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?

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.

Last Update: 21. April 2022
About the Author

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.