Trekking Poles

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by Natch, May 8, 2017.

  1. Natch

    Natch Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    156
    I need help picking out a set of trekking poles, but my main question is would they help someone with back and knee issues? Would they be beneficial on shorter hikes or just 5 miles plus? I'm recovering from some injuries and thought about picking up a pair if they would help me this summer. Most of the hikes I do here in northern Utah are in canyons, so mostly up or downhill.
     
    Red Wing likes this.
  2. Redbearcat7

    Redbearcat7 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    Southeast Ohio
    I have had both hips replaced. So, sometimes I don't pick up my feet like I use to. It's not that I have to support myself all the time when on uneven ground, but I feel more secure having a third support, and I can lean on the pole instead of sitting for a little rest. Been thinking about using two when I carry a heavier pack.
     
    Natch and OldSoul like this.
  3. OldSoul

    OldSoul Hobbyist Hobbyist Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    584
    Location:
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I have a bum left knee, and I haven't looked back after switching from a hiking staff to some carbon fiber poles. From peace of mind in case it gives out and I can catch myself, to a decrease in force applied with every step, i recommend giving them a try. Maybe someone you know can loan you some to try before you thow down money?
     
    Natch and Red Wing like this.
  4. City Bushcrafter

    City Bushcrafter BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    306
    Likes Received:
    1,432
    Location:
    East of the Everglades
    I found them beneficial at any distance when carrying weight and going up and down mountains. They help take pressure off your knees going up, and even more going down! The only brand I've used is Leki.
     
    tabasco_joe and Natch like this.
  5. JGB

    JGB Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    So Cal
    Definately help all around IMO. Try the Cascade Mountain Techs (Amazon/Costco) for around $40 before you dump a bunch of money into a set, they're plenty light and tough.
     
    Natch and Red Wing like this.
  6. trailhermit

    trailhermit Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2015
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    548
    Location:
    Mississippi
    They are a huge help. I use them walking in town sometimes. I have light carbon fiber type, but i've used super inexpensive ones also. Light ones are great to avoid eating cobwebs on the trail. Yet they are strong enough to still be supportive. Just try some out (different grips) in the store or order a pair and hit the trail. I doubt you will regret it.
     
    Red Wing likes this.
  7. 66drifter

    66drifter Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Messages:
    604
    Likes Received:
    521
    Location:
    between Ft Worth & the RED RIVER
    hey Natch, if you have this plant in your area you could make your own set of trekking poles for $00.00

    [​IMG]

    as you can see in the pic the annual flower stems can be reasonably straight once the flowers & seed pods have run their course

    once the flowers die and seed pods bust open the stem can simply be broken off the plant and used as a staff/pole

    many areas will have several stems laying about on the ground where the plants are numerous

    remove the tiny branches, cut shoulder tall, scrape the stem longitudinally w/ a wire brush to remove any scale, lightly sand w/ medium grit paper, finish w/ tongue oil, varnish or witches brew if you like, wrap the handle area to your liking,and finally drill a hole at the top for your thong

    make your handle area at elbow level and your thong long enough to use it like you would use the straps on ski poles

    [​IMG]

    this pic is using a plain staff w/ a simple cordage thong for clarity

    if you wrap the poles w/ good cordage finished off like you would if whipping the end of a rope you will have extra cordage for emergency issues

    set your thong and wraps so your fore arm is level with the ground for optimum advantage

    having the poles shoulder high allows use as a balance tool for crossing logs/rocks over streams etc...

    having the thong hole at the top and holding as pictured will reduce the force required to hold the poles

    of course you can use ANY AVAILABLE stick/limb to achieve this end result, the lighter/stronger the better

    i like the cactus flower stems because they are light in weight and very strong, knot 2 mention FREE ;-)
     
  8. Vydor

    Vydor Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2017
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    383
    Location:
    Arizona
    Trekking poles are an all around good item to have as a hiker or backpacker. They are multifunctional. They help tremendously on taking pressure off the joints in your legs, if you use them correctly. I never go on a trip without mine.
     
    Natch and Red Wing like this.
  9. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,440
    Likes Received:
    2,126
    Location:
    Western NY
    Even without your injuries, trekking poles are very beneficial for all sorts of reasons. Definitely get a pair and not just one. Short hikes with a day pack or multi day with a full load out, they are great. They add lots of stability and support on both inclines and declines. As another said, if you need a short rest you can lean on them rather than sit and have to pick a ourself back up. Can get larger baskets for snow and they'll work great with snowshoes in winter.

    Also super useful around camp - when combined with your tarp they add all sorts of pitch options. I like using them to set up a "porch" on one side when pitching as an a-frame over my hammock. I bring them even if car camping for this reason.

    Mine are Leki something or others with the quick lock mechanism. I prefer the locks over the twist style for adjustment.

    A couple of old ski poles will even work if you have an old pair lying around.
     
    Bobsdock, Sandcut, Fretful7 and 2 others like this.
  10. hdlv

    hdlv Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2015
    Messages:
    792
    Likes Received:
    1,477
    Location:
    New York
    They help massively with knee issues, especially if you are carrying any sort of weight. I use mine not just for hiking but also for setting up my tarp. I use black diamonds, I know Lekis are good but Walmart also make some decent cheap ones as well.

    Edit: forgot to mentioned they've saved me from falling flat on my face a number of times. HA!
     
    Natch and Red Wing like this.
  11. Whispering Pine

    Whispering Pine Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Whitetop, Va
    Trekking poles would be a great thing to have whether doing an all day hike or out and about for 30 minutes. Even for me as a 19 year old, I have found them to reduce fatigue, give stability, mantain a faster pace, and actually increase my enjoyment of hiking. I think it would be of great benefit to you in aiding your recovery and in reducing any discomfort. Especially, since you mentioned climbing up and down I think it would really be a no brainer. I really like my Kelty Range 2.0 poles. They are cheap, dependable, and I have literally ran them over twice. Obviously, I had to do some work on them, but I still use them to this day.
     
    Natch likes this.
  12. Keithturkjr

    Keithturkjr Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Alabama
    I didn't use trekking poles until about 2 years ago, and wish I'd tried them sooner. I tried hiking sticks when I was a boy and I guess my hiking stick was too big, because my experience with that was that it was nifty for a few minutes and them it was just another thing to carry. But comfortable lightweight trekking poles are a totally different experience. I got introduced to trekking poles because my mom bought them for my wife, so technically I have trekking poles when she isn't on the trip lol.
    Here's how they work for me:
    They take the weight of your arms off your leg muscles, in addition to allowing you to use your arm muscles to help your leg muscles when your need a little extra output like stepping up or balancing. Maybe its lazy? But that kinda depends on how far you go then right? Plus I can use them with my tarp.

    Anyway, I've only used the cheapo walmart ones so I'm not the gear expert. I've thought about upgrading to a set of lekis but then I think about keeping the money in my pocket and so far having the money is winning.

    The walmart ones work. I know they aren't the greatest trekking poles because they are a pain to adjust, and the pieces pop out on a daily basis, but they do work and the pieces never pop out when I'm hiking.

    As for more expensive poles I can only tell what I have heard.
    -Leki: I've heard from multiple sources that Leki has an excellent warranty. I've heard about them going above and beyond with their warranty. Leki is pretty expensive though. I will probably buy these myself eventually, but only because I have tried cheaper poles and know I'll like them.
    -Black diamond: These guys tend to make some pretty top notch back country gear. And their trekking poles look similar to lekis, and I've heard a couple good things about them. I have heard a thru-hiker on you-tube bitching about black diamonds lack of field support and explaining why he switched to Leki. I think that guy was using his poles really hard and got mad when the company he bought them from wasn't furnishing him with free new tips and shafts and stuff more than because they weren't initially a decent product.
    -Kelty: My el cheapo walmart poles are reverse engineered to compete against these poles. I haven't tried these kelty poles, so I can't really say. A lot of times in life you get what you pay for, but not always. My walmart poles work. But like I said I haven't owned those kelty poles and they might hold up better than the outdoor products (walmart) poles I currently use, they might feel more rugged on the trail, dunno.
    I do know that I personally don't like the spinning friction lock on the outdoor products poles and when I eventually "buy my wife" a set of Lekis their fast easy adjusting lever locking adjustment mechanism is going to be a big part of why.
     
  13. Natch

    Natch Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    156
    I'm grateful for the replies. I have questions about the various brands, but I'd like to know more about the features I should be looking for. Someone mentioned carbon, so is that the best material? Are there any other features I should pay attention to that could help me narrow my search down and make a decision?
     
  14. snapper

    snapper Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    896
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    central NYS
    I've got an old set of Leki poles that I've been using for over 10 years now. I like the fact that I can change out the hiking baskets and put snow baskets on the poles come winter time. It allows me to use the same set of poles year round regardless of what I'm doing; i.e. backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, etc. The model I have (sorry, it's been so long I have no idea which model they are) uses the "twist loc" feature to keep the length where I set it. Overall, while they do slip a bit, I've had them a long time, used them hard and I'm still on the original plastic locking pieces so I feel like they've held up very well. Before a major descent I'll usually twist the locking mechanism just a bit to be sure they're still tight but that's about all I do.

    Hope that helps. Best of luck in deciding what poles to go with. Regardless of your decision, I'm confidant you'll be happy to have them.

    Take care and until next time...be well.

    snapper
     
    Natch likes this.
  15. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,440
    Likes Received:
    2,126
    Location:
    Western NY
    Carbon or graphite poles are the lightest materials but also the most expensive. Mine are aluminum and are still quite light and still weren't exactly cheap. Mine have cork handles which are quite comfortable. They also have wrist straps but I generally don't put my hands through the straps as I find it a little prohibitive at times when making quick adjustments on unsteady or changing surfaces.

    As I said before, mine use the quick locks rather than twist to lock. It's likely personal preference but have heard reports of twist to lock style being more prone to slipping over time.

    Mine also have measurements on them so I can set a preferred length and perfectly match it on both poles. I tend to shorten the length a bit before a lengthy incline and extend them more for lengthy declines.
     
    Fretful7 and Natch like this.
  16. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    865
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Some have shock absorbers so you can see if you like that. I have a pair of older high-end black diamond poles that also have the baskets for snow. I've used mine primarily while snowshoeing but they are great on the trails too. Mine have the angled grips which make them a bit more ergo than the straight gripped variety. You can get a nice pair for $70-100.
     
    Natch likes this.
  17. Natch

    Natch Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    156
    I guess my only question before I start diving in is if the shock absorbers makes a difference or not?
     
  18. hdlv

    hdlv Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2015
    Messages:
    792
    Likes Received:
    1,477
    Location:
    New York
    Carbon fiber is great, it's pretty strong and very light.

    The main features to decide between are "Z" (collapsible") vs telescoping vs fixed.

    Z poles have the benefit of being able to broken down to a small size and lack any mechanisms like clasps that can fail or slip causing the pole to collapse while in use but they cannot be adjusted so they are more difficult to use with a tarp set up. Broken down they are 3 separate pieces usually connected by a chord that runs thru the length of the pole, you won't lose a piece but they are a little clunky.

    Telescoping poles are great if you use your poles to set up your shelter using cups to attach your poles to the guy lines. Some people like to adjust the poles to be shorter when going up steep hills and longer for long down hills, this cannot be done with the other two. They break down small but into one piece so they are easiest to pack. They have clasps that secure them into position, with cheap poles you can run the risk of having the clasp snapping open and collapsing the pole under your weight.

    Fixed poles are the lightest as they have no extra dodads (that can break break) and can be made out of thinner long pieces but they are trickier to transport. Folks will wrap some tape at different heights to keep guylines fixed.

    Another feature is handle material. Cork is grippier and absorbs sweat but can crumble and is attractive for animals to chew. Plastic is more durable but is slippery when wet and animals will still eat them if you leave them out.
     
  19. Natch

    Natch Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    156
    I like versatile gear, so this appeals to me the most.
     
    hdlv likes this.
  20. Billswfl

    Billswfl Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Messages:
    348
    Likes Received:
    1,328
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    I find they're great for balance and taking the pressure off my knees and back. I have a pair of Leki that are adjustable and fold up to 15 inches for ease of packing.
     
  21. Natch

    Natch Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    156
    Doing some searches with the suggestions you all gave me I came up with the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock and the Cascade Mountain polls. One is $44 the other is around $80. It seems like every gear choice comes down to the bargain one or something double the price, but anyway...those are the two I found. Both seem to have good reviews on Amazon. Part of me says just spend the money once and go on with your life, but since I've never used them I'm not sure.
     
  22. sdjsdj

    sdjsdj Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    3,427
    Likes Received:
    280
    Location:
    Upper Midwest
    I have a pair of 3 piece Fizan poles from massdrop and they are fantastic.
     
  23. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    3,614
    Likes Received:
    2,183
    Location:
    ATL
    I have aluminum and carbon. aluminum is more durable in rocks and can bend, though some people have been able to bend them back into shape. carbon is lighter but can shatter. you might be able to repair with duct tape. get the flip locks. I like cork grips. when sidehilling, a mud basket on your downhill pole will help from punching through the soft edge of the trail. don't use the rubber tips when on a trail, you'll just lose them....
     
    nograveconcern likes this.
  24. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    3,614
    Likes Received:
    2,183
    Location:
    ATL
    you don't want the shock absorber...
     
  25. Natch

    Natch Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    156
    So skip the Black Diamond poles?
     
  26. ouroboros

    ouroboros Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    117
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    Ever since I had a knee injury backpacking in New Hampshire, I've used trekking poles.

    They help with... basically everything except for keeping your hands free. I use them with my tarps too.

    My current ones are Komperdell brand... bought them on clearance at REI. They are the telescoping/twist lock types. I've had them for 1 year and used them plenty of times during that year... still working fine.

    I take the wrist straps off of them. If I fall, I don't want to risk getting twisted up... I'd rather just ditch the pole.

    I prefer the cork handles, they seem to handle sweat/hot temperatures/prevent blisters well.
     
    Natch likes this.
  27. dhenson0

    dhenson0 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    193
    Location:
    The Bluegrass
    my favorite thing about trekking poles is they give my hands something to do. the also form the poles to my backpacking tent.
     
  28. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    865
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Black diamond makes both kinds so don't write off the brand if you don't want shock absorbing poles. Can you go somewhere to try out different models?
     
    Natch likes this.
  29. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    3,614
    Likes Received:
    2,183
    Location:
    ATL
    nograveconcern and Natch like this.
  30. Natch

    Natch Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    156
    The price of the Black Diamond poles without the shock absorber is less money, so that is fantastic.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XM0YGW8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    https://www.amazon.com/Black-Diamon...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B0129DP6GI

    Both of these seem to have a lot of the features people suggested I look for and are close in price. The Black Diamond polls have good reviews on the Outdoor Gear Lab, but people really seem to love the Cascade polls. Any thoughts on which I should buy?
     
  31. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    865
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    hdlv and Natch like this.
  32. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2015
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    761
    Leki Vario is my choice, the ability pack them up and store them in my pack works for me. I like the length adjustment and fast deployment. Once you set your length breaking them down does not effect the length adjustment. Pull them out and they almost assemble themselves, pull the lock into place and you are good to go... No further adjustment necessary from packed to “go” within 30 seconds.

    IMG_6790.JPG
     
    Billswfl and nograveconcern like this.
  33. Longbeard

    Longbeard Continental Drifter Supporter Bushclass III

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    5,987
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Location:
    Iowa
    I used to think poles were a joke, never used them. Now I have about 5000 trails miles in the last 2 years ( AT & PCT) with them and I will never go without them again. I tell people that they will save you from tripping and falling down every day and if you trip in the wrong place they can save your life. I used a $20 pair from Walmart to hike the AT and they went the whole way just fine. Last year I had a pair of sponsor provided Lekis almost identical to the ones above and they were awesome. Long story short - you don't have to spend a lot to start, but do yourself a favor and get a pair, you won't regret it. True story - I rigged a fishing line to a pole and caught a bluegill with it in NJ for a Bushclass lesson on improvised fishing.
     
  34. nograveconcern

    nograveconcern Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,002
    Likes Received:
    2,395
    Location:
    SW of ATL
    I have these Mountainsmith Pirite poles and seem good so far, especially for the price. The cork handles are nice. I needed a set that day so I could use my pole-less tent that uses trekking poles so I just bought the best set Academy had in stock.

    I've only had the twist lock type. I had a leki that I broke a while back because I over extended a section. Didn't know about the warranty so I trashed it.
     
  35. fx77

    fx77 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    69
    Leki adjustable hiking poles I have used for years hiking the Swiss Alps. They are especially useful for steep descents and on rocky ground
     
    Billswfl likes this.
  36. Natch

    Natch Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    156
    Thank you all for taking the time to post. I have a few pricier pairs mentioned above saved in a wish list, but I want to try out a cheaper pair first. I can always find a use for them if I want to upgrade later. I'm also going to try to make my own walking stick like was mentioned above.

    Could anyone tell me if there is a real difference between these two?
    Cascade
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XM0YGW8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    Foxelli
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IC7XZ68/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=AHE2WTMWT10JD

    The Foxelli say shock-absorbent, so does that mean they have the feature I should avoid?

    I want to test out using poles in general before I invest too much. I can always keep these as a backup or give them to a family member to use. I don't want to buy a more expensive pair and have them collecting dust because I'm not a fan of polls in general.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  37. Sharpster

    Sharpster Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    29

    I have the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork poles. The flip lock is rock solid, I have had them for four years now, and use them in -40C to +30C, in snow, mud, sand, ashphalt (with the rubber tips) and have had to do ZERO maintenance on them. Cork handles are the way to go. These cost me 160.00 and I liked them so much I got a set for each of my two daughters. My hiking friend also got a set, and loves them. If I lost them or they broke, I would INSTANTLY order a new set, no questions asked no matter the price.

    Others have already listed many great uses for them, and I concur.
     
  38. Sharpster

    Sharpster Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    29

    In short, get the lightest carbon fibre cork handled poles you can afford. :)
     
  39. Joshua1six

    Joshua1six Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2017
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    140
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
  40. Lazy J

    Lazy J Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2017
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Queensland
    I would recommend the carbon fibre poles. I used to think they were for old or injured people but they are great when hiking through steep terrain with a heavy pack. I got a $40 pair that had a comfy grip and they've lasted quite a while.
     
  41. ROCK6

    ROCK6 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    634
    Likes Received:
    212
    Location:
    Georgia
    I use Leki carbon fiber poles and love them. However, I would recommend aluminum poles for your first pair; they are far more forgiving as you learn how to use them. Leki is a great company, so when my son broke one of the fiber pole sections, they sent me a replacement. Of course teenage boys can be much harder on gear, it wasn't failure of the poles but how they were used. Aluminum is less expensive, but more importantly they are far more forgiving when you use them. I rolled over a pair of Exped (which aren't inexpensive) aluminum poles when I was crawling under a downed-tree over the trail. I bent one pole and it wouldn't even collapse. I spent some that evening bending them straight and was able to get them fixed on the trail. We have at least a dozen sets of trekking poles and my wife takes several newbies backpacking...she loans out the aluminum poles, not the carbon fiber ones.

    As to their utility? After a very painful climb down a peak in the Olympic National Forest, my wife and I were immediate trekking pole converts. Well over a 1000 trail miles later, we wouldn't do a day hike or backpacking trip without them. They are as much preventative tools than assistance tools. Just providing additional points of contact and stability helps to keep you from twisting an ankle or knee, also as mentioned, they give your hands something to do. I also use the poles to help create a more open awning with my hammock rain fly, and of course, they are necessary for some tents and tarp shelter setups.

    ROCK6
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017 at 11:24 AM
    Sharpster and Billswfl like this.
  42. zelph

    zelph Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,038
    Likes Received:
    801
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    I found this video helpful:

     
  43. Woodsman Wannabe

    Woodsman Wannabe Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2014
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    SE Texas
    I'm at work so I cannot watch the video post by zelph above, this may be answered there.
    I have been thinking of getting a set of poles, but one thing that confuses me. I see weight limits on some if not all that I have looked at. I'm a big fat guy. How should I look at the weight limit? Should I look at a pair that will hold my tonnage, or is there a percentage of total weight that figures in?

    This thread has been very informative and I thank the OP for starting it, as well as those who have taken the time to post.
     
  44. zelph

    zelph Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,038
    Likes Received:
    801
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
  45. Early Man

    Early Man Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    1,323
    Location:
    White Mountains NH USA
    I have a cheap set, and they have worked out many years at this point. I bent one of them in a hole in the ground and that one no longer will slip inside it self on the lower section. That taught me that at least hiking in NH you want the snow baskets on all the time. I also use xc poles that don't have any adjustments.

    I have a trick knee and a trashed back. So these help, and I find you get a better over all work out, rather than just hanging your arms and dangling yer hands.

    I was very resistant to the whole idea of trekking poles, so I am a late comer. When I stop to adjust something else I had no place to put these. So I made a slip knot loop of 1/8th inch bungee cord on the belt of my pack. I think the more expensive poles come with a retainer the poles can clip to. You could make these from a bit of leather to suit the belt or shoulder straps and with pvc pipe cut out a section so the poles just clip in to them.

    I haven't used these with tarps since I set camps as more than 1 full days use. So if i did the poles would be locked into the tarp all day. If i was having breakfast, breaking camp and walking away to another location to the next day I would use them that way as well.

    I would buy better poles, but there are just so many toys I can buy at any given time. :)
     
  46. Sandcut

    Sandcut Bushmaster Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    5,174
    Likes Received:
    3,153
    Location:
    Gouldsboro, PA
    I used to hate carrying a pole of any sort, right up until I developed immune arthritis. I now carry at least one if not two poles. My one pole is a Leki Wanderfreund and my other is a Chinook Cane Walker.

    https://www.backcountryedge.com/leki-wanderfreund-antishock-dss.html

    http://www.chinooktec.com/index.php.../336-chinook-cane-walker-3-single-hiking-pole


    The Leki cost abojt $80, the Chinook cost about $20. No significant difference between the two. In fact, I keep a Chinook in my work truck to help me get around on large construction sites and gas pipeline righs of way.

    I prefer poles with the cane handle for many reasons. The most important reason being that I find it more comfortable and that I'm more able to put weight on the pole during descents because my weight goes straight onto the top of the pole rather than my weight going onto my wrist while I hold the side of the handle like with most poles. Another major benefit to having the cane handle is that I use it all the time to hook things with it. For picking fruit or checking out vegetation, the cane handle is invaluable for reaching those branches that are just out of reach.

    [​IMG]

    The other reason that I now prefer to carry a pole is for acting as a third point of contact when crossing rough terrain like boulder fields or wading through water. I can't tell you how many times a pole has prevented me from taking a nasty spill. Just this weekend my wife and I were crossing creeks barefoot and relying on the pole to help keep us from falling on the slippery rocks. We also crossed a log bridge that was fairly narrow. The pole allowed us to reach out and lean on a seperate tree that was parallel, but several feet away, too far to straddle.

    Here's wifey with my Chinook.

    [​IMG]
     
  47. Danny Boy

    Danny Boy Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    Gypsy
    I bought a couple of skiing poles at Goodwill for five bucks. They work great.
     
  48. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    3,614
    Likes Received:
    2,183
    Location:
    ATL
    I think either are going to be good. I mean all they really are is a stick that you can use to help with balance, to pull you along the trail, and to take some of the load off your knees on downhills.

    the things I think are important are flip-locks and a good grip. cork is good but so is some of the foam, rubber, or composite ones as long as they are shaped right. a good set of mud baskets (not snow baskets) and knowing how to use the straps for safety and efficiency. after that, it's just a matter of using them and finding what you like...
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2017 at 10:23 PM
  49. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    3,614
    Likes Received:
    2,183
    Location:
    ATL
  50. zelph

    zelph Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,038
    Likes Received:
    801
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    Same here. The snow basket work great the midwest when I walk the steep north facing woodland slopes looking for Ginseng. I use only one as a walking staff.
     

Share This Page