Whether you are planning a long-distance hike or a leisurely stroll in the woods, having the right gear can make all the difference when it comes to your outdoor adventure. One essential item that should be part of your packing list is a set of trekking poles. Not only are trekking poles lightweight and easy to transport, they also provide essential support and stability while out on the trail.
Trekking poles help to reduce strain on your joints and muscles, improve balance, and offer extra support on uneven and slippery terrain. From backpacking to snowshoeing and beyond, trekking poles can be a lifesaver on your next outdoor adventure. So, here is a look at trekking poles, why they are a necessity for your next outdoor adventure. Let’s get started.
What are trekking poles?
Trekking poles are specially designed walking sticks used for balance and support when hiking. Trekking poles range in length from about 28 inches up to 54 inches. Most trekking poles are made from lightweight materials like carbon fibre or aluminium, with cork or foam grips for comfort. Trekking poles have multiple uses, including taking some weight off your legs, increasing stability, and reducing the impact on your knees and back.
They are a great option for beginners who are still working on their fitness and are not yet able to backpack with heavy loads or do long-distance hikes. Trekking poles are often used in combination with a backpack, helping to take some of the load off your back and distributing it to your legs and core. Trekking poles can also be used as a form of support when hiking in rough terrain.
Benefits of using trekking poles
Reduced risk of injury
Trekking poles help to reduce the weight on your joints, especially knees and ankles, which can help to avoid injuries.
Trekking poles provide additional support when hiking over uneven terrain. They can also help with your balance when going downhill or crossing streams.
Increased calorie burn
Trekking poles can help increase your heart rate and the number of calories you burn while hiking.
Using trekking poles correctly can help you walk with better posture and form, especially if you are new to the activity or have lower back or knee pain.
Extra support in bad weather
Trekking poles provide extra stability and support when hiking in rainy or snowy conditions.
How to choose the right trekking poles
Trekking poles come in many different weights and materials, so the first thing you want to do is decide what your preferred weight range is.
Next, you’ll want to decide if you prefer cork or foam grips. Cork grips are better for warmer climates, where you won’t get as sweaty, but foam grips provide better insulation in cold weather.
Next, you’ll want to decide what type of material you want you’re trekking poles to be made from.
When purchasing trekking poles, it is important to select a length that is appropriate for your height.
You’ll also want to make sure the trekking poles you choose are strong enough for your hiking needs, whether you’re going on a short day hike or long long-distance backpacking trip.
Tips for using trekking poles
Before hitting the trail, make sure to take a few deep breaths. Getting into a rhythm while hiking can ensure you are getting enough oxygen while also helping to build endurance.
Plant your poles
When walking uphill, plant your poles at a slight angle in front of you and use your upper body to push yourself up the hill. When going downhill, plant the poles in front of you and use them to help you slow down.
Use the “S” technique
The “S” technique is a simple way to remember how to properly use trekking poles. When hiking, keep your arms relaxed at your sides, with your elbows slightly bent. Then, reach forward with one hand, grab the trekking pole, and plant it firmly in front of you. Next, pull the hand back and use the trekking pole to pull you forward. Repeat this process on the other side.
Store your poles correctly
When you’re not using your trekking poles, it is important to store them correctly to avoid damaging them. Avoid placing you’re trekking poles in direct sunlight or in the trunk of your car where they can get too hot or broken. Hang them on a coat hanger.
How to store and transport trekking poles
You can store you’re trekking poles in a closet or corner of your house, but when you are traveling with them it is important to protect them. Trekking poles can be easily transported in a duffel bag or backpack by rolling them up and securing them with a rubber band or trekking pole strap. If you are traveling by plane, you can also check you’re trekking poles as luggage to avoid having to carry them on board.
If you’re trekking poles have removable baskets, you can also put them in your checked luggage to protect your other belongings. If you don’t check you’re trekking poles, make sure to put them in a duffel bag away from your other items to protect them from damage.
Different types of trekking poles
There are many different types of trekking poles on the market, but the basic types you’ll encounter are:
Adjustable trekking poles
Adjustable trekking poles are affordable, lightweight, and easy to adjust, making them a great option for beginners.
Full-size trekking poles
Full-size trekking poles are ideal for long-distance treks and snowshoeing. You can also see some specialty trekking poles, like ones made for rock climbing or backpacking.
Accessories for trekking poles
Trekking pole straps
If you are going on a short hiking trip or walking through uneven terrain, you can use the straps that come with you’re trekking poles to attach them to your hands.
Trekking pole baskets
Trekking pole baskets can come in handy on rough terrain or in snowy conditions. They can be used to help you climb up steep slopes and provide stability on slippery ground. However, baskets can make trekking poles less aerodynamic when walking downhill.
Trekking pole extenders
Trekking pole extenders can help you increase your stride length and cover more ground while hiking. They can also be useful if you find one of your legs is slightly longer than the other.
Carabiners are useful for attaching items to your backpack or trekking poles, like a water bottle or trekking lantern.
Trekking Pole Footpads
Trekking pole spare foot pads/rubbers can be purchased from eBay.
Whether you’re going for a short hike or planning a multi-day backpacking trip, trekking poles can help you to stay steady and strong on your feet, especially when going downhill or on uneven terrain.
Trekking poles provide support for your joints, take some of the weight off your body, and reduce the impact on your knees, hips, and back. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, trekking poles can make a huge difference during your next outdoor adventure.