value of trekking poles

Not paddling related, but I’m sure there are some hikers around here. Do you use trekking poles and if so, how much of an advantage are they? If your poles have anti-shock features, how much of an advantage is that? I have the money to get a pair but am wondering if I really need them.

I’ve used one pole for years and it
really helps. I tried two but think they get in the way. It has kept me from falling more times than I can count and climbing steep hills it adds power.Going downhill it takes some load off your knees. You can use your upper body for something besides weight.

I have never had a shock absorbing one , but it looks like a gimmick to me.

The wife and I both love 'em
We both use two non-shock absorbing, and we won’t backpack without them. They also serve as supports for our Walrus Trekker Tarp.

Anti Shock poles

– Last Updated: Apr-18-04 8:53 PM EST –

Are specialized for for going down hill. If you look into switchable ones you will learn this. I do not use them. As to rigid hiking poles, when my pack and I are lean, hardly worth the trouble. Whe my pack or I am overweight I love them. Fow baccountry showshoeing poles are necessary; for snow travel and non-technical winter mountaineering, very helpful. As my knees age I'll become even more of a fan.

would not hike without them
I have almost worn out my first pair, one is held together with duct tape after 2000+ miles. They are the anti-shock type, my next ones will not be. I think I will get the lightest pair I can find and I don’t think the shock absorber is worth the extra weight. Ski poles would work, but I like the ability to shorten them when I strap them to my pack when not needed.


Ditto with string…

– Last Updated: Apr-18-04 9:06 PM EST –

I'm an avid backpacker I use a trekking pole on every trip. One pole works just fine, so you might consider buying a set and splitting the cost with another person. I've tried both an anti-shock and a non antishock pole and really only noticed a slight difference on a steep downhill descent. In my opinion the anti-shock feature doesn't warrant the extra $$$$. One feature that does seem important is a good carbide tip. You won't wear it out anytime soon. I stongly agree with string in that I like to have a free hand and find using two poles cumbersome and restrictive. Depending on your trip you might want to take both poles and keep one strapped to your pack in the event you need to erect an emergency shelter. At one time I found some pretty good deals on new and slightly used Leki and Komperdell poles on e-bay. You might want to give that a shot. Poles can get kinda pricey!!

Just a couple of thoughts!!



I use 'em
One benefit is that they reduce edema in my fingers. Also a big help in slippery conditions - have saved my butt many times. I often hike solo, and I consider them a form of cheap insurance.


I was one of those die hards…
who wouldn’t be caught dead with a trekking pole.

You know, “only a wimp would use one!”

Last year I relented when one of my many daughters gave me one for a birthday present, and decided to try it out on our Alaska trip.

Guess who now is a wimp?

I wouldn’t be without it, as a matter of fact this year she just gave me the second one.

We climbed several mountains while in Denali, and climbed to the Harding Ice field in Seward, and I became a true believer in them.

Great for pushing off on the way up, great for that third leg taking the pressure off the knees on the way down, and fantastic as a third leg while fording streams.



good for even the less adventurous
I got a pair to use when I was able to walk a little distance again after my ruptured patella tendon was reattached. I found them very helpful in getting back into the 3 1/2 mile up and down loop that I walked. The leg problem made downhill more difficult, so the poles were a real help in steadying. I opted for the shock ones which were nice on the pavement. I found them so helpful that it was well worth the odd looks from passing motorists.

I have to get a trekking pole
Trekking poles are like one of those things you think you’d never use until you use one. After that if somethings happens to it you have to go out and get another one that day. My friend has one and I used it on Mt. Cheaha. I get tired of having to make my own pole. Occasional you happen to find a stick in the woods that is just the right length. The rest of the times your screwed. and they don’t have the carbide tip. I will make sure it has that.


– Last Updated: Apr-18-04 10:57 PM EST –

Sounds familiar...for the first 32 years of my life I never bothered to try trekking poles until last year when I bought them for my girlfriend and I to take to climb Longs Peak in CO (14,255 feet). We got Leki anti-shock types and now I never do extended hikes without them. They are invaluable coming downhill, save wear and tear on the knees and prevent you from "stooping" at the waist. In addition, it snowed when we were at a high-camp and getting down without the trekking poles would have been a really ankle-injuring fraught nightmare..check out the pics on my web-site..look toward the last page of the trip report:

Particularly this pic:

So them, you'll love them. They also really helped when we hiked up Cold Mountain last fall because the leaves made the trail rather slick...


2 old bamboo ski poles…
…with the baskets removed are what I use. Got the idea from my pals on the over-60’s hiking group, most of whom are LONG time hikers/backpackers, and most of whom use trekking poles. Makes a dramatic difference in fatigue, and gives the upper body a workout. Befor e my foot surgery, my wife & I walked 3 mles in the neighborhood several times a week, and they really help there. I’m hoping I can get back into it. If my

present poles break, I’ve got fiberglass ones left over from X-C skiing days.

I have used them ever since I was a Kid and “Cut” my first hickory staff. Now I use the Trekking poles as they are much lighter. They have a zillion uses. One of the best uses for them is Swatting those big spider webs out of the way! And if you are fording a stream they are real handy. About the only time they become a liability is on perfectly level flat ground. I would hike with out them anymore. I have 2 different types the telescoping and the one piece. The one piece feels more solid and is lighter. But the telescoping packs smaller and has those nifty shock absorbing tips, a debatable advantage.

Another advantage
Here in West by God Virginia we are blessed with both Copperheads AND Timber rattlers. Poles, or at least a staff are great for probing the other side of a fallen log or relocating a recalcitrant tubular reptile.


i use either…
2 old ski poles or 2 wood sticks. IMO the fancy schmancy over priced poles are just that, fancy and overpriced.

what i like about the wood sticks is that i dont feel like im holding lightning rods when i hear thunder in the distance…

the cheap $5 ski poles on the other hand, i seemed to get more uphill thrust from them… and the way my hand would cover the top of pole on way down hill provided more braking resistance IMHO

Haven’t used them much going up, but they’re great for going downhill with a load on dubious footing.

Anti-shock great for older joints
I have a pair of anti-shock telescoping poles and I love them. I feel that the shock absorbing feature is well worth it for those of us who have aging joints. Cuts down on the jolt to the wrist, elbow and shoulder if you must use a pole.

Many of the trails I hike on have numerous steep spots and water crossings which for me, require poles. I wouldn’t hike without them.


Question and comment
Comment: My brother and I looked at some trekking poles at REI and while just flexing one, he snapped it in half. He’s a big, strong guy (and impossibly wonderful) but no superman. I didn’t buy one after that but maybe that one was just defective?

Question: I use some old, old ski poles for snowshoeing and they have some plastic thingies that your hands fit in. I broke my wrist in January with them, and I sorta think that part of the problem was I couldn’t drop the pole easily as I fell. So, is it safer to not have your hands “tied” to the pole?

Well, maybe that’s two questions.


Also good for
a monopod. I have an old telescoping Treks (I think is the brand) that the wood knob unscrews from top to expose a 1/4-20 camera mount. I found a 90 degree swivel mount that holds the 10x50 binocs steady or if I’m using the pocket 10x28s I just rest them on top of the knob for bird voyeurism. Wading with the fly rod - nice to have the third leg in those places where the round rocks skitter out from under foot and laugh at you.


– Last Updated: Apr-19-04 3:52 PM EST –

Well..the poles aren't meant to be "flexed"..they are super strong in compression..not in bending.. :) I'm sure everyone can bend a golf club over their knee..but try to crinkle one by pressing straight down the shaft.. :)

I can put my full weight on one of my Leki's and it won't break..but I'm sure if I levered it against something and tried to bend it it would snap with far less force.

I disagree with the assertion that hiking specific poles are "fancy" and "overpriced" because they have very nicely contoured hand-grips that fit the natural curve of your resting hand..and the anti-shock poles I do think help ease the jolt on your cartilidge.

Having your hands in the loops when you fall can certainly be clumsy..but to tell you the truth, since I've been hiking with poles I haven't fallen yet. I've slipped a time or two..but when I hiked without poles downhill on leaves I slipped and landed on my butt several times a season..I have yet to do that with poles..


BTW - Another frequent use for poles (as a camera mount listed above) is many ultra-light hikers use trekking poles for their tents...I guess the tents are made specifically to be held up by trekking poles.. :)