View Full Version : Trekking Poles

11-13-2003, 01:47
How useful do you think trekking poles will be on a thu-Hike? and should i get the ones with the shocks or not?

Blue Jay
11-13-2003, 08:42
How useful do you think trekking poles will be on a thu-Hike? and should i get the ones with the shocks or not?

The use of poles is purely a individual decision. Some people would never hike without them for many reasons such as the fact that they believe they help their knees and that may be completely true. Other people would never carry them for many reasons such as they want to keep their hands free or they feel they are useless weight. If possible borrow a set and try them for yourself. Often you can get ski poles at a yard sale to see if they help you.

11-13-2003, 09:43
The majority of thru-hikers, even the ultra-lighters, use them. Must be a good reason. So, my recommendation is to bring them along.

11-13-2003, 10:04
Lots of people do use them, but many do not. Poles don't help me and mostly get in the way, but a lot of hikers I respect quite a bit use them and like them. If you can, borrow a set from a friend for a couple of hikes to see if they are for you. Most likely you will find that they are of most help on steep downhills and of less use on flat ground.

Rain Man
11-13-2003, 10:09
How useful do you think trekking poles will be on a thu-Hike? and should i get the ones with the shocks or not?

My wife and I have or have had 3 or 4 kinds of poles. I now have Leki Ultralight's from REI without the springs. I wouldn't backpack without them, especially on the downhills, though they are great on uphills too. And they even come in handy in shelters, as I discovered this weekend, when I rigged up garbage bags with duct tape into a "tarp" for some extra warmth, and used the poles to keep the plastic off my sleeping bag.

Definitely do NOT bother with the shock springs. NOISY!!!! And wasted weight. Simpler is better. IMHO.

P.S. It was nice to meet a SOBO thru-hiker finishing up this weekend with "MY" poles!!! :banana

Rain Man

11-13-2003, 10:51
Agree with Rainman. The shocks are just another thing that can break. Very unnecessary, rigid poles work great.

11-13-2003, 11:00
I never thought I would use poles, since I have no knee problems and my legs are pretty strong. However, I tried them for 3 consecutive days on rough trails and now wouldn't be without them unless the trail is pretty flat. They just add a lot of stability. Of course, I haven't used them on very hot days where my palms would probably be sweaty all the time.

I have the high-end Leki Ultralite Ti AirErgo PA poles. Nice and light, like the angled grip, could do without the springs. Also, since I only find the poles useful over rough terrain, I rely on the tungsten metal tips and don't use rubber tips. It would be great if you could easily go back and forth, but I just don't use the poles walking over rock.

Lone Wolf
11-13-2003, 12:22
Never used them, never will. Start without them. Don't blow 140.00 bucks on them then find you don't like them. I think the majority of people use them because of marketing. Pure and simple.

The Solemates
11-13-2003, 12:44
Gotta agree with LoneWolf on this one...

11-13-2003, 12:46

I'm w/ Kerosene on this one! I didnt think i'd ever use Trek poles (or hikin' sticks) when i first started "prepping" for the A.T. (by doing some day-hikes etc etc)...but, after a few miles & a few steep climbs...& blowing out a knee....i quickly was sold on TREK Pole(s).

I started out with a single...but, now use 2 Trek Poles & a knee brace if the hike is longer than 2 days.

I prefer the no-shocks...but, most poles...you can turn that feature off if your prefer not to use it.

I now have 2 Leki Makalu Ti poles...& LOVE 'em!


11-13-2003, 12:57
Trekking poles save knees. You can easily get a pair for less than $140.00. Old ski poles work almost as good. Can't say whether shocks help. Adjustable poles are good, can be switched on ups and downs, but I usually don't bother. Also, adjustable poles are useful for tarp set-ups. Some places rent poles. Borrow a buddy's and try for several days. You'll need to get used to them before they are effective. Listen to the opinions of those who have actually used them.

11-13-2003, 13:01
I agree with Lone Wolf....he's right most of the time...

except for the Titanium cookwear... :D

Mr. Clean
11-13-2003, 14:28
I have bad knees and couldn't do alot of mtns here in my area, but tried a single pole and was amazed! Always use it now and can do more hikes, though I'd rather not have to have it. Try without first.

11-13-2003, 17:24
I've hiked with and without poles and I'm definitely in the "poles are good" corner. As suggested get a pair of old ski poles and cut them down if neccessary. Save the $100 for beer.

11-13-2003, 18:30
Depending on your height, you can get cheap, light, rigid kids poles that work great for under $40 a pair. I've had Leki kids poles for 3 years and haven't had a problem with them (lasted through LT and AT thru hikes!) I'm about 5'7" and I think thats probably about the max height. I've hiked with and without poles and they helped the most when I was hurting, but it was probably just because I was use to having them.

11-13-2003, 18:32
I love my poles. During one extremely wet hike in the Smoky's my hiking buddy and I tried to count "pole saves" . "Pole saves" are the number of times the poles kept us from falling. Maybe we are extremely clumsy but we lost count. My knees also feel much better when hiking with poles.


warren doyle
11-13-2003, 18:37
I have always used one ski pole purchased for $1 or less at a thrift store. Reuse/recycle.

Sand Crab
11-13-2003, 18:45
I am new to backpacking (Amicalola Falls to Neels Gap in Sep) and didn't know whether I would want to use a pole(s). I have knee problems due to an accident years ago. I didn't want to spend a lot of money and considered just using a stick, but also wanted something I could collapse and strap to my pack if I didn't need it all the time. I found an aluminum alloy, 3 section hiking pole with rubber hand grips, a rubber tip and wrist strap at Wal-Mart (sporting goods) for $9.98. Don't know the weight, but it isn't unreasonable. I found them invaluable on the ups and downs. The first couple of days I sometimes used them and sometimes carried them, depending on the trail, but after the first couple of days I found a rhythm and always used them. They really help with stability (especially if you carry too much weight, as I did). The only problem with these poles is the rubber tip. You have to watch where you place them since they will slip on rock, but it wasn't a major problem. Whatever you decide, have a great trip!

11-13-2003, 19:08
I just started using a pair of hiking poles (ski poles) last year. I thought they were very helpful for steep up and downs. They saved my knees going down and helped me apply more upper body strength into the climbs. The poles also helped my stability and saved me from a fall or two during my 4 day hike.

The hiking poles also helped a great deal with stream crossings. Stepping on rocks to cross a creek without slipping can be challenging for me. But, with the poles it was much easier to cross.

My brother was very hesitant about the idea of using hiking poles. After the last backpacking trip with me, he used them and couldn't believe the difference.

Now, we won't leave home without 'em.

11-13-2003, 23:19
Well, call me old fashion, and sentimental, but I found a really nice stick in the woods along the AT in the DWG area that I won't part with, and I also collect AT medalions for each section I hike, which I have nailed to the stick.
Save your money and try a stick first. If you feel that it works for you, stick with the stick or buy a pole.
However, when the aches and pains start in the knees, ankles, and feet they are a lifesaver. They also support your balance on rocky terrain and stream crossings.

Lone Wolf
11-14-2003, 01:37
Actually I've used wooden poles many times when crossing the Kennebec. *** is a canoe?

12-03-2003, 20:15
I know there are some traditional hikers out there that don't use them, however, during my my 2003 thru hike over 90% of the hikers I saw had poles and all my friends used them. I would get the anti-shock type poles.


12-03-2003, 21:07
I hiked without them in the 70's and now hike with them. I do not have knee problems and find their greater use to be taking weight off of the legs while you are going up hill. The arms are just dangling there not pulling their weight and out there I think every part of you should be working. You can get into some awful situations sometimes when all you need is a pole to give you that extra stability.
You can also brace them against a tree to spear a charging lion.

12-30-2003, 00:28
I had never used poles in my many years of hiking before my SOBO thru-hike but I would recommend them to everyone. They save a lot of strain on your knees and ankles. Strain that over a weeklong hike doesn't effect you, but over 6 months starts to add up. Also with poles you can wear "trail-runner" boots instead of traditional boots. Again I highly recommend poles specifically any style made by Leki. They are very good in replacing broken parts for thru-hikers.