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  1. #1
    Registered User climber2377's Avatar
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    Default ski vs trekking poles??

    i read the dirt bagging cheap gear article and went around my house to find some stuff that i could use on the trail. i have some old ski poles in the closet in great condition. are they worth taking? what is the difference between a trekking pole and a ski pole if anything. these are not telescoping, but i dont think that will matter much. what do you think?

  2. #2
    Registered User Pacific Tortuga's Avatar
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    Poles can be a pain in the azz for a few reasons, I use them for my knees, balance, tent set up and mad dog defence.
    I did appreciate that they were adjustable, It's up to you and your style, workable and cheap is always good, in my book.

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    Registered User Elder's Avatar
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    If they have good straps, and real tips w/baskets, and are about the right length they will be fine.
    Trekking tips and baskets do not hang up, but help protect you, the pole, and the trail by not digging too deep.
    Length? about a 90 degree angle to your elbow..more or less as they do not adjust/
    Straps, so you can relax your hands instead of death gripping.
    Good luck and good hiking!

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    Registered User Hyway's Avatar
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    When I first started backpacking a few years back (7 years) I was a dirtbagger (I called my self the Beverly hillbilly of backpacking). I found 2 ski poles at goodwill for $1 each. I still use them, but I have trekking poles for the thru hike. Ski poles are strong. I've vaulted many creeks with them. They aren't adjustable so make sure the ones you have are at the right height for trekking. They also pick up a lot of leaves. You will get used to just punching them into the ground when you want your hands free, but that doesn't work while walking (or you will leave them behind ) When walking, I'll tuck them up under my arm and rest them across my forearms while I use my hands (opening a snickers bar, putting on gloves, etc.) If I am not going to use them for a while, I will put them together and tuck under 1 arm. If scrambling up a bank, you'll either throw them forward or move them from hand to hand as you climb up. I wouldn't recommend strapping them to your pack unless you have a lot of room around you. the last thing you want when going around a rock on a narrow trail, is to get tangled up in the poles, or worse, have the poles hit the rock and push you out over the ledge. And don'ttry to go under blowdowns with ski poles strapped to your pack - cartoons have been made from scenes like that.

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    Registered User Hyway's Avatar
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    about the death grip thing. I agree with teh straps, my poles had straps, but even better they had nice thumb rests that I found very comfortable. I got used to using my thumbs to apply the force rather than my gripped palm. Of course, resting your wrists on the straps is better, but I am very wary of rock scrambling with my hands inside the straps.

  6. #6
    Registered User climber2377's Avatar
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    when i am standing next to them they come up to just below my pectoral muscles, they have straps and little bottom things that help clip the two together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by climber2377 View Post
    i read the dirt bagging cheap gear article and went around my house to find some stuff that i could use on the trail. i have some old ski poles in the closet in great condition. are they worth taking? what is the difference between a trekking pole and a ski pole if anything. these are not telescoping, but i dont think that will matter much. what do you think?
    the difference

    about $50

    I use old bamboo ski poles
    If you find yourself in a fair fight; your tactics suck.

  8. #8

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    If I were you, I would buy some poles from a used sports equipment place near you. Make sure they are way too big. A proper ski fit is when you turn the pole upside down, then grasp the pole under the basket. If your elbow is at 90 degrees, then you are good to go. Here's how we size in the rental dept. at my ski shop:
    5'2 to 5'6 = 46" Poles
    5'6 to 5'10 = 48"
    5'10 to 6' = 50"
    6' to 6'3 = 52"
    6'3 and up = 54"

    Find some that are too big, then pop the handles off and use a pipe cutter or hacksaw to trim the pole to a perfect fit, then reattach the handle. I would avoid the star baskets and get something round (so it isn't grabby).

    The great thing about the adjustable poles is that if you don't know what a good fit for you is, you can play with it. I use a cheap ($40), 2 piece set of REI Summit trekking poles for skiing and hiking. They are heavy but I don't give a **** about that and I don't go on and on and on and on and on and on about such things.

    Trekking poles are worth a try. My knees don't hurt and I don't twist my ankles anymore. I become spider-like. I can cover rough, rough terrain easily because I have 3 points of contact to the ground at all times, with a fourth point of contact ready if I slip, or lose my balance.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyway View Post
    about the death grip thing. I agree with teh straps, my poles had straps, but even better they had nice thumb rests that I found very comfortable. I got used to using my thumbs to apply the force rather than my gripped palm. Of course, resting your wrists on the straps is better, but I am very wary of rock scrambling with my hands inside the straps.
    Re: the straps. Many people use them incorrectly. If the strap goes under your wrist it's wrong. If it goes over the back of your wrist and you grip the straps against the pole with the palm of your hand it's correct.
    Cross country skiers almost always get this wrong when they begin (I'm a XC instructor), and it cuts off the circulation to the hands and demands a "death grip". If used correctly, your hands merely guide the placement of the pole and a light grip is all you need.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11
    Did Adam and Eve rest on the first Sabbath? Scripture only says that God did. Are we thinking yet?

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    If money is an issue use the ski poles cut to the right length like sof says.

    The collapsible poles are handy when you're not hiking and just carrying them in your pack. Also, you can make adjust them to suit the terrain (shorter uphill, longer downhill), but that's not hugely important. It took me a while to get used to using two poles, but it's worth it. Your knees will eventually thank you. They help with balance on steep or rocky terrain.

    There are collapsible poles available cheap at discount stores; some brands work OK at few $$

  11. #11
    Registered User Hyway's Avatar
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    Don't buy cheap, buy inexpensive. The cheap ones won't last. After a while they will bend, break or collapse. Using my ski poles I never feared planting my tips in the middle of a narrow stream and using the poles to vault across the water. I am not sure if the inexpensive REI trekking poles will do that, but I KNOW the cheap walmart/kmart $15 ones want survive it too many times, if at all.

  12. #12
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    I used to do a lot of cross country skiing as a teenager, so I found that when I started using trekking poles last year, the movement was instinctive. Left foot forward, right pole forward, etc. It's nice to be able to involve your whole body in hiking, so that your arms aren't just along for the ride.
    "Katahdin barada nikto."

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    Quote Originally Posted by climber2377 View Post
    i read the dirt bagging cheap gear article and went around my house to find some stuff that i could use on the trail. i have some old ski poles in the closet in great condition. are they worth taking? what is the difference between a trekking pole and a ski pole if anything. these are not telescoping, but i dont think that will matter much. what do you think?
    I use ski poles. They're lighter, cheaper (usually), solid, (also, I hate shock absorbing poles), simpler, etc...

    The only reason I'd get trekking poles is if I switched to a shelter that called for adjustable poles to set up.
    I had a life of my own for a little while... but somehow I'm getting sucked back into WB. What happened???

    GA- PA 2010 and northern ME.

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    Got rid of my straps, they were in the way.
    I had a life of my own for a little while... but somehow I'm getting sucked back into WB. What happened???

    GA- PA 2010 and northern ME.

  15. #15

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    I use a $1 used ski pole bought at a thrift shop.
    Warren Doyle PhD
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  16. #16
    Registered User Wags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    Re: the straps. Many people use them incorrectly. If the strap goes under your wrist it's wrong. If it goes over the back of your wrist and you grip the straps against the pole with the palm of your hand it's correct.
    Cross country skiers almost always get this wrong when they begin (I'm a XC instructor), and it cuts off the circulation to the hands and demands a "death grip". If used correctly, your hands merely guide the placement of the pole and a light grip is all you need.
    picture pls
    " It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid." ~Clint Eastwood, High Plains Drifter

  17. #17

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    All my long hikes have been with ski poles. My current poles were from the "free bin" at the local used sporting good store (mismatches snow baskets)
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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