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Carbon Fiber Vs Aluminum Trekking Poles: Pros and Cons

When buying a pair of trekking poles, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is which material to go with. The body of most trekking poles is made of either carbon fiber or aluminum. The best material depends on a number of factors including the type of terrain you hike on and the distances you hike. This article outlines the pros and cons of carbon fiber vs aluminum trekking poles. We’ll cover weight, durability, reliability, comfort, cost, longevity, and more. I’ll also explain the main differences between the two materials and share a few recommendations.

I almost always hike with trekking poles. Over the years, I’ve used both carbon and aluminum models. I generally prefer aluminum poles for their durability and low cost. Carbon poles also have their place. In this guide, I’ll share my experience.

Hikers using trekking poles
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Key Takeaways

Carbon fiber trekking poles are lighter weight and less flexible. They allow you to hike faster and more efficiently. They are more comfortable because they do a better job of dampening vibrations.

Aluminum trekking poles are cheaper, more durable, more reliable, and longer lasting. They are also safer to use because aluminum doesn’t fail catastrophically. They can be used in cold weather. They are more versatile.

Carbon fiber trekking poles are better for ultralight and minimalist hikers, those with joint issues, long distance hikers, and travelers who need lightweight and compact gear.

Aluminum trekking poles are better for those on a tight budget, hiking on rough terrain, beginners, heavier hikers and those who carry a lot of weight, cold weather hiking, those who are hard on their gear, and those who prefer sturdier gear.

Trekking poles offer a number of benefits to hikers. They provide stability and traction while hiking on rugged terrain. Trekking poles also help you maintain a walking rhythm and control speed. They can help you propel yourself forward and help you slow down on descents. In addition, trekking poles reduce knee, hip, ankle, and foot strain during descents. They achieve this by transferring some impact energy from your lower body to your upper body.

The body of modern hiking poles is made from either carbon fiber or aluminum. Other materials are used to make the grips, wrist straps, spikes, and other components.

trekking poles leaning against a cairn

Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Carbon fiber is a lightweight, strong, and stiff material that was originally developed for use in the aerospace industry. It is made from super-strong fibers that are woven together and reinforced with resin or epoxy. The material offers an incredibly high strength-to-weight ratio.

Carbon fiber is made by processing a polymer (usually polyacrylonitrile) into filaments of carbon atoms that measure 5-10 microns in diameter. Thousands of filaments are combined to form a tow or ribbon. These ribbons are weaved into sheets which are bound together with epoxy resin. The resulting material is a composite. Using heat, this material is layered and shaped into carbon fiber tubes. The material dries into the rigid tubes that are used to build trekking poles.

There is quite a bit of variation in the way that carbon fiber is made. Manufacturers can vary the type of resin used, the thickness of the layers, the grade of fibers, the density of fibers, the way the material is heat-treated, the types of fibers used, and more. All of these play a role in the durability, weight, and stiffness of the finished trekking poles. The quality of carbon fiber trekking poles varies.

As mentioned, carbon fiber is an incredibly strong and stiff material. In fact, it’s stronger and stiffer than steel of the same thickness. One difference is that carbon fiber strength varies depending on the direction of the fibers. Carbon trekking poles are designed to be incredibly strong when force is applied from the top of the pole to the bottom. They are much weaker when force is applied to the side of the pole. Carbon fiber is also a brittle material due to its rigidity.

a pair of trekking poles leaned up against a cairn on the side of a trail

Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Pros

  • Lighter weight- On average, carbon fiber trekking poles weigh around 4 ounces (around 113 grams) less per pair than aluminum trekking poles. Each pole weighs around 2 ounces less. Most carbon fiber trekking poles weigh 12-18 ounces (340-510 grams) per pair. To compare, aluminum trekking poles typically weigh 18-22 ounces (510-625 grams) per pair. Carbon fiber is lighter because it is less dense than aluminum. Carbon fiber has a density of around 1.55 g/cm^3 while aluminum has a density of around 2.7 g/cm^3. For most hikers, the light weight is the main benefit of choosing carbon fiber trekking poles over aluminum. On a long hike, every ounce matters. Particularly if you are an ultralight hiker. Lightweight poles are also easier to carry around while not in use.
  • You can hike faster with carbon fiber trekking poles- The lighter weight of carbon fiber trekking poles allows you to move your arms faster and more easily. This helps you to maintain a faster hiking pace. You can maintain a better walking rhythm as well. In addition, carbon fiber is less flexible than aluminum. When you plant the pole in the ground, it immediately feels more solid. This inspires confidence, allowing you to move faster over rugged or slippery terrain.
  • Carbon fiber trekking poles are more efficient- You won’t tire out as quickly when using carbon fiber trekking poles because you’re moving less weight around. Every step you take, you’re lifting a couple of ounces less. Over tens of thousands of steps, this adds up. You burn a bit less energy when hiking with lightweight carbon fiber poles. You can hike longer and further without your arms tiring out. On a long hike or thru-hike, every ounce matters. On shorter hikes, the weight difference isn’t really noticeable.
  • More comfortable- Many hikers find carbon fiber poles to be more comfortable than aluminum. The reason is that carbon fiber does a better job of damping vibrations. The material has natural vibration damping qualities. This may be because of the lower density. At the same time, carbon fiber remains stiff and supportive. The vibration damping quality allows you to use your trekking poles longer without feeling hand and arm fatigue. Of course, the pole material only plays a small role in the overall comfort of the trekking pole. You’ll also want to consider the grip shape and material as well as the strap material. Some models also feature a suspension system to smooth out shocks during descents. Your trekking poles can work like shock absorbers.
  • Carbon fiber flexes less- Carbon fiber is an incredibly rigid material. In fact, it’s about 2-5x more rigid than aluminum of the same thickness. When you lean on your carbon fiber trekking poles, they don’t flex. This gives the poles a more supportive feel when the pole hits a surface. You’ll feel more balanced. This is important when you’re relying on your pole to hold you up. For example, when fording a fast-moving river or walking on a slippery patch of ice, you need your poles to feel stable when you lean on them with most of your body weight.
  • Carbon fiber trekking poles are great for occasional use- Some hikers leave their trekking poles stashed in their pack and only pull them out when descending or crossing rugged terrain. Carbon fiber poles are ideal for this kind of use due to the light weight. If you carry your poles in your pack much of the time, you want them to be as light as possible.
  • More premium- Carbon fiber trekking poles tend to be a bit higher-end than aluminum. They often have a bit better fit and finish. The grip and strap may be more comfortable. They may adjust and fold a bit more smoothly. This isn’t the case all the time. Premium aluminum poles are also available.
A hiker on an overlook with trekking poles

Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Cons

  • Carbon fiber trekking poles are more expensive- On average, carbon fiber trekking poles cost $30-$60 more than comparable aluminum trekking poles. Low-end carbon fiber trekking poles cost around $50-$60 per pair. High-end models cost around $160-$200. To compare, entry-level aluminum trekking poles cost around $20-$30 per pair. Higher-end models start at around $60. If you’re on a tight budget, you’re better off avoiding carbon fiber trekking poles. Inexpensive carbon poles are usually of poor quality. They don’t last long.
  • Carbon fiber trekking poles are not as durable as aluminum- Carbon fiber is a more fragile material than aluminum. If you accidentally hit the side of your pole against a rock or bang your poles together too hard, you can crack the carbon fiber. This weakens the pole and can cause it to fail. An impact force that wouldn’t damage an aluminum pole may destroy a carbon fiber pole. Carbon fiber poles can also crack if they are bent too far from side to side. Carbon fiber is really only strong in one direction (top to bottom). When you bend it sideways, it can crack fairly easily. It’s easy to accidentally bend a pole when it gets caught between rocks or when you lean on it too hard. The resin that holds the carbon filaments together can also fatigue and degrade over time. This is common on low-end poles. Abrasions from debris rubbing against the poles as you hike can also scratch and weaken them. Low-end carbon fiber trekking poles are much less durable than high-end models. The reason is that they are made from lower grades of carbon fiber and less durable resin. These materials may be thinner, more brittle, and more fragile. Modern high-end carbon fiber trekking poles are incredibly durable. That said, they are still more prone to cracks and failure than aluminum poles.
  • Can be more dangerous to use- Carbon fiber trekking poles can fail catastrophically and without warning. This is possible due to the way that carbon fiber fails. It doesn’t bend. It cracks and breaks. This could cause serious injury if your pole were to break unexpectedly while you were using it for balance. For example, if your pole broke at the wrong time, you could fall and injure yourself. Imagine your trekking pole snapping in half while you’re hiking a narrow ridge or during a difficult river crossing. Carbon fiber trekking poles can fail for a number of reasons. The pole can simply fatigue and fail from heavy use. Trekking poles don’t last forever. It could also crack from an impact then fail when you put weight on it. To be safe, you should inspect your trekking poles periodically. Run your hand along the tube to feel for loose carbon fibers. Running a cloth along the poles can make it easier to detect broken fibers. Also, visually inspect for cracks or damage. If you spot some damage on your carbon fiber trekking poles, you should stop using them to be safe. You never know when they’ll give out on you.
  • You can’t use damaged carbon fiber trekking poles- If your carbon poles happen to get damaged during your hike, they’re pretty much useless. The reason is that broken carbon fiber is unreliable. You never know when it will fail. You also can’t repair it. You’ll just have to stash your broken pole in your pack and do without. With aluminum poles, you can usually use them if the damage isn’t too severe.
  • Less reliable- Because carbon fiber trekking poles are more likely to crack and fail than aluminum, they are less reliable. This is particularly true of low-end models. It’s easy to accidentally crack them by knocking them against something or bending them. If you’re taking a long thru-hike, hiking with a particularly heavy load, or hiking in a remote area, you may not want to rely on carbon fiber trekking poles. That said, high-end models are very reliable.
  • Carbon fiber trekking poles are not ideal for use as tent poles- Many hikers use trekking poles to support their non-freestanding tents. Reliability can also be a problem if you use your trekking poles as tent poles. If one of your poles were to break, you may have trouble pitching your tent. Of course, in this case, you could always use a stick instead. Using your trekking pole as a tent pole could also bend the pole sideways if you tension your guy lines too tight or position the pole at the wrong angle. A pole could also bend during a strong gust of wind. This could damage the pole if you’re not careful.
  • Less long-lasting- Because carbon fiber trekking poles are easier to break than aluminum, they usually don’t last as long. They end up knocking against something and cracking or getting broken somehow. This is particularly common with low-end carbon fiber trekking poles. You may only get a season of use out of them if you’re not extremely careful with them. For this reason, carbon fiber poles aren’t ideal for those who hike frequently. You’ll need to replace them sooner.
  • Carbon fiber trekking poles are not ideal for cold weather use- The epoxy used to bond the carbon fiber sheets together can be sensitive to cold temperatures. It may become brittle if it gets too cold. This makes the poles easier to crack. This doesn’t’ mean you can’t use carbon fiber trekking poles during the winter. You just have to be a bit more careful and choose the right ones. If you’re hiking during the winter, you may want to choose less engineered models. In other words, choose models that don’t fold or telescope. Fixed-length poles handle the cold better. Higher-end models with modern epoxies also perform better in cold conditions.
  • Less versatile- Because they are less durable, it’s best not to use carbon fiber trekking poles as ski poles. They may not be able to withstand the additional forces. As mentioned above, some carbon fiber trekking poles should not be used for cold weather hiking or snowshoeing because they can become brittle. These are some situations where carbon fiber poles shouldn’t be used. Comparable aluminum poles could be used in these situations.
A hiker walking through a field with trekking poles.

Aluminum Trekking Poles

Pure aluminum is not strong enough to make trekking poles. To increase strength and durability, aluminum is alloyed with other elements. The primary element that aluminum is alloyed with is zinc. When buying aluminum trekking poles, you might want to check to see which type of aluminum alloy they are made of.

The best and most common aluminum used to make trekking poles is 7075. This aluminum alloy offers strength, durability, and fatigue resistance. It’s also very light. Other 7000-series aluminum alloys such as 7075-T6 are also commonly used.

Some aluminum trekking poles are made from 6000-series aluminum such as 6061. These are typically a bit weaker and more likely to break. They are also a few ounces heavier. They’re usually cheaper as well.

Aluminum Trekking Poles Pros

  • Cheaper- Entry-level aluminum trekking poles start at around $20 for a pair. High-end models go for around $100-$150. That’s about $30-$60 cheaper than comparable carbon fiber trekking poles. If you’re on a tight budget, you’re better off going with aluminum poles.
  • Safer to use- Aluminum fails in a different way than carbon fiber. An aluminum trekking pole will slowly start to bend before it breaks. It won’t suddenly crack in half like a carbon fiber pole can. Aluminum trekking poles give you a bit of warning before they fail. This property of aluminum keeps you a bit safer. You’re less likely to fall when a pole reaches the end of its life. To further improve safety, you should inspect your aluminum trekking poles before every hike. Make sure they’re straight. Look for dents or cracks in the tubing. Also, inspect the joints if your poles are collapsible. The plastic or metal clamps can crack or break.
  • More durable- Aluminum trekking poles can handle harder impact forces without sustaining damage. If you hit your aluminum trekking poles on a rock or knock them together, chances are they’ll be just fine. They can also handle heavier weight and stronger flexing forces as you hike. This is great for hikers who are on the heavy side. Aluminum poles also aren’t affected by abrasions. If you scratch your aluminum poles, they’ll be fine. Scratches are just cosmetic. You also don’t have to treat aluminum poles as gently as carbon fiber models. They can take a beating without cracking or failing. Even low-end models are extremely durable. If you’re the kind of hiker who is hard on their trekking poles, aluminum is the best option. For example, if you find yourself regularly leaning on your poles with your full weight or rock hopping, you’ll be better off going with aluminum.
  • You can use aluminum trekking poles when they’re damaged- If you hit your aluminum poles hard enough, they will dent. If you get your poles caught between some rocks and put too much lateral pressure on them, they can bend. Dents and bends do weaken the structural integrity of the poles but they will still remain usable. You can carefully straighten the bent pole out the best you can and continue on with your hike. You could also just hike with a bent pole if the bend is minimal. Of course, if a trekking pole is damaged, you want to use it carefully. You shouldn’t rely on a damaged pole to hold you up. You should also replace the damaged pole when your return home, just to be safe. If the pole is severely damaged, you shouldn’t use it. It could bend in half.
  • More reliable- The superior durability of aluminum trekking poles makes them more reliable. Even cheap, low-end models offer good reliability. The benefit of more reliable poles is that you don’t have to worry as much about them failing mid-hike. This is nice if you use your trekking poles to support your non-freestanding tent. You don’t have to worry about the pole failing and leaving you without a tent support. Heavier hikers, long-distance hikers, and those who hike on particularly uneven terrain will also appreciate the reliability.
  • Longevity- Because aluminum trekking poles are more durable, they tend to last longer. You’re much less likely to accidentally damage them by knocking them against something. A good pair of aluminum trekking poles should last you many years. Even cheap aluminum poles last a long time. This saves you money as well because you won’t have to replace your poles as frequently.
  • Aluminum trekking poles can be better for cold weather use- The physical properties of aluminum do not change in cold weather. The material stays just as strong and durable on a 0-degree day as a 90-degree day. Carbon fiber, on the other hand, can become brittle and more prone to cracking in cold weather. For this reason, those who hike in the extreme cold are better off with aluminum trekking poles. This is particularly true if you prefer collapsible or adjustable poles.
  • Aluminum trekking poles make better tent poles– If you want to use your trekking poles to support your non-freestanding tent, you’re often better off using aluminum poles. The reason is that they can better handle the tensile forces from the tent and guy lines. Aluminum poles can easily withstand forces coming from the sides. If a gust of wind blows your tent, putting pressure on the pole and bending it sideways, the aluminum pole won’t’ get damaged. Under the same extreme circumstances, a carbon pole could crack. Aluminum poles are also a bit more reliable. You’ll always have a pole to pitch your tent with.
  • Aluminum trekking poles are better for constant use- Some hikers like to use their trekking poles during their entire hike. Even while hiking flat terrain. Aluminum poles can be a better choice for constant use due to their superior durability. Also, the extra weight doesn’t matter as much if you’re always using your poles and never carrying them in your pack.
  • Aluminum trekking poles are more versatile- Because aluminum trekking poles are more durable, you can get away with using them as ski poles. Skiing puts more stress on poles than hiking so you may not want to risk using carbon fiber trekking poles for skiing. You can also use aluminum poles for snowshoeing because they do not become brittle in cold temperatures. As outlined earlier, you can use them as tent poles as well. You can get multiple uses out of a good pair of aluminum poles.
A hiker using trekking poles

Aluminum Trekking Poles Cons

  • More vibration- Aluminum trekking poles are less comfortable to use. The reason is that they can’t absorb vibrations as well due to the higher density. The vibration makes your hands and arms fatigue faster. After a long day of hiking, you may have a buzzing feeling in your hands, like you’ve been operating power tools all day. You may not want to use your aluminum trekking poles as long or as often for this reason. There are a few ways to improve comfort. You can wear gloves. You can also choose trekking poles with a comfortable grip material and shape. Many hikers like a cork grip with an ergonomic shape. Some trekking poles also have a built-in shock absorption system. This is basically a spring built into the tip of the pole. This can also help reduce vibrations.
  • Heavier- Aluminum trekking poles weigh around 4 ounces (113 grams) more per pair than carbon fiber trekking poles. For example, an ultralight pair of aluminum trekking poles weigh around 18 ounces. To compare, the lightest carbon fiber trekking poles weigh just under 12 ounces. Each aluminum pole weighs around 2 ounces more on average. For most hikers, a few extra ounces isn’t a big deal. If you use ultralight gear, carrying around the extra 4 ounces may be significant. The extra weight can also be a factor for long-distance hikers.
  • Aluminum trekking poles are less efficient- When hiking with aluminum trekking poles, you’ll tire out a bit quicker because you’re carrying more weight around. After all, with every step you take, you have to lift an extra 2 ounces with each arm. During a full day of hiking, you could take 20,000-30,000 steps. During each step, you lift your trekking poles. You’ll burn a bit more energy lifting the extra weight as a result. You won’t be able to hike quite as far without your arms tiring out. On short day hikes, you probably won’t notice the extra couple of ounces. On long multi-day hikes and thru-hikes, every ounce counts.
  • You can’t hike as fast with aluminum trekking poles- Trekking poles help you maintain your pace while hiking. The heavier aluminum poles make it slightly harder to move your arms quickly. As a result, you’ll likely hike at a slightly slower pace with aluminum poles. This means you may not be able to cover quite as much ground as you could with carbon poles.
  • More flex- Aluminum trekking poles aren’t quite as stiff as carbon fiber models. They can flex a bit under your body weight. Particularly if you’re on the heavier side or if you hike with a heavy pack. When you plant the pole in the ground, it may not feel quite as solid as a carbon fiber pole. You’ll have to spend a bit more time carefully placing your poles when hiking technical terrain. This causes you to move slower. You may also feel a bit less confident when relying on your trekking pole for balance. A small amount of flex can make you feel unstable. That said, in most cases, the flex is not even noticeable.
  • Aluminum trekking poles are usually lower-end- Oftentimes, aluminum trekking poles feel a bit less premium than carbon fiber models. The build quality might be a bit lower. The materials may be a bit cheaper. This can make the poles a bit less pleasant to use. Of course, high-end aluminum poles are also available as well.
A fully loaded hiking backpack with trekking poles strapped to the side
Many hiking backpacks include straps and loops where you can store your trekking poles when not in use.

Trekking Pole Grip Material

The grip material plays a major role in the overall comfort of the trekking poles. Remember, you’re going to be holding onto these things for hours at a time. Possibly for days on end. They need to feel comfortable in your hands. The three most common trekking pole grip materials include:

  • Cork grips- This is the most comfortable grip material for most hikers. Cork is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water and sweat. This helps keep your hands dryer, reducing the likelihood of developing blisters. Cork also dampens vibrations. It’s a durable material as well. Over time, cork can mold to the shape of your hands to further increase comfort. The drawback is that cork grips are expensive. They are common on higher-end trekking poles.
  • Foam grips- These grips are the most affordable. Foam is soft and comfortable to grip. It absorbs water and sweat from your hands. This helps to prevent blisters. The drawback is that foam degrades quickly and can easily get torn. It’s the least durable option. Foam grips can be found on both low-end and high-end trekking poles. High-end models often come with modern high-density foam.
  • Rubber grips- These grips are durable and come at a more affordable price. Rubber also provides insulation from the cold and helps to dampen vibrations. The problem is that rubber can be hard on your hands because it doesn’t absorb water or dry quickly when wet. Wet hands rubbing against wet rubber causes blisters. You’ll probably want to wear gloves when you use rubber grips. Rubber grips are common on lower-end trekking poles.

Both carbon fiber and aluminum trekking poles are available with cork, foam, and rubber grips.

Tip Material

Trekking poles come with carbide or steel tips. These help to provide traction by digging into the ground. Carbide tips are preferable because they last a bit longer-lasting. This is because carbide is harder than steel.

Many trekking poles also come with rubber tip protectors. These can help protect the environment when you’re hiking on sensitive surfaces. For example, maybe you’re hiking on a beautiful rock surface that you don’t want to scratch. They can also help protect your pack when your poles are stored inside.

a trail runner using trekking poles

Who Should Choose Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles?

Carbon fiber trekking poles are ideal for ultralight hikers who want to carry as little weight as possible. Hikers who like to cover as many miles as possible will also appreciate the light weight of carbon fiber trekking poles. Thru-hikers, in particular, benefit from the weight savings. Over the course of hundreds or thousands of miles, the couple of ounces of weight savings is worth it. In addition, those who only use their trekking poles for part of their hike will also appreciate the lighter weight of carbon fiber poles. They are less dead weight to carry around while stored.

Hikers with a higher budget will probably prefer carbon fiber as well. The material is a bit more premium. Higher-end hiking poles may fold a bit faster and have a more comfortable grip and strap design as well.

Who Should Choose Aluminum Trekking Poles?

Aluminum trekking poles are ideal for hikers who tend to be hard on their poles. If you find yourself knocking your poles against trees, rocks, each other or you enjoy boulder hopping, you’re better off with aluminum poles. They can take a beating and keep on going.

Taller and heavier hikers and those who often lean hard against their poles are also better off with aluminum. The aluminum tubes can handle much harder flexing forces without bending.

Aluminum poles are also ideal for use as tent poles because they’re less likely to fail. Those who hike in below-freezing weather may also be better off with aluminum poles because they aren’t sensitive to the cold like carbon fiber.

In addition, aluminum trekking poles are ideal for hikers who are on a budget. For less money, you’ll get a much more durable and long-lasting product. In fact, you should avoid buying low-end carbon fiber trekking poles. They just aren’t durable enough.

My Experience

These days, I use aluminum trekking poles. The main reason is durability and reliability. It brings me peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about knocking my poles against something or bending them and causing damage. I think aluminum poles also offer better value. For less than $50, I can buy a decent pair of trekking poles that will last many years.

That said, If I were going on a thru-hike, I probably would buy some high-end carbon fiber poles. The weight savings and premium design would be worth the cost. If money was no object, I would use carbon poles as well.

Of course, trekking poles are an optional piece of outdoor gear. I don’t always use them. When I’m just going on a day hike on relatively flat terrain, I don’t use poles.

A Few Trekking Pole Recommendations

LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

These lightweight carbon fiber trekking poles weigh just 240 grams per pole or 480 grams for the pair. They feature comfortable Aergon Thermo foam grips with a quick-drying strap. Foam grips are typically less comfortable than cork but these grips are an exception. They feature a soft grippy surface and offer excellent insulation in cold weather.

The poles also feature LEKI’s incredibly strong and sturdy Speedlock 2 quick adjustment system. They are adjustable from 44-55”. These poles are also very packable. They measure just 15” in length when folded down. The shafts are made from strong high modulus carbon. The main drawback is that these poles are fairly expensive. This is a well made pair of trekking poles. They are premium.

Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles

These lightweight aluminum trekking poles come in 7 sizes. They weigh between 12.1 and 14.2 oz per pair depending on the size and fold down to 13-17 inches depending on the length. The poles are made from durable and lightweight 7075 aluminum. They feature comfortable EVA foam grips with a breathable and moisture-wicking strap. The tips are interchangeable. Carbide and rubber tips are included.

These poles are not adjustable. You’ll need to choose the correct size for your height when you buy. These poles are fairly expensive. They are premium aluminum trekking poles.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles

These are the carbon fiber version of the Black Diamond poles outlined above. They come in 4 sizes with maximum lengths of 100cm, 110cm, 120cm, and 130cm. These poles weigh just 9.3-10.4 ounces per pair depending on the length, making them some of the lightest poles on the market. They are an excellent choice for ultralight hikers who want to hike efficiently.

The poles fold down in 3 sections with a packed length of 13-17 inches. They feature a rapid locking design, making them easy to fold and unfold on the ego. These poles also feature comfortable EVA foam grips and interchangeable tips and baskets.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the choice between carbon fiber and aluminum trekking poles comes down to weight, durability, and cost. You’re going to have to make a compromise. If you value durability and cost more, you’re better off with aluminum poles. Keep in mind that there will be a weight penalty of around 4 ounces.

If you value weight above all, you’re better off with carbon trekking poles. Remember that they won’t be quite as durable. Even high-end carbon poles can crack. They’ll also cost you around $30-$60 more. Whichever type of hiking poles you decide to go with, I hope this guide has helped you in making your decision.

For more general info, check out my guide to the pros and cons of trekking poles.

Do you prefer carbon fiber or aluminum trekking poles? Share your experience in the comments below!

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Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

Hi there! I see a lot of claims about carbon that my intuition does not quite agree with it. Could you provide some sources for that information (specially the "not as durable as aluminum part")?


Wednesday 24th of August 2022

Sure, my source is personal experience. In my experience, aluminum trekking poles are more durable than carbon fiber.

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