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Thread: Trekking Poles?

  1. #41
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    4 points on the ground vs. 2. good math.

  2. #42

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    I bought a pair for my wife because she isn’t very stable in the mud. They were on sale from STP so I threw in a pair for myself with the intent of carrying them so she wouldnt feel silly using them.

    Darned if I didn’t discover they made me remarkably stable on slick hillsides as well. That was 10 years ago and I haven’t been on a single hike without them since then.

  3. #43
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
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    I started hiking years ago (as in, the 1970s) with a staff and revised that to a single pole/staff when I took up packing again around 1998. Then I had an incident on Arden Mt. in NY where I slipped on a downhill, tried to use my pole to stabilize, but it was in the wrong hand and I ended up doing a swan-dive off the switchback and cracking my left scapula in half. Would have been the same result if I'd had no pole at all. After that, I switched to trekking poles and have never been happier. You're just more stable and agile with them in hand; it's like being four-footed. Plus all the other benefits for taking stress off the knees, etc., that people have laid out in previous comments. Get a cheap pair to try and learn how to use them. Once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder why you ever hiked without them and you can invest in a good pair that fits you and your hiking style.

    BTW, they can also save you from other, less obvious mishaps. People have already mentioned their use in probing, but sometimes that can happen just as a consequence of using them with very interesting results. I was on the trail in PA a bit north of the Pinnacle, hiking in the early evening (dusk), when I placed my right pole to hop up along a rock ledge, a small copperhead shot out off the ledge from right where I'd put my pole and was about to step. If I'd just stepped there without placing the pole first, he'd have probably bit me. As it was, I was able to laugh, get a picture of him a few feet away swelling up and hissing at me for disturbing him, and hike on. So add "dealing harmlessly with poisonous snakes" to the functions of trekking poles.
    Last edited by Strategic; 04-17-2018 at 13:52.
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  4. #44
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    Slo-go'en summed it up well. They can also save you from falling for other reasons, like being klutzy in general like me. There are two drawbacks, one is related to the other. Yes, they do get in the way sometimes, especially on flat sections or when you're trying to take pictures. A couple of times, I have proceeded to get "back into rhythm" with my poles after stopping to take a picture, and inadvertently run my foot straight into one of my poles that hit the ground before I was ready. That is a sensation not to be missed...sort of like having someone push you into an unexpected high jump bar. One could be injured, but the injuries wouldn't be any worse than you'd sustain by hiking without trekking poles. The choice is yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    If you use them now while your young, you may have better working knees when your older.

    They also have other uses, like poking ahead in a mud puddle to find the one solid place to step onto. They can also save you from falling down if you stumble on a rock or trip on a root.
    Hiking is the best teacher, it grades on a curve.
    AT miles: 185 / Total miles: 801.67

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  5. #45
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    I am one who really appreciates my poles. Have prevented innumerable falls and helped my knees on long uphills and steep downhills. However, be careful in rocky areas (Pennsylvania) as they can get caught between rocks and cause a fall. I am now off the trail due to a knee injury sustained last week in PA when I took a bad spill. Broke a pole too.
    humor is the gadfly on the corpse of tragedy

  6. #46
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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?
    The benefits outweigh the negatives in a BIG way. The only thing I didn't like about them was that one of the baskets would occasionally get caught on a root or rock and jerk me back. It was never enough to cause any harm, but it certainly was annoying, and sometimes disconcerting.. On some parts of the trail that happened about hourly to me. That's probably why at least one person commented on not using straps.

    Well, I formerly did not use poles, but now I swear by them. I also did not use pole straps in the past, but now I use them almost all of the time, even with the occasional root jerking me back. The upside is enormous when you use poles with straps (straps are more important on the uphills). As someone else mentioned, it's like going from 2WD to 4WD. You'll never look back.

  7. #47
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Do you need trekking poles? Maybe.

    Do I need trekking poles? Definitely!

    I do use the straps, the "right" way. I recognize that's considerably more controversial.

    If I'd used poles in my youth, my knees wouldn't be as screwed up as they are today. But nobody used poles back then, unless they were on snowshoes or skis, so who knew? Nowadays people seem to know better. In any case, using them keeps me hiking. Well, mostly. I've struggled with various problems the last couple of years. They've all been curable so far, so maybe I'll be able to get back into trail shape eventually. The knees are never going to be quite right, but mostly they're good enough to hike on, at least with poles.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  8. #48
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    Slipped on my last trip and broke a pole.
    Actually I slipped more than once the green stuff on rocks was slick as goose $hit when wet. But the point is my butt was dangling about 2in above shin deep cold water when that pole snapped. It's still slowed me enough that I was able to recover mostly with just a slightly damp derriere. Instead of a soaking wet one when it was 42 degrees. Fortunately I was able to rig it to work for the next 75 miles, since I broke about 7 inches off of a middle section of a 3-piece Pole, I just inserted the bottom farther up the middle part after I've bent it back straight and voila.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-19-2018 at 18:52.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

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