I'll be going on a hiking trip soon. The backpack is small and I'm going to keep it with me as a carry on. The hiking poles telescope down, but still stick out of the bag. Plus I've read hiking poles aren't allowed in carry on. Anyone have ideas on how to check hiking poles by themselves...would a garbage bag suffice?
If you don't mind hauling it around at the other end (or discarding and looking for another when its time to go home) maybe a cardboard or plastic tube of the type used for transporting blueprints and art (any art store should carry the type shown below). Some of them might be useful transporting other stuff with a backpack so it wouldn't be totally wasted.
Or you could pack it in bubble wrap with a sturdy wood dowel or two to keep it from being bent. My biggest worry with expensive hiking poles is that they might end up all bent out of shape and unable to telescope out (or buckled and completely ruined). If they're just bent a bit you can always straighten them.
Personally I would package them tightly together using generous amounts of bubble-wrap and heavy-duty scotch tape. The more bubble-wrap the better. This way the sharp edges of the poles will be safely contained, and the package together will be bulky enough as to reduce the chances of damaging it (bending the poles) if weight is applied on it.
You can actually dismantle many of the telescoping poles and when you do, they are even shorter than when telescoped up. Be sure to try this at the shop (or at home) before you travel so that you know what to expect (some have fiddly bits that come out when you unscrew them).