Hiking poles have been more popular in recent years, and if you’ve spent any time on a path, you’re sure to have come across individuals using them. They are indeed useful, but you may also wonder, are hiking poles worth it, or are they simply another gimmick to entice an unwary hiker?
What Are Hiking Poles?
Hiking poles are just modified ski poles, but they’re made to be used when hiking. Aluminum or carbon composite hiking poles with rubber or cork handles are common, however, their designs vary greatly.
Wrist straps are a common addition to many hiking poles, which are designed to be used when hiking uphill. When not in use, most hiking trekking poles may be folded or telescopically collapsed to make them smaller and easier to store.
Why Are Hiking Poles Necessary?
The reasons why people use hiking poles are as varied as the people who use them. Some of these explanations are based on scientific facts, while others are purely subjective. Hiking poles are used for a variety of purposes, including:
While hiking up and down steep slopes, several people believe that using hiking poles improves their overall stability. A third or fourth leg based on how many hiking poles you use when hiking may help you maintain your balance.
Walking on a muddy slope, ice, or snow may be particularly challenging without hiking poles, which provide an additional point of contact with the surface. Hiking poles are especially helpful for the elderly, those with balance concerns, and those who have never hiked before since they offer them the self-assurance they need to go out into nature.
Hiking poles may or may not genuinely help one’s balance, but for many hikers, hiking poles are an absolute need while attempting to cross treacherous terrain like ice, slippery, or steep. Hiking poles are a good idea if you become nervous while hiking on rough or steep terrain.
Going Downhill With A Large Load
Many individuals use hiking poles because they claim that they give additional support for the hips and knees while carrying a hefty load. People who use poles when hiking on steep downhill slopes find that they assist ease some of the pressure on their knees, hips, and ankles that repetitive hammering may have on their joints.
When hiking downhill with a large load, hiking poles might help you maintain your balance. Even if you packed your bag precisely in the morning, the probability is high that it’s unbalanced or even dragging you backward. Hiking poles, which give a little amount of stability on rough terrain, may aid in maintaining your balance when walking downhill.
Crossings Of Streams
When hiking through several streams, hiking poles may be worth the investment and prove to be useful. If you’ve ever tried to cross a creek while balancing precariously on a rock and lost your footing, you know how tough it can be to prevent your feet wet.
Hiking poles may assist keep your dry river crossing dry since two more points of contact with the floor can help you walk over slippery and loose rocks that are characteristic of riverbeds.
For a wet river crossing, hiking poles, on the other hand, may be used as an extra point of contact, making the difference between an easy and speedy crossing and a miserable one.
As everyone who has gone snowshoeing knows, getting back up in thick snowfall may be a challenge. To get back up after falling on snow, you can’t merely put your hand down and roll over; instead, you have to use your whole body to get back on your feet. It’s impossible to reach the other side without your fingers sinking into the snow.
Rather than relying on a snowshoe, though, you may use hiking poles to form a type of brace for yourself to stand on. On a solitary snowshoeing journey, you’ll need trekking poles to assist you to get back up after a fall in the powder.
One of the most unpleasant aspects of bushwhacking is being struck in the face by branches of the trees and plants you’re traveling through. Hiking poles, on the other hand, allow you to push bush aside from your path as you go.
Using trekking poles to move poison oak, stinging nettles, poison ivy, or any other less-than-fun plant to the side when hiking is a great usage of your hiking poles. So you limit your risk to these things, which we all know is a nice thing.
Why Some Don’t Use Hiking Poles?
While there are numerous advantages to using hiking poles, many individuals hesitate to buy a set for their next climb. This begs the issue of why these folks don’t utilize hiking poles and whether their justifications are valid. So, here are some reasons why you shouldn’t use hiking poles:
On steep routes, scrambling, or hiking, you may have to use your hands to keep from falling. Using hiking poles while using your hands might be tough.
So avoid using hiking poles on hilly, rough terrain. While you can always carry your hiking poles in your backpack in case of a scramble, you don’t have to fully abandon them on your journey.
Some backpacks even include an attachment for your hiking poles so you can conveniently store them for a climb without taking the bag off.
Some individuals dislike the added inconvenience of using hiking poles during a trip. Most of them dislike having to track yet another item of gear when out and about. Hiking poles don’t fit in with their outdoor experience, which is ok.
Increasing Energy Use
Hiking poles boost energy expenditure since they demand you to utilize your arms. On a day trek, this may not seem important, but on a lengthy thru-hike or tough backpacking trip, you may use all the stamina you can get.
So some individuals don’t use hiking poles because they don’t want to spend more energy using their upper body on something that just demands their legs.
Hiking poles are also avoided since they often get hooked on trees and bushes during hiking. Hiking poles may also break when twisted in rocks when traversing a rocky or talus area.
Breaking a hiking pole isn’t very frequent. If you use hiking poles, you will need to stop and disentangle them from a branch or rock. This just takes a few seconds, but it may halt your hiking progress.
Are Hiking Poles Worth It?
You should now grasp all aspects of the hiking pole argument. While admirers praise hiking poles for their added stability and reduced strain on lower body joints, critics avoid using them since they might interfere with other activities.
The additional weight is worth it. Hiking poles help reduce the stresses put on the body, according to research. This is fantastic news for some who have had hip or knee injuries or who trek with a big load.
Ultimately, the decision to utilize hiking poles is a personal one. Some individuals swear by hiking poles, whereas others refuse to give up.
If you’re hesitant about buying a set of hiking poles, our advice is to go for it. In this situation, you have little to lose and a lot to gain, so taking the risk is worth it if it means less harm in the long run. People either love or detest hiking poles, and the only way to find out is to try them out!