The walking cane, also known as a trekking pole or hiking stick, can make your outdoor walks more enjoyable while giving you the extra stability to handle uneven terrain. You needn’t feel embarrassed about using one—or two—depending on the activity. It’s much better than taking a spill on a steep hill. Let’s review what you should look for when looking for the best walking cane.
Best Walking Cane
|Our Rank||Model||Weight (oz each)||Length (inches)||Shaft Materials||Handle Material|
|1||Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles||9.6||24 - 53||Aluminum||EVA Foam|
|2||Cascade Mountain Tech 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles||7.8||26 - 54.5||Carbon Fiber||Cork or EVA Foam|
|3||Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Quick Lock Trekking Poles||10.4||26 - 54||Aluminum||Cork|
|4||Foxelli Trekking Poles||7.0||24 - 55||Carbon Fiber||Cork|
|5||TrailBuddy Trekking Poles||10.2||25.5 - 55||Aluminum||Cork|
Top Rated Walking Canes
We considered all these factors along with the versatility each one offered to narrow it down to one choice. Our pick had to perform in any terrain to make it the best value for our money. Most of them had a cork grip for comfort and usability. Let’s run down some available options in detail.
Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles
The Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles are made of 7075 aluminum that keeps the weight in check with the strength of this material. They are adjustable from 24 to 53 inches. They weigh within the expected range for sticks of this type at 9.6 ounces each.
They were the only pair of walking canes we considered with EVA foam. That adds to the comfort of using them, though some may find them hot to grip on a hot summer day. They also have a nice hand feel. We could easily see using these for an all-day hike. We appreciated the instructions included on the poles. It’s a welcome detail that benefits both the user and the manufacturer.
The locking mechanism was reliable and easy to use. The nylon wrist straps are adjustable to get the fit you need. On the downside, you don’t get all the extras the other products offered. That is a major drawback that is more so because of the upfront costs. It’s too bad considering an otherwise excellent product.
- The Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles perform well in a variety of conditions.
- They are well-made without the glaring quality control issues we saw in other comparable products.
- The grip is designed with ergonomics in mind which is comfortable over the long haul.
- They were the most expensive of the aluminum trekking poles offerings we considered.
- While we like the color choices, they seem like an afterthought with their addition at the top part of the stick.
- They do not have an anti-shocking mechanism.
The Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles are a great option in the aluminum trekking pole arena with the only failure being its lack of extra features that are common with other products.
The choices were across the board, but our favorite was the obvious one among the bunch. The TrailBuddy Trekking Poles stood tall among the rest on several scores. We like the strength of an aluminum walking cane that won’t fail in the backcountry. Any quality control issues with a carbon fiber model or anyone are a red flag in our book.
The walking sticks include the extras we like to see including the tips and baskets. We also appreciated the added features of the rubber tips and the carrying case that denote a thoughtful manufacturer. We can live with the bright colors with everything that comes it including the higher price tag.
The thing that stands out is the versatility and the attention to details that speak of a company that knows outdoor recreation and the things that make a difference when you hit the trail. It strikes a good note in our book and helps build trust in the manufacturer. Using a hiking stick will improve your experience. The best walking cane brings this point home with the stability and protection they offer.
Cascade Mountain Tech 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
The Cascade Mountain Tech 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles were one of two products made with 100 percent carbon fiber. It is lightweight, coming in at less than eight ounces. They are adjustable, going from 26 to 54.5 inches with an easy-to-use locking mechanism.
You have your choice between natural cork grips or EVA foam with no difference in cost. There are several added features which make it worth a look. It has an adjustable wrist strap which we always appreciate because it improves the comfort of using it. It comes with tungsten carbide tips, but wait, there’s more.
It also includes a snow basket, rubber feet, and boots to handle a variety of terrains. It has some additional bells and whistles such as an anti-shock feature and a quick lock tab and adjusts mechanism. These are the types of things that make a difference to the seasoned hiker. Even something as seemingly simple as a walking cane can the upgrades that make them more useful in the field.
- The Cascade Mountain Tech 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are lightweight for added comfort for longer treks.
- The poles have bright green graphics which will make them easier to spot if you should lose one.
- We liked having our choice of grip material to match our hiking needs.
- These trekking poles are expensive which is not unexpected considering their specs.
- These sticks won’t handle the high stress which is indicative of products make of this material.
- There were some issues with the plastic mechanism that can spell trouble if it fails at inopportune times.
The Cascade Mountain Tech 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles offers the advantages of a comparable product with some quality control issues that stand in the way of an outright recommendation.
Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Quick Lock Trekking Poles with Cork Grip
The Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Quick Lock Trekking Poles with Cork Grip are similar to the previous model only these are made of 7075 aluminum rather than carbon fiber. You’ll find many of the same features include the natural cork grips and an adjustable shaft. However, there isn’t an option to go with the EVA material if that’s what you’d prefer.
Because they’re made of aluminum, they weigh a bit more at 10.4 ounces without the rubber tips. The height range runs from 26 to 54 inches. Grip extensions are available which add to its versatility. It also includes the different tips and baskets for matching its use with the terrain. They have the quick lock feature which provides a reliable mechanism with only a few issues.
Like the previous model, it has tungsten carbide tips. The manufacturer has spare parts available. However, the limited manufacturer’s warranty only covers defects in workmanship.
- The Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Quick Lock Trekking Poles with Cork Grip is comparable to its more expensive version at half the cost.
- They provide a good balance between a lighter weight along with a more budget-friendly price.
- They performed well in a variety of conditions with the addition of the add-ons.
- They do not have an anti-shock feature which could make up for it not being a carbon fiber model.
- To keep the weight down, they have a thinner gauge of aluminum which affects the amount of stress they can handle.
- These sticks are most suitable for smaller adults because of the aluminum grade.
The Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Quick Lock Trekking Poles with Cork Grip is an excellent value that has many of the features we’d look for in a more expensive model.
Foxelli Trekking Poles
The Foxelli Trekking Poles are the second of two carbon fiber walking sticks we reviewed. They were the lightest at just seven ounces. They were one of the most versatile of the products we considered with a wider range and extended foam sleeves. The latter makes them truly a four-season option.
We loved the fact that it included a carrying case. That’s an important consideration with its addition of more tips and baskets. It surprised us that other models with the same feature didn’t include one.
We like it when the manufacturer sticks behind its products. Foxelli does that and more with a 120-day return window and a three-year manufacturer warranty. They take steps to protect the sticks with some extra features. The poles include protective tips to keep them safe during transport.
- The Foxelli Trekking Poles have a greater adjustable range of 24 to 55 inches to accommodate individuals under five feet and over six feet in height.
- These sticks exceed in grip versatility with its extended foam sleeves.
- It has an extended return policy along with a three-year manufacturer warranty for defects.
- The trekking poles were the most expensive of all the ones we considered which could be a dealbreaker for some.
- They come with the same risks of all 100-percent carbon fiber sticks which may make it hard to justify the higher price tag.
- There were some quality control issues with the clamps.
The Foxelli Trekking Poles have a lot of the features we’d want in a higher end outdoor rec product including the addition of tips and baskets along with a case for carrying our gear.
TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
The TrailBuddy Trekking Poles more for aesthetics than something that we’d seek in a set of walking canes. The adjustable sticks have a respectable range of 24.5 to 54 inches.
The manufacturer keeps the weight in check with 7075 aluminum instead of the heavier 6061 gauge. It strikes a nice balance between weight and strength. It also includes extra tips and basket along with a carrying case. They throw in an extra set of rubber tips which is a welcome feature.
We liked the option for flip locks as opposed to twisted ones which can fail. The company takes the design of the grips one step further with its curved profile and uber-comfy wrist straps. They also perform well in warm or cold conditions.
- The lock mechanism of the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles is easy to use even if you’re wearing gloves.
- The wrist strap has some cushy padding to help prevent chafing.
- You can disassemble the walking sticks to get them down to 21 inches to fit most suitcases.
- Assembly of the new poles is more difficult than it needs to be.
- There was the occasional quality control issue which is always disappointing.
- While having the choice is nice, the available colors border on gaudy.
The TrailBuddy Trekking Poles bring a lot to the table including the little surprises like the case and extra rubber tips that make it a worthy choice.
Walking Cane Buyers Guide
Benefits of Using a Trekking Pole
Using a walking cane provides another advantage in addition to helping you navigate through uncertain topography. It is this side of essential if you’re using a pack, especially if it doesn’t distribute the weight properly for your frame. Women can hike easier if the weight is closer to their hips. For men, a back resting on your back is a better choice.
It can also save your back. Injuries often occur because of strains or sprains caused by awkward movements leading to back pain. It could end a hiking trip on the spot and put you in danger if you’re well into the trek. Using a walking cane can prevent a twisted ankle from a fall. If you’re in snake country, they are a must-have. It’ll even up your calorie burn when you get your upper body involved in the act.
Features to Look for in a Hiking Stick
If you think a good walking cane is just a branch you find along the trail, think again. Models vary in a number of features that can improve your stability on the trail. They include:
- Grip Material
- Cane Material
- Adjustable or Non-Adjustable
- Foldable or Non-Foldable
- Locking Mechanism
Some of them are specialized for certain types of hiking. That’s one of the first things you need to consider before you begin your journey to the best one. You can opt to use a single hiking stick or use a pair for greater calorie burn and added support for your knees. Having more points in contact with the surface is an excellent way to improve your balance.
The best grip material varies with the type of hiking you do. It can mean the difference between blisters and a comfortable hand feel. Common options are:
- Foam: Comfortable hold with extra cushy feel
- Cork: Absorbs impact
- Rubber: Provides insulation in cold weather with an added risk of chafing in warm weather
Each one offers advantages for different conditions that should add to your wishlist of features. Cork will work well for most uses as a water-resistant option. It will also wick moisture away from your skin to ensure a better grip during a hot summer afternoon.
The material will influence your cost and the overall weight of the walking cane. A few ounces may not seem like a lot, but you’ll notice the difference after several hours on the trail. Generally, you’ll find walking canes in either aluminum or some kind of composite which try to reduce the weight.
The former has several things going for it. It’s a lightweight and budget-friendly option. You’ll find different grades of aluminum that vary with thickness. It stands out as a material that won’t break. Composites often include carbon fiber in the mix. They are up half the weight of aluminum but at a higher cost. On the downside, they will break in certain conditions.
Adjustable or Non-Adjustable
The ability to change the height of your walking cane allows you to match it to the conditions of your hike and whether you’re headed uphill or downhill. Adjustable models may weigh a bit more which can negate the benefit of going with a composite stick. They also make a product appropriate for users of different heights.
Foldable or Non-Foldable
This is one feature that boils down to a personal preference. Backpackers may appreciate the ability to store it in their packs when not in use. Many models will telescope into a smaller size. That means the ability to fold is not a game changer. If space is an issue, check the measurement of the disassembled or collapsed pole. If you want to check out some folding poles, check out the Montem folding trekking poles.
A locking mechanism is essential for adjustable trekking poles to keep your hike safe. You’ll also find them on non-adjustable models to if you can shorten them to a smaller packing height. The best type balances the need for the ease of use along with a lighter weight. The crucial factor is that it is reliable and will stay fixed in place once you set it.
Tips and Baskets
You’ll often find walking canes with two or more tips and baskets to accommodate different terrains. For example, a tip can improve your traction in slick conditions on ice or gravel. Baskets can keep you upright in muddy or snowy places. We prefer at least a few choices for a more versatile product.