Are you looking for affordable but reliable hiking poles? If you’re buying trekking poles on a budget under $100, you’ll need to find the right pair with the perfect compromise between quality and price. Luckily, we’re here to help!
In this guide, we’ll help you find the best budget trekking poles under $100 USD that exactly fit your walking, hiking, and adventuring needs. We cover the top affordable, budget-friendly trekking poles with gear reviews of the pros and cons for each pair to help you choose.
At the end of this article, we’ve also included a buyer’s guide covering all the trekking pole features that you need to consider when making a purchase. We’ve compiled all of the research and information so you can easily pick your next set of the best budget hiking poles!
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Best Overall Budget Trekking Poles: Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles
Top Lightweight Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles for Trekking
Best Budget Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles: Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Most Durable Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Walking Pole
Lowest Priced Carbon Fiber Poles: Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Cheapest Telescoping Walking Poles: TrailBuddy Collapsible Hiking Poles
Lowest Priced Folding Poles: Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Poles
Best Budget Trekking Poles under $100 in 2022
|Image||Model||Weight Per Pole||Design||Pole Material||Grip Type||Adjustable||Accessories||Check Price|
|Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles||240 g |
|Telescoping, Lever Lock||Aluminum||Cork or EVA Foam, Foam extended grip||66 to 137 cm |
(26" to 54")
|Snow baskets, mud baskets, boot tips, rubber tips, pole clip, carry bag||Check Price!|
|Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||207 g |
|Telescoping, Lever Lock||Carbon Fiber||Cork or EVA Foam, EVA Foam extended grip||66 to 137 cm |
(26" to 54")
|Snow baskets, mud baskets, rubber tips, boot tips, pole clip, carry bag||Check Price!|
|Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles for Trekking||171 g (6.1 oz) for 100 cm to 201 g (7.1 g) for 130 cm||Folding, Twist Lock||Aluminum||EVA foam grip & grip extension||Fixed lengths: 100, 110, 120 & 130 cm |
(39, 43, 47 & 51")
Collapsed: 33 cm (13 in) for 100 cm pole to 43 cm (17 in) for 130 cm pole
|Snow baskets, mud baskets||Check Price!|
|TrailBuddy Collapsible Hiking Poles||270 g |
|Telescoping, Lever Lock||Aluminum||Cork & EVA Foam||62 to 137 cm |
(24.5" to 54")
|Snow baskets, mud baskets, rubber tips, pole clip, carry bag||Check Price!|
|Black Diamond Trail Walking Poles||244 g |
|Telescoping, Flick Lock||Aluminum||EVA Foam grip & extended grip||63.5 to 140cm |
(25" to 55")
|Snow baskets, mud baskets||Check Price!|
|TheFitLife Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||204 g (7.2 oz)||Telescoping, Lever Lock||Carbon Fiber||Cork, EVA Foam extended grip||62 to 135 cm (24.4" to 53")||Large and small snow baskets, rubber tips, boot tips, pole clips, carry bag||Check Price!|
|Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Poles||294 g (10.4 oz) for 100-120 cm pole or |
306 g (10.8 oz) for 115-135 cm pole
|Folding, Lever Lock||Aluminum||Cork-Like EVA Foam, Foam extended grip||100-200 cm or 115-135 cm / 38 cm (15") collapsed||Snow baskets, mud baskets, rubber tips, boot tips, carry bag||Check Price!|
|Foxelli Aluminum Trekking Poles||266 g |
|Telescoping, Lever Lock||Aluminum||Cork, EVA Foam extended grip||61 to 140 cm |
(24" to 55")
|Snow baskets, mud baskets, rubber tips, boot tips, carry bag||Check Price!|
|Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||215 g (7.6 oz)||Telescoping, Lever Lock||Carbon Fiber||Cork, EVA Foam extended grip||61 to 137 cm |
(24" to 54")
|Storage tips, Asphalt tips, Mud baskets, Snow baskets, Carrying clip, Carrying bag||Check Price!|
|Hiker Hunger Collapsible Hiking Poles||269 g |
|Telescoping with Lever Lock||Aluminum||Cork, EVA Foam extended grip||66 to 137 cm |
(26" to 54")
|Snow baskets, mud baskets, rubber tips, boot tips, carry bag||Check Price!|
|Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles||272 g |
|Telescoping, Lever Lock||Aluminum||EVA Foam grip & extended grip||61 to 135 cm |
(24" to 53")
|Mud baskets, rubber tips, pole clips||Check Price!|
1. Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles – Best Overall
If you’re looking for affordable but good-quality trekking poles, Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles are a perfect choice! This budget-friendly trekking pole set has excellent value, being both inexpensive and well made. With many features, these poles are amazing for everything from hiking to snowshoeing. For these reasons, we’ve rated these poles as the best budget trekking poles under $100 overall.
With airplane-grade 7075 aluminum, Cascade Mountain Tech trekking poles can handle all kinds of adventures while you explore the world. The poles are very strong and sturdy. They adjust from 66 to 137 cm (26″ to 54″) using a quick lock lever system that’s easy to use and tighten. Although the collapsed size of these poles is on the longer side, these poles will still pack well on the side of your backpack. As well, these poles only weigh 240 g (8.3 oz) per pole, making them one of the lightest aluminum options on this list. You’ll be able to hike all day without your arms tiring from these walking poles!
Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles are very personalizable, with multiple colors and different grip types. You can choose between sweat-wicking natural cork or comfortable EVA foam grips, depending on your preference. No matter which material you choose, the poles have an extended EVA foam grip for hills and hiking in the mountains. Additionally, the poles have wrist straps that are adjustable, moisture-wicking, and padded for ultimate wrist comfort during hiking!
The poles are primarily black but have fun, colorful highlights with a choice between orange, green, or light blue. Also, you get lots of handy accessories with the pole set, including mud baskets, powder baskets, boot tips, rubber tips, carrying clips, and a pole bag. You’ll be very happy with these best budget walking poles!
- Many accessories, including baskets, tips and a carry bag
- Light, strong airplane-grade 7075 aluminum construction
- Customizeable with a natural cork or EVA foam grip
- Padded wrist straps that wick away moisture
- Durable but affordable
- Great customer service
- Easy to use quick lock mechanism
- Doesn’t collapse as small as folding poles
Check the Price of Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles!
2. Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles – Most Lightweight
Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles are one of the best sets of budget folding trekking poles under $100. Made by one of the leading trekking pole brands, Black Diamond, you know these poles are good quality. Both lightweight and strong, these Black Diamond trekking poles are an excellent budget-friendly choice for any hiker.
Designed for comfort and reliability, these poles will keep you trekking all day long without a problem. The poles are durable, sturdy, lightweight, and use high-quality materials. The wrist straps are breathable and sweat-wicking, preventing chafing. Also, the poles feature soft, comfortable ergonomic EVA foam grips and extended grips for uneven terrain. The rubber tech tips grip the ground well, providing additional stability. All of these features are packed into a budget-friendly trekking pole for under $100!
Unlike many of the other poles on this list, Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles are foldable instead of telescoping. Made of three sections, these poles fold down to a very packable 33 to 43 cm (13 to 17 inches; exact size depends on your pole’s length). This folding design is an excellent feature, making these poles very lightweight and portable! However, the Z-poles aren’t adjustable, with fixed lengths of either 100, 110, 120, or 130 cm (39, 43, 47, or 51″). Use their trekking pole sizing chart so you purchase the right length for your body height!
The Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles are the lightest trekking poles on our list due to their folding design, weighing only 171 g (6.1 oz) for 100 cm poles to 201 g (7.1 g) for the 130 cm poles. They are also one of the most compact trekking poles. Despite their lightweight design, these poles are made out of aluminum so they’re strong and durable. You’ll be very happy with these poles!
- Lightest budget-friendly poles
- Very small size once folded down
- Strong, durable and reliable 7078 aluminum shaft
- Breathable, moisture-wicking wrist strap
- Ergonomic and comfy EVA foam grip and extended grip
- Not many accessories included
- EVA Foam absorbs more moisture than cork
- Fixed length trekking pole so less adjustable
Check the Price of Black Diamond Distance Z Z Poles!
3. Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles – Best Budget Carbon Fiber Poles
For hikers that prefer carbon fiber, Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are of good quality and very affordable, despite being made out of more expensive shaft material. These budget-friendly poles are very functional and lightweight. They even include lots of accessories, like mud baskets, snow baskets, rubber tips, boot tips, and a carrying bag. This pair of poles is a pretty good deal for the price!
Being made out of carbon fiber makes this one of the lighter budget walking pole sets on our list. The weight per pole is only 207 g (7.3 oz)! While carbon trekking poles are more brittle than aluminum, Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles perform reliably through most conditions. If you’re looking for a lightweight affordable trekking pole for long hikes, these are a perfect choice!
These trekking sticks adjust from 66 to 137 cm (26″ to 54″), using a telescoping system with quick lever locks. The poles have either a moisture-wicking cork or a comfortable EVA foam grip to choose from. Their EVA foam grip extension is great for rolling terrain, as well. Overall, these lightweight carbon fiber poles are an amazing addition to your backcountry gear kit!
- Lightweight cheap hiking poles
- Many baskets/tips and a carrying bag are included
- Cork or EVA foam grip option
- Comfortable EVA foam extended grip
- Carbon fiber isn’t as strong as aluminum
- Baskets loosen occasionally
Check the Price of Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles!
4. Black Diamond Trail Trekking Pole – Most Durable
While on the pricier side, Black Diamond Trail Walking Poles are an amazing trekking pole made by a highly reliable outdoor brand. If you don’t mind spending more, these poles will make an excellent addition to your hiking gear collection. The poles cost more, but this is for a good reason! Made from high-quality materials, you know these trekking poles are dependable. They have interchangeable carbide tech tips and a strong aluminum shaft, making them very durable. This set of poles is perfect for tough bushwalking and backcountry hiking trails!
With a telescoping design, these poles can extend from 63.5 cm to 140 cm (25″ to 55″) and use a FlickLock adjustment system. These locks make the poles easy to lengthen quickly and they also stop your poles from collapsing while you’re using them by lessening the torsional loads. Paired with a non-slip, comfortable EVA foam extended grip, these hiking poles are perfect for exploring hilly landscapes!
Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles aren’t just great for hiking – they are perfect for multi-season adventures. They can be used for hiking, snowshoeing, or even propping up your tent! Plus, made for comfort, these poles work well on long adventures. With a 360° padded strap, your wrists won’t get sore and will feel great the entire hike. The ergonomic, non-slip foam grips also keep your hand cushioned and comfortable through the hike.
Even though these poles are made out of aluminum, Black Diamond Trail Walking Poles still manage to stay lightweight at 244 g per pole. Plus, the company that makes these poles, Black Diamond, has awesome customer service in case of any problems with your poles. While you’re spending a bit more, you’ll definitely be pleased with purchasing these long-lasting, reliable hiking poles!
- Very comfortable wrist straps with 360° padding
- Anti-slip ergnomic grips with EVA foam extension for hills
- Strong, durable 7075 aluminum body
- FlickLock adjustable pole system that tightens poles easily and prevents poles from collapsing
- Relatively lightweight for a telescoping aluminum pole design
- Not as many accessories included
- Pricier than the other budget poles
Check the Price of Black Diamond Trail Walking Poles!
5. TheFitLife Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles – Lowest Priced Carbon Fiber Poles
If you’re looking for inexpensive carbon fiber poles, TheFitLife Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are a great choice of telescopic walking sticks! The poles are some of the most budget-friendly carbon fiber poles on the market. While cheap, these cheap hiking sticks still have many accessories and features to help you hike. These poles will help you stay hiking on a budget!
These poles are made out of carbon fiber with tungsten carbide tips. The carbon fiber material makes the poles lightweight at only 0.2 kg (7.05 oz) per pole. Carbon fiber is shock resistant, but this material is more brittle than aluminum. The height of the poles is adjustable from 24″ to 53″ (62 cm to 135 cm), with a telescoping design and lever locks.
TheFitLife Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles have ergonomic grips made of natural cork which is moisture-wicking and anti-slip. Additionally, they have an extended EVA foam grip to help you with hills.
Additionally, this pair of poles has many accessories that it comes with, including mud baskets, snow baskets, rubber boots, rubber tips, a carry bag, and pole clips. As well, while the pole’s body is mostly black, you can personalize the accents on the lever locks, pole shaft, and wrist straps with eight different colors.
- Many accessories are included (baskets, tips and a carrying bag)
- Multiple color options
- Lightweight carbon fiber pole shaft
- Easy to use lever lock system
- Wrist straps loosen easily
- Carbon fiber isn’t as strong or durable as aluminum
Check the Price of TheFitLife Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles!
6. TrailBuddy Hiking Poles – Cheapest Telescoping Poles
TrailBuddy Trekking Poles are one of the best, most popular budget friendly trekking poles under $100 out there. Functional yet affordable, these hiking poles will fit your adventuring needs – all while staying on a budget. They are one of the best cheap trekking poles out there!
With a telescoping design and easy-to-use lever flip locks, you can adjust these poles easily and quickly from 25.5″ to 54″. That makes them perfect for hilly terrain! TrailBuddy Trekking Poles are made out of aluminum 7075, which is a sturdy, robust pole shaft material. Despite being aluminum, each pole is still relatively lightweight, weighing in at 270 g (9.7 oz) per pole. Your arms won’t get too tired when using these poles on long treks!
Trail Buddy poles have natural cork handles and padded adjustable wrist straps. The moisture-wicking cork handles on these cheap hiking poles prevent your hands from chafing when you’re sweating. As well, the padded wrist straps are comfortable on your wrists and won’t irritate your skin, even on long hikes. However, the poles don’t have an extended grip for hills. This may be a deal-breaker for some people!
The best part about Trail Buddy Hiking Poles is that there are many accessories included! With these poles, you’ll also get mud baskets, snow baskets, rubber tips, and a carrying bag. There are also a variety of brilliant colors to choose from, including berry pink, aqua sky, beetle red, bumblebee yellow, lake blue, plum purple, raven black, and spring green. You’ll have the most personalized poles on the hiking trail!
- Moisture-wicking natural cork handle grip with extended EVA foam grip for hilly terrain
- Padded, comfortable wrist straps
- Durable, sturdy aluminum 7075
- Many baskets, tip attachments and a carry bag included
- A variety of colors to choose from
- Only collapses to 25.5″
- No extended grip for hills
Check the Price of TrailBuddy Hiking Poles!
7. Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Poles – Most Affordable Folding Poles
Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Poles are a great aluminum, budget-friendly folding hiking pole set. With 100% airplane-grade aluminum, these poles are strong and durable. They aren’t the lightest (294 g for a 100-120 cm pole or 306 g for a 115-135 cm pole) but they can handle rough terrain. They’ll work great on all types of backcountry hiking trips!
With a foldable design, these trekking poles are highly portable. The poles fold down to 30 cm (15 inches). They’ll fit in many backpacks easily! While Trekology poles don’t fold quite as small as the Black Diamond Z-Poles, they are about half the price. This makes them the best affordable folding trekking pole that keeps you under a budget of $100!
Even though these are foldable, Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Poles can still be adjusted by up to 20 cm. While you still must choose a suitable pole length for your height, this adjustability will be very handy when hiking over hills. Also, they have an easy-to-use metal flip lock system that allows you to make pole length adjustments quickly.
Lastly, Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Poles are pretty comfortable to use for both your wrists and hands. The poles have an EVA foam grip that extends down for rolling terrain. Combined with adjustable, comfortable wrist straps, your arms will be well supported while using these poles. Overall, these folding poles are pretty good for the price!
- Includes many baskets/tips and a carry bag
- Very portable size when folded
- Pole length are adjustable
- Comfy EVA foam grips and extensions
- Very affordable, budget-friendly folding pole
- Handle grip is only cork-like foam
- EVA foam doesn’t wick away sweat like cork
Check the Price of Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Poles!
8. Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles
Made of good quality materials, Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles are some of the best budget trekking poles under $100. While a little pricier than some of the other poles on this list, these hiking sticks are dependable and durable. They’ll meet all your needs, in many different hiking conditions.
Our favorite thing about Montem Trekking Poles is their lifetime replacement promise. If your poles have a manufacturer problem, Montem will replace them for free! Of course, this replacement only works if your poles have a problem due to their manufacturing. As with most warranties, you’re on your own if it’s your fault the poles broke!
These poles have a telescope design, so they lengthen from 61 to 135 cm (24″ to 53″). Lever locks hold the pole sections in place and are easy to use. The Montem hiking poles aren’t too heavy, around 272 g (9.6 oz). However, this is one of the heavier hiking poles on our list. Also, while the handles are cork-colored, they are actually EVA foam.
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles come in several different colors so you can personalize your hiking poles to your liking. As well, they come with some accessories like mud baskets, rubber tips, and carry clips. However, they don’t include other accessories that you might need like snow baskets, a carrying bag, or boot tips.
- Comes with some extra accessories – mud baskets, rubber tips and carry clips
- Free lifetime replacement promise for manufacturer defects
- Adjustable wrist straps are soft and comfortable
- EVA foam handles and grip extensions are comfy to hold
- Handles look like cork but are actually EVA foam
- Doesn’t come with as many accessories
- Heavier weight
Check the Price of Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles!
9. Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Another choice of budget-friendly carbon fiber walking poles are Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles. Made with 100% carbon fiber material, these hiking sticks are lightweight (7.6 oz each). Despite being made of ultralight carbon fiber, these trekking poles are quite affordable and one of the best choices if you want to stay under a budget of $100!
These telescoping, carbon fibre poles adjust from 61 to 140 cm (24″ to 55″). The lever locking mechanisms allows you to quickly adjust your pole’s height. This design makes them the perfect size for carrying on a backpack or using over hills.
Foxelli Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles feature grips made of natural cork that prevent blisters and are comfortable to hold. Below the cork, the poles have an EVA foam grip with ridges that help you hold onto the extensions when ascending or descending slopes.
These affordable carbon fiber poles come with mud baskets, snow baskets, rubber tips, rubber boots, a carry bag, and a pole clip. With plenty of hiking pole accessories, these poles will work well in most conditions! If you do have a problem with your poles though, Foxelli trekking poles have a 120 day return period and a 1-year warranty. You won’t have to worry about making this purchase!
- 120 day return period
- 1 year warranty
- Affordable carbon fiber poles
- Anti-slip comfortable cork grips that prevent blisters
- Ridged EVA foam grip extensions for hills
- Comes with lots of accessories
- Carbon fiber isn’t as strong as aluminum
- Variable manufacturing quality
Check the Price of Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles!
10. Foxelli Aluminum Trekking Poles
Foxelli Aluminum Trekking Poles are great budget-friendly hiking poles and are quite similar to Foxelli’s carbon fiber pole set. Because these poles are made out of aluminum, they are more affordable and stronger than their carbon fiber counterparts. However, they are a couple of ounces heavier at 9.4 oz (266 g), compared to the carbon fiber set at 7.6 oz. Whether you choose the carbon fiber or aluminum poles is up to your personal preference!
These poles are made out of 7075 aluminum, which is aircraft-grade and strong. Foxelli Aluminum Trekking Poles are telescoping, with easy lever locks that hold the sections in place. You can extend these hiking poles from 61 to 140 cm (24″ to 55″), making them perfect for hills, mountains, and other uneven terrains! As well, they have ridged EVA foam extended grips to help you ascend and descend slopes without losing your grip.
Designed for comfort, these poles have anti-slip, moisture-resistant natural cork grips. As well, their wrist straps are cushioned with breathable material that prevents chafing. The straps help support your wrist and provide extra balance and support while planting your poles with each step.
With lots of extras, you’ll have everything you need with Foxelli Aluminum Trekking Poles. They come with mud baskets, rubber tips, rubber boots, and snow powder baskets. You also get a pole clip and carrying bag with a pocket for small items. The tips are made of tungsten carbide which is strong and durable. Plus, you can choose between four colors: black, blue, green, or khaki. Best of all, you can buy these poles worry-free – Foxelli has a 120-day return period and a 1-year warranty in case of problems!
- Comes with many baskets, tips and a carrying bag
- Strong 7075 aircraft-grade aluminum pole shaft
- Anti-Slip grips made of moisture-wicking cork
- Comfortable foam extension for hilly terrain
- Cushioned wrist strap prevents chafing
- 120 day returns and 1 year warranty
- Doesn’t collapse down too small
- Baskets aren’t the most durable
- Not as light as the carbon fiber version
Check the Price of Foxelli Aluminum Trekking Poles!
11. Hiker Hunger Collapsible Hiking Poles
Hiker Hunger Trekking Poles are mid-range hiking poles that’ll work for all kinds of backcountry adventures. Plus, at an affordable price, these poles will help you stay within your budget!
With plenty of accessories and an easy-to-adjust length, these poles prepare you for all kinds of terrain and conditions. Their telescoping design allows these poles to extend from 66 to 137 cm (26″ to 54″). You can adjust the poles quickly using their fast lever locks. As well, included with the poles, you get mud baskets, snow baskets, rubber tips, boot tips, pole clips, and a carry bag.
Made of aluminum, the poles are strong but not too heavy for the price. They weigh about 269 g (9.5 oz) per pole. If you want a lighter version, you can get the Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking poles instead.
The Hiker Hunger Aluminum poles have sweat-wicking ergonomic cork handles that are comfortable to hold on long hiking trips. They also have great EVA foam extended grips that are soft and non-slip. Additionally, Hiker Hunger Hiking Poles have a super long manufacturer warranty of three years (most other brands have a 1-year warranty). With this warranty, you can buy these poles without any worries!
- Comes with many baskets/tips and a carrying bag
- Moisture-wicking ergonomic cork grips
- Anti-slip, soft & comfortable EVA foam grip extensions
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- Doesn’t collapse down that small
- Not too lightweight (but also not too heavy)
Check the Price of Hiker Hunger Collapsible Hiking Poles!
Considerations for Picking Affordable Trekking Poles
Using trekking poles is an amazing way to improve your balance, stability, and lessen the stress on your joints. However, you need to buy the best trekking poles to suit your needs. When you’re trying to find the best budget trekking poles that are under $100, there are several important features that you should consider. This buyer’s guide covers the essential features that you should think about when trying to find the best cheap hiking poles out there.
Aluminum vs Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles
Trekking pole shafts are made from either aluminum or carbon fiber. The material impacts a pole’s weight, strength, durability, temperature tolerance, and cost.
Carbon fiber poles are lighter than aluminum but more costly. They are a great choice for long-distance hikers who are backpacking and want to carry as little weight in their outdoor gear kit as possible. Trekking poles that are carbon fiber usually weigh somewhere between 340 to 453 g (12 to 16 oz) per pole set.
Because carbon fiber is lighter, it is also less durable than aluminum. If bent, carbon fiber poles are more likely to break. It also doesn’t handle cold or hot temperatures as well as aluminum. If you’re hiking in very hot or cold weather, aluminum may be a better choice for you.
Best budget-friendly carbon fiber trekking poles: Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Aluminum poles are heavier than carbon fiber poles and usually weigh around 510 to 624 g (18 to 22 oz) per pair. The upside is that aluminum hiking poles are less expensive but more durable than carbon fiber. If your pole bends, aluminum can usually be bent back straight without your pole snapping.
Aluminum also does better in temperature extremes, so it can be a better choice if you plan on using your poles for other activities, like snowshoeing. Many hikers won’t notice a significant difference in weight between aluminum and carbon fiber, especially on day hikes. For this reason, we recommend that hikers pick aluminum poles, unless they need equipment that is as light as possible.
Most lightweight aluminum trekking poles: Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles
Fixed Length vs Telescoping vs Folding Hiking Poles
Trekking poles come in three main designs: fixed-length, telescoping, or folding.
Fixed-length poles aren’t the best choice for hikers because they aren’t adjustable. You must choose a pole length that matches your height. You won’t be able to lend these poles out to a friend unless they’re the same height as you! Fixed-length poles usually are made in increments of 10 cm, from 100 to 130 cm long. They can’t easily be carried in your backpack. Also, they don’t work as well when you’re hiking over hills.
Folding poles are made of two to three sections of pole shaft that are held together by a tension cord that runs through the pole’s center. The sections allow you to fold the poles down quite small, making them great for carrying in a bag. Also, this design allows them to be more lightweight.
While the tension cord is adjustable, sometimes these poles feel less secure than telescoping trekking poles. Also, these poles don’t adjust much, only 10 to 20 cm at most. For this reason, you’ll need to pick a foldable trekking pole that’s appropriate for your body height.
Best budget folding trekking poles under $100: Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles
Telescoping poles function similar to a telescope, collapsing down into themselves. Each section nests within the next. The sections are locked in place with lever or twist locks. This telescoping design makes them perfect for hilly terrains because they are very adjustable.
The telescoping hiking pole style doesn’t collapse down as small as folding poles. However, they can still be carried easily on a backpack. Also, if one part of your pole breaks, it’s easier to fix telescoping poles because you can just replace one section.
Best affordable telescoping trekking pole: Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Trekking Poles
Cork vs Foam vs Rubber Grip Material
Trekking poles come with three main types of grip material: cork, EVA foam, or rubber. The material that your pole’s grips are made of impacts their comfort, durability, moisture retention, and cost.
Cork grips are one of the best grip materials for trekking poles. They are moisture-wicking which means that they don’t hold moisture, preventing chafing and blisters. As well, they mold to the shape of your hand and help with shock absorption. Cork is comfortable to hold, durable, and eco-friendly. The one downside is that it is sometimes more expensive than other grip materials.
EVA foam grips are designed to be comfortable and soft to the touch. What we don’t like about foam grips is that they absorb moisture from sweat and rain, making your grips feel slippery. This can lead to blisters! If you don’t sweat much or you’re wearing gloves, this isn’t a huge problem. On the plus side, foam grips tend to be very durable (more so than cork), provide better shock absorption, and have a more affordable, mid-range price.
Rubber grips are one of the less common grip materials for trekking poles. Rubber is hard and not very comfortable. While rubber grips work well in cold weather when you’re wearing gloves, they can be painful to use otherwise. Rubber can cause chafing and blistering. Rubber grips are usually only found on cheap walking sticks and trekking poles.
Many trekking poles also have an EVA foam extended grip. While you can choose to use trekking poles that don’t have an extended grip, we highly recommend selecting poles that have this feature. The grip extension allows you to move your hand position while you hike through hilly terrain. Without it, you won’t be able to use your poles as effectively. Cheap poles may lack this feature.
Trekking pole brands should play a role in your decision when purchasing budget-friendly trekking poles. Brand impacts quality, durability, price, reliability, warranty, and customer service quality. Two popular trekking pole brands are Black Diamond and LEKI, which are well-known, reliable, and also have good customer service. However, Black Diamond and Leki trekking poles tend to be pricier. These brands don’t carry as many budget trekking poles under $100! Our favorite is the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trek Poles, but these, unfortunately, cost more than $100.
If you want a less expensive trekking pole, you can try brands like Cascade Mountain Tech, TrailBuddy, TheFitLife, Trekology, Foxelli, Hiker Hunger, and Montem. While these brands sell less expensive hiking poles, their products are often just as functional. Keep in mind though, that you get what you pay for. These poles may not last as long as some more expensive trekking poles from higher quality brands. However, many of these budget hiking poles will work just as well as their pricier competitors.
The price of a set of trekking poles can be affected by the accessories included with it. With trekking poles, you can often get accessories like mud baskets, rubber tips, snow baskets, boot tips, pole clips, and carry bags. However, not every trekking pole set includes accessories and some may only come with the basics.
These accessories are sold separately, so don’t fret too much if your set of outdoor trekking poles doesn’t come with them! Also, some accessories and trekking pole tips you may not need. For example, if you don’t plan on using your trekking poles in the snow, you won’t need snow baskets. As well, carrying bags and pole clips are often unnecessary, especially if you can fit your poles into your backpack. Also, more trekking pole accessories may increase your hiking poles’ price!
If you’re only using your poles for hiking, you’ll need mud baskets and rubber tips. Keep in mind that pole tips and basket attachments are often brand-specific. While some are universal, it’s best to choose accessories that match your trekking pole’s brand so you know that they will fit.
The best hiking poles don’t need to be expensive! Often, budget trekking poles under $100 will work just as well as expensive ones. With this list of the best affordable trekking poles and reviews, you’ll be able to pick the best cheap hiking poles and go on all kinds of outdoor adventures while sticking under a budget of $100!