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Best Walking Sticks and Trekking Poles for Safer Senior Strides

Best Walking Sticks and Trekking Poles for Safer Senior Strides

Though they both aid balance, adjustable and supportive walking canes are designed for full-time medical use and can bear weight, whereas basic walking sticks without special features are meant for additional support during occasional recreational use on uneven terrain.
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®
By:
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

With over 20 years of experience and certifications as a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® and Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®, Scott Grant provides reliable recommendations to help seniors maintain independence through informed product and service choices for safe, comfortable living.

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Trekking Poles For Seniors
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Income Disclosure.

The best walking sticks for seniors provide shock absorption, adjustable height, and stability to accommodate age-related mobility limitations.

As an aging adult myself, I’ve noticed that my stability on the trails isn’t what it used to be. Trips and stumbles happen more often than they used to.

  • Look for ergonomic cork handles and lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber like the Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles. 
  • Lever lock systems make adjusting lengths simpler than twist locks. 
  • Additional wrist straps and tips aid older hikers with arthritis, balance issues, endurance declines, and strength loss. 

Below, I’ll share my reviews of top-rated trekking poles for seniors, including the Urban Poling, TrailBuddy, Hiker Hunger, and other models. 

I’ll also give you my best tips for using walking sticks and hiking poles to continue safely pursuing your passion for hiking.

Top Walking Poles for Seniors Ranked

ProductWhy I Recommend It
URBAN POLING - ACTIVATOR 2 for Balance and Rehab/Stability/Walking/Nordic Walking Poles (Pair) (Dark Grey with Cyan Graphic Design)

Urban Poling Activator 2

$149.99
as of 02/29/2024 4:12 am
The Activator 2 poles are specifically designed by medical professionals for rehab and long-term conditions. This makes them the most helpful for seniors needing stability and recovery assistance. The adjustable height range also accommodates varying mobility levels. (Read More )
TrailBuddy Lightweight Aluminum Trekking Hiking Poles Walking Sticks - Adjustable 24.5 to 54 in. (Lake Blue)

TrailBuddy

from $32.99
The TrailBuddy poles ranked second because of the easy one-handed lever lock system and padded cork grips. The adjustable range and lightweight design are also ideal for seniors. (Read More)
100% Carbon Fiber Collapsible Walking Stick for Hiking, Trekking Poles for Hiking Collapsible, Hiking Poles, Hiking Sticks, Folding Walking Stick for Seniors Balance, Walking Stick for Women Men Kids

Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber

$59.97
as of 02/29/2024 4:12 am
Though premium-priced, the light carbon fiber gives fatigue reduction benefits. The flip locks and cork grips also provide security and comfort for seniors. (Read More)
TREKOLOGY Trek-Z Collapsible Hiking & Trekking Poles - Balance Support for Seniors, Women, and Men, 2pc Per Set

Trekology Trek-Z

from $36.54
The Trek-Z poles are a good middle-of-the-road choice. The adjustable height helps customize, though the collapsible design may sacrifice some durability that seniors need. (Read More)
Trekking Poles

Vive Health

from $9.99
While budget-friendly, the Vivie Health trekking poles lack a few ergonomic features like cork grips. The locking mechanism feels a bit trickier than some of the others. Best for seniors casually testing trekking poles. (Read More)

My Recommended Hiking Poles for Seniors

URBAN POLING - ACTIVATOR 2 for Balance and Rehab/Stability/Walking/Nordic Walking Poles (Pair) (Dark Grey with Cyan Graphic Design)

Urban Poling ACTIVATOR poles

$149.99
as of 02/29/2024 4:12 am

Pros:

  • Designed for rehab/long-term conditions
  • Strengthens core muscles while walking
  • Adjustable height from 4’2″ to 6’4″
  • Lightweight, durable aluminum

Cons:

  • Lacks wrist straps for extra security
  • Not as compact as foldable models

As an aging hiker needing extra stability while walking, I found the Urban Poling Activator 2 poles to be an excellent option.

Designed by medical professionals for rehab and long-term conditions, these poles provide great support and actually help strengthen your core muscles as you walk.

The three-section adjustable design allows you to easily customize the perfect height whether you are 5’2” or 6’4”. The lightweight yet durable aluminum construction reduces fatigue, while still providing stability for users up to 320 lbs per pole.

The ergonomic rubber grips keep your wrists in a neutral position to avoid strain, though some may miss having wrist straps for extra security. The carbide tips provide traction on various terrains, and the locking system ensures the poles stay fixed at your set height.

When collapsed, the poles shrink down for easy packing at just 25”, great for travel.

Overall, the Activator 2 poles are an excellent choice for seniors needing extra support and stability when walking, plus provide the added strength-building benefit. I would highly recommend giving them a try.


TrailBuddy Lightweight Aluminum Trekking Hiking Poles Walking Sticks - Adjustable 24.5 to 54 in. (Lake Blue)

TrailBuddy Trekking Poles

from $32.99

Pros:

  • Lever lock for easy one-handed adjustments
  • Lightweight aluminum prevents fatigue
  • Molded cork handles provide a secure grip
  • Padded wrist straps prevent irritation
  • Fully adjustable from 24.5″ to 54″

Cons:

  • Not as compact as foldable/collapsible poles
  • Cork grips are less durable than foam or rubber

If you find yourself needing extra stability on the trail, the TrailBuddy trekking poles are an excellent option. The easy-to-use lever lock system allows you to quickly adjust the pole height with just one hand.

This accommodates your needs at the moment – extend the poles longer when climbing uphill for stability, then shorten them on descents to avoid back strain. The adjustable range from 24.5” to 54” ensures you can find the perfect custom fit whether you are 5’2” or 6’2″.

The lightweight aluminum construction significantly reduces arm and hand fatigue compared to heavier poles. Over long hikes, your arms and hands will thank you!

The molded cork handles encourage proper hand positioning to avoid aches and pains. The padded wrist straps prevent skin irritation and add comfort.

Overall, the TrailBuddy poles are ideal for senior hikers and backpackers needing extra stability and support on the trail.

Features like the secure lever lock system, padded wrist straps, and lightweight design provide the assistance many older adults need to confidently and comfortably hike into their golden years.

I would highly recommend these poles for aging hikers looking to continue pursuing their passion.


100% Carbon Fiber Collapsible Walking Stick for Hiking, Trekking Poles for Hiking Collapsible, Hiking Poles, Hiking Sticks, Folding Walking Stick for Seniors Balance, Walking Stick for Women Men Kids

Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

$59.97
as of 02/29/2024 4:12 am

Pros:

  • Super lightweight 7.6 oz poles
  • Durable carbon fiber construction
  • Ergonomic cork grips provide a secure hold
  • Lever lock for easy one-handed adjustments
  • Adjustable from 24” to 55”

Cons:

  • Premium price point
  • Not as compact as folding models

As an aging hiker experiencing fatigue and strain on long treks, I found the super lightweight Hiker Hunger carbon fiber poles to be a game changer.

At just 7.6 oz per pole, they cut significant weight compared to traditional options. Aging shoulders and arms no longer ache as much even after long hikes.

The carbon fiber provides durability while shaving off ounces. And the lever lock system allows easy one-handed height adjustments to accommodate your changing mobility needs throughout a hike.

The ergonomic cork handles encourage a neutral wrist position to prevent soreness in arthritic hands. And the adjustable padded wrist straps add comfort without irritating sensitive aging skin. The grips stay securely in place thanks to the flip lock.

Overall, these premium poles are worth it for seniors specifically wanting to reduce fatigue and strain on joints. The lightweight design and lever lock system make them ideal for older hikers needing support over long distances. Your aging body will thank you after every trek!


TREKOLOGY Trek-Z Collapsible Hiking & Trekking Poles - Balance Support for Seniors, Women, and Men, 2pc Per Set

Trekology Trek-Z Hiking Poles

from $36.54

Pros:

  • Adjustable height accommodates varying mobility
  • Lightweight prevents fatigue
  • Flip lock for easy adjustments
  • Ergonomic cork handles provide secure grip

Cons:

  • Not adjustable for users over 6 feet tall
  • Collapsible design may be less durable than fixed poles

The Trekology Trek-Z poles have proven to be a helpful option for added stability and support on the trail.

The adjustable height range of 20 cm allows you to customize the poles to your exact needs, extending them uphill for stability and shortening them downhill to prevent back strain. The flip lock system makes raising and lowering the poles quick and easy, even for aging hands.

The cork handles encourage proper hand positioning and provide a comfortable, sweat-absorbing grip. At around 300g per pole, they are lightweight enough to prevent fatigue over long hikes.

The aluminum construction and aircraft-grade materials ensure durability while keeping weight manageable.

Overall, the adjustable height, lightweight feel, and comfortable grips make these poles a great choice for senior hikers looking for extra stability and support. The compact, folding design is also convenient for travel. I would recommend giving the Trekology Trek-Z poles a try for your next hiking adventure.


Trekking Poles

Vive Trekking Poles

from $9.99

Pros:

  • Super lightweight (7oz) aluminum prevents fatigue
  • Adjustable height from 27.75” to 57.5” accommodates varying mobility
  • Contoured foam grips encourage proper hand position
  • 8 durable tip attachments for all-terrain use
  • Adjustable wrist straps provide security and comfort

Cons:

  • Lever lock system can be tricky for those with grip issues
  • Foam handles less durable than cork options
  • Not as compact as foldable trekking pole models

The Vive Trekking Poles provide helpful stability and support for budget-conscious senior hikers who may experience declining balance or joint pain. At just 7 ounces per pole, the lightweight aluminum construction helps prevent fatigue, so you can keep moving over long treks.

The adjustable locking mechanisms allow you to easily customize the perfect height from 27.75” to 57.5”, accommodating varying mobility levels.

The contoured EVA foam grips encourage proper hand positioning to avoid strain while providing a comfortable, anti-slip hold even when hands get sweaty.

The set includes a variety of durable carbide tip attachments for stability across different terrains, including snow, ice, sand, and pavement. The snow baskets and rubber tips are ideal for seniors needing extra reassurance on uneven or slippery trails.

The adjustable wrist straps provide security while ensuring all-day comfort. They can be loosened or tightened to fit wrists of all sizes without skin irritation.

For aging hikers needing a stability boost over long distances, over varied terrain, or during balance challenges, the Vive Trekking Poles check all the boxes.

Their lightweight design and secure features make them an excellent choice for older adults wanting to keep conquering the trails.

trekking poles for seniors benefits
To maintain independence as a senior, it is important to explore the outdoors, hike, and stay active.

What to Look for When Buying Trekking Poles

As an aging hiker, you need poles designed to overcome the obstacles that come with older joints and declining mobility.

Simply using a standard walking cane isn’t advised due to the differences in terrain – hiking poles and walking sticks are different. The right features can make all the difference on the trail.

FeatureRecommendations for SeniorsBenefits
Adjustable Height– Adjustable range of at least 6 inches
– Lever lock system for easy one-handed adjustments
– Ability to shorten pole length for downhill sections
– Accommodates varying mobility
– Allows customization for comfort
– Prevents back strain
Shock Absorption– Spring-loaded or rubber tips
– Adjustable shock strength settings
– Protects aging joints
– Customizable for comfort
Lightweight Materials– Aluminum or carbon fiber construction
– Cork handles
– Prevents fatigue
– Provides secure grip
Ergonomic Handles– Contoured grips
– Padded wrist straps
– Removable straps
– Encourages proper hand position
– Prevents skin irritation
– Accommodates joint issues
Versatile Tips– Includes rubber tips for everyday use
– Snow baskets for stability in snow
– Mud baskets for slippery trails
– Provides traction on different terrains
– Improves stability in various conditions
Anti-vibration– Anti-vibration technology in shaft– Reduces vibration and impact on hands/wrists
Easy Assembly & Storage– Compact and collapsible design– Saves time and hassle on the trail
– Easier transport and storage
Reliability & Durability– Choose reputable brands
– Read customer reviews on durability
– Avoids safety issues from failure
– Important to invest in quality

Adjustable Height Shaft

Look for lever lock systems for quick and easy height adjustments to accommodate your needs at the moment. Extend the poles for stability climbing uphills, then shorten them on descents to avoid back strain. Saves your joints the pain and discomfort of one-size-fits-all poles.

Shock Absorption

Shock absorption is a must for protecting those aging knees, hips, and ankles from the pounding of rugged terrain. Adjustable shock strength lets you customize the cushiness and find your perfect comfort level. Take the pressure off those creaky joints!

Lightweight and Durable

Ditch the heavy metal poles of yesteryear. Today’s lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber poles prevent arm fatigue without sacrificing durability. You’ll be thankful for the effortless maneuverability on long hikes.

Ergonomic Handles & Wrist Straps

Ergonomic cork handles provide a no-slip grip to keep you confidently moving. Soft foam grips are the next best option. Well-padded adjustable wrist straps prevent skin irritation and accommodate aging hands. Focus on the trail ahead, not your equipment.

Versatile Tips

Get a pole that includes interchangeable tips. Rubber tips are ideal for general use on paved or hard-packed trails.

Snow baskets provide extra stability in snowy conditions, while mud baskets prevent the poles from sinking into muddy or soft ground. You’ll be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way.

Anti-vibration

Look for poles with anti-vibration features. This will provide a smooth and comfortable hiking experience, reducing stress on your hands and wrists. Anti-vibration features can make your hike more enjoyable and less tiring.

Easy Assembly & Storage 

Trekking poles that are easy to assemble and disassemble will save you time and hassle on the trail. Compact and collapsible poles are best for transport and storage.

Reliability & Durability 

Make sure to choose trekking poles from a reputable manufacturer known for quality. Read customer reviews to get an idea of their long-term durability. Trekking poles that fail in the middle of a hike can become a safety issue, so investing in quality is important.

Lastly, before you purchase, remember to try the trekking poles in person if possible. The feel and comfort can be highly personal, and what works best for someone else might not work best for you. 

trekking poles for seniors features
Effortless maneuverability on long hikes is now possible with the help of lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber poles.

Benefits Trekking Poles Offer Older Adults

You may be noticing some effects of aging that make hiking difficult for seniors. The good news is that trekking poles can help you overcome many common aging-related challenges.

Improved Stability and Balance

It’s normal as you get older to experience some decline in stability and balance like I have been.

Trekking poles widen your support base and give you two extra points of contact with the ground. This improves stability and balance significantly, helping you feel more steady on uneven or tricky trails.

Fall Prevention and Security

Fear of falling is common as we age. But trekking poles provide extra stability and security, giving you the confidence to hike while significantly reducing your chances of slipping or falling. Many seniors report feeling much more reassured hiking with poles.

Maintaining Independence

Getting outdoors, hiking, and staying active is important for maintaining independence as a senior. Trekking poles enable you to continue doing the hiking activities you love, on trails you may have otherwise avoided due to unsteadiness or fear of falling.

Continued Cardiovascular Health

Using your upper body and core to propel yourself with the poles gives your heart and lungs a great workout. Trekking poles allow you to continue reaping cardiovascular benefits from hiking as you age.

Arthritis Relief

Trekking poles reduce stress and impact on your leg joints by up to 25%. They provide stability and support while alleviating pressure. Many hikers with arthritis find poles dramatically reduce hiking pain.

Confidence and Mood Boost

Continuing to challenge yourself, pursue your passions, and get outdoors provides a tremendous emotional lift. Trekking poles give aging hikers the confidence, independence, and optimism to keep hitting the trail.


Tips for Managing Age-Related Hiking Challenges

Trekking poles can help you manage multiple effects of aging that may make hiking more difficult. Here are some tips:

Arthritis and Joint Pain

  • Use shock-absorbing poles to reduce the impact on knees, hips, and other joints
  • Adjust pole length shorter for uphills and downhill to avoid over-extension
  • Wear padded wrist straps loosely to avoid irritating hand joints
  • Cork grips are easier on squeeze than most other materials.

Declining Stamina

  • Use poles to actively engage upper body muscles and get your heart pumping
  • Take regular breaks to rest and recover when needed
  • Adjust pole length shorter as you get tired to reduce arm strain

Balance/Coordination Issues

  • Plant poles wider than shoulders for maximum stability
  • Don’t move poles and feet simultaneously – move poles first, then feet
  • Tap poles ahead on downhill sections to improve confidence

Strength/Endurance Declines

  • Use straps so you aren’t constantly gripping poles – this quickly gets tiring
  • Consider adjustable resistance poles to start building upper body strength
  • Improve posture and engage core to take pressure off legs

Infographic: Right Trekking Poles for Seniors

Right Trekking Poles for Seniors infographic
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Conclusion

The benefits of using trekking poles extend far beyond just physical gains for seniors. The mental and emotional boost that comes from pursuing your passions, spending time outdoors, and maintaining independence through activity is truly invaluable.

With the right set of poles fitted for your unique needs, there is no reason you can’t continue hiking and exploring the trails you love well into your later years.

Don’t let aging slow you down. Investing in a quality pair of poles like the ones reviewed here can give you the confidence, stability, and support to keep adventuring.

Trekking poles open up new possibilities. They enable you to challenge yourself, relish nature, and share meaningful experiences with loved ones. While providing physical assistance, they also deliver an emotional lift, unlike any other gear.

You owe it to yourself to experience the joys of the trail on your own two feet – with a trusty set of poles by your side.

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Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

With over 20 years of experience and certifications as a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® and Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®, Scott Grant provides reliable recommendations to help seniors maintain independence through informed product and service choices for safe, comfortable living.

Learn More Email

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