Can You Take Hiking Poles On A Plane

Experienced hikers know that a good hiking pole can help make a hike more enjoyable. For one, it helps to take the load off one’s knees while going downhill and secondly, it acts as a steady aid when navigating uneven trails or while going uphill.

But here’s a question that most hikers ask- Can hiking poles be carried while flying? According to TSA, yes, hiking poles are allowed but you would need to check them in first. Packing them in your carry-on for the flight is not allowed.

So, what is the best and safest way to pack trekking poles for a journey by flight?

Table of Contents

How To Pack Trekking Poles

Hiking poles can be safely packed in the luggage that is going to be checked in. If they are packed carefully, you don’t have to worry about the possibility of them being damaged. Here’s the four best tips to pack your hiking poles safely before placing them in the luggage to be checked in:

Purchase a Carrying Case

If you have poles that cannot be adjusted, then the ideal thing to do is to carry them just as they are in the case that they came in.

Or, if you check online, you may be able to find a carrying case that correctly matches the length and width of the poles. I recommend buying a hard case which will do a better job at protecting the poles than a soft cover case.

In fact, non-collapsible hiking poles can also be checked in separately from the rest of your luggage but then the likelihood of losing them is also higher.

Shorten Extendable Poles

The latest models that are available these days are extendable and can be lengthened or shortened to suit one’s height and the hiking terrain. I recommend getting the poles which can be latched for extra security.

Some poles may also have joints that can be twisted which typically need to be unscrewed if you want to shorten the length.

Most reputable companies have an instruction manual as well which gives directions on how to shorten and lengthen the poles accordingly.

Protect The Tips

The ends of the poles tend to be sharp and if you are placing them in your luggage, covering up this exposed end is the right thing to do.

One of the most cost-effective ways to do it is by covering the ends tightly with thick woolen socks. This acts as the first layer of insulation.

Next, cover this again with two woolen sweaters and fasten the entire pole with rubber bands so that the sweaters don’t slip. Do remember that the ends of the pole are sharp so if you plan on using thinner fabric, you would need more layers to act as a protective cover.

Pack it Properly

While placing the poles in your luggage, make sure that the poles are well covered or insulated on all sides.

I recommend bunching up a few sweaters or old shirts and covering the area around the poles with those. This will minimize the possibility of the poles damaging any of your other clothes or stuff.

Packing your bag fully to avoid any loose space and gaps inside the bag, helps to ensure that the poles stay ‘locked’ in position and won’t move around, thereby reducing the chance of them getting bent.

Does TSA Allow Hiking Poles as Carry-ons?

The TSA website states very clearly that hiking poles are not allowed in-flight but that they can be checked in. The rule applies to hiking poles that can be retracted and packed in a bag as well. The website clearly states that the final decision rests with the TSA officer at the checkpoint.

Types Of Hiking Poles

Hiking Poles

There are many types of hiking poles and here are 3 points you need you keep in mind while choosing one for yourself:

  • You need to decide between purchasing a pair or just a single one.
  • The length is important because ideally there should be a 90-degree bend at the elbow when the pole touches the ground.
  • Consider the features that are important to you- such as adjustability, type of grip, durability, type of locking mechanism, weight and shock absorption.
Read Post  Calories Burned Hiking Calculator

Double Vs Single

Hiking poles are usually sold as a pair or as a single walking staff. When used in tandem, the poles help to distribute weight more evenly and can greatly help in taking the stress off your knees especially when hiking uphill. Such poles usually have adjustable length and springs to absorb any impact.

A walking staff on the other hand is ideal for beginners and for hiking on flat terrain as the chances of breakage are low. In case, you plan on enjoying a hiking trip for a day where carrying a backpack or extra weight is not needed, this is the ideal pole to purchase. Such staffs are also adjustable and may even have an built-in camera in more expensive models.

Shaft Material

Hiking poles are usually made of aluminum or carbon fiber. With regard to the weight, carbon fiber poles are definitely lighter but are more susceptible to breaking if a lot of force is used.

Aluminum poles, on the other hand, are heavier but are much more affordable and when extra force is used may bend and not break. Poles that are a combination of both materials are also available.

After you decide on the material, there are three designs that are most common – telescoping, folding, and fixed.


The entire pole can be taken apart and it is a locking mechanism that keeps each section fixed to the next. The plus point is that since the whole pole can be further broken down into smaller sections, they don’t take up much space when packed in a bag. If you plan to check in a small bag, then this is the right pole to purchase.


These trekking poles resemble a modern-day walking stick and have three sections that can be folded to around 1/3 rd of the total length. These sections are held together by a cord and when unfolded, the sections can be locked in place to create a single pole.

In comparison to telescoping models, folding poles are definitely lighter but the length cannot be adjusted further.


Fixed poles are best used on flat terrains where the chances of injury is lower. This type of pole cannot be folded or adjusted which makes it a purchase that isn’t practical if you are planning to check in your hiking poles at the airport.

Does disassembling tip on hiking poles make it tsa compliant

Trekking / Hiking poles overlooking mountains

What the TSA says about hiking poles and other gear.

Many hikers and backpackers hop on planes and fly across the country to get to their hiking destinations. This leads to many questions about what can and cannot be brought onto the plane. One of the most common questions hikers ask the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is whether they can bring trekking or hiking poles on a plane.

According to the TSA, your trekking / hiking poles are NOT allowed with your carry-on luggage. However, they can be packed with your checked bag(s).

If you attempt to carry your hiking poles through a TSA checkpoint, it is unlikely you will get them through. For this reason, it is best to follow the TSA guidelines and keep your hiking poles with your checked luggage to avoid any potential issues when passing through security.

Does the TSA have any exceptions for hiking poles?

If your hiking poles are needed for medical reasons, then you should be able to carry them with you on a plane. However, a typical trekking pole is unlikely to be deemed medically necessary.

Ultimately, anything you are allowed to carry on a plane is at the discretion of the TSA officer at the checkpoint. Some people have successfully gotten their hiking poles on with their carry-on bag, but do not count on this. And what one TSA officer may allow at one airport, another officer might not allow at a different airport.

Do you want to risk having to discard your trekking or hiking poles? No! So play it safe and keep them in your checked bags.

How to pack your hiking poles

Here are few simple steps to ensure your hiking poles get from point A to point B safely:

  1. Plan to pack your hiking poles inside you checked luggage.
  2. Collapse your poles down to fit them inside your bag and to protect them damage during handling.
  3. Use rubber tips to protect your hiking pole tips and to protect other items in your bag.
  4. Lay your poles inside your bag and use soft items (i.e., clothes) for cushioning.

If you have non-collapsible hiking poles or a walking stick, send them to your destination ahead of time as they are unlikely to fit inside most standard sized bags. However, you can likely fit them inside a specialty bag, like one made for hockey sticks, which are permitted to be used as a checked bag.

What hiking gear the TSA allows in your carry-on bag

Though trekking / hiking poles are the most questioned piece of gear when it comes to a hiker getting on an airplane, there are other items to be cautious of keeping in your carry-on bag. Here is a list of common hiking gear and whether the TSA will allow them.

Read Post  What To Wear Hiking In Glacier National Park In August?
Item Carry-on Checked
BackpacksYes 1Yes
Trekking / Hiking PolesNoYes
Camp StovesYes 2Yes
Cooking PotsYes 3Yes
Stove FuelNoNo
Insect RepellentsYes, but limited 4Yes
Bear SprayNoNot recommended 5
MatchesYes (1 pack) 6Yes
Knives / HatchetsNoYes
BatteriesYes, but type limitations 7Yes, but type limitations
Portable Battery ChargersYesNo
FlashlightYes 8Yes
Water FiltersYesYes
Water Purification TabletsYesYes
Tent Poles and StakesNoYes

Note that even though these items are permitted by the TSA, the final decision is made by the officer checking your bag! In other words, these items can still be denied.

Additional Notes

1. Hiking backpacks can be used as a carry-on bag, but airlines have their own restrictions for how large a bag can be. Be sure to check with the airline in advance to get their most up-to-date limitations on carry-on bag size.

2. Camp stoves are permitted by the TSA. However, be sure that the stove is clean of any residue and has no residual smell/fumes.

3. Cooking pots, except for cast iron, are allowed in a carry-on bag. Cast iron is allowed in checked luggage.

4. Liquids must be contained in a 3.4 oz bottle or smaller, but you can carry as many of these bottles that will fit into a quart-sized bag. Any liquid containers larger than 3.4 oz must be placed inside your checked luggage.

5. Technically, bear spray can be inside a carry-on bag, but the liquids policy is still to be followed. Bear spray must also contain less than 2% of the active ingredient of CS or CN. Most bear sprays exceed these limitations, so it is best to keep this with your checked bags.

6. Matches are permitted in a carry-on bag but are limited to one box per person. However, strike anywhere matches are not permitted in carry-on or checked bags.

7. Dry-cell alkaline batteries are permitted, as are lithium-ion. However, spare lithium-ion batteries are not permitted. Visit the TSA’s website for more information about their policy for batteries .

8. Flashlights under 7-inches are okay. However, anything longer may be rejected if inside your carry-on. Play it safe and keep larger flashlights inside checked luggage.

Safe to fly

Follow these guidelines and you should be good to go when travelling with your hiking gear. Some items are best to wait until you reach your destination to pack. Note that fuel is not allowed whatsoever.

For more information, visit the TSA’s guide for a list of approved items on a flight.

Are hiking poles allowed in carry-on luggage? (OR NOT)

Are hiking poles allowed in carry-on luggage?

Trying to carry trekking poles on an airplane has been a challenge for hikers who fly since the devastation of 9/11.

Trekking poles appear to be prohibited, but they can fall into a gray area with TSA, the Transportation Security Administration of the United States.

While the TSA does not allow them in carry-on bags, we have some tips from experience on how to travel with trekking poles.

Are hiking poles allowed in carry-on luggage?

Ski and hiking poles are not permitted as carry-ons, but walking canes and walking sticks are permitted if Providing they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed.

Ski and hiking poles are permitted in check in luggage providing these items must not exceed 36 inches (91 cm) in total combined length.

How do you bring hiking poles on a plane?

So ,you have read all the above and still want to bring your hiking stick with you mon vacation here are some tips on How do you bring hiking poles on a plane.

1. Send Them

Send them ahead of time to your destination via DHL or UPS. They have a good chance of getting there. The only drawbacks are that it requires more planning and costs money.

2. Check Them In

Place them in your checked bag. If they don’t fit into your suitcase when collapsed, pull them apart completely. Cover the tips with duct tape or something to prevent the points from ripping your clothes or suitcases to shreds.

They have a good chance of getting there, and it doesn’t take much planning. If you would not otherwise check your bags, the additional cost is the baggage fee, which you will have to pay unless you are traveling on Southwest.

3. Pack Them In Your Back Pack

Wrap them in clothes, stuff them in your daypack. This should not be possible! I was completely taken aback when someone on a hiking trip did exactly this. I wouldn’t recommend it, but everyone has a different risk tolerance!

4. Buy One

While this solution is not ideal it could save you a lot of headache at the airport trying to get your walking stick on the plane.Once you have arrived at your destination you can buy a new walking stick or even rent one from the the travel agency.

Bringing Folding & Collapsible Canes and Hiking Sticks on Airplanes

There are folding canes and hiking sticks that fold up small enough to fit in most carry-on bags. If you aren’t checking bags, you can fit the cane or walking stick inside a carry-on and bring it with you.

Read Post  What is the Longest Hiking Trail in the World?

It will be useful to have while walking through the airport. The cane will be scanned along with other devices and items using an X-ray machine.

If you don’t want to bring checked bags, collapsible canes and hiking poles are always a good option. Check out our travel-friendly folding canes and walking sticks.

Here are some of the Best Hiking Sticks To take on A Plane

A good foldable hiking stick makes it easier for hikers in climbing steep hills or slippery slopes where footing is uncertain thus providing an extra upper hand on their exploration experience.

Hiking sticks are very helpful tools specially made for people who love to travel and discover beautiful places with fresh air but rough terrain – great place to train the body and mind.

1. Leki trekking pole

Are hiking poles allowed in carry-on luggage?

The first is the Leki trekking pole stick that has a telescoping grip to adjust to users of different heights and ages. It also has a wrist strap which helps keep it nearby during hikes, but it’s not as comfortable as the Merrell stick.

2. Trekking Poles Collapsible Nordic Hiking Pole Pair

Are hiking poles allowed in carry-on luggage?

The second is the Nordic Hiking Pole that has an ergonomic grip and a cork handle. It also claims to reduce joint stress, so it’s the best for people with issues with their hands or wrists.

3. CLINE Travel Folding Trekking Hiking Pole with Carrying Case

Are hiking poles allowed in carry-on luggage?

Can you take hiking backpacks as carry-on on a plane?

Yes, Hiking backpacks are allowed on flights as long as they follow the terms of the airline’s policy.

It is not prudent to pack anything fragile inside your hiking backpack because it will not survive being tossed around like other bags.

Hiking backpacks are allowed as carry-on luggage on most major airlines, as long as they follow the rules and regulations of each carrier.

When flying with a travel pack, make sure to check the airline’s policy to ensure your hiking backpack will be permitted in the cabin area.

Gate agents will allow hikers to stow their backpack temporarily if there is room aboard the flight, but do not take it for granted that you can bring a large backpack onto an airplane.

Some people have asked about carrying a camping backpack or daypack on board; this may depend on how much space is available in the overhead compartments.

Can I bring a 50L backpack as a carry-on?

No, It Would not be carry-on size as the carry-on size for a bag is 32cm x 46cm x 23cm.

Carry on bags need to meet size requirements set by each airline so check with your airline for more information, however as of 1 April 2008 the following guidelines apply if you’re flying Qantas Airways.

Cabin OK – 32cm x 46cm x 23cm. Includes laptops and smaller cabin bags that fit inside larger cabin bags. Make sure they can fit under the seat in front of you.

Cabin Too Big – If you have a cabin bag that is bigger than the above dimensions, we’ll give you a complimentary plastic airline approved stowaway bag or use our boxes for sale at most airports.

Smaller items such as wallets and purses are allowed in carry on bags if they fit inside your luggage.


Hiking poles are not allowed in carry-on luggage, but you should check with your airline to confirm the size and weight restrictions.

Airlines have different policies on how they handle hiking poles: some will allow them as long as they’re under a certain length or weight while others may require you go through baggage claim before boarding if it’s too big to fit in an overhead bin.

Hikers who want to make sure their pole is within regulations can use packing tape to measure (make sure the end of the tape meets up). Alternatively, hikers could also buy one that folds down for easy travel.

We own and operate multiple camping and RV Trailer site. Its our passion to see the world thru camping and traveling. There is no bigger pleasure for us then to share with you our readers our experience in RV Travels and Camping.

Recent Content

If you have an RV then you need to stay in cool weather, free from humidity. However, that is not possible all the time. Humidity seems to be the greatest enemy for RVers. The dwellers of Costa Rica often notice mold growing in the Chaco sandals. Though we don’t live in an RV at that […]

Finding Best GPS for RV? One of the greatest causes of stress between the lovely couples is none other than navigation that travels or lives full time in an RV. Those who have traveled a distance with their partners in an RV know what might be the consequences if the slightest mistake occurs. With the advancement […]




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *