Can You Bring Hiking Poles On A Flight? We Have A Solution!

Hikers have it relatively easy. If we want to go hiking, we simply load our packs and go. Aside from good footwear and some basic clothing, we don’t require much. In fact, if we want to go on a hiking vacation and are efficient, we can pack everything we need in a single bag or backpack and carry it on the plane. Trying to transport trekking poles on a plane can be challenging.

Can You Bring Hiking Poles On A Flight? 

Trying to carry trekking poles on an aeroplane has been a challenge for hikers who fly since 9/11. Trekking poles appear to be prohibited, but they can fall into a grey 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.

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

The TSA claims Hiking poles, like golf clubs, are not permitted as carry-on baggage on planes. Additionally, any item that could be used as a weapon or has sharp edges will not be permitted on board the plane.  Just so you know, hiking poles used for mobility aids as walking sticks will be permitted through security and onboard most airlines.

Trekking poles used as mobility aids are allowed through the checkpoint and on board the plane, according to the TSA. Just make sure to place your trekking poles on the X-ray belt for screening. Allow TSA officers to inspect you and let them know if you need assistance with the screening process or if you need to be reunited with your trekking poles right away.

Here are two tips that have a pretty good chance of being successful.

Speak with TSA agents at your local airport

We spoke with airport officials at three different airports, and in each case, we were allowed to bring trekking poles on the plane in their assembled state. However, there are two caveats. For starters, small, rural airports near vacation destinations often allow items that larger urban airports do not. They’re used to seeing people with unusually shaped luggage and sporting equipment. Second, think about your itinerary. 

Just because your local airport allowed you to bring your poles on board doesn’t mean that security in another, the larger city will. Flying direct routes within your own country may be sufficient, but if you’re going to be switching flights within different cities or countries, you might run into some trouble.

Before storing your poles in your pack, disassemble them

So far, we’ve had good luck with this option. Simply separate the sections so your trekking poles resemble small tubes rather than a long collapsible units. It turns out that security personnel aren’t bothered by the pointed tip of the trekking pole. Rather, they want to make sure you don’t have anything hidden inside your poles. The takeaway: disassemble your poles for easy examination!

Can You Bring Hiking Poles On A Flight

It is ultimately up to TSA whether you can travel with your trekking poles as carry-on luggage. TSA has the following to say: The TSA officer makes the final decision on whether an item is permitted through the checkpoint. Hiking poles are permitted on an aeroplane as long as they are packed in checked luggage. Bringing hiking poles as a carry-on is expressly prohibited by TSA rules and regulations.

However, just because you can’t take them with you as a carry-on, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to take your hiking poles along with you

Hiking poles are essential equipment for any hiking trip. They are more than just hiking poles; they can also be used to build shelter, hang laundry, protect against wild animals, and even as a selfie stick. So, here are three ways to ensure that your hiking poles are always with you.

Mailing Them

If you only have carry-on luggage and the cost of shipping is less than the cost of purchasing or renting a pair at your destination, mailing your hiking poles may be the best option for you.

The disadvantages of this method include the difficulty in locating a suitable box, the time required to package and ship the poles, and the associated costs. However, you can almost always be certain that your hiking poles will arrive safely at their destination.

Renting or Buying Poles At Your Destination

Depending on your destination, buying a new pair of hiking poles upon arrival may be less expensive than having them shipped. In fact, if you’re going to a popular hiking destination, you might be able to rent hiking poles for a very reasonable price. The best thing to do is call a few sporting goods stores near your destination to find out what their policies and rates are for hiking poles. This may be more difficult for international travellers, so a Google search for hiking poles in your destination may be preferable in this case. 

Compare the cost of the poles to the cost of checking in your luggage for your flight. But be warned: your destination may be so far away that a store selling hiking poles sounds like a distant dream. With all of this hassle, you might decide it’s worth it to avoid all of the stress by simply paying to check your luggage. Remember that if you’re travelling with checked bags, you should probably just try to fit your hiking pole in there. But I understand that on a long trip, carrying on only is the most cost-effective option.

Packing Them into Your Checked Luggage

This is the simplest way to transport your hiking poles; simply check your bags in and forget about the hassle. The TSA expressly states that hiking poles are not permitted in carry-ons, so it’s either this or the other two methods mentioned previously. It is critical to pack hiking poles safely in checked baggage to reduce the risk of them breaking. I like to collapse or break them down and place them at an angle in the bag away from the sides, preferably surrounded by clothes for extra padding. Do not pack the poles so tightly into the bag that either end of the poles is pushing against the bag’s walls, otherwise, the chance of them shattering is quite high.

Packing Them into Your Checked Luggage

Travelling with Hiking Poles on Different Airlines

Most airlines’ sport equipment regulations do not include hiking or trekking poles, but they do include other similar sticks.

Can You Travel with Trekking Poles on Delta?

Hiking or trekking poles are permitted when properly packaged, in accordance with TSA regulations, and subject to the standard checked bag allowance, according to Delta.

Can You Travel with Trekking Poles on United Airlines?

On its website, United Airlines does not specify hiking or trekking poles. A duffel bag containing sporting equipment will be treated as a standard checked bag.

Can You Travel with Trekking Poles on American Airlines?

On its website, American Airlines does not mention hiking sticks.

Any sports item that is not specifically mentioned and is not prohibited will be subject to standard checked bag fees of up to 50 lbs / 23kgs and 126 in / 320 cm (oversize fees do not apply).

Can You Travel with Trekking Poles on Spirit Airlines?

Spirit Airlines does not specify hiking sticks on its website, but all Sports Equipment will be checked at no charge in substitution of one piece of each Passenger’s free Checked Baggage allowance on a one-item-for-one-bag basis. Excess weight and size charges may apply if the sporting equipment exceeds 50 pounds in weight or 62 inches in size (outside length plus height plus width).

Can You Travel with Trekking Poles on British Airways?

Umbrellas and walking sticks (excluding hiking poles) are permitted in either hand or checked baggage, according to British Airways.

What Type of Hiking Pole Can You Take on a Plane?

Most airlines allow you to bring hiking sticks that are no longer than 22 inches long and no heavier than 2 pounds on board. There are a few different types of hiking sticks that meet these requirements. As a result, it’s critical to understand which type is best for you.

Telescoping hiking sticks are one option. These sticks can be collapsed to a small size for packing and extended when needed.

Hiking Poles Outside the US

The airline industry is complicated and ever-changing. Regulations on what can and cannot be brought on board an aeroplane differ depending on the airline, destination, and even the time of year. Most importantly, the passengers and crew’s safety is always the top priority. Keeping this in mind, some items, such as knives or firearms, are typically not permitted on planes. Another item that causes confusion among passengers is hiking sticks on aeroplanes.

So, can you bring trekking poles on a plane?

The answer is, Well, it depends on the situation. 

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