View Poll Results: About poles: have you

119. You may not vote on this poll
  • Always used them

    82 68.91%
  • Never used them

    14 11.76%
  • Recently started using them (Why?)

    18 15.13%
  • Recently stopped using them (Why? Any knee pain?)

    5 4.20%
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Thread: A Poll about Poles

  1. #61
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Waltham, MA Jazzbo & Marty meet Bigfoot on Kennebago Divide
    Count me firmly in the pole camp. I like assistance the give in maintaining balance. Especially when I'm behind schedule on downhills walking out I can really make great time going out .... It's fun .... almost like downhill skiing sometimes. I'm sure they will pay off in longer service life for my knees and joints and gives me upper body workout.

    Biggest complaint I hear about poles is how they inhibit using trees and rocks when things get steep. I've observed most people (including very seasoned old hands)don't use the pole straps. Poles would work even better if people used the straps so when they feel need to hold on to tree or rock they can simply let the pole dangle. When shopping for poles look for poles with easily adjustable straps so you can quickly re-adjust straps as you layer up and down on your gloves in winter conditions.
    On #67 of NE67
    On #99 of NEHH
    On #46 of WNH48

    An atom walked up to me and said "i think I've lost an electron"
    I said "are you sure?"
    It reply "I'm positive."

  2. #62
    Member MissionsMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Spring Lake, MI

    Great for ascent AND descent!

    in the vote i selected recently, but have used a walking stick for many years, just within the last 4 years started using actual "hiking" poles. They're great - for rock hopping, snow, general going up and not to mention the going down usefulness as well.

    I have progressed to the flicklock style by BD b/c the other twist-n-lock's became a bit troublesome when i over-tightened...... completely my bad though, but the flick, adjust and lock is great for changing terrain. YMMV though....

    "...silence is greater than the absence of noise"

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Danville, VT


    For years, I never carried poles because I thought they were not worth the effort to carry them. One of my closest hiking buddies (who has also had back surgery (x2) and knee surgery came up for 3 days of hiking out in the Carter Range area. He suggested at least trying one pole while we hiked to see if I liked it. i brought one of my ski poles along. Since that hike, I refuse to go out without poles on a hike. Generally I use my ski poles, but I have a set of cheeper collapsables from Wal Mart when I travel via air.

    I am blessed to still be young and have knees that are in good condition (as is my back), so I am not necessarily using them to assist my physical condition. Rather, I find the poles to be most helpful when I take a break. The poles are great to lean upon and avoid sitting down or having something else to lean against. I find that by leaning against the pole, I give my legs a quick break and am able to shorten the amount of time that I need to rest. Of course the poles are great coming downhill as well and I can think of one or two times of places where the pole gave me that third point of contact to make a somewhat tricky move.

    Count me as a convert for sure. Since my conversation, I have led several other fellow climbers to become pole users as well.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    I always use my Leki poles, ever time I am out.
    I am 47 years old and my knees do hurt at times. The other great benefit with using poles is that you get a better all around workout because you are using your arm muscles too when you transfer weight to the poles. Its a win win for me.

  5. #65
    Member werdigo49's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Newcomb NY
    I voted "always," though of course as a child and teenager, and more recently as a trail runner (15 years ago) I didn't. I began with one pole, but in about a year switched to two. It's bemusing to hear non-users say how silly even one pole looks (like an old man needing a cane), but then they try one and decide that's OK but two still look silly ("where's the snow and your skis?" etc.)... then they try two and change their minds on that!

  6. #66
    Member Wanderer1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Western N.Y.
    I have written this a couple times but I'll add my $.02 again. I found a couple of other benefits of the poles besides the many benefits already mentioned. When I was hiking the Colorado Trail I used them every day. One day after picking up a supply drop I had to make about a five mile road walk. Figuring my poles were not needed I strapped them to my pack and started walking. After just a couple miles I noticed I was making terrible time. I seemed to be dragging and my back and shoulders were cramping. Something I had never experienced earlier. Also my fingers had swelling from just hanging down. I decided to stop and take my poles off the pack and start useing them. Immediately my pace picked up, I got into a rhythm and it just felt more natural walking. Also the pain in my shoulders and back disappeared as did the swelling in my hands. Now my pack was heavy and I contribute most of my symptons to my pack just hanging on my back and walking with little motion since I was walking a road. This is just my theory but I believe by using my poles and swinging my arms it constantly unloaded the shoulder straps and/or moved them on my shoulders some small amount thus increaseing the circulation and giving different muscles the load with each stride. I know it worked for me. I also have never had my hands swell after a long hike while using my poles. So yes, most the time I use poles.

  7. #67
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Colchester, CT
    I use mine about 90% of the time. If I'm on a trip under 5 miles in summer I'll skip them so the knees get more of a workout.

    In winter I use them all the time & if some brook crossings may be interesting due to recent rain, I bring them along, they really help when footing may be slick or questionable.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  8. #68
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    New Hampshire
    Will the four posters who "stopped using poles" please chime in with why and what your experience is after-the-fact?

    Maybe there really isn't a relationship between poles compensating for "weak knees", or maybe there is and it's just not 'discovered' yet...

    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  9. #69
    Member Bobcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Algonquin from Marcy

    Depends on the season

    In the winter I will always use poles if I'm on snowshoes.

    In the regular season I don't use them. (I would certainly give them another try if I had joint problems though)

    I find that in winter with snowshoes I take much longer strides. Possibly, because my feet can pivot on the snowshoes and into the snow without hyper-flexing my foot or tiptoe rising as you would have to do on a hard trail? Long Strides lead to deeper knee bends and a more off balance position.

    Bio-metrically, I find snowshoeing to be very different than hiking. I love my poles for this activity but not the other.

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