3 Reasons Why You Should Have Hiking Poles
Hiking poles have a history of being either praised or shunned. Some people believe they are incredibly helpful while others think they are cumbersome and unnecessary. We have found that the benefits far outweigh the issues some may have with them. We are going to go over the reasons why you should take trekking poles on your next hike.
Whether they are called hiking poles, walking poles, trekking poles, Nordic walking poles, or hiking sticks, they all serve the same basic purpose. They make it easier for you to hike. Hiking can sometimes be a challenging and grueling feat, although it does not have to be that way. Here are the reasons you should get a pair of poles to make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable.
Less Strain on Your Knees
The older you get, the more your knees hurt, especially when you are applying plenty of pressure on them. Using trekking poles allows you to redistribute your weight away from your legs and into the poles. Hiking poles and walking sticks can shift anywhere from two pounds to 10% of your weight each time you take a step. If you are going to be going up steep hills and mountains or going down large declines, you will be thanking yourself for getting walking poles.
Since you will be redistributing your weight into the walking sticks, you will be able to preserve more of your energy and reduce fatigue. You are giving your muscles and joints more rest than they would have if you decided to go on a hike without them. Going downhill is when you would really notice a difference. You will be able to put your poles out in front of you as you descend down a hill and take some of the pressure off your quads and knees. You can essentially avoid stumbling from fatigue thanks to trekking poles.
More Stability and Balance
Imagine yourself on a bike with two wheels. You have to work harder at maintaining stability and balance. This is why children learn how to ride a bike by first riding a tricycle, which has four wheels. Having four points of contact with the ground, you are able to stay more balanced. This becomes very evident whenever you are attempting to cross running water, especially where there are slippery rocks. When you are wearing a hiking pack, your center of gravity shifts from what it usually is. Having a pair of walking poles will help you stay more balanced.
Types of Hiking Poles and Walking Sticks
There are different kinds of hiking poles and walking sticks to choose from. Depending on which type you get, you will have specific kinds of features which will help you with your hike, as well as setting up your camp. All of the hiking poles you can get today are going to make your hikes easier and more enjoyable. Here are some of the most common types of poles you will find.
There are trekking poles which can telescope out into longer poles. Depending on how tall you are and what you will be using the poles for, you can adjust your poles with a simple lever lock. When it comes to the telescoping mechanism, there are a few varieties to choose from. Some poles have two sections whereas others have three. There are also foldi wanglking sticks. These are a newcomer onto the trekking pole scene, being some of the lightest and compact hiking poles you can get.
Aluminum and Carbon Fiber
You will find hiking poles made with one of two kinds of material: aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is light and stiffer. The downside is that they are more prone to snapping if they get dented or hit really hard. Aluminum is heavier, but not by much. They can get dented and be fixed by bending them back into place. Poles made out of aluminum are more affordable than their carbon fiber cousins.
A basket on a trekking pole is the circular disc, usually sporting holes. The basket size will differ depending on what type of terrain and climate the hiking poles are designed to be used in. Baskets with larger diameters are generally used in snowy environments. If you try to use these out in the bush, you will get them caught on roots and bushes. There are also poles with removable baskets, so if you are planning to go hiking in different types of terrain, these would be a good type of pole to get.
Grip Material and Ergonomic Shape
There is a wide array of grip types out there when it comes to trekking poles. These grip handles are made out of either cork, rubber, or foam. Cork grips are the most favored because of how well they mold to your hands. They also stay cooler than others, which is nice when you are working up a sweat while hiking. Rubber grips are waterproof, which makes them great for wet climates and weather. For drier environments, cork and foam are the best. Foam grips are the softest of all three kinds of grips. They also keep your hands cool, so this is a great choice for hot climates. They are also the lightest material. Cork also works well in hot environments, so it makes for a nice, more natural, alternative to foam.
5 of the Best Hiking Poles and Walking Sticks
There are many hiking poles to choose from. Depending on what materials they are made of and what your intended use for them is, you will find different styles of trekking poles. Here are the best hiking poles and walking sticks you can get right now.
This pair of trekking poles uses premium cork with dual-density tops. There is even a foam extension for additional non-slip support. The poles themselves are made using carbon fiber, being comprised of three sections. They also feature dual flick locks, ensuring you can easily telescope the hiking poles. These telescope anywhere from 25″ up to 51″ in length and weigh 17 ounces. The best uses for these poles are backpacking, thru-hiking, and everyday use.
These walking poles have dual-density foam grips. They also have foam extensions for extra anti-slip support. An interesting feature of these is the included shock absorbers. These can help you have a less bumpy walk when you are out in the bush. The locks on these poles are dual flick locks as well. The pole tips are interchangeable, meaning you can sport either rubber or carbide tips depending on what type of terrain you are hiking through. These aluminum poles extend anywhere from 27″ up to 55″ in length and weight 20 ounces. These are best used for backpacking, thru-hiking, and everyday use.
These poles are made from 7075 aluminum, like the kind airplanes are made out of. For those on a budget, yet still seeking out good quality trekking poles, these are a great choice. The flick lock mechanisms make for an easy adjustment to your preferred pole length. These poles extend from 24″ to 53″ and weigh 19.2 ounces. The foam grips ensure you will avoid tensing up your hands. These are best used for day hikes and backpacking.
If you are looking for an affordable set of folding trekking poles, then these are ones which you will want to look into getting. These are made out of airplane-quality aluminum, making them lightweight and strong. The poles fold down to 14.5″ which makes them especially compact. The trekking poles have tungsten carbide tips, although they are not interchangeable with softer ones. These are best when used for day hikes and everyday use.
For a good quality set of carbon fiber trekking poles, take a look at Hiker Hunger’s poles. Since carbon fiber acts as a natural shock absorber, you can minimize the roughness of your hikes with these hiking poles. These only weigh 15.2 ounces altogether, making for some really light trekking poles. The poles can extend from 24″ up to 54″ and each section can separate into 21″ sections. Their default tips are tungsten carbide, but these poles also come with interchangeable rubber tips as well. These trekking poles are best used for day hikes, backpacking, and thru-hikes.
Depending on what type of terrain and climate you will be hiking on, you will find trekking poles to fit your needs. There are many great options available, so you can be sure to find the style and type that will be a help and support for years to come. No matter what your budget and which poles you choose, you will be doing yourself a service by getting a pair. Save your knees and make your hikes as enjoyable as possible with a pair of hiking poles. You will be glad you did.