Trekking Pole Styles and Designs

Poles come in many different styles and designs. They can be as simple as a wood stick picked up at the side of the trail or a highly engineered tool in the hiker’s gear repertoire. Here is a quick tour of the different styles and options of hiking and trekking poles without mentioning brands or models.

  • shafts made of wood, aluminum, titanium, fiberglass, carbon fiber or some combination thereof;
  • ornate or carved wood walking stick;
  • carbon fiber or other substance manufactured to look like wood;
  • non-adjustable fixed length, adjustable and collapsible two or three section poles;
  • one-click, one-hand adjustment mechanisms for the adjustable poles;
  • contoured or straight shafts;
  • with or without adjustable wrist straps or security loops;
  • quick release wrist straps;
  • cane type handle, rounded palm knob or contoured hand grips;
  • ergonomically molded rubber, foam, cork or thermoplastic hand grips;
  • right and left hand-specific hand grips and wrist straps;
  • rigid or pivoting hand grips;
  • straight or contoured hand grips;
  • with or without anti-shock devices built into the shaft;
  • removable and replaceable baskets, tips and tip sections;
  • removable rubber tip covers (“paws”) for hard and slippery surfaces;
  • pair of poles designed to screw together to make an avalanche probe;
  • walking-stick with built-in umbrella;
  • removable or built in ice axe or camera tripod head.

As you can see from the above comprehensive list, a wide variety of trekking poles are available and manufacturers are regularly coming up with new designs. Which options work best will depend a lot on how the poles are used, as well as individual preferences.