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Trekking Poles

I am interested in trekking poles for hiking over sandy trails. I will not be flying with them. Just for car trips. Any info. You can share with me about what to look for in a trekking pole would be helpful. Also - good brands? Brands to avoid? Thanks!

Posted by
1302 posts

Hi Sun-Baked -

I’ve used collapsible trekking poles a lot since acquiring knee problems quite a long time ago, not helped by the march of time and a fairly radical injury from falling off an alp (which I cannot recommend). Thus if I’m walking anywhere, the poles go too.

I use Black Diamond poles, favouring their ‘flip lock’ fastening over the, admittedly less common these days, ‘screw/twist’ lock. I’ve worn the end off my original trek poles and replaced them with a pair of BD ‘Trail’ poles. (I’ve just got a new pair of Trails having fallen on my admittedly well used original pair. I put a slight bend in one and it now doesn’t collapse as well as it should, plus I don’t entirely trust them now).

The good thing about the Trails is they have the lengthy handle/grip which means rather than adjust the the poles to take into consideration of whether you are going uphill or downhill, you can set them and drop your hands down the grips rather than continually alter them. Also they come with large screw on snow baskets and while I don’t anticipate you needing them for their original purpose in Florida, they might prove useful for walking in loose sand. You’ll need to invest in a couple of rubber ferrules to cover the tips (they aren’t supplied with the poles). I tend to use the poles without ferrules in the main as I want them to really dig in, but I do keep a set handy to cover the tips when the poles are not in use or are in transit as it prevents the risk of the exposed tips damaging anything (rucksack for instance).

I got my new replacement poles from Sport Pursuit at a 50% discount, but these offers are not available all the time. Next cheapest I found was the ubiquitous Amazon.

Hope this helps!


P.S. I tend not to use the hand loops, but if you must, there are plenty of You Tube films showing you the correct way of doing this to avoid potentially fracturing your hand/wrist/thumb in the unfortunate event that you fall. The Trails also feature a tag which labels them left and right, although to all intents and purposes they are identical. Does feed into any OCD you might have though!

Posted by
1259 posts

I owned and enjoyed using Leki poles for decades. Busted one of 'em up really good and went looking for replacements only to find they had gotten more complex, more fragile, and more than doubled in price in thirty years. Imagine that!

The two reasons to get good, top brand trekking poles are medical or if you're putting hundreds of miles on them with a full backpack in the hills, mountains, river banks, sand dunes, snow fields, mole-invested meadows, and general wilderness. Get the cheap units at Costco.

Posted by
5837 posts

I like my Black Diamond three-piece adjustable trekking poles with their "Flicklock" adjusters. The Flicklock clamps can be adjusted to not slip when the pole is loaded. Shorten poles for uphills, lengthen for downhills.

Posted by
679 posts

We have Paria which we bought through Amazon. At the time we bought them, they had two sizes available which is good since my husband needs longer poles than I do. We have used them in Scotland, in California, and in the Andes with comfort and ease.

Posted by
179 posts

I bought three pair on AMZN a few years back for $30-40 each and have worked perfectly fine. Came with rubber covers, snow baskets and the foot-shaped one. Had cork grips which are better than foam- cork will mold to your hand Ofer time, absorbs sweat and won’t wear out / crumble apart.

Posted by
1882 posts

Thank you for this info.. Some important points covered here. I like the idea of longer handles as opposed to frequently adjusting pole length (uphill/downhill). Snow baskets seem like a good idea as well.
I intend to use them on uneven sandy trails and sloping hills. I think they will help my back and provide more secure footing. I could get tactical trekking poles in the event I need to defend against a gator or a rattlesnake!

Posted by
16706 posts

I recommend cork grips, which are easier on the hands than plastic grips.

Posted by
5837 posts

RE: ...the idea of longer handles....

The proper way to hold trekking poles is to transfer body weight load through the pole straps to the shaft of the pole then eventually to the ground sharing body weight between the upper body/poles and your legs/knees. To do that efficiently, the load should transfer through the pole straps, not by gripping the handles similar to cross country ski poles. See the following video for proper use of pole straps:

Did you know that there's a right way and a wrong way to put on
cross-country ski poles?

One of the most common mistakes that rookie skiers make is putting
their pole straps on incorrectly. It's actually very simple to put
cross-country ski poles on. This 18-second video will show you how.

Or see Lo's link:

Wrist straps: It’s actually pretty common to see hikers using their
trekking pole wrist straps incorrectly. To use them the right way, put
your hand up through the bottom of the strap and then pull down and
grab the grip of the pole. This technique supports your wrist and heel of the hand and allows you to keep your hand relaxed on the

Posted by
1882 posts

You guys are great! I watched the video links and read the REI article. Helped a lot. For Florida - cork handles are the way to go. After all these years - I had no idea there was a "method" to handle straps. Always thought of ski pole straps as more of a lanyard. I think some of the pole techniques described will come naturally out on a trail.
I'm going pole shopping today. Not a lot of options where I live. I may have to order online.

Posted by
6788 posts

Is there no Costco near you? I was in a local Costco yesterday and saw a large display of these very poles (high quality, carbon fiber, cork handgrips, adjustable, a bunch of end-baskets, all the good stuff). 30 bucks for two sets of poles.

Posted by
1882 posts

Hi David,
I live in a semi-rural area. No Costco. No major camping store like REI. Wal-mart is temporarily sold-out. Don't know which brand Wal-Mart stocks. (But, I did manage to load up on cat litter and ice tea.)
I looked up Home Depot online. Home Depot has the Brazos brand which is more expensive. Don't know if my local HD has them in stock. Can't think of any other local store that may have them.
I think I am going to get the aluminum, cork-handled Cascadian Mountain Tech ones. I think these will serve me well. Under $25 for a pair.
Thank you everyone!