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Hiking poles and backpacks

We are active when we travel and use hiking poles and Osprey rigid frame day packs. I believe hiking poles always have to be checked and that day packs with a rigid frame won't qualify as a "personal Item" because they may not fit under the seat. Any suggestions for traveling with poles and a pack? Does it always mean we have to check a bag?

Posted by
2354 posts

Yes, if the poles have metal tips they must be checked.

If you are traveling places where poles would be commonly used (Switzerland, Dolomites, etc), ask you hotel if they have any for guest use. We were surprised that most of the places we stayed in these areas had some available.

Posted by
395 posts

Hiking poles have to go in checked luggage, and if you do that then your day packs can be carry on luggage rather than personal items. That's what my husband and I did for our hiking trip this summer. Our packs didn't have rigid frames, and so would fit under the seat, but we saw other people putting similarly sized packs in the overhead luggage bins.

Posted by
8520 posts

I check a bag and then pack my carryon/backpack strategically in case it becomes my only luggage for a few days. My checked bag has always arrived as the vast majority do. I do hear horror stories of lost luggage from time to time, so my carryon has meds, travel info, change of clothing, etc.

Posted by
6823 posts

Checking a bag is not a catastrophic event (or a sin - thanks Stan! That made me laugh). Millions of people check bags every year with no problems. I almost always check a bag because I do not want to have to deal with it at the airport. So yes, you must check a bag if you want to bring your own trekking poles.

If you don't want to check a bag, you have the option of renting or buying a pair at your destination. Europe has plenty of sporting goods stores.

Posted by
1194 posts

I’ve done a couple of things for trekking poles

  • renter them from an outfitter.
  • Bought super cheap ones from an outdoors store. I left them my last night with my AirBnB host, who was thrilled.

I’d measure your pack frame. Some are small enough to fit under the seat. If it is under 20” high it will fit (aircraft dependent of course)

Frank II mentioned in another post that you should check the size of an under seat pet carrier for your airline. That will give you maximum under seat size.