are instead a simple breathable fabric that can be secured around the wrist when hiking. It is often not recommended to use the wrist strap when navigating extremely difficult or steep terrain.

FAQ: The best walking poles for hiking and trekking

Do you have a query about the walking poles for hiking and trekking around the UK? Have a peek at our FAQ below and we might just be able to help out with the answer that you’ve been looking for.

There is no right or wrong way to use a walking or trekking pole (within reason) and as long as they provide assistance to the hiker, they are doing their job just fine!

However, many walkers do tend to use their poles inefficiently by bending their elbows at 90 degrees. A more effective way to use the poles is to hold them in a neutral position and use the shoulders to propel forwards.

Although not necessary for every hike, a single or pair of hiking poles can be useful when looking to add extra support to a difficult adventure.

Walking poles are popular among hikers looking to tackle long routes or technical terrain as a great way to assist their ability.

Hiking and trekking poles are typically very simple to set up with the height controlled by a clamp in the telescopic-style pole.

Alternatively, in the form of Z-poles, each of the segments fit together much in the same way that a tent pole is assembled.

Nordic walking poles are poles that are used specifically for the activity of nordic walking.

These poles differ from typical hiking or trekking poles as they are often fully solid in construction with no collapsible options.

There you have it – our top hiking poles that are available for hiking this year. If you’re still searching for the answer to a question, don’t hesitate to reach out via our socials and we’ll be sure to help out as best we can!

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