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There are a handful of hiking essentials you should take with you on every outing to stay safe and happy on the trail. But trekking poles are oft-overlooked. 

There are a lot of instances where the hiking poles can be helpful: If you’re heading out on a short-but-rocky hike, poles can help you maintain more even footing on the terrain and can save you from a rolled ankle. If you’re climbing a 14er and will be out for upwards of six hours, that extra stability makes all the difference for your tired joints when you’re descending. And if you’re on a backpacking trip, your back will thank you for the extra support to carry that heavy pack.

Think about it: When you hike with poles, you have three to four points of contact with the ground instead of just one or two. Watch any four-legged animal scramble through steep or technical terrain where your own footing is unsure, and you’ll easily see even more of its advantages.

Read more: The 15 best pieces of plus-size outdoor gear, according to athletes and influencers

While we can’t promise that a pair of trekking poles would turn you into a mountain goat, they do reduce your chance of slipping, twisting an ankle, or taking a tumble. But while every trekking pole may look pretty much the same, they’re certainly not. You want to consider the durability of their material, how adjustable they are, and whether you want features like shock absorption. At the end of this guide, we go into more detail on what to look for in a trekking pole.

To help in narrowing down which are worth your money, we field-tested some of the top models from brands like MSR, Black Diamond, and Gossamer Gear to round up our favorites. Whether you’re on a budget, want a shock-absorbing pole, or are intent on buying the absolute best, we have you covered.

Here are the best trekking poles:

The best trekking poles overall: MSR Dynalock Explore

The best trekking poles on a budget: Cascade Mountain Tech 3k Carbon Fiber

The best trekking poles for thru-hikers: Gossamer Gear LT5

The best shock-absorbing trekking pole:

Source:: Business Insider

      

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The 5 best trekking poles for day hikes and backpacking trips

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