Pros - Advantages of Trekking Poles
- Reduce impact on knee joints and leg muscles - Arm and shoulder muscles take some of the load off the leg muscles and joints. 1
- Increase hill climbing power - Legs and arms can contribute to the climb.
- Reduced swelling in hands - Hands-above-heart position and arm motion used with poles prevents blood from pooling in the hands.
- Aid balance - When balance is thrown off due to terrain or middle ear problems.
- Regular breathing and increased stamina - Because using poles creates a consistent, steady walking rhythm.
- Useful for testing areas for snakes, stability, etc.
1 Study by Dr. G. Neureuther (1981) showed walking with "ski poles" . When walking on level ground, poles reduced the weight carried by the legs by approximately 5 kg every step. When walking on an incline, that reduction increases to 8 kg. Over course of even a short hike, that translates into tons of weight.
Cons - Problems with Trekking Poles
- Using poles increases total energy expenditure - Which means using poles can be more tiring. Peter Clinch: "...if you have tired legs and knees then poles can be a win, but if you have a tired body, with your cardiovascular system at its limits, then poles may be more of a hindrance than a help."
- Arms and shoulders not designed to prop up your body or distribute weight - So you must balance reduced impact on legs/knees with increased impact on shoulders and arms.
- Prevents your hands from being hands - So opening a map, reading a compass (or GPS), eating a snack, or snapping a photo can become difficult, clumsy, time-consuming acts with poles in hand.
- Benefits from using poles require proper technique - Many people clearly are getting little or no benefit due to poor technique.
- Poles encourage risks - Poles give hiker a new sense of confidence (in balance and strength) that may encourage risk taking.
- Peter Clinch's Hiking Poles Page
- Excellent presentation of pros and cons.
- Pros and Cons of Hiking Poles
- Excellent discussion of pros and cons of trekking poles.
- AdventureBuddies Home Page
- Jayah Faye Paley's DVD and Trekking pole site. I really like this woman and her message. Her enthusiasm is inspiring. I'm gonna get her Poles for Hiking DVD.
Major purpose of trekking poles - to transfer some weight and impact from legs to arms. However, with out without poles, your . So keep your knees bent when going down a steep incline so that the muscles take the brunt of the impact. At the end of the day, you may have sore muscles, but .
- YouTube - HIKING Help, Trekking Poles Article
- Pretty good, brief piece on 48 year-old breast cancer survivor who made instructional DVD for proper use of trekking poles.
- YouTube - Backpacker's Gear School: Hold Trekking Poles Right
- Quick review of basics, length depends on circumstance (up, down, even), proper grip, and stride (poor demo of that but instruction is correct).
|Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles - 1 Pair |
by Black Diamond
|POLES for Hiking, Trekking & Walking |
by Jayah Faye Paley