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Thread: Trekking Poles?

  1. #21
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    I use a single pole. I like having a hand free for drinks, photography, and whatever. The pole also supports my tarp and works as a monopod for my camera. When I recently forgot my pole for a trip i missed it, a little. Get an old ski pole from Goodwill for a dollar or two and see if it suits you or not.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  2. #22
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    I'd hiked a couple hundred miles without them, and now that I've hiked a couple hundred miles with them I'll never hike without them again. Knee pain is a big reason why. I had never had knee pain/problems in my entire life, but by my third consecutive day on the trail (without poles), my knee was killing me on every downhill. With the poles? 0 knee pain over the entire trip. I've read on here before that they can effectively reduce your pack weight by around weight by 20% if used properly, and I believe it.

    They also save me from busting my ass relatively frequently.

    Another plus that I haven't seen mentioned on here yet is that poles can nullify hand-swelling, which can be an annoying consequence of hiking without them.

    Also, they help keep muscle on your arms and keep them from becoming scrawny over the course of a thru-hike.

  3. #23
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    I'd hiked a couple hundred miles without them, and now that I've hiked a couple hundred miles with them I'll never hike without them again. Knee pain is a big reason why. I had never had knee pain/problems in my entire life, but by my third consecutive day on the trail (without poles), my knee was killing me on every downhill. With the poles? 0 knee pain over the entire trip. I've read on here before that they can effectively reduce your pack weight by around weight by 20% if used properly, and I believe it. (My emphasis)

    They also save me from busting my ass relatively frequently.

    Another plus that I haven't seen mentioned on here yet is that poles can nullify hand-swelling, which can be an annoying consequence of hiking without them.

    Also, they help keep muscle on your arms and keep them from becoming scrawny over the course of a thru-hike.
    I am not sure of the percentage, but what you are really doing is transferring some of the weight from your legs to your arms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    What individuals feel (believe) is an absolute necessity for themselves should not be assumed is an absolute necessity for everyone else. There is no one right way for all people all the time to backpack.

    Trekking poles are not an essential required piece for all hikers and all hikes.

    Nor are trekking poles essential to the majority of shelters. Customarily shelter designers offer alternatives to erect shelters for those not using trekking poles.


    These statements are not made to advance a pro or anti trekking pole position.
    DW you are absolutely right. I should have mentioned that what works for me may not be what is best for some other people.
    Blackheart

  4. #24

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    A couple of years ago, an outfitter told me that the difference between Leki and every other manufacturer was that Leki actually ships replacement parts to the outfitters before they are needed. So when a hiker shows up with a broken pole, it's just a matter of going into the back and finding the piece that is needed, fixing the pole and sending the hiker on their way.

    Mind you, I don't own Leki's but in an era where everything has to be cost justified by an accountant that's a pretty smart move.
    "Never fart in your sleeping bag."

  5. #25
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    I lead week-long trips in the whites during the summer and occasionally I'll have some minor pain on the downhills toward the end of trip. I have a feeling it could get worse after hiking a few hundred miles of the trail.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobo860 View Post
    I lead week-long trips in the whites during the summer and occasionally I'll have some minor pain on the downhills towardok the end of trip. I have a feeling it could get worse after hiking a few hundred miles of the trail.
    The Whites are strenuous terrain. This can happen using trekking poles there or not. A week hiking there the majority of the time if I had poles with me they'd be carried not used. Maybe that's partly me but that's what I observe with many others. They will likely slow you down on the descents which in itself could be beneficial.

    Bad form, bad problematic downhill technique, heavier loads than maybe necessary, improper footwear for the conditions and for your feet, and possibly other things can lead to downhill knee pain. Throwing trekking poles into the mix while engaging in such is no panacea for knee pain.

    One of the terrible things many backpackers and hikers do to their bodies on descents that can be attributed to knee pain is race downhill going too fast taking deep/high steps down. Do this with a load, the heavier the more problematic to knees. It leads to other problems like slips, trips, and falls. Do this on steeper rocky sometimes rooty descents like in The Whites even more a problem.

    Use flimsy trail runners lacking adequate support and protection for a wk long hike in the Whites on descents it rcan eally show up in joint and musculoskeletal pain.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knee Jerk View Post
    A couple of years ago, an outfitter told me that the difference between Leki and every other manufacturer was that Leki actually ships replacement parts to the outfitters before they are needed. So when a hiker shows up with a broken pole, it's just a matter of going into the back and finding the piece that is needed, fixing the pole and sending the hiker on their way.
    Mind you, I don't own Leki's but in an era where everything has to be cost justified by an accountant that's a pretty smart move.
    It would not surprise me if that were true. I called Leki for some replacement expanders and the woman not only was super friendly, but she knew the part # off the top of her head. Given that and the quality of my Lekis I think they have their act together.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    The Whites are strenuous terrain. This can happen using trekking poles there or not. A week hiking there the majority of the time if I had poles with me they'd be carried not used. Maybe that's partly me but that's what I observe with many others. They will likely slow you down on the descents which in itself could be beneficial.

    Bad form, bad problematic downhill technique, heavier loads than maybe necessary, improper footwear for the conditions and for your feet, and possibly other things can lead to downhill knee pain. Throwing trekking poles into the mix while engaging in such is no panacea for knee pain.

    One of the terrible things many backpackers and hikers do to their bodies on descents that can be attributed to knee pain is race downhill going too fast taking deep/high steps down. Do this with a load, the heavier the more problematic to knees. It leads to other problems like slips, trips, and falls. Do this on steeper rocky sometimes rooty descents like in The Whites even more a problem.

    Use flimsy trail runners lacking adequate support and protection for a wk long hike in the Whites on descents it rcan eally show up in joint and musculoskeletal pain.
    I've seen this many times. The Whites beat you up. And it's kind of a play ground for a lot of inexperienced hikers. The 48 4,000 footer trailheads are crazy packed during the summer months.

    I see more experienced hikers using poles here than I do if I head down to Massachusetts to hike with friends.

    Day hikes that is.

    After learning how to backpack the hard way along the Long Trail, Cohos Trail, and endless miles of trail in NH. This is how I feel about my trekking poles.

    https://youtu.be/oiPzU75P9FA

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobo860 View Post
    I lead week-long trips in the whites during the summer and occasionally I'll have some minor pain on the downhills toward the end of trip. I have a feeling it could get worse after hiking a few hundred miles of the trail.
    It's much easier to balance going up and down hill or over rocks when using poles. Pretty damn handy for crossing Water 2

    If you use them smart you can take substantial shock off your knees and shins when going steep downhill. When you take a step down hill there comes a point where you literally have to fall on to that downhill leg with a thunk. This repeated hammer can lead to stress fractures especially if your bones are not accustomed to it. It leads to tendonitis for the exact same reason. Poles you to slow down and avoid this. If you use them smart and slow down.

    I find I may have a twinge of knee pain now and then at the start of a hike. But if I'm careful and baby it, after a week its gone.

    When I didn't baby it I've been crippled by both severe tendonitis and tibial stress fracture. Basically unable to walk.

    And yeah they hold my tarp up. And clear spider webs from the trail in the morning. And pushed ticks carrying vegetation away from my legs. And maintain balance when walking on snow fields. Or icy patches. Or sketchy places.

    On flat ground, more likely or not, I'm just carrying them in my hand.

    Would I hike without them? Maybe on flat dry trail. But that's kind of trail that ain't no fun. YMMV.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-15-2018 at 17:17.

  10. #30

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    I wasn't sure if I would like using them or if they would hurt my shoulders (rotator cuff issues) so my first pair was a cheap pair from Walmart. When they failed, I tried a pair that I read about here; Cascade Mountain Tech.
    Carbon Fiber, flick locks, foam handles (my preference - they also have cork) several ounces lighter than aluminum, and only $45.
    No lifetime warranty, but they were well rated and we'll spoken of - and they sell replacement sections reasonably priced.
    .
    Obviously, they don't bother my shoulders, and they help in all the ways mentioned so far.

  11. #31

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    I just can't do CF, I imagine it's failure mode is dramatic. I've re-straightened aluminum poles repeatedly with no ill effects.

  12. #32
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    In such rocky terrain as the Whites i find it better to use a foldable CF upper(s) and aircraft aluminum lower trekking pole design for increased durability and reliability but still at a UL wt. Such an example is the Komperdell Carbon Vario 4. At a lower price pt branded REI but made by Komperdell you can get similar.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    In such rocky terrain as the Whites i find it better to use a foldable CF upper(s) and aircraft aluminum lower trekking pole design for increased durability and reliability but still at a UL wt. Such an example is the Komperdell Carbon Vario 4. At a lower price pt branded REI but made by Komperdell you can get similar.
    Yes aluminum Z poles 14.3 oz have worked better for me then cascade mountain tech . I shattered a carbon fiber bottom section in Pensilvania rocks . The Z poles carbide tips has lasted longer to. Don’t use them all the time especially in technical sections.

    Thom

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    I use a single pole. I like having a hand free for drinks, photography, and whatever. The pole also supports my tarp and works as a monopod for my camera. When I recently forgot my pole for a trip i missed it, a little. Get an old ski pole from Goodwill for a dollar or two and see if it suits you or not.
    Usually I do too. The puppy is better, but still sometimes likes to weave thru my legs. So til she's trained up more... I do like hiking with two. Helps me a LOT. But even one pole is very helpful. I went from a staff to a pole (I have the Cascade Mountain ones), the weight difference to me is a noticiable improvement.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSWisla View Post
    I feel that they are an absolute necessity. You don't need crazy expensive ones, but they do help in relieving stress on your knees. I do end up kicking them once in a while, but that is no big deal. Some tents even require them for setup.
    What TSWisla said. I consider them essential especially since our tent uses them as supports.

    Plus I like the grips on the Lekiís.

    YMMV


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  16. #36

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    FWIW - I've used trekking poles for the past decade or so and credit them with adding at least another decade to my hiking life beyond where it would have ended without them. They are good for all the points made previously, balance, probing, uphill lifts, downhill impacts, propping things, reaching things, digging catholes when nothing else is available, help stop my fingers from swelling during a walking day, and probably another half dozen uses I can't think of immediately.

    There have been studies on these devices (search "trekking poles reduce joint impact") which indicate downhill joint trauma is reduced with the use of poles. I have found scaled weight measurement goes down when I put my hands on top of the poles (not pushing down, just relaxed) and stand at rest with them, an indicator of their taking a percentage of body weight off the lower joints on all terrain. General consensus of information I have seen is between 20% and 30% of hiking impact is absorbed by poles.

    They can be a little tricky to use at first, many people (including me) over-think them and can get tangled up, with a pole preventing the following leg from moving forward in the stride, causing a trip or fall (called a "Dewey" in some circles). If you use them, understand how the straps work, hand goes into the strap from underneath so if you let go of the pole the pole stays with you or your hand/wrist can hang in the strap effortlessly while providing support (especially uphill).

    Some advocate cutting the strap off, even though using them without putting hands into the straps makes a bit more sense so you have the option. I am not sure if this is a weight saving concept, injury prevention strategy from improper use, or experience with rare circumstances. I have well over 2,000 miles using poles in all four seasons and have never experienced an injury with straps and find them very useful. As with all things, there are techniques of use that can be quickly developed for a variety of circumstances.

    Do you need these poles? No, but then you don't need a lot of gear like a stove. Are they handy to have, absolutely. Will I do a long hike without them? No.

  17. #37
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    Very well said Traveler.
    Blackheart

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobo860 View Post
    I'm sure it's been discussed but what experiences do people have with poles on the trail? I've never used them but I've also never hiked for this long and want to minimize knee pain. Do they get in the way a lot? Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? My shelter doesn't rely on them either, so that might factor into my decision. Thoughts?
    Someone mentioned poles/walking stick helping water crossings and i'd agree especially for ME. I had thigh high water at least once there and that was a drought year so in a wet year it can get much worse. They are especially helpful if you're tall since your center of gravity is higher.

  19. #39
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    Default Trekking Poles?

    I also love my Lekis. Water crossings, balance, downhill, even help pushing uphill.
    I get cramps in my hands, tho, from holding them all day. Also noticed my hands sometimes get sweaty on a hot day, so makes it harder to grip the poles. that's where OR gloves come in...

  20. #40

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    I am a hammock hiker and they are a must have for me. They saved from from what would have been a couple of bad falls. They are awesome in maintaining balance in difficult sections.
    You can get a servicable set at walmart for about 20 bucks. If you find them useful then upgrade.

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