So you’re interested in hiking sticks and walking poles? Every day all around the world people go hiking, whether it’s over a short distance or days on end for sport or for leisure. Mary Shelley in her novel Frankenstein would allude to the renewing power of nature, which was a central theme throughout, but when heading out hiking into the wilderness one needs to be careful, there are plenty of prevent hazards a risk to general safety. Hiking is usually a long and vigorous walk, which is usually done on trails or footpaths around the countryside. ‘Going for a walk’, on the other hand is a more easy-going stroll around an urban environment or pleasant meadow. Irrespective, whether one is walking, trekking or hiking, a utility that a lot of enthusiasts take with them is a nice set of hiking sticks or walking poles for the trip. Why hiking sticks? Well you’ve seen them, and you’ve seen people using them on TV. There are lots of benefits to hiking sticks and that’s exactly what this article is going to be about. We’ll cover all you ever wanted to know about hiking and trekking, and the benefits of hiking sticks and walking poles for said hiking and trekking.
Hiking and Trekking Hazards and Health
You’ve seen the research the exercise is good for your mental and physical health. Hiking and trekking are beneficial for precisely those reasons. In fact, some people complete several days of trekking and report a dampening of mood as a result of completing an epic journey, that their regular day to day lives aren’t nearly as fulfilling or interesting as the feeling of accomplishment having taken a walking trip.
Hiking is a very popular activity, as there are a lot of hiking organizations all over the world, all forms of walking contribute to the health and are beneficial to the general health and longevity of your body, making you stronger and helping with blood flow and circulation.
But Hiking is not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s not totally safe either. There are hazards that you might encounter during a hike. You might experience adverse or extreme weather, and this can be dangerous if you have not planned appropriately. You might come across damaged or blocked trails, get lost, run out of water, experience sliding terrain and so on. As such it is important to keep in mind the do’s and don’ts while hiking, especially if you’re off on a trip in Australia!
You need to keep in mind potential risks and remedies for sunburn, dehydration, broken bones, sprains, pulled muscles, chafing and so on. There may also be animal threats particularly in Australia from reptiles like snakes, kangaroos in heat who are being protective, or of course insects and territorial birds. Especially in Australia, you can come in to contact with harmful plants that may cause rashes and skin discoloration or worse.
Hiking Sticks and Walking Poles
Hiking sticks are awesome, they let you take some weight off and give you some grip while traversing uneven terrain. They allow you to push on further than you otherwise could in a day, and they reduce the risk of ankle rolling and help protect your ankles while on a long hike. They’re used as a comfort and an aid for avid hikers and trekkers.
Benefits of Hiking Sticks and Walking Poles
There are so many reasons why hiking sticks and poles are very good for to hike with. Here are but a few of them:
- They make it easier to hike at a uniform pace: As a hiker, you are probably aware that having a uniform pace while hiking is important as it helps you cover a lot of distance in a predictable period of time so you can better adhere to planned routes and times for logistical reasons. Using hiking sticks or walking poles will help to give you more support as you will get into a rhythm that will help your distance and allow you to push uniformly on no matter the variance in the terrain you are trekking or hiking.
- They make hiking less stressful: Apart from the fact that hiking poles and walking poles give you balance; they help to make hiking less stressful. You can achieve greater balance on slippery terrain or uneven surfaces, and this reduces the risk of ankle rolling or slipping to ensure better peace of mind that comes with superior grip in this way, you won’t stumble, fall and hurt yourself.
- Helps you advance uphill faster: While hiking, going uphill can be a bit difficult especially if you don’t have the experience. With hiking poles and walking sticks, you’ll be able to advance and go uphill faster, since you’re able to lean into the stick to drive from the legs. This gives a better feeling of ease when trudging up hill.
- Prevents knee pain: It is true that knees and sometimes ankles hurt when one walks for a long distance. By taking some of your weight off your joints you’re able to reduce the risk of knee and ankle injury. Hiking sticks and walking poles help to reduce the impact of hiking on your knees.
- Helps you test terrain before stepping: When travelling across new terrain a hiking stick gives you a chance to prod new and unfamiliar terrain in order to gauge whether it can hold your weight, or if it’s safe to step into. So, you can avoid muddy areas, soft ground, hey even quicksand if you come across it. Hazardous areas may be covered by dead leaves, tree branches, and decayed flowers. You wouldn’t want to step in and then hurt yourself or fall into a hole. Hiking sticks and walking poles come in handy here as you can conveniently test the terrain before stepping.
- Getting bush and vegetation out of your way: You can use hiking sticks and walking poles to whack bushes, shrubs, and vegetation out of your way to aid better movement. We’d recommend you leave vegetation alone where possible – keep the natural world clean and untouched when you can please! Using your hands is not advisable as you may hurt yourself with certain plants that are poisonous and the ones that have scratchy leaves.
- Warding off animals: Okay so this is a less popular benefit, but it’s also a reality, our hiking sticks and walking poles come in handy if you want to scare off rodents and small animals you may encounter while hiking. Or not so small animals that may be aggressive.
Considerations in Choosing Hiking Sticks and Walking Poles
You need to consider certain things before choosing your hiking sticks and walking poles.
For starters you should decide if you need one or two hiking sticks or poles. A lot of people prefer two hiking poles, but some like to only have one to lean on as they walk – and swap them from time to time to each arm. This lets them free up a hand for the walk, as well as not making it as easy as with two poles. If you are going on easy terrain, then one is okay but if you’re going uphill, two is far better for example. Go for adjustable poles as they are much better than the cheap ones you can’t adjust. You should also keep in mind that aluminium walking poles are generally more durable, affordable and work very well.
In all, choose hiking poles that work for the terrain you prefer and that you’re comfortable with.
Safety Rules for Hiking and Trekking
Before setting out for hiking or trekking, there are certain things you need to do and keep in mind. First off, you need to be aware of the hazards involved (and check the list of do’s and don’ts!). Next, you should know the weather condition of your hiking area – they say you should dress for the season not for the current weather. That way you won’t be caught off guard. The trails that are available for hiking usually have tour guides as well as online details and maps, so all you need to do is to get the weather information from them and plan accordingly. We also strongly recommend telling people where you are going and your route!
But especially important for a long hike across uneven terrain, is the need to invest in a good set of hiking sticks or walking poles.