Can You Take Treking Poles Or Hiking Sticks On A Plane In Carry On Luggage? (TSA Rules)

So you are going on a walking vacation and want to bring your hiking poles, trekking poles, nordic walking sticks, or whatever you call them.

Flying with trekking poles is probably going to cost you a fee to bring checked luggage.

Let’s take a look at the regulations.

TSA Rules About Hiking Poles and Treking Poles

The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t allow anything that could be used as a weapon into the airplane cabin.

Here’s what they had to say about flying with hiking poles.

Bringing Hiking Or Trekking Poles In Carry-On Luggage

You are not permitted to bring hiking poles or trekking poles in carry-on bags. This ban includes retractable or extendable hiking poles.

The TSA officers on the ground have the final say about what gear isn’t allowed through security checkpoint.

However the rules are that all hiking sticks are prohibited from hand luggage.

Bringing Hiking Or Trekking Poles In Checked Luggage

You can pack your hiking poles in checked luggage.

Just be aware that there is a risk that checked luggage can be lost or delayed. There is also a small risk of theft.

Given that checked luggage usually involves a fee you might want to consider shipping your trekking poles to your destination.

Collapsible walking poles could form a small package and would probably cost less to forward to your hotel than paying for checked baggage.

Still Unsure? Ask The TSA About Your Hiking Sticks

You can ask the TSA directly about what you can and can’t bring into the airplane cabin.

Just show them a photo on Twitter by writing to @AskTSA and they’ll get back to you.

Brittany asked about bringing collapsible hiking poles in her carry-on bag.

The TSA told her that they’d need to be packed in checked luggage. Even collapsible hiking poles are not permitted in hand luggage.

Kate’s husband had tried to fly with fold up hiking poles. He had to surrender them at the security checkpoint.

Isn’t a hiking stick just a walking stick and are mobility aids like canes not allowed?

Well…

If you really use a walking stick as a mobility device you should be able to take it through the checkpoint. The problem is the TSA views hiking poles as sporting equipment rather than mobility aids.

Kathy uses a trekking pole as a mobility aid and the TSA told her that she should be able to take it through the security checkpoint.

The difference is that Kathy’s trekking pole was being used as a mobility aid and not hiking equipment. I know the difference is subtle. You can bring a walking stick if you need a walking stick to help you walk. You can’t just bring a walking stick or a cane without a medical need for a mobility aid.

This traveler thought if they had hiking poles without a sharp spike they might be permitted in hand luggage, but the TSA replied that “all hiking poles must be packed in checked bags”.

Jennifer wanted to bring Black Diamond hiking poles in her carry-on. Even when the tips are not sharp you could use these as a bludgeon. That’s why the TSA don’t want you bringing them onboard. It would hurt if someone whacked you on the head with a trekking pole.

The Verdict

You can’t take hiking poles on a plane in your carry-on bag. The TSA views these as a potential weapon and hence a security threat.

If you are bringing a checked suitcase then that’s where to pack your trekking poles.

If you’d rather fly with carry-on only then consider shipping your hiking sticks to your destination.

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