Hey @Kelly1 

Trekking poles are my best friend when hiking and backpacking! I use them all the time.

You're absolutely right, there are a ton of choices when it comes to poles, a really great place to start is by reviewing our Expert Advice article How to Choose Trekking Poles & Hiking Staffs.

I personally use trekking poles with the anti-shock spring, I spend a lot of time hiking in the rocky terrain of Southern California and I find the little bit of spring action really helps on the downhill on the rocky surfaces. 

In terms of ability to stow them away, the folding trekking poles will always pack down the smallest. However, if you choose an option with other features, many packs have a loop on the outside of them meant to store your trekking poles when not in use, which comes in super handy!

Good luck with your search!

Happy Adventuring!

Katie K.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.