Compare prices on:Trekking Poles |Standard equipment for mountaineers, hikers, and backpackers, trekking poles are essential in the mountains and help with the following:|
- Reduce stress on your back, feet, and knees.
- Increase balance (especially when rock hopping and river crossing). Falling with a heavy pack on is always dangerous on any terrain, so not only do trekking poles help you avoid falls, but they allow you to self arrest as well once you start falling.
- Allow you to clear the area in front of you (push away poison ivy, look for snakes, etc.)
- Increase forward speed. At the end of each of your strides you can push yourself forward slightly which increases your pace.
Straps serve two purposes, 1) they make it easier to hold onto a trekking pole, and 2) when adjusted right, they take the pressure off of your hands (you shouldn't have to actually apply pressure with your hands to take weight) and transfers it directly to the bones in your wrist. Thin straps (i.e. nylon) can lead to chafing due to the abrasion of the thin material against the skin. Wider, softer materials (i.e. neoprene) will be appropriate if your skin tends to be sensitive to abrasion.
Most poles have a shock absorption option. This allows the poles to compact, reducing the impact on your arms. Without this option, you can get the hiker's equivalent to tennis elbow after long treks or over hard terrain (like rock). You want this feature to be optional though (i.e. for steep hills where you want to utilize all your energy). Make sure that the shook absorber’s ‘on-off’ switch is easy to use and cannot be accidentally enabled or disabled while hiking.
Grips come in a wide variety of sizes, materials and angles. Make sure the angle of the grip matches
your natural stance. Also, select a grip that feels comfortable. Some hikers prefer a longer grip so they can quickly choke up or down the grip as the angle of the terrain changes (as opposed to stopping and resetting the pole height).
In dry, rocky environment no baskets are required. Extremely muddy terrain requires a medium size basket. Snow requires a medium to large depending on how wet the snow is (wetter snow requires a larger basket).
– Ideal for all around use.
– Best for hard packed surfaces or rock.
Setting Pole Length
When walking on flat ground, set the pole length so that your upper arm and lower arm make a 90 degree angle. Use a shorter pole for ascending and a longer pole for descending. When traversing a hill, set the uphill pole shorter and the downhill
pole longer. Many poles are adjustable in length, but be sure that the locking mechanism that the poles have is good enough to stay locked despite extended use, as poor locking mechanisms can start slipping as you hike.