Does TSA Allow Hiking Poles?
Whether you’re a frequent flier or you’re new to air travel, packing some of the basic camping and backpacking necessities in your carry on and checked bags can be a problem. Certain items, such as fuel canisters are a no-go in both carry on and checked luggage, but for other vital pieces of camping gear, the rules may seem a little fuzzy.
One of the most common concerns people have when flying with their camping gear concerns their hiking poles. Although hiking poles aren’t inherently dangerous items, they are a tricky object to pack for air travel because of their shape and pointy tip.
So, the question remains: Does TSA allow hiking poles? The TSA does not allow you to bring hiking poles in your carry on luggage. The TSA in the United States explicitly states this in their posted rules and regulations for carry on luggage. Although, they are allowed in checked luggage.
While this may be disappointing news to some of you, we’re still here to help. Coming up, we’ll walk you through the basics of traveling with your hiking poles on your next flight so you never have to be without them on the trail.
You can read TSA’s specific reference to hiking poles here.
How can I bring my hiking poles in a carry on?
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that you are simply not allowed to bring your trekking poles on a flight in your carry on baggage. TSA offers an easy-to-use website where you can check out what things you can bring on your journey and you can search for different items at this link. As you’ll see, however, trekking poles are a no-go.
Of course, if you need your trekking poles for general mobility on a daily basis, they are allowed, though they need to be collapsible and able to fit into an overhead bin. Recreational-use trekking poles are just not allowed in carry-on baggage.
As you can imagine, some people have tried to trick TSA into thinking that they need their hiking poles for mobility issues when they’re really just for recreation. Often times, however, people with mobility issues must request wheelchair service to get through security with a mobility aid, such as a cane or walking stick.
So, not only is lying about a mobility issue ethically dubious, it’s a bit more involved than just telling the TSA officer that you need your trekking poles for getting around the airport.
Carry On Baggage Rules Outside of the United States
If you did a survey of 1,000 hikers that have traveled by air with their trekking poles, we’re sure you’d find some that have gotten through the security checkpoint with their hiking poles still in their carry-on bag. Ultimately, the decision to allow or deny a particular item at a TSA checkpoint lies solely with the TSA officers on duty at the time.
While some TSA officers might allow hiking poles to pass (and we’re sure you can find some hikers that are willing to bore you with anecdotes about all the times they’ve brought their hiking poles along in their carry on), we wouldn’t bet on it. Sure, you might get lucky, but if not, you might have to go check your bag, or, worse, have your poles confiscated.
When it comes to traveling in different countries, we can’t speak to the particulars of every airport in the world. Generally speaking, international airports around the world follow fairly similar security standards, especially if they have flights into the US, Canada, and the European Union as there are particular laws they need to enforce.
However, some domestic airports in countries outside North America and Europe may have more relaxed rules, so you might get lucky. Our advice? Do a quick google search and see what you can find about security requirements in your destination.
You just might get lucky and be allowed to take your trekking poles in your carry on bag, but do keep in mind that if your travel originates in the US, you will need to check your hiking poles anyway.
Does it matter if my hiking poles are collapsible or telescopic?
Unfortunately, it really doesn’t matter if your trekking poles are collapsible or telescopic as they’re just not allowed through the TSA checkpoint in your carry on bag. If you need your trekking poles for general mobility, however, you might find that it’s easier to pack them in the overhead bin if you have collapsible poles, which tend to pack down into a smaller size and might be more convenient.
Does TSA pre-check allow hiking poles?
It’s a common misconception that people with TSA pre-check can bring items in their carry on that other folks aren’t allowed to. Not only would this set a very odd double standard for security, it’s just not the case.
In reality, the only thing that TSA pre-check does is allow known and trusted travelers to have a more efficient security check process. If you have TSA pre-check, you can keep your shoes on at the security checkpoint and you don’t need to take off your jacket, or unpack your liquids and electronics from your bag. That’s basically it.
So, no, unfortunately, getting TSA pre-check doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to put your hiking poles in your carry on bag. It just means you’ll likely experience less of a wait and less hassle at the security checkpoint.
How to pack trekking poles for a flight
Okay, at this point, you might be wondering how you should pack your trekking poles into your checked bag for your flight. Although hiking poles are designed to bear the weight of an adult human while on a trail, they are surprisingly easy to bend and can easily get damaged if not packed properly.
Generally speaking, the best way to packing trekking poles for a flight is to…
- Line them along the long edge of your duffle bag with both points facing one way. This way, the trekking poles provide your duffle with a bit of rigidity and are less likely to break in transit.
- If you’re afraid that the points of your trekking poles might damage your other belongings or your duffle bag, you can always wrap them up in a thick wool sock or make a small tip protector out of an old piece of foam sleeping pad.
- Once you line up the trekking poles properly, you’ll want to pad them with some of your soft goods, like puffy jackets, to prevent them from bending as your duffle is thrown around at the airport.
Other than this, there’s not much you need to do to protect your trekking poles in flight.
Alternatives to packing hiking poles
If you’re really not keen to check a bag for your next backpacking trip, there are other ways to make sure you have trekking poles with you when you’re in the backcountry. Perhaps the best alternative to packing trekking poles is to rent a pair from a local gear shop.
Since you’ll likely have to go to some sort of outdoor store to get fuel for your stove, you’ll likely be able to find a pair of trekking poles for rent. This way, you don’t have to check a bag, but you still get to have hiking poles on your adventures.
Of course, we’d do some research and call ahead to (a) ensure that the shop has poles available for rent and (b) that the cost of rental won’t exceed the cost of checking a bag. If it does, you might as well just check the bag and save yourself the hassle.
Can You Take Hiking Poles On A Plane: Well, It Depends
When it comes to air travel, issues concerning what you may and cannot bring onto the airplane always arise. This is especially true when it comes to hiking equipment. Not all of it is regarded as travel-friendly.
Occasionally, hiking tools deemed harmful by a security clearing agent have been discarded, left behind, or even confiscated. That being said, you may wonder if you can carry your hiking poles on a plane. This post will cover all you need to know about flying with hiking poles: Can you take hiking poles on a plane?
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Are Hiking Poles Allowed on an Airplane?
So, if you’re planning a vacation to a well-known hiking destination and want to bring your hiking poles on the aircraft with you, you may have heard unsavory stories about confiscated items at the airports.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a department of the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with ensuring the safety of the traveling public in the United States. This agency is responsible for your safety while flying. As a result, they do not want travelers carrying equipment/tools that could be dangerous to other travelers.
TSA established guidelines about what should be carried on board, what should be stored in the plane’s cargo hold, and what should be kept out of the plane entirely.
Let’s check out what they say about hiking poles.
TSA Rules About Hiking Poles
The Transportation Security Administration regulations ban the carriage of any device or item capable of being used as a weapon.
Here’s the TSA’s position on flying with hiking poles:
1. Bringing Hiking Poles in Carry-On Luggage
Carry-on baggage is not allowed to contain hiking poles. Collapsible or extensible hiking sticks are also prohibited.
Ultimately, the decision on what gear is allowed or not allowed at a security checkpoint rests with the TSA employees on site. However, the rules clearly state that hiking poles should not be part of any carry-ons.
2. Bringing Hiking Poles in Checked Luggage
Hiking poles can be packed as checked luggage. Many airlines allow this but may impose an additional fee for checked baggage.
Naturally, you should be aware that checked luggage is subject to being lost or misplaced. Additionally, there is a slight chance of theft.
Why Are Hiking Poles Not Allowed in the Flight Cabin?
Any device that could be used as a weapon or has sharp edges will be prohibited from being brought onboard the airline.
These include pole objects comparable to baseball bats, snow poles, hockey sticks, and other similarly shaped tools. Due to their potential for use against someone onboard the plane, they are prohibited and will be confiscated if brought through on carry-on unless medically necessary.
Due to their resemblance to a baton in size and design, hiking poles could be considered a weapon. Many hiking poles are equipped with a sharp metal point hidden beneath the plastic cap. The TSA’s official listing for hiking poles can be found here.
Positions of Various Airlines on Traveling with Hiking Poles
The sporting equipment requirements of most airlines do not specifically mention hiking poles, although they do include other similar sticks. If you are unsure, simply contact the airline with which you intend to travel.
It is preferable to arrive at the airport informed than to have your belongings returned or confiscated. Here are some of the airlines and their policies regarding the transportation of hiking poles.
1. American Airlines
American Airlines’ website makes no mention of hiking tools. Any sporting item that is not explicitly stated and is not forbidden will be subject to standard checked luggage fees.
In addition to your regular checked baggage allowance, American Airlines allows you to check wheelchairs, braces, and other mobility devices. You can check your hiking pole if you use it as a mobility device.
2. British Airways
British Airways has a firm stance on hiking poles. According to British Airways, umbrellas and walking sticks (but not hiking poles) are allowed in hand or checked baggage.
3. Delta Airlines
Hiking poles are listed as potentially hazardous commodities by Delta Airlines but not as “dangerous goods.” As a result, hiking poles are permitted as long as they are properly wrapped, following TSA regulations, and are subject to the usual carry-on and checked bag allowances.
4. Spirit Airlines
Hiking poles are not mentioned on Spirit Airlines’ website. Except for golf clubs, toy bats, ski poles, hockey sticks, and lacrosse sticks, Spirit Airlines maintains the same attitude as TSA on most products. Spirit Airlines even provides a link on its website to the TSA’s list of permitted and prohibited items.
5. United Airlines
On its website, United Airlines does not mention hiking poles. This airline allows you to check sporting equipment as long as you put it in appropriate containers that are within the size and weight constraints of your checked baggage allowance.
Alternatives for Transporting Your Hiking Poles
Depending on your level of adventure, hiking poles are a must-have for a meaningful hiking experience. They are not simply for hiking; they may be used to build shelters, hang washing, and provide protection from dangerous animals. These poles can also be used as a makeshift selfie stick.
Here are some other methods for ensuring that your hiking poles are available when you get to your destination.
1. Break Your Hiking Poles Down before Packing Them into Your Hand Luggage
Remove the pole sections and tips. Cover any pointy tips with tip guards. Make your hiking poles as inconspicuous as possible.
While it’s improbable, carefully packing separated hiking pole sections as hand luggage may pass TSA scrutiny and allow you to travel with a hiking pole in your carry-on. You should be aware that this is a potentially risky alternative because the TSA’s position on hiking poles is well known.
2. Mail Them to Your Hiking Destination
If you’ve chosen to travel lightly (with only carry-on luggage), you can have your hiking poles delivered to your hiking location ahead of time. But be aware that mailing them may be more cost-effective than purchasing new hiking poles at your location.
Additionally, you must mail the poles on time (depending on the service) to ensure they arrive on time. All that remains is for you to take it up. You can even send them on your return trip if necessary.
The downsides of this technique include the difficulty in selecting an appropriate box, the time required to package and ship the poles, and the accompanying costs. However, you can almost always be assured that your hiking poles will reach their destination securely.
3. Buy or Rent New Hiking Poles Upon Arrival
In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to acquire a new pair of hiking poles at your destination rather than having them shipped to. You may rent hiking poles at a very low price if you’re visiting a popular hiking destination.
However, remember that your destination may be so distant that a store selling hiking poles sounds like a far-fetched fantasy. With all of this effort, you may decide that it’s worth it to forego the stress and simply pay to check your luggage.
Conclusion: Can You Take Hiking Poles on a Plane?
Hiking poles are not permitted to be carried on a plane in a carry-on bag. The TSA considers them to be potential weapons, posing a security risk.
If you prefer to travel with only a carry-on, consider delivering your hiking poles to your location. Otherwise, you can travel with your hiking poles in checked luggage if the airline permits.
My name is Thomas, and I love the outdoors. I’m currently living in Germany and I would like to encourage my readers to go outside with this blog. Here you can read more about me.
Can You Bring Trekking Poles On a Plane 2022?
So can you bring trekking poles on a plane? and how do you travel with hiking poles?
Ready for Some Exciting tours and Got your Hiking Stick ready? But still wonder if your hiking stick can fly with you and what are TSA and Airlines regulation about traveling with Trekking Poles?
According to TSA, hiking poles or trekking poles are not allowed in your carry on baggage, but you can take them in your checked baggage without any issues or limits.
Keep reading to know what are TSA and airlines regulations when Bringing trekking poles On A Plane and some Tricks to take your poles on board.
we may receive a small commission (with no additional cost to you) if you purchase an item from the links in this page, we really appreciate it!
Can I Take Walking / Trekking Poles On a Flight? TSA Regulations
According to TSA Just like Golf clubs, hiking poles are not allowed on planes as carry on baggage.
And any item that can be potentially used as a weapon or has sharp edges will not be allowed on board the plane.
Just to know hiking poles that are used for mobility aids as walking sticks will be allowed through the security checkpoint and on board the airplane on most airlines.
So How do you fly with trekking poles if they are not allowed in carry on ?
Hiking sticks are allowed only in checked baggage,Some airlines may charge for checked baggage and the cost of transporting gear maybe a bit excessive and the option of shipping your gear may be an ideal choice.
If you are traveling with only Retractable sticks you may consider placing them inside your checked bag and protect them with your items, that may help avoid any overweight or additional baggage fees.
Exceptions for Taking trekking poles as Carry on
According to TSA Trekking poles used as mobility aids are allowed through the checkpoint and on board the plane , Just make sure to place you trekking poles on the X-ray belt for screening.
let TSA officers do the the inspection and let them know if you need help through the screening process and if you need to be immediately reunited with your trekking poles.
Tricks when traveling with Trekking poles
If you are traveling with trekking poles like this one on Amazon you can take apart all the pieces so they look like small tubes rather than a long and pointy stick.
If the TSA agent notice that it is a hiking poles you may need to act politely and talk with him kindly, they may make some exceptions especially in small airports.
TSA are worried only about the sharp point that the stick have and what inside the tubes.
However sometimes it’s preferable just to check in your Hiking poles rather than taking the risk so they will be subject for gate check in and possibly additional fees.
TSA have the right to ban any items that are considered as danger or may threaten the safety of the airplane and passengers.
Traveling with Sticks in Different Airlines
Most Airlines do not specify hiking poles or trekking poles on its sport equipment regulations, but they include other similar sticks.