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Foldable hiking poles in carry-on baggage

ashmarimac

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2012)
Portugues - Valenca to Santiago (2019)
Hi all,

Has anyone had luck bringing foldable hiking poles onto a plane in your carry on? I'm not doing checked baggage but refuse to do the walk without them.

Option #2 would be to buy some once we're on the ground in Spain. We're flying into Santiago then taking the bus to Sarria to start our walk. Does anyone know if the Decathlon in Santiago sells poles? I don't remember seeing them last time I was in that particular location, however I know there's one not far from Monte de Gozo...

Many thanks!
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
If you use the search facility and look for "poles" and "carry-on" or "cabin" you will find that this topic has been covered many times already at some length. A lot depends on where you are flying from and the security level on the day and the attitude of security staff. If they are vital to you then I personally would not gamble on getting them past airport security. Decathlon do indeed sell poles. I walked 300+km of the Mozarabe very happily with a pair bought in Malaga for under 10 euro.
 

DanielH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 (SJPP to Burgos)
September 2016 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
May 2017 (Villafranca del Bierzo to Santiago de Compostela)
Hi all,

Has anyone had luck bringing foldable hiking poles onto a plane in your carry on? I'm not doing checked baggage but refuse to do the walk without them.

Option #2 would be to buy some once we're on the ground in Spain. We're flying into Santiago then taking the bus to Sarria to start our walk. Does anyone know if the Decathlon in Santiago sells poles? I don't remember seeing them last time I was in that particular location, however I know there's one not far from Monte de Gozo...

Many thanks!
I was allowed to carry them on in the U.S. When I arrived in Spain for my connecting flight, I had to go back through security. They are not allowed as carry ons. My option was to go back in the check them as baggage or give them up. I didn't have enough time, so I left them there.
 

steve 217

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances planning via del la plata
Ive taken them in my bag as carry on both flying into and out of Spain but im always anxious as to whether they will be accepted . I am always prepared to have to go back and check them in if needs be . Looking back on this post not sure thatt helps, sorry
 

Ian @ Camino Ramblings

Camino Rambler - CaminoRamblings.com
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés - Sept 17 & July 18
Skikoku 88 Mar 19
Camino Portuge May 19
Camino Ingles Sept 19
Hi - I travel cabin baggage only and either post my poles to the first nights accom’ ( with their permission ) or have amazon deliver new ones there - works well enough .
Xxx
Ian
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
I have carried my poles, folded in my pack with rubber tips, on every flight since 2010. I have never been questioned either on the outbound flights from the U.S. or transferring...usually in Frankfurt.
I have had my pack inspected due to some other object and had the TSA agent remove the poles along with other items. They were just put back in with no interest.
I know several others with the exact experience.
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
I have carried my poles, folded in my pack with rubber tips, on every flight since 2010. I have never been questioned either on the outbound flights from the U.S. or transferring...usually in Frankfurt.
I have had my pack inspected due to some other object and had the TSA agent remove the poles along with other items. They were just put back in with no interest.
I know several others with the exact experience.

have these foldable poles got carbon tips or spikes underneath the rubber tips? If so , then the rules are clear, they are not allowed as cabin baggage. I am from Northern Ireland, and ex forces. I do not take security lightly. I am appalled at any airline that condones this and would have no hesitation whatsoever in reporting this and the person concerned to the authorities. Airlines flying from Santiago e.g IBERIA will allow you to check poles for free on return from Santiago.
The safety of fellow travellers on airlines is of more importance than the inconvenience of a "pilgrim".
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
have these foldable poles got carbon tips or spikes underneath the rubber tips? If so , then the rules are clear, they are not allowed as cabin baggage. I am from Northern Ireland, and ex forces. I do not take security lightly. I am appalled at any airline that condones this and would have no hesitation whatsoever in reporting this and the person concerned to the authorities. Airlines flying from Santiago e.g IBERIA will allow you to check poles for free on return from Santiago.
The safety of fellow travellers on airlines is of more importance than the inconvenience of a "pilgrim"..

The Malingerer.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Getting them TO Spain is usually no problem.
Getting them onto a plane in Santiago or Madrid is OFTEN a problem.
Joe had his good Leki poles confiscated.
He was not happy.
Since then, we either check our poles or just pick up poles in Spain.
It's not worth the worry and the hastle.
 

Hugh Larkin

Perpetual Wanderer
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Sanabria 2018
Pieterpad 2018
Kumano Kodo (202??)
Leaving Santiago, I had to give up my folding cane that I had stuck in my backpack to keep all my gear together as it went through x-ray or make the time-consuming walk back to the ticket/check-in counter, this despite my wearing knee braces and explaining my need to carry it on. There was a trash can that already held at least 6 other sticks and a cane.
 
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Juspassinthrough

in our minds, we're vagabonds, you and I
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Inglés 2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Camino Aragonés (2023?)
The two times I tried to carry on my tri-fold poles in the U.S., I was busted by TSA, once at DFW another time at JFK. If some are getting through, it’s luck of the draw it seems. While I don’t check my pack, I do check a bright orange bag designed for shoes that my poles and knife go in. Losing them would be inconvenient but nothing I couldn’t survive. If you have the time, I’d plan on checking them at least that way you’ve done what you can to prepare (bright orange bag) instead of having to scramble at the airport. Risk is involved in either choice. Good luck!

BTW, when I checked in for my flight back home (SCQ-MAD-JFK), the Iberia Agent thought it was a great idea. If you’re interested, everything arrived.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I think you will never know especially because of the inconsistency that you encounter with the security people everywhere. I never check my pack because I fear it may be lost. I have put my poles in a box and checked them and if they are there when I arrive they are there. If not no worries.
Now I buy a cheap pocket knife and cheap poles when I arrive. I have bought 5 euro pocket knives and 25 euro poles and they have been more than adequate for my caminos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2009), Camino Frances (2012), Via de la Plata (2013) and Camino del Norte planned for May, 2015
It does depend on the Transport Safety and Security regulations in the country of origin. Canada, for example, does not permit walking poles in carry-on luggage. If someone has succeeded, they 'got lucky'. It is a lottery and personally, I could do without the stress of an extra uncertainty. That being said, it is never my problem anyway, because I check in the pack asasp. I would rather wander around an airport with a three-year old hanging off each arm than lug the mochila around🙃
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Canada, for example, does not permit walking poles in carry-on luggage.
Canada's policies and practices are very similar to most other countries. They are no clearer or more consistent than others.
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
Via Francigena 2019
I unscrew the metal tips from my Carbon Z poles and store them in one of the small plastic containers airlines give you ear plugs in .
The risk of confiscation is always there but it seems not having sharp tips makes them far less of a worry to security officers. So far they have travelled with me to Spain, France , Italy and Malta on domestic flights and international flights from Australia.
 

easygoing

Camino Sharon
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino Francis 7 times, twice in 2017 and 2018. (2019)
I have never had any trouble with my carbon-fiber poles in my carry-on in the United States or other parts of Europe. EXCEPT Santiago. They will not let poles be in your carry-on even if they look at them but they offer free checking. So I had to go back and do that. On a side note we changed planes in Dublin and a woman walked on carrying her hiking poles. Go figure! Now we always carry a small duffel and check our poles but the problem with this system it encourages me to buy more things to fill the bag to pad the poles. It's either a win-win or a no-win situation. 😱☹😁
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have had both good luck and bad luck bringing collapsed poles in my carryon. I now just buy cheapies after I arrive in Spain.
Since you are starting in Santiago you should have no problem buying "used" poles or possibly even a free pair since it is a "dumping ground" for poles end of camino. Possibly @SYates will reply to this thread or send her a PM. She may be able to direct you with some help in acquiring poles....in fact, you can have the pair I left there last May! 😛
 
Last edited:

Island

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2019
Pilgrims' Way 2020
Via Francigena 2020
California Mission Trail 2020
Search box is your friend here, as you'll find me saying on 3-4 posts that mine were confiscated by TSA. YMMV
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2009), Camino Frances (2012), Via de la Plata (2013) and Camino del Norte planned for May, 2015
Canada's policies and practices are very similar to most other countries. They are no clearer or more consistent than others.
CTSA list of prohibited items includes hiking poles in carry-on luggage. I wouldn't be prepared to test the system.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
CTSA list of prohibited items includes hiking poles in carry-on luggage. I wouldn't be prepared to test the system.
Yes, similar to other countries. We have had extensive discussion 😣 of the laws, the information messaging, airline policies, definition of "hiking poles" and local interpretation of policies and regulations. The only conclusions are that practice is inconsistent except for departures out of Santiago airport (not allowed). Any other statements will result in argument.

I agree that one should always be prepared to have the poles refused.
 

MisterH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018 neither successful
I checked mine, airline "lost" them, bought new ones in Saint Jean. Poles were found and returned to my home before I returned.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago, Sept/Oct 2012
Le Puy to Roncesvalles, Oct/Nov 2014
I think you will never know especially because of the inconsistency that you encounter with the security people everywhere. I never check my pack because I fear it may be lost. I have put my poles in a box and checked them and if they are there when I arrive they are there. If not no worries.
Now I buy a cheap pocket knife and cheap poles when I arrive. I have bought 5 euro pocket knives and 25 euro poles and they have been more than adequate for my caminos.
It's true that so much depends on the airport and the people on guard. Your mention of pocket knives reminds me of checking in at the Pamplona airport and realizing that I had forgotten that my small Swiss Army knife was in my pants pocket. In the past, I had forfeited one or two such knives in North American airports, and i wasn’t at all happy at the prospect of losing another, but it was too late to put it in my backpack, which was already checked through to Madrid and on to London. The gate agent advised me to speak with security officers and pointed me in their direction. I could see two officers in the security office, but couldn’t get their attention from the public area, so I walked past the “No entry beyond this point” sign and into their “Security personnel only” cubicle. I held out the knife and in my poor Spanish asked if it would okay to take it on board. To my surprise, one of them picked up the knife, opened the dinky blade and pretended to saw his partner’s head off! Uproarious laughter all around. Needless to say, I walked onto the plane with the handy little knife in my pocket, and I still have it today.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
To my surprise, one of them picked up the knife, opened the dinky blade and pretended to saw his partner’s head off! Uproarious laughter all around.
Hilarious! Too bad my plastic fast food knife with a round tip was taken away from me and confiscated at security. I had planned to use it to cut loaves of bread in half for my bocadilla sandwiches.😛
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
It's true that so much depends on the airport and the people on guard. Your mention of pocket knives reminds me of checking in at the Pamplona airport and realizing that I had forgotten that my small Swiss Army knife was in my pants pocket. In the past, I had forfeited one or two such knives in North American airports, and i wasn’t at all happy at the prospect of losing another, but it was too late to put it in my backpack, which was already checked through to Madrid and on to London. The gate agent advised me to speak with security officers and pointed me in their direction. I could see two officers in the security office, but couldn’t get their attention from the public area, so I walked past the “No entry beyond this point” sign and into their “Security personnel only” cubicle. I held out the knife and in my poor Spanish asked if it would okay to take it on board. To my surprise, one of them picked up the knife, opened the dinky blade and pretended to saw his partner’s head off! Uproarious laughter all around. Needless to say, I walked onto the plane with the handy little knife in my pocket, and I still have it today.
Gotta love that!
 
Hilarious! Too bad my plastic fast food knife with a round tip was taken away from me and confiscated at security. I had planned to use it to cut loaves of bread in half for my bocadilla sandwiches.😛
I used the plastic knife fork and spoon from the airplane meal going over as my cutlery for the whole camino. With the reduction in single use plastics, I wonder if airplane meals will start using bamboo cutlery or another substance.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I used the plastic knife fork and spoon from the airplane meal going over as my cutlery for the whole camino. With the reduction in single use plastics, I wonder if airplane meals will start using bamboo cutlery or another substance.
I actually kept them from my last flight on another trip and plan to do the same thing as you... try to bring them in April to my next camino. They are very nice quality.
 

GingerHaddad

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2018)
Hi all,

Has anyone had luck bringing foldable hiking poles onto a plane in your carry on? I'm not doing checked baggage but refuse to do the walk without them.

Option #2 would be to buy some once we're on the ground in Spain. We're flying into Santiago then taking the bus to Sarria to start our walk. Does anyone know if the Decathlon in Santiago sells poles? I don't remember seeing them last time I was in that particular location, however I know there's one not far from Monte de Gozo...

Many thanks!
Lost my folding poles at Madrid airport security on way back to US. I had checked them on the way over, but was running so late for my US flight I couldn’t take time to check them. They are not expensive in SJPP, you just won’t have a chance to get used to that particular pair. Buen Camino
 

mla1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2000); Ch St. Giles (2013); Le Puy to SJPP (May/June 2015); vdlp 2016
I just came back from a walking trip in the UK. Carried my z-poles in my pack on the way over, as I always do (I usually fly from Toronto or from Kingston in Canada). Yesterday on the way home, I checked my bag at Heathrow. While going through security in Heathrow I asked three different security officers whether folding walking poles would be allowed in hand luggage. They all asked: are they sharp? I said, no, they have rubber tips. And all three people told me they would be fine. There are, of course, hundreds of security people who work at Heathrow. And they might not all have the same views. But yesterday, it seems, walking poles would have been fine!
 


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