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Trekking Pole Suggestions for Youth Hiking Program

Hey! I'm in a position to put together a day-hike program for young people in my city (5-10 participants, ages about 14-16 or so). We have a neighboring institution with some folks that could lead a short lesson for participants on pole features & techniques, but in the past, the groups that they've done this for have had their own poles (so borrowing or renting poles, particularly during COVID, isn't a very straightforward option).

I am wondering if folks here have suggestions about trekking poles for beginners. The teen center that this is through is a non-profit, and we're not known for bags or money, but we have a little bit of grant money for programming right now that we could put toward this sort of outdoor program. Hikes are local. All hikes are about 4-6 miles.

Poles would not need to be ultralight, collapsible, anything like that. Suggestions for anything that's reliable and relatively low-cost would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

9 Replies

@AlexH-C Hello! Trekking poles is one of the pieces of gear I cannot leave my house with when I'm headed to the trails! I'm so glad you are doing these hikes with them!

You have 2 options, there are more but most of the other poles are in the $100 range:

These are kids trekking poles, this will depend on the height of the young adult who will be using them but they do max out, so it becomes unusuable for that particular person after a while but if you plan on keeping them in your"inventory" it might be nice to have various sizes. $54.95 REI Co-op Trekking Poles - Kids'

Here are adult trekking poles, great bang for your buck! They are still collopsible, bigger range in sizing than the kid's poles. $59.95 REI Co-op Trailbreak Trekking Poles - Pair

Lastly, if you are only able to get a few, you can always split up the poles, just so that everyone can have the experience of using poles. Sometimes it takes people some time to learn and adjust to using a trekking pole.  

I hope that helps and I hope you have some amazing hikes with amazing views! Happy Trails! 

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

Excellent! Thank you very much!

Are you crossing some rivers or something?Normally kids without heavy backpacks especially on maintained trails shouldn’t  need any form of walking support.

that said, get adjustable poles to conform to each person’s height

REI Member Since 1979

Much appreciated!


I'm with Philreedshikes on this issue. Hiking poles aren't needed on reasonably flat maintained trails of 4-6 miles length, especially by teens who are carrying light day packs. I'd save the money for more important purposes.


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I hear that. Part of the goal is to expand their understanding of what kinds of activities are outdoors, which would mean exposing them to approaches to hiking (like longer hikes, overnights, etc). I can appreciate that poles are generally meant for hikers who need support. My understanding is that they can also be useful for balance, posture & in challenging terrain. Because the individual who would be facilitating a workshop on pole use did not say "No, I do not work with teenagers," I am comfortable thinking that any support for young people who are being exposed to hikes for the first time might be helpful (with proper education).

As far as your thoughts on allocating funds, grants that say that money is for a specific purpose are only to be used for that purpose. We are not in a position to do anything with an outdoor programming grant but equip young people for outdoor programming. I hope that makes sense.


Put me in the category of "are trekking poles really necessary," especially for the young and vigorous.  Offhand, I can think of about twenty or so items that are far more important than trekking poles when hiking.  Far more important to provide a compass and map, along with appropriate instruction, just to name one necessary skill for a beginning hiker.

Fording a stream is an excellent example of a situation where TPs ar really useful.  What works quite well is a recycled mop, broom, etc. handle.Don't worry about the length; one merely grips lower on the pole when necessary.  The length above the hand is a surprisingly helpful counter weight.

With folks in that age group, I would be watchful for impromptu sword fights and scuffles.  Any trekking pole can be quite hazardous if misused

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

One more thought on TPs of the broomstick variety.  A useful modification, which might be a decent prehike exercise, is to drill  a hole near the top, just above the grip area, insert cordage (6mm or so diam.) tie a knot (another useful teaching exercise) and voila!, a useful lanyard.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I really like this idea - absolutely a decent pre-hike exercise. Thanks for this!