Please sign in to post.

Hiking poles

We are leaving for a 3-week trip to Scotland in September. There are 6 people in our group. We are flying to Edinburgh on British Air, with a short layover at Heathrow. Given all the publicity about baggage issues, especially at Heathrow, we are each bringing one carry-on bag. One item that we will each be taking is hiking poles. Ours are shock-corded and fold into 1/3s so they fit easily in our 20" bags. BA says that the poles are not a problem, but TSA prohibits hiking poles in carry-on luggage. Any suggestions for getting our poles to Scotland without checking in our luggage?

Posted by
276 posts

Although it’s not an ideal solution but perhaps purchasing inexpensive poles upon arrival in Edinburg may eliminate your concern.

Posted by
1190 posts

Do you actually require hiking poles or will a staff suffice? You can ship yours, buy locally, ask for them to be placed into box at counter check-in.

Posted by
6378 posts

Why not put all of your hiking poles in one checked bag together? They aren’t allowed items in carry on. The other option, is to purchase or rent upon arrival.

Posted by
1980 posts

You could put all the poles into one bag and check it. That way if it goes astray you won’t lose everything.

I have taken poles through TSA without incident but it is a bit of a gamble. We checked our bags with poles going to Crete this summer because I didn’t want to take that risk.

Posted by
2 posts

I am going to mail my trekking poles to myself at the first hotel on my tour ... USPS International Priority. Won't be cheap, but probably the same cost as buying cheap poles when I get there. I will mark the box "Hold for Arrival of Guest [and my name and date of arrival]." And I will send an email to the hotel that I am sending the package. I didn't realize until after I had purchased the poles that there is a TSA prohibition, and I would have checked my bag until all the recent news about lost and delayed luggage. Crossing my fingers that this will work!!

Posted by
130 posts

On a trip to London a couple years ago, we put our poles in a cheap bag that usually holds a lawn chair and checked it alone. They arrived just fine. We might do that this trip (Friday.) I'll let you know how it goes. Our poles are close to 20 years old. if they don't arrive, we'll buy new ones. We always check a bag on the way home, but not on the way over...except the poles.

Posted by
42 posts

String fishing line on them and call them fishing poles? Ok, I am not serious but I do find it interesting that fishing poles are allowed while trekking poles are not. Some of those fishing poles are rather heavy-duty and could do a lot of damage to someone.

Posted by
9034 posts

I'm not aware of any fishing pole that has a spiky tip on the end of it like a hiking or ski pole.

Posted by
4552 posts

I had a similar issue. I wanted poles for uneven surfaces and steps. I ended up going with a cane lent to me by a kind, forum member. With advice from people on the forum, I "actively" used the cane when approaching and going through TSA. I do use the poles/cane to help with my horrid knees. The cane can be used through TSA for a medical reason. The cane did need to be stored in the overhead bin.

We just returned from a camping trip in which we were hiking 5-7 miles a day. I experimented with a cane/walking pole vs. walking sticks and for most situations I actually liked a walking stick/cane better.

Posted by
220 posts

There is a company called Luggage Free, they use Fedex to send what ever to where ever you want to pick it up. Your first night hotel, at the airport where ever you want. Works great. They schedule a pickup at your home about a week before you fly to make your your stuff arrives on time, they handel the customs paperwork. Love them. J

Posted by
40 posts

What is the TSA's objection to hiking poles/walking sticks?

I use mine as a daily mobility/balance aid.

I checked the TSA website. They have a caveat (I guess it applies to all items), "The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint." So I guess if you're going to bring them, make sure you are actively using them to walk when you go through the screening and hope for the best? Might be harder to pull off if you have a pair and are using one and the other is in the suitcase. TSA agents don't seem to be consistent with anything. I know that from experience.

I'm shopping for a foldable "cane" for airline travel just in case.

Posted by
4552 posts

I wore a knee elastic, compression sleeve going thru security. I was wearing it for the flight for comfort. That likely was extra "proof". I'm not saying this so people can be deceptive. Also the sleeve meant that I had to put up with extra screening with the TSA.

Posted by
40 posts

The neoprene type knee brace/sleeve is one of my examples of inconsistent TSA requirements.
I was wearing pants too narrow to roll up to my knee. On the outgoing flight the agent felt it through my pants leg and wiped their explosives detection wipe over that area and their gloves. They were very nice and told me to stand facing the conveyor exit so I could see my belongings. On the way back home, I had to go behind the screen to drop my trousers so they could examine it.

I even tried wide-leg pants one time so they could roll up to see it. Nope. Some had no problem. Others had to pull out the wand to scan over it and when I tried to turn so I could watch my stuff on the conveyor exit they became rather indignant.

Since then the braces go in my tote bag and I find a restroom to put them on after leaving security.

Posted by
4552 posts

Khansen, there are few things I hate more in travel than being molested by TSA! At the time, I wondered what the difference was between the sleeve and leggings. I did have the sleeve on over the leggings. For sure, when I'm not bringing a cane thru, I'll be packing the sleeve in a carry on.

Posted by
5818 posts

Q: What is the TSA's objection to hiking poles/walking sticks?
A: I suspect that a trekking pole would fall in the "it looks like a spear" category. My trekking poles have carbide tips which are harder than steel and hold their point.

Note that TSA frowns on sword canes.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2022/04/11/bos-tsa-sword-cane/7274640001/

At first glance, the cane looks completely normal, but twisting off
the handle reveals a long blade inside.

The 70-year old owner said he "had no idea the blade was in there,"
TSA spokesperson Daniel Velez said in a tweet last week.

The man was questioned by the Massachusetts State Police. He
surrendered the cane and was cleared to continue his travels.

Posted by
2181 posts

My poles have removable ends.
A selection came with them when I bought them.
You could take off any sharp pointy ends and put flat rubbery cane feet on to get through security at least.

Posted by
5818 posts

You could take off any sharp pointy ends and put flat rubbery cane feet on to get through security at least.

Depends on trkking pole. Carbide tips on my Black Diamond poles are not removable. If your poles have removable sharp tips, can you keep the tips with you and reinstall them after clearing the TSA check?

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for all of the responses. I looked into shipping the poles to our first hotel, but, frankly, the cost was too expensive. We will place all 6 poles in a folding duffle bag that I own and check it. If it does get lost we'll at least have all of our other things.
The hiking poles dilemma was put into perspective a few days ago when I received an email informing me that our flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh (on British Air) was cancelled resulting in a 9 hour layover at Heathrow.
Ah, the joys of traveling in 2022!