There are all kinds of outdoor gear and not all of it is designed to be top of the line for professionals or fanatics. That’s not a bad thing, either. Having multiple designs and a willingness to test out other shapes, designs, and materials helps bring us a wide variety of different outdoor tools and items and can eventually open up an entire new area of gear.
Tri-fold trekking poles are an example of quality gear that might not be the choice for most 3,000 plus mile through hikers, but for weekend warriors looking for something inexpensive but still giving them the benefits of a decent pair of tracking polls, these are a great option that fold up and back easily to preserve space when it is at a premium. There’s a lot of convenience when it comes to packing up for a trip or putting those away in a pack until they’re needed.
There is a common misconception that tri-fold trekking poles are cheaply made, maybe because many cheap kids’ tents use a similar basic concept design for tent poles for tents that are meant to be more toys than actually practically used. However, this would be a poor assumption. The tri-fold design that comes with connective nylon cord can be made incredibly strong and reliable when the right materials and design come into play.
While there are pros and cons to this design, there are many great tri-fold hiking poles out there and here’s our list of the top five out there!
While all the poles listed on here are excellent choices, and the top three are pretty much interchangeable for most trekkers and hikers, Black Diamond is the only one that manages to break into competition with the two different tri-fold trekking pole designs that Paria Outdoor Products puts out. Black Diamond Distance Z trekking poles are strong, reliable, and feature an exceptional design that allows them to excel even in hard rugged and rough conditions.
These feature high grade aluminum shafts, have three well built sections that connect together quickly and they are extremely lightweight, durable, and features a firm foam grip handle that manages the perfect balance of being firm and strong in addition to being gentle on the hands and palm. A special design helps draw moisture away from the hands and palms, so even during the hottest days (maybe if you’re starting out in the desert stretch of the PCT) it will be comfortable and easy to hold onto.
These are excellent 3 season poles that give a strong push off and can handle plenty of weight, plenty of force, and are a solid mid-priced option for easy to back and easy to use walking sticks that will hold up. The one big thing to realize: these are not built for winter at all. Beyond that, these are exceptional tri-fold trekking poles and definitely a worthy option if you want a good set of versatile aluminum trekking poles that will hold up over time!
There are so many outstanding options when it comes to tri-fold poles for hiking and backpacking, but if we absolutely “gun to the head” had to make a pick for the single most versatile and best one, we’d probably have to go with the carbon cork trekking poles from Paria Outdoor Products. These adjustable poles are fully collapsible, easily folded up for storage or put together for use, and are ultralight with a special cork handle to really absorb moisture and deliver an incredibly comfortable grip that very well might be as good as it gets when it comes to hiking poles.
These poles are exceptional for walking, hiking, backpacking, and with the right attachments even snowshoe use. The comfortable grip and extremely soft but solid attachment strap means you can carry along your poles without worry and long-term comfort means they are much more useful over a long thru hike, as well.
These can be adjusted to be anywhere from 115 cm in length to 135 cm in length to help you find the perfect length that goes with your height and preferred walking method, and this is a company that is always touching up the design. Even as recently as March of 2017 the company has slightly altered how they manufacture and design these exceptional hiking poles to make them even stronger and more reliable.
This is one of the best designs you’re going to find anywhere, and definitely worth a serious look if you want some truly top rated tri-fold trekking poles out there.
The second entry into the tri-fold hiking pole arena by Paria Outdoor Products, this is the version make of alloy building material and without the emphasize on cork that sets the other pair apart. These are extremely durable aluminum alloy (7075 aluminum, which is aerospace graded) to make them extremely strong like steel while giving a much lighter weight that allows you to hike farther without worrying about weight. This also makes them more useful as an ultralight choice, as well!
These are compact, adjustable, and designed to handle a wide array of outdoor activities. Whether you are taking a leisurely walk, backpacking through rugged hills and mountains, or going on a long thru hike that covers a wide array of different ecosystems, these hiking poles are designed to be convenient to carry and store with the tri-fold design while also being strong and rugged enough to take any beating or pressure you can put on them.
Since these are made by a small specialty outdoor company, they have an outstanding warranty and customer service department that is very reactive because of their joy of the outdoors and protection of reputation – so the warranty is a great one and you know if there are any problems you will be taken care of.
The High-Z ultralight Hiking Poles are a great tri-fold walking pole model released by Sahara Sailor, and they have gained a reputation for providing excellent quality and often provide these collapsible trekking poles with tip replacement so you can adjust the bottom of your pole based on the terrain.
The first thing you’ll notice is how adjustable the Sahara poles are, with a remarkable range of 43.3 inches for shorter hikers (or those of us with really long arms who don’t need quite the pole length as others) to 53.1 inches at full extension.
That’s a lot of variance and allows these to be used by hikers, backpackers, and walkers of many different heights and also makes it more likely you will be able to find a comfortable length so the poles are working for you and not vice versa.
The locking safeguards on Sahara’s model of poles are a double lock system to make sure two connected sections of the pole don’t come loose if it is jarred or has an inordinate amount of pressure put on it. Add in an ergonomic grip that is not only comfortable but helps prevent even the wettest or slipperiest of hands from loosing grip. When you can combine comfort and safety, that’s a pretty good setup.
These sleek black fold-able walking sticks are made with quality in mind and that will help you move forward and get the job done.
Esport wanted to break into the hiking pole market and they did so with quite a bit of flair with their carbon fiber trekking poles. Make with a carbon fiber body, these have an EVA foam handle that is comfortable, easy to grip, and helps to absorb sweat. The wrist straps are also designed to absorb sweat and yet be comfortable and easy on the skin to avoid irritation on the wrist and arms.
These poles are extremely sturdy, with the shaft made from a combination of aluminum alloy and carbon fiber making it very durable no matter what area you are working through. This sturdiness is especially impressive considering the tri-fold design of the specific poles. They can be adjusted quickly, these are easy to use, and the poles when they are packed up are going to be less than 14 inches in length which makes it very easy to pack up and bring along.
These poles are a fantastic design and gives the best of both worlds. These poles are light, they are well priced, but they are also very durable and come with an outstanding one year warranty. If you don’t want them for any reason after a year, they will give a refund or help to make it right. That’s a solid standing behind their service as they aim to compete with some of the more established names on this list with their own outstanding contribution to the trekking community.
These are a great set of poles and will work to help you enjoy your walk or hike and get the most out of your next enjoyable outdoor walking or hiking adventure.
The last entry we have on this list comes from the Jillup company. These are some high end poles made from really good materials and made to be adjustable, ultralight, and yet extremely strong and reliable. These tri-fold trekking poles are made from carbon fiber, cork, and rubber, all high end types to make sure you get quality. This is a complete trekking pole set that includes attachments based on the type of tips that you need to get the best support and grip available.
These poles come with a pouch that holds all the tip supports, and so you have the ability to alter your setup depending if you are going through mud, snow, rocky terrain, or even just basic flat terrain. These poles are extremely lightweight since the body is made completely out of carbon fiber to give a great combination of lightweight and strength.
The design definitely catches the eye and tests well out in the field, and they certainly stand behind the quality of their work considering they actually offer a 3 month (90 day) money back guarantee that comes with no strings attached / questions asked, and a lifetime warranty on the poles themselves. If you damage one, they will replace it free of charge.
Weighing at a mere 1.19 pounds, this set of trekking poles will find fans among long distance hikers and backpackers who need to watch every ounce packed in addition to casual walkers who like the lightweight and easy grip of these walking poles to help them through whatever course they pick out that day.
As you can see there are several options when it comes to finding some seriously good hiking poles, even the 3 fold design that many beginners are wary of. The key, as with any piece of outdoor gear, is to do your research, find reliable articles like this one that actually do the research to figure out what items are worth looking at (and ignoring & refusing to sell the ones that aren’t worthy of your time or attention), compare it to your budget and your own specific needs, and use a combination of factors to figure out the best fit for you and running with it.
There are many options available when it comes to this particular piece of gear and obviously there are many people who are going to have an opinion about what the best designs are, which brands are better than others, but when it comes to the top rated lightweight tri-fold trekking poles then this list is definitely the one that you should be basing your online purchasing decisions off of.
And if you’re still not convinced and if you’re looking for the absolute best in tri-fold backpacking poles this is the list you want, and you can take a look at this single product video review to see someone who agrees with what we have to say on that particular item.