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  1. #21

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    It depends on how heavy your pack is. You might want one for stream crosses. If you do decide to use them learn and teach ethics of not poking plants or widening trails and definitely use rubber boots on them which attach securely.

    The bad behavior of not using rubber boots and poking banks unnecessarily is desetroying trail and biodiversity at an alarmying rate. We need this ethics of rubber boots and not poking moss or plants reinforced. Also learn about pass and stepping aside for groups that go first and do not trample vegatation. Do not be in a hurry when passing. It is not polite or good practice to quickly trample vegetation and think you are behaving well on trail.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by VeganHiker View Post
    It depends on how heavy your pack is. You might want one for stream crosses. If you do decide to use them learn and teach ethics of not poking plants or widening trails and definitely use rubber boots on them which attach securely.

    The bad behavior of not using rubber boots and poking banks unnecessarily is desetroying trail and biodiversity at an alarmying rate. We need this ethics of rubber boots and not poking moss or plants reinforced. Also learn about pass and stepping aside for groups that go first and do not trample vegatation. Do not be in a hurry when passing. It is not polite or good practice to quickly trample vegetation and think you are behaving well on trail.
    really? the animals in the forest, hooved ones, do more "damage" to plants etc. in their home than us humans that don't belong there. hikin' poles aerate the soil and promote new growth

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    really? the animals in the forest, hooved ones, do more "damage" to plants etc. in their home than us humans that don't belong there. hikin' poles aerate the soil and promote new growth

    Maybe you have done way more posting than hiking but to anyone who actually looks down and sees the damage from just one day of hiking one should be able to clearly see the problem. Multiple the problem beyond one day the severity and scope becomes apparent. Did you also cross water areas by doing end arounds or the Y split on side of hte eroding bank edges?

  4. #24
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    .........

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by VeganHiker View Post
    Maybe you have done way more posting than hiking but to anyone who actually looks down and sees the damage from just one day of hiking one should be able to clearly see the problem. Multiple the problem beyond one day the severity and scope becomes apparent. Did you also cross water areas by doing end arounds or the Y split on side of hte eroding bank edges?
    I think Lone Wolf has hiked the trail multiple times. How many miles have you hiked?

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by petedelisio View Post
    No, you donít need them, you can use ski poles.
    YUP. Get them at yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores. They are longer than trek'in poles. They are great in winter or summer. Cut off the plastic snow baskets. I don't hike with out them, but then I'm older than dirt.

  7. #27

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    Appreciate how Lone Wolf so effectively posts what most of us are probably thinking.

  8. #28
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    08-30-2006
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    Bozeman, MT
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    I started backpacking with a staff in 1975. I went several years and a thousand miles with one. Then I switched to ski poles before trekking poles were even remotely a ďthingĒ Ė used to get weird looks with them. Did a few backpacks with poles and ultimately didnít like them. Switched back to a staff until around 1992, when I went to a cane. I use poles occasionally, but will never switch back from a cane. Think of it as a backpackers ice axe. A third point of contact, light, easy on the wrists, leaves a hand free. It quite simply works better than anything Iíve tried. I still use poles for some things, mostly snowshoeing and packing out heavy loads of elk meat.

    Thereís a lot of group think in all things, and backpacking is no exception. Experiment to find what works for you. You might be surprised. I find flailing along all day with poles rather tiring and uncomfortable. Iíve never felt that way with a staff or cane. OTOH, my wife like poles. Vive la difference.

  9. #29

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    I think there is a bit of subjectivity going on here. What is unacceptable to some, is still within an acceptable limit for others. From my perspective, I've never seen a trail widened in any significant manner due to trekking pole use; sure you see the little dimples along the edge of a very narrow trail at times, but even if those areas become part of the trail, it isn't wide enough to notice or complain about.

    Where I live, those areas that I often notice those pole dimples, have not noticeably widened in the decades that I have been hiking on them (note poles use started to become popular in the later half of the 1990's). Where I typically hike, trails that are narrow enough for pole tips to go outside of actual trail, are typically that narrow because they tend to become overgrown with time. I've been hiking most of my life, and the times that I seen a trail widen beyond an acceptable width are typically in areas that are muddy part of the year and people try to go around the mud. And soft meadows where people/horses go abreast each other, or are trying to stay out a a deep rut caused by years of hiking on soft soil, or mud and standing water, so they cause a parallel trail next to the original one. Out west, I see more trail damage overall due to bikes and horses on muddy trails than anything else. And to Lone Wolf's post, I have seen areas where herds of elk and deer have really trashed it when it was muddy. Trekking poles have to rate pretty low on the list of causes for any significant trail damage.

    My limited experiences on the AT was most trail damage was caused due to water erosion, as the trails are often not built for drainage, if anything the way that many parts of the AT are built tend to become streams running off the mountain in rain. That and the muddy conditions causing many hikers to once again, try to hike off the trail to avoid the resulting mud.

    I get that not everyone has had the same experience, local conditions might be different in some areas, and maybe a few areas do have a legit problem with pole tips, but that definitely isn't a universal situation.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roper View Post
    I've backpacked 900 miles of the AT without using trekking poles. I prefer a single wood staff. For the past ten years, I've been using dogwood cut in my backyard. Long (almost 7') and slightly bent so that there's some give when it hits the ground (meaning it absorbs some of the shock). I like a staff because I keep one hand free and can switch hands. Too, dogwood is tough, and, at seven feet, the staff provides an element of protection should I ever need it.
    Thanks for the tip! I might just opt for a long stick instead of poles. My son has on many occasion found a random long stick to carry around. Maybe I'll do the same!

  11. #31
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    Thanks everyone for the insight! It was super helpful to know that if I decide to opt out of poles, it's ok to do that. Getting a set of poles for both me and my son is not something I had particularly wanted to do this close to the trip. For one, it was an additional expense and two, I don't have experience hiking with them. In case of critters (and apparently to take the burden off my knees), it might be a good option to get a walking stick. My son has been pretty good at finding these in the past.

  12. #32
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    I noticed this weekend that my staff is closer to 6.5 feet than to 7. I'm 6'2", so I think the proper length might be slighter longer than the hiker is tall.

    There's another nice use for a staff: Periodically l place it behind my back, hold it with both hands, and lift my pack up, taking the weight off my shoulders. I might do it for 10 or 20 seconds, now and then, giving my shoulders a welcome break.

    You probably know that not all wood is created equal. I favor dogwood. Hickory is also good. Maple, oak, or ash might serve well. I think dogwood is America's second densest wood, trailing only live oak - meaning it's hard and comparatively durable (each of mine has lasted for many years).

  13. #33

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    Most of the damage I see on trails typically isn't from poles but from hikers using bad form and walking off the treadway onto the sides of the trail in bad weather to avoid getting wet feet. This leads to the trail bed getting wider, increasing the effects of erosion and the damage it creates.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Most of the damage I see on trails typically isn't from poles but from hikers using bad form and walking off the treadway onto the sides of the trail in bad weather to avoid getting wet feet. This leads to the trail bed getting wider, increasing the effects of erosion and the damage it creates.
    Yep, way more damaging than hiking poles.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  15. #35

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    No you don't need glorified crutches that make lots of noise and damage the trail. Use a wooden staff perhaps, like previous generations.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by VeganHiker View Post
    Maybe you have done way more posting than hiking...
    You must be new here.

  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    You must be new here.
    I was thinking the same thing.

    Between that and RockDoc's glaring condescension of those who use trekking poles, the attitudes have really come out to play in this thread.

  18. #38
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    03-25-2014
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    Westchester County, NY
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    Starts off a little suspect when someone's trail name denotes personal diet above all else. A certain religious zeal. I have a niece like that, and everybody avoids her. Holiday dinner parties are the worst. Don't tell me that brisket doesn't smell absolutely delicious, sweetheart.

    I don't think I've ever seen CarnivoreHiker or KetoHiker or DoritosHiker.

    BTW, I do use poles, carbon fiber ones that I make myself, about 8oz for the pair. Not for everybody, for sure.

    Someone was once lecturing me on trail damage, pointing out scratches on the rocks. Those are from crampons, nimrod.

    trek_pole_Hammock_suspension.jpg

  19. #39

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    Some prefer not to use hiking poles, and that is great for them as it is a personal choice. But from my observation most who do use them really appreciate them, especially for our knees as we age.

  20. #40

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    I’ve seen estimates that 75% to 90% of AT hikers use trekking poles (not counting day hikers).

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