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Thread: Trekking Poles...Do You Use Them?

  1. #1
    Member Desalad's Avatar
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    Trekking Poles...Do You Use Them?

    Quick question for you all. Do you use Trekking Poles? What benefit do they have. I typically do not use poles. One year I brought my ski poles and was dragging them most of the way! The only time having poles helped me was in the whites a couple years ago when there was a good two to three feet of powder and occasionally the weight of my pack would throw me forward onto my knees. The poles helped me get upright, its tough to manuever while where snowshoes and half off in the deeps!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Artex's Avatar
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    I always use mine when backpacking. I feel naked without them. The only time I don't use mine is if I'm doing a dayhike with a lumbarpack or light daypack. One reason many people like them is they help alleviate the stress on the knees going downhill. While I don't have knee problems, I'd like to keep it that way.

    They're also great for overall balance, especially when crossing streams, and as you mentioned, trudging through the snow.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    As mentioned above, poles help with balance and ease stress on knees. Very useful for stream crossings, icy spots, etc.

    Whether I use them depends on what I'm doing. I almost always use poles when backpacking, due to pack weight. I almost always use them in the winter, for balance and rhythm with the snowshoes, and for slick spots.

    I seldom use them on summer day trips because I do a lot of running, and carrying them slows me down, overall. And I seldom use them on rock scrambles (like the trap dike) and on tight bushwacks, because they're more of a nuisance to carry then they are a help.

    TCD

  4. #4
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    I frequently carry them, but don't always use them. Depends on the terrain. If it is moderate up or down or there are some big steps, I generally use them. Level, sometimes yes, sometimes no. Very useful for stream crossings. If it is steep enough that you need to use your hands, they are a nuisance.

    You can certainly test them by using fixed length ski poles, but if you buy poles, I suggest that you get 3-section adjustables. These will collapse to a length that is short enough to carry on your pack when not needed. It is also desireable to be able to adjust the length to match the need: shorter for uphill, longer for downhill, and one of each for long traverses.

    Good website on using poles:
    http://www.personal.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/poles.htm

    Doug

  5. #5
    Senior Member percious's Avatar
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    Poles are utilitarian. They help you with the hiking, yes. But they also can be used for shelter.

    -percious

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    Senior Member rhihn's Avatar
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    As others have said, I'm never without my hiking poles, summer or winter. Balance is an issue in summer with mud, rocks, etc., and I'm prone to slipping on trails in winter, especially if icy. There are times when poles become more of a liability than an asset, usually on steep ascents. We actually ditched our poles before finishing the cliffs on Cliff. But after having broken my wrist on a perfectly level part of the trail on Noonmark (slipped on a wet root), I'll always have them along.
    Dick

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    Carrying an overnight pack in winter,trekking poles are indispensable for keeping your balance. they also relieve an enormous amount of the stress from carrying a pack. After you use them a while,you hardly even notice them!

    And for the purists who complain that they scratch the rocks..
    I would rather scratch the rocks with my trekking poles,than dent them by bouncing my head off them!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Pucknuts61's Avatar
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    This is my first year using poles and it has seriously helped reduce the strain on my knees (they're getting old....I'm not!).
    I find them useful for uphill with maintaining balance and downhill as a stabilizer where I can plant one and then use it to lower my self instead of putting to much impact on my legs. Generally I also find 2 better for uphill and one for downhill (switching hands constantly).
    Next up will be which ones to buy.....open another thread for that one!
    (Komperdell 3 section, no anti lock, carbon tip, 15 degree rubber or "foam" grips is my preference...everyone else?????)
    I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, and then I thought: What the hell good would that do?

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Winter or anytime footing may be iffy, 100% of the time.

    Short trips with fanny pack like Everett, Greylock, Monadnock, maybe go without them

    On a full day poles can be used to take some weight off the legs. How much, tons of foot pounds, really tons

    Basic math was done in 2nd, 3rd or 4th Joe Simpson book as initially he thought they were for wussy trekkers On way into a Himalayan climb they encounter trekkers with poles as he is resting his bum knee. German MD provided math based on your weight & # of steps taken on a full day hiking, now reduce by 10% for poles. I know some people here are math junkies perhaps they can re-hash the #'s

    Also can be part of splint in case of leg injury
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Head's Avatar
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    In a nutshell...
    Quote Originally Posted by Artex
    I always use mine when backpacking. I feel naked without them. The only time I don't use mine is if I'm doing a dayhike with a lumbarpack or light daypack. One reason many people like them is they help alleviate the stress on the knees going downhill. While I don't have knee problems, I'd like to keep it that way.

    They're also great for overall balance, especially when crossing streams, and as you mentioned, trudging through the snow.
    I have had knee problems in the past and they help bigtime on the downhills...
    The Worlds Most Entertaining Hiking Website BirdHead Studios , Northeast 111 Videos and BH You Tube

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    Hiking poles

    I hate them (just like any other impeding thing that takes space and weight that isn't always needed) but I do carry them summer and winter unless its a low level, flat day hike.

    I normally have them strapped to my pack unless the trail is steep, I'm fording a stream or there is more that 6-8" of snow. They are especially good on steep slopes (both up and down hill).

  12. #12
    Senior Member SAR-EMT40's Avatar
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    I carry them all the time and use them very often. They especially help my knees from taking too much abuse going downhill and if I am carrying a heavy pack. I also have them set up so I can use them as a tracking stick so they do double duty.

    I have also convinced my wife to use them when we hike and she loves them. She won't hike without them anymore.

    Keith

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    Senior Member BrentD22's Avatar
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    1 or 2?

    Is 2 better than 1?
    Things have changed!

    AKA/Trail Name - Brickey

  14. #14
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    Treking poles

    Love them, use them.....you can always use the basket (not the tip) to nudge the dog in front of you if he stops!

  15. #15
    Senior Member rhihn's Avatar
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    There have been times when I wanted to hold on to the pole with one hand while I dealing with something else on the trail with the other -- but I've usually found two poles to be the best.
    Dick

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