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Thread: Trekking poles, use or use not?

  1. #46
    Senior Member Jeff-B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thuja
    Obviously this is a subject on which people have widely differing opinions. .
    You got that part right...

    Quote Originally Posted by thuja
    I also think that much stress on the knees can be avoided by being *smooth* on the downhills, not leaping down., with or without the use of poles. There are plenty of ways to save your knees without using those poles.
    I am not talking about taking bone crushing free drops, rather lowering myself gently over a 5ft drop where my left knee ends up in my left ear, just as my right foot touches down.
    So its nice to have a single pole for this type of move.

    You know:.....
    people have hiked with staffs for as long as ancient man got on the move to cross continents over a million years ago .......

  2. #47
    Senior Member forestgnome's Avatar
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    I tried poles when my knees started to dislike hiking. However, the cure was to stop using the machine at the gym where you sit with bent knees and raise the weight. The only time I found poles useful was on the descent, when the next step down is far enough to be awkward but doesn't require hands.

    Other than that, I find them to be a PITA. I hate the noise. I payed too much attention looking at the spot between pointy rocks to plant the pole. Occasionally, the tip would wedge into a hole so I'd have to stop before I bent it. I like to walk along downed trees, and I snowboard, so I don't need any help with balance.

    During warm months on the ascent, I hike with a facecloth in one hand for wiping sweat. It also swats flies. I will not hike without it, so I only have one free hand on the ascent.

    My next equipment purchase is a monopod/hiking staff. If it's successful for my photography, and I suspect it will be, then it will replace my tripod, decreasing my pack weight by 2 lbs. It will be useful for those long descending steps as well.

    Happy Trails

  3. #48
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Too late now, but survey might be good idea here.

    Too bad. This would have been excellent topic for a survey. Put me down as FOR poles. Two is better than one. I tend to travel heavy with emergency gear so I find assistance with balance is helpful. Especially in rocky terrain. I use poles aggressively for the upper body workout. I use straps so when I need hands free I let them dangle. They can get in the way such as when I found myself on steepest longest pitch of Holt Trail on Cardigan and needed both hands free to negotiate the cracks dangling was not much help but that's what I did. They enable me to go pretty fast on descents to make up for time lost taking too long on summits and enjoying views ledges.
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  4. #49
    Senior Member Mark's Avatar
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    I use them all the time. I almost had to give up hiking because of knee problems, but using poles, especially on the descent cleared up the knee problems. I usually don't use the straps. I agree that they are great for lowering yourself down off rocks where you would normally have to do a little jump. This is where I was really hurting my knees.
    42

  5. #50
    Member Shewolf's Avatar
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    With two bad knees, I use the poles for descending during the summer/fall, and sometimes for ascending during the winter. (I enjoy being able to go down the mountain without them in the winter) I find when I don't use them when I'm going down the mountain in the summer, I'm pretty much done in for any activity for the next day. The poles really help in reducing the abuse my knees take and I'm good to go the next day with minimal pain. However, I've found some trails not conducive to their use...
    Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless he's owned by a dog...

  6. #51
    Member five_head's Avatar
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    I used to use 2 trekking poles on all hikes. I broke one a few years ago and have been using just 1 ever since. I find that I prefer to use just 1. I get the benefit of having a pole for balance, easing descent, etc, but also still have one free hand all the time. 1 works best for me.

  7. #52
    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Always use 2 poles and always use the straps.

    I can't imagine holding onto a pole and not using the strap like described in DougPaul's link... it just takes so much more energy to hold onto the pole and probably 98% of the mileage I see is non-technical and the straps don't get in the way.

    Recently I lent my poles to a friend during a hike and I "free-handed-it". I did feel the freedom, but I could also feel how much more impact my legs were taking on the downhills. So, poles all the way - I need to keep these legs for at least another 70 years (I'm optimistic).

  8. #53
    Senior Member Grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxi
    You may have just sold me Grumpy. ...

    I went to EMS today and looked at 4 different models of their Leki poles: the regular Makalu and Makalu Tour models were $99 pair, the Super Makalus were $139 pair (and seemed a little heavier), and the Ultralight Makalus were $149 pair. With the 20% 0ff sale and my $25 gift card I can get a pair for much less, but which one is least likely to have problems/break? Any recommendations? Thanks!

    Roxi
    Mrs. Grumpy and I have shared the use of a pair of REI poles made by Komperdell for about 12 years. (We use one each, usually.) They are used with the wrist straps, which if used properly take some strain off the hand and wrist.

    A few years ago, I got one of those Leki "Wanderfreund" things, with a cane-like handle, thinking it might better suit my style and might be easier on my wrist and hand. It has been a success all ways. Mrs. G. still prefers the more conventional (slightly angled) ski-pole like grips on the old REI-Komperdell poles.

    I also like the cork composition grip on the Leki -- feels better to me than the rubber grips on the other poles. The Leki locking system holds more securely than the REI-Komperdell adjustment locks.

    (I guess I'm making recommendations there.)

    G.

  9. #54
    Senior Member WhiteMTHike's Avatar
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    I always said I'd never use them. However, now that I'm in my mid-40's and have to wear a brace on my left knee whenever I hike, it's time to face the music and buy a pair.

  10. #55
    Senior Member Roxi's Avatar
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    Sold!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark
    I use them all the time. I almost had to give up hiking because of knee problems, but using poles, especially on the descent cleared up the knee problems. I usually don't use the straps. I agree that they are great for lowering yourself down off rocks where you would normally have to do a little jump. This is where I was really hurting my knees.
    Thanks, Mark. Between you and Grumpy I'm sold. I'll be picking up poles this week while EMS's sale is still on and trying them out on Sat. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations.
    Nature is proof that magic still exists.

  11. #56
    Senior Member Double Bow's Avatar
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    I used to be a pole nay-sayer but several years ago I decided to give them a try and I took to them like a duck to water. I use a pair of them year-round and find that they help me to go faster, have better balance, and save a lot of wear and tear on my knees. I think they help with my cadence and I also enjoy the upperbody workout.

    FWIW, I never notice additional noise because I'm usually with other people and our conversation drowns out the sound or I'm solo and am pushing myself to go fast and so don't notice something that minor. When bushwhacking, I carry one pole and find that works well. My recommendation is Black Diamond poles. The flicklock system can't be beat!
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  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Bow
    My recommendation is Black Diamond poles. The flicklock system can't be beat!
    How do you find the compactness of them if you need to put them on your pack? Seems they might be "big" compared to a 3 section telescoping pole?

    M

  13. #58
    Senior Member Double Bow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KMartman
    How do you find the compactness of them if you need to put them on your pack? Seems they might be "big" compared to a 3 section telescoping pole?
    The BDs compact enough to be able to be strapped to the side of my pack without sticking out more than an inch or two beyond the top of my pack. They are rather low profile and do not collapse from weight being put on them the way some other poles do.
    "I like to collect experiences the way other people like to collect coins and stamps." Michael McGuire

    "13.1 is my lucky number." -- Me


    65/67 Winter NE4Ks [Been there, ROCKED IT!!]

  14. #59
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Bow
    They are rather low profile and do not collapse from weight being put on them the way some other poles do.
    Good quality mechanisms of either type (twist lock or flicklock) can be reliable--one only needs to take care of them. (Occasional cleaning and lubrication.)

    Doug

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul
    Good quality mechanisms of either type (twist lock or flicklock) can be reliable--one only needs to take care of them. (Occasional cleaning and lubrication.)

    Doug

    I agree....I have not had any bad experiences with 3 section telescoping poles "collapsing" on me...KNOCK WOOD....and they compact soo nicely..

    M

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