View Full Version : thru hike trek poles

11-29-2010, 03:05
Are trekking poles worth carrying on the entire trail? I could always send them home, but are they worth bringing to begin with?
Does anyone know if retractable poles are made?

11-29-2010, 03:36
If you don't use them already and your shelter will not need it, then I wouldn't bother. Almost every trekking pole I know of is retractable.

11-29-2010, 05:27
I never used them for day hikes, but after 30 miles on my thru hike I was more than willing to spend $100 on a pair in Neels Gap.

11-29-2010, 08:53
Tag-along and I found these trekking poles (http://www.pacerpole.com/) very helpful throughout our AT thru hike and continue to hike with them. They provided stability on steep descents and river crossings. They were also useful for "pushing" uphill on steep ascents. We lost count of the number of times they "saved" us from falling on slippery terrain.

As noted above, we too encountered several hikers that began their thru hike attempt without poles, but ended up purchasing them along the way.

11-29-2010, 14:29
i used ot hike without poles, one time my knee hurt and a friend let me use hers... in about a mile of using the poles... without stopping the pain in my knee went away and now i'm hooked.

saved me form countless bad falls. great for stream crossings... and make great tent poles ; )
i use the heavy but strong Black Diamond Ergo Corks.

11-29-2010, 14:38
Take them..You soon will see their value. Hiking with trecking poles is like driving a truck with 4 wheel drive. You don't know how usefull it is until you need it.

11-29-2010, 14:42
They are totally worth it. Using your arms to pull you up an incline gives you around a 20% advantage. They are invaluable for helping prevent falls, crossing creeks, and a thousand other uses. As mentioned above, if your shelter doesn't require trekking poles (I would add) then change your shelter. There are many great, lightweight tarps and tarptents that use your poles to stand and you'll appreciate the weight-savings!

11-29-2010, 14:45
Search this site, there are multiple threads here as well as at other hiking/backpacking sites about the virtues (or lack thereof) of trekking poles.

There does seem to be some correlation of age to trekking pole use. Obviously some exceptions, but the older a person is the more likely they are to be a serious and consistent user of two trekking poles. One or in some cases two poles can be used as the tent pole for some ultra-light tents, which gives at least some "dual use" aspect, but the key is saving your knees, particular on descents.

Your (O.P.) text suggests a thru-hike of the AT. While not everyone that hikes the AT uses poles, I think that the AT in particular can be hard on knees; I was very glad to be using two poles throughout.

As to specific pole to use --- again, this has been thrashed out thoroughly on other threads here, with strong opinions being offered as to brand (Leki, Black Diamond, and others), adjustable or not (most are), materials (aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber), whether to get poles with shock absorbers built in or not, even how to use the poles.

Look towards the top of this page for the "search" functionality and you should quickly turn up a lot of past discussion about poles.

11-29-2010, 14:45
Are trekking poles worth carrying on the entire trail? I could always send them home, but are they worth bringing to begin with?
Does anyone know if retractable poles are made?

If you polled 100 people, probably 80 would say yes, bring them, and the rest would say no. This is one you're going to have to figure out yourself. For what it's worth, I no longer carry them. They became more trouble that they were worth on my thru in 2000. They are especially bothersome when you get into the rocks. Many times you need both hands to pick your way along. IMO, start without them and see how things go. Outfitter stores are full of things you don't need.

litefoot 2000

11-29-2010, 16:58
i like them a lot, especially when the ground is covered in snow or heavy leaves and a can't quite see where i'm stepping. prevents many falls. use them to push spider webs out of my face's path, push poison ivy away, to create an awning for my tarp...

max patch
11-29-2010, 17:10
If you believe in Backpacker mag you gotta have some poles!!!

11-29-2010, 17:45
This is what training hikes are for. Figure out what you'll want (and don't want) before you hit the big trail.

11-29-2010, 17:50
or be like the one hiker this year who said

"i have this bag, and in town i fill it with food... if i am out for 4 days i will fill it full, if i am out for ten days i fill it full; either way it is empty when i get back into town"

11-29-2010, 17:55
You talking about me? That was a big mistake. I still had 5 days of food when I got to Big Bear even though I had been trying to give food away to every hiker I met. That's what I get for filling my food bag on autopilot.

11-29-2010, 17:57
Oh wait, not me. I couldn't empty it...

11-29-2010, 18:02
:: thread drift warning ::

no, not you... this year i plan on forced fasting some days... i am so sick of coming into town with 3 days of food. i'll be planning for a very lean socal.

Buzz Saw
11-29-2010, 18:24
Buy a cheap pair at one of the discount stores and try them or old ski poles from the goodwill. Then make your decision. You know you will pay the big bucks at an outfitter once your on the trail. I did not like mine at first, but now I'm hooked. As far as climbing in rocky areas well ever pack I've looked at has accommodations for storing your poles when you have to do some scrambling.

11-29-2010, 18:51
One thing to consider is how strong and healthy your feet and ankles are. I've noticed that when my feet and ankles are injured or healthy my balance becomes horrible. A trekking pole or two can prevent a face-plant.