Hiking Pole Test

03/2020

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4
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Hiking Pole

Our test winners are the PRO Series Hiking Poles from Alpin Loacker: They are practical, have an extended handle and can be easily stowed away thanks to their small packing size. Our favourites with the test score 8.6/10!

We have tested 4 walking poles and paid particular attention to ergonomics and stability.

Whether on asphalt, in the forest or on a mountain, hiking poles are indispensable for real hikers. They provide good grip and support you on long marches.

We test independently. Askgeorge.com uses affiliate links. For a purchase via a link marked with a or our price comparison, we may receive a small commission.

last modified: 19.03.2020, 15:54
Winner Best price winner
Our winner: Alpin Loacker PRO Series Hiking Poles Effekt Manufaktur Carbon Hiking Poles Review TREKOLOGY TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Pole Review TREKOLOGY Walking Trekking Poles Review

Alpin Loacker PRO Series Hiking Poles

Effekt Manufaktur Carbon Hiking Poles

TREKOLOGY TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Pole

TREKOLOGY Walking Trekking Poles

Test seal: Alpin Loacker PRO Series Hiking Poles, Rating 1.95
Test seal: Effekt Manufaktur Carbon Hiking Poles, Rating 2.1
Test seal: TREKOLOGY TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Pole, Rating 2.35
Test seal: TREKOLOGY Walking Trekking Poles, Rating 2.35
  • Very small packing size
  • Practical principle
  • Extended handle
  • Adjustable hand loops
  • Wide range of accessories
  • Extended handle
  • Size easily and individually adjustable
  • Easy to plug together
  • The principle is described with a short instruction
  • The bag can be opened at the side with a zipper
  • Easy adjustment of the length
  • Comfortable hand straps and handle
  • The bag can be opened at the side with a zipper
  • Wobbles slightly when the stick is folded out
  • Instructions are not enclosed - the principle is not self-explanatory
  • A bit uncomfortable for small hands
  • Vibrates strongly when walking
  • Unsuitable for taller persons (but a larger model is available)
  • Wobbly in the place of the pin
  • The hand strap is not padded
  • Hand strap pin pulls out during adjustment
  • Vibrations during touchdown
  • Loud clacking on hard floors

Practical and small in pack size. However, a manual and some stability in the construction are missing.

Make a very good impression, but could be uncomfortable for small hands in the long run.

Practical in handling, but still room for improvement regarding stability and padding.

Mechanism and ergonomics are good. However, insufficient rubber buffer suspension and loose hand strap splint.

Stability
User friendliness
Ergonomics
Weight
Height 136 cm 135 cm 120 cm 133 cm
Width 2.5 cm 2.5 cm 2 cm 2 cm
Depth 2.5 cm 2.5 cm 2 cm 2 cm
Weight 670 g in total, 260 g per pole 745 g in total, 230g per pole 810 g in total, 295 g per pole 810 g in total, 275 g per pole
Pack size 40 x 14 x 12 cm 70 x 14 x 10 cm 60 x 13 x 7 cm 65 x 12 x 5 cm
Scope of delivery Hiking poles with tips, 2 rubber pads (shoes, round), 2 plates (mud plate, snow plate) Hiking poles with tips, 3 rubber pads (shoes, asphalt, round), 2 plates (mud plate, snow plate) Hiking poles with tips, 2 rubber pads (shoes, round), 2 plates (mud plate, snow plate) Hiking poles with tips, 2 rubber pads (shoes, round), 2 plates (mud plate, snow plate)
Packaging Bag with drawstring Bag with drawstring Bag with drawstring Bag with drawstring
Quality impression Good Excellent Good Good
Quality of instructions Not available Good Good Good
Manual language - GER EN EN
Additional warranty No information No information No information No information
Material of the pole Carbon Carbon Aluminium Aluminium
Material handle Cork Cork Cork Cork
Hand straps Yes, adjustable Yes, adjustable Yes, adjustable Yes, adjustable
Size adjustable Yes, 120 - 135 cm Yes, 62 -135 cm Yes, 105 - 120 cm Yes, 64 -135 cm
Adjustment mechanism Folding stick Telescope Folding stick Telescope
Ergonomics Good, comfortable handles Good but vibrating Good Good but vibrating
Spike Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rubber buffer Shoes, round attachments Shoes, asphalt, round Shoes, round attachments Shoes, round attachments
Plate Snow plate, mud plate Snow plate, mud plate Snow plate, mud plate Snow plate, mud plate
Cushioned model Yes, 2 different rubber buffers Yes, 3 different rubber buffers Yes, 2 different rubber buffers Yes, 2 different rubber buffers
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Tested products

1st place: Alpin Loacker PRO Series Hiking Poles

Test seal: Alpin Loacker PRO Series Hiking Poles, Rating good

The Alpin Loacker - PRO Series Hiking Poles are easy to handle and practical to stow away, as the packing size is very small. The system is easy and quick to use once you've seen how it works, as there is no manual included. As you walk, the poles make no noise and don't clatter on harder ground, and the grip is also good. It is a pity that the poles can only be adjusted between 120 cm and 135 cm, as they are too long for smaller persons under approx. 165.

read review
Effekt Manufaktur Carbon Hiking Poles - thumbnail Test seal: Effekt Manufaktur Carbon Hiking Poles, Rating good

2nd place: Effekt Manufaktur Carbon Hiking Poles

The Effekt Manufaktur - Carbon Hiking Poles are very easy to handle and practical. The versatile accessories make the walking poles the perfect companion on various surfaces. A clear disadvantage in use is that the poles have a strong tendency to vibrate, especially when walking on harder surfaces. Also, the material of the rubber buffers is quite hard and you can hear the poles when you put them on.

read review
TREKOLOGY TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Pole - thumbnail Test seal: TREKOLOGY TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Pole, Rating good

3rd place: TREKOLOGY TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Pole

In summary, the TREKOLOGY - TREK-Z Collapsible Tri-fold Trekking Pole is easy to handle and has a small packing size. Another practical feature is that the bag can be opened to the side. However, it was noticeable that the poles are a bit wobbly and rattle. Furthermore, this model is only suitable for smaller people. Larger persons have to fall back on the larger version.

read review
TREKOLOGY Walking Trekking Poles - thumbnail Test seal: TREKOLOGY Walking Trekking Poles, Rating good

4th place: TREKOLOGY Walking Trekking Poles

In summary, the TREKOLOGY - Walking Trekking Poles make a very stable impression but tend to vibrate during walking due to their stiffness. Also, the rubber buffers hardly caused any differences, because they are quite hard and it clatters on harder surfaces. The poles are otherwise easy to adjust and offer lengths between 100 and 135 cm. The grips are comfortable in the hand and the hand loops do not chafe and nestle well. When adjusting the hand loops, however, you must be careful not to pull out the split pin.

read review

Alpin Loacker - PRO Series Hiking Poles

Winner: read review
  • The walking poles should be adjusted so that the hands are slightly below the elbow - i.e. the arm angle is slightly more than 90°. This ensures sufficient blood circulation, which is especially important in cold weather.
  • The loop on the wrist is passed through from below, which makes it easier to handle and apply pressure when walking.
  • During use, the poles should be held as close to the body as possible.
 

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and established the following test criteria:

  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Weight
  • User-friendliness
  • Volume at touchdown

To be able to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the walking poles. Before the first test runs the materials of the poles are evaluated. This also includes grips, rubber buffers and hand loops. The adjustment mechanism of the products is also tested. By means of test persons of different sizes, it is evaluated whether the poles can be applied to different sizes.

In the practical test, the poles are used to walk on surfaces such as asphalt, cobblestone, meadows and sand. The poles are also tested in hilly and uneven terrain. The ergonomics of the grips are assessed and it is tested how well vibrations are absorbed. They also assess how helpful rubber buffers are.

In order to rule out errors and to ensure that the poles are able to withstand the stress of everyday use, each test is carried out in several runs.

The test criteria are given percentages depending on their importance. The final mark is finally calculated objectively from the test criteria using an algorithm.


Product selection

Our product selection is based on the observation of the current market. In addition to popular brand products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come on the market, our test field will be expanded to include them. The new products undergo the same tests as already tested devices.

The walking stick. Since ancient times it has been the best friend of the hiker and the hiker's wife.
While our grandparents and great-grandparents simply used the nearest straight branch of a tree standing at the edge of the path to make the path ahead easier, the modern hiker is spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the right walking stick.

The hiking pole
The hiking pole

It already begins with the fact that nowadays rarely anyone speaks of a "walking stick". It must now at least be a "trekking pole". Walking poles" are also enjoying increasing popularity. But how do these different poles differ?
Is the trekking pole out of place when you take a quick lap in the park? Or does the walking stick let you down on the mountain? Or is it the same anyway and you ride or run just as well with the rough branch you find on the side of the path?
In the following lines, you will get an overview of the two types of walking poles and hopefully, you will be able to decide for yourself which one is the right one for you.

When it comes to ascending or descending a mountain, you need a robust companion that you can lean on and always have a firm grip on. Here the trekking pole comes in handy. Trekking poles are at home in the terrain.

Aluminium or carbon?

Made of aluminium or carbon (a light composite of plastic and carbon fibre), the trekking pole is not affected by rough terrain.
As a metal, aluminium has an advantage in durability and flexibility. An aluminium trekking pole can tumble down a slope without you having to continue your trek without it. It may have a few scratches and dents, but as long as the aluminium trekking pole is not bent, you can continue to use it. Just be aware that unpainted aluminium can corrode. It is not rusted like iron, but the stability of the aluminium suffers as well.
A disadvantage of the aluminium cane is that it is less rigid. This does not mean that the aluminium cane will bend under your weight, but vibrations will cause the aluminium cane to vibrate. This is not everyone's cup of tea.

Carbon canes are much lighter and stiffer than their aluminium cousins. A good carbon trekking pole can weigh as little as 200g. Besides the lower weight, carbon offers another advantage: the higher stiffness compared to aluminium. This means that vibrations do not cause a carbon trekking pole to vibrate as much as an aluminium trekking pole. However, this stiffness means that carbon trekking poles can be damaged more easily. The carbon is "more brittle" and can break under transverse loads due to its material properties. So if you drop a carbon trekking pole down a slope, there is a high probability that you will have to continue your journey without it.

In addition to the trekking pole, there is also a specialized walking pole: the walking pole. This pole was developed especially for Nordic Walking.

The material

The walking stick is also manufactured in aluminium or carbon. However, since Nordic Walking rarely involves difficult terrain, the main focus of the walking pole is on low weight. The majority of walking poles are therefore made of carbon. Your wallet has to decide which material you want for your walking pole. Cheap - aluminium, more expensive - carbon.

Speed is in the hand

The handles of walking sticks are also made of cork or plastic. The advantages and disadvantages of the materials you could already read in the description of the trekking poles. The big difference of the grips lies in the ergonomics. Since walking poles are not intended to serve as a support, but to slide back and forth in the hand, their handles are narrower than those of the trekking poles and also elongated instead of ergonomically shaped. Much more important than the trekking poles is the hand strap on the walking poles. If this only serves as protection against dropping the trekking poles, the hand strap is an elementary component of the walking technique. By attaching it to your wrist, you can use the loop to use your walking poles correctly and increase your speed. The strap should fit your wrist and be made of breathable material to prevent chafing on the skin.

The same applies to the choice of walking poles: hold the pole in your hand before buying! A picture can show you what the grip and wrist strap look like but not how it feels in your hand. Buying a walking stick is similar to buying a shoe: only by trying it on can you be sure that it fits.

Besides the weight of the poles, one question is especially important: How does the handle fit in the hand? The handles of good trekking poles are ergonomically shaped and made of cork or plastic. As a natural material, cork has an advantage in terms of skin-friendliness but is harder to clean and less durable than plastic. Another advantage of cork is the grip when your hands are wet. Handles made of plastic often use solid foam or a lamella design made of rubber to increase grip. With inexpensive models with a hard plastic handle, you should look closely at how the grip is guaranteed here.

The handles should be individually tried out beforehand
The handles should be individually tried out beforehand

It is important that you put your own hands on the stick before buying it to get a feeling for its weight and manageability. Nothing is more unpleasant than when the pole, which has been sold as a "hand flatterer" on the website of the trekking accessory supplier, turns out to be an ergonomic nightmare on the hut tour. On the handle of almost all trekking poles, you can still find the hand strap. Here you should make sure that the material is hard-wearing and breathable. The design of the strap varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but there is usually no difference in function. In the end, it depends on what you like better.

Once you have decided on the "head" and "body" of your trekking pole, there is one more thing to pay attention to: the "foot" or tip of your pole. There are generally two types of construction: the hard material tip and the rubber buffer tip.

The hard material tip is often made of metal or hard plastic. It gives your trekking pole a good grip and precise guidance in the terrain. In addition, you can stick the hard tips into the ground during a rest, for example, and your poles do not run the risk of rolling away. The disadvantage of a hard tip is the missing suspension. Shocks are passed on to your hands unfiltered.

The metal tip
The metal tip

The rubber buffer tip shows that this can be done differently. The soft material absorbs and cushions shocks. Due to a profile similar to a car tire, you don't have to sacrifice the grip of your trekking poles even with a rubber buffer tip. However, the precision and grip in difficult terrain are not as high as with a hard material tip. The rubber buffers also wear out over time and must be replaced to maintain their properties.

Some manufacturers install additional dampers in their trekking poles. These shock absorbers often work by means of a spring system and offer additional comfort. However, such systems increase the weight of the trekking poles and reduce the feedback about the ground conditions that the hiker gets from the pole.

The tip of the walking sticks is usually made of hard rubber. As you are unlikely to be moving in difficult terrain when Nordic Walking, a good grip on gravel, forest soil or asphalt is required. Here rubber is superior to the steel tip of the trekking poles. Cheap walking poles, however, have rounded metal tips. Some walking poles have a mechanism at the tip that allows you to switch between rubber and metal tips with a lever. However, this is not a feature that is widely used. There are also rubber buffers for different terrains. These can be easily attached to the steel tip and will usually fit any pole, regardless of manufacturer. Basically one distinguishes between three types of rubber buffers:

Different attachments for different surfaces
Different attachments for different surfaces

  • The "shoe", which as the name suggests, is shaped like a shoe. These buffers are particularly suitable for stony terrain, but also provide good grip on the damp and slushy ground.
  • The "asphalt" buffer already gives an idea of the terrain it is intended for. However, it does not only provide good grip on asphalt roads but also on fine-grained gravel.
  • "Round pads" are designed for hiking tours and provide reasonable grip in the mountains.

Various rubber pads provide comfortable walking on the respective underground

A special feature of the trekking poles is the height adjustment. By means of a telescopic mechanism, trekking poles can be optimally adjusted to your height. The design of the telescopic mechanism is usually solved as a screw thread or by a quick release system. When adjusting the correct length you can use the following rule of thumb: Height times 0.68 is equal to pole length.

It should be ensured that your arms form a 90-degree angle at the elbow when you hold your poles in your hands on the straight ground. You should also wear your walking shoes to have the thicker soles in the equation. In the terrain, it is also advisable to adjust the length of the poles to the situation. On a steep ascent or descent, the poles should be lengthened or shortened so that the 90-degree angle at the elbow is maintained. This way you can always use the trekking poles optimally. The following table can serve as a guideline to help you find the right pole length quickly:

trekking pole
The suitable trekking pole sizes at a glance

In summary, the following can be said about the modern hiking pole:
There are roughly two types of walking sticks: trekking and walking sticks.
Both types are mostly made of either aluminium or carbon. Aluminium has the advantage of durability, carbon the advantage of weight.

Trekking poles are designed for off-road or mountain use. Therefore they are equipped with ergonomic handles and often stable steel tips. In addition, trekking poles can be adjusted in length to adapt them to the different conditions on the mountain.

Walking poles are used for Nordic Walking. They are optimized for the technique of Nordic Walking and have smooth grips and special hand loops. Walking poles are manufactured in fixed lengths, which makes "fitting" before purchase particularly important, as the length that matches your height is very important for optimal use of the poles. Walking poles tend to have rubber tips to provide optimal grip on gravel, forest soil or asphalt.

How do we test at askgeorge.com?

Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.

Each test is preceded by an extensive search:

  • Which suppliers are on the market?
  • What current products are there?
  • What are the comparison criteria?
  • What tests are we going to run?
  • What is the test procedure?

When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.

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2020-03-18
Which are best hiking poles?
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AskGeorge.com

Our test winners are the PRO Series Hiking Poles from Alpin Loacker: They are practical, have an extended handle and can be easily stowed away thanks to their small packing size. Our favourites with the test score 8.6/10!

We have tested 4 walking poles and paid particular attention to ergonomics and stability.

Whether on asphalt, in the forest or on a mountain, hiking poles are indispensable for real hikers. They provide good grip and support you on long marches.

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