Why Add Hiking Poles To Your Camping Supplies

I don’t do a lot of hiking and never really understood the reason why anyone would invest in buying a set of hiking poles.  I’d hate to lug around some darn poles everywhere I go and would simply prefer to pick up a big stick if I really needed something to keep me standing up.  But as it turns out, they do really help you to walk in some environments and there are some key benefits if used properly.  So here are some reasons why you might want to add hiking poles to your camping supplies or hiking equipment.

Reducing the pressure on your knees when descending steep terrain sits at the top of the list in terms of benefits. Various makes of poles are

available and you should be able to find one ideally suited to your hiking needs and preferences. Some of the main features of hiking poles you

Add Hiking Poles To your camping supplies

Add Hiking Poles To your camping supplies

should think about when buying them are telescopic sections, shock absorbers, handle and grip options, the all-essential wrist straps, plus the materials available for lightweight poles. Stansport’s Expedition Trek Pole Pair is a nice set of hiking poles.  They are excellent for wading and hiking, have durable 7075 aluminum alloy, three sections that extend from 24” to 53” and an on/off positive locking system let’s you adjust each section to a comfortable height. They also have a Notched handle grip with nylon adjustable strap.

The proper way to use walking poles and guidance on setting the height
You may not think so, but unless walking poles are used correctly you are not employing them to their full benefit to reduce the pressure on your legs, knees, feet and back. Here are some tips on how to use hiking poles

Set The Pole Height
A. On level ground, stand holding the handle with the pole straight vertically.

B. Adjust the pole’s height so that your forearm is roughly horizontal (90° to your body).

C. During long descents and ascents the ground slope changes, however still adjust so that your forearm is horizontal. On descents your pole will be longer and on ascents it will be shorter to help you on each type of terrain.

Wrist Straps Take The Strain Off
It is best to use the poles’ wrist straps correctly. Doing so will make your hikes using trekking poles comfortable rather than ending with aching wrists and hands.
A. Slip your hand up through the wrist strap from below, far enough that the wrist strap goes to the wrist.

B. Drop your hand around the handle, with a slight twist, and you should find the wrist strap now goes under your palm.

C. Adjust the size to give a comfortable but firm fit. When putting your weight onto the pole you should feel the strap taking the strain.

Trekking Poles Technique
A. The rhythm for pole movement becomes natural if you move them with the natural swing movement of your arms. As in normal walking as one leg swings forward the opposite arm does too. When you are using trekking poles simply consider them an extension of your arms, and when the arm swings forward place the pole tip firmly on the ground. As your legs shift weight, push down on the pole. You are now reducing some of the weight going onto your knees.

B. On descents cast the poles further ahead so that they take weight. For long descents it is beneficial to adjust the height as mentioned above.

Tip: Poles that have handles with Soft Top Knobs allow you to shift your hand on to the very top of the handle and helps to make them longer for trickier / very steep areas (see main features of hiking poles for more information).

C. Similarly, on ascents cast the poles slightly ahead and push on them to help move you upwards. Keep pushing as you move past them. For extra push upwards on very steep areas, move your hand onto the top of the handle and give a final good push as the pole is behind you.
At times on very steep sections you can place both poles down ahead of you and work both arms at the same time to give a doubly good push up.

Tip: Poles that have lower grip extensions allow you to shift your hands down to these to quickly make poles effectively shorter.

 

Do you ever use hiking poles.  Do you have any additional tips?  Let us know.

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