View Full Version : One Or Two Hiking Sticks

Mother Natures Son
08-31-2007, 19:29
In the state of PA, my wife always uses two hiking sticks. (Becase of all the rocks) For those who use hiking sticks, do you prefer one or two and why? If you do use hiking sticks, which one is best?

Mother Natures Son

08-31-2007, 20:14
It's all about personal preference. I typically use two poles but there are times when I prefer to hike without them - depending on the terrain.

I use Leki Carbon poles.

08-31-2007, 20:22
For those who use hiking sticks, do you prefer one or two and why? If you do use hiking sticks, which one is best?
Mother Natures Son

Some people have a personal preference for one staff, or two. My own preference is to use two hiking poles, as it allows me to balance the load I'm carrying, and provides a stability factor.

Using two poles allows me to use my whole body, instead of only my legs, tocarry the load and provide propulsion.

This week, my youngest son and I did about 13 miles on the AT Approach Trail. At the end of our hike, my right knee was was painful due to some tendonitis I've been dealing with. The hiking poles allowed me to distribute some of the load from my knee to my arms and shoulders, and I was able to finish the hike at a reasonable pace, instead of having to limp back from the hike.

I was able to use my arms to take some of the load while climbing, and to help relieve the shock as we were going downhill. Much easier to do in a balanced fashion using two poles.

I use a pair of Leki poles, but have used a dried natural wooden staff in the past. I made a couple from small sappling trees that I cut in my yard, and dried in my garage.

08-31-2007, 20:55
I am a two stick guy who uses Leki Super Makalu's. I find my balance is better over most terrain. I suppose it is what you get used to, but one stick just does not feel right to me...

08-31-2007, 21:20
I went from a single bamboo pole to a pair of aluminum sticks. Komperdells on sale at REI or STP to start, then Lekis (after I had busted up several pairs of the cheaper poles). I have the big Makalu poles with canted cork handles and the anti-shock "feature", but my favorites are my daughter's Leki Ultralight Ti poles. Very nice.

09-01-2007, 01:49
I use two poles - Leki Super Makula's as well. Althouth I've used one in the past, it really doesn't provide me with consistent balance. I find using poles on uphills extremely beneficial as I use them to engage my upper body in the climb.

Going down hilll they two poles are also very valuable because they help me establish a consistent rythm and absorb some of the impact of descent.

Also I'm never sure which side I'm going to lose my balance on, so having two poles helps me prevent a fall regardless of what side I lose my balance on.

09-01-2007, 21:06
I use a five-foot long hickory staff. When I hike with one of the dogs, the leash goes around the other wrist (siberian huskies always have to be tethered to something or they'll wander away at a high rate of speed!). My staffs always have two "handles" carved into them - a lower position for uphill and level walking, and a higher position for going downhill (the extra few inches makes a big difference for me).

09-03-2007, 00:18
Looks like I am either the only, or at least the first. But I am a one stick guy! I use the REI ShockLight staff, or something like it. Leki makes a nice one too. As to why I use only one?
I grew up using one. I like at least one hand free (especially in backcountry/off-trail hiking). It serves as a camera post. I only need one for my tarp/tent. One is easier to handle in and out of camp, less to hold, etc. Besides, I can't imagine moses holding out his "hiking poles" to split the red sea! hehehehehe.

09-03-2007, 00:37
2 poles

A (not The) point of hiking is to go forward....not side to side. Thus and energy "wasted" on side to side movement is moving one towards the goal...NORTH.

Using 2 poles helps reduce muscle energy being used for side to side balance. the legs can thus focus only on forward motion. The arms can then focus on side to side balance since they were just hangin out doing nothing anyhow.

09-03-2007, 20:24
I started with tow because I bought a set. I started leaving one at home to experiment with an umbrella. The second pole has just stayed at home. I reaaly like to have a free hand. I recently went to a 5' hickory pole and love it. I honestly think a pole is a knee saver. As a stream crossing aid, a shelter prop, a defensive weapon, a fire poker, ect.. it is irreplaceable. The 5' hickory pole was less than $ 6.00 at Home Depot. I do not think I will ever spend more than that again. It works just as well as the expensive poles-the only draw back is that it is always 5' long. The weight does not bother me and I do not expect that it will until I hit my late 60's, but maybe by then I will be used to it.

09-03-2007, 23:02
I've tried using two poles, but I'm much more comfortable using only one. I just seem to be able to properly place one pole for perfect leverage and balance better than I am two. Besides, the only time I find myself using the pole for its intended purpose is climbing hills and picking through boulders. Walking on flat and level terrain I put the pole away- it just becomes a hindrance then. Probably because my natural walking speed is already pretty fast, and I don't carry much weight anymore.

09-04-2007, 13:10
I use three. Actually, that third one is not a hiking stick, per se....

09-04-2007, 14:09
Must be tough using the third one on the rocks.:)

09-04-2007, 15:08
Last week, when I was hiking the AT, I used one (1).

09-04-2007, 16:15
Years ago I carried one pole and used it primarily for crossing streams or while on ground that was precarious. When I switched to two poles things became much simpler, hiking was easier, and my pace became faster. I'm presently using extremely lightweight TiGoat Carbon Fiber Adjustable poles (6.4oz per pair) which are a pleasure to use after the heavy Leki Super Makalu's.