Into the Wild: The Truth About Trekking With Hiking Poles

Into the Wild: The Truth About Trekking With Hiking Poles

Have you ever wondered why hikers use their apparently useless trekking sticks to poke holes in the trail? Serious climbers have used hiking trekking poles for decades. Trekking poles ensure traction when hauling a heavy load or driving over technical terrain. They are even great to use on simple tracks. When going downhill, they're perfect for setting a pace and reducing load and effect on elbows, knees, and ankles. 

When I first started trekking, I was really ignorant of using hiking poles. Seriously! But you can't blame me. Many people don't even seem to let the poles hit the ground, let alone place any weight on them. I have done the same things due to my lack of knowledge of the advantages of using top-rated hiking poles. If you're anything like me, you also may have the question I had in my mind back then! 

What are the benefits of trekking poles? Are they indispensable? Do you need the best hiking poles for trekking, or any simple sticks would do? What are the best hiking poles in the market, and how to choose one? I will answer all of these questions in this article and recommend which materials to choose while buying the best hiking poles. Just keep up with me! 

Why We Use Hiking Poles? 

Hiking with poles isn't for everyone. However, there are several compelling reasons why they should be seriously considered if you want to continue traveling on footwell into your golden years.

1. Reduces Tiredness

Your muscles and joints can take longer to tire with a little bit of weight redistributed for each of your moves. It allows you to get in the additional miles before needing to stop. This is particularly true when downhill hiking when the leg muscles are almost continuously contracting. So, by putting the sticks out in front of you to keep some of the weight off your quads and knees, you'll be able to avoid exhaustion and slips caused by weakening muscles.

2. Improves Posture

The less tired we are, the easier it is to maintain proper Posture. However, when we get sleepy, we start bending or hunching over as we hike. This puts additional pressure on your back, especially if you're hiking with a backpack, which can result in aching muscles. Or, perhaps worse, injury. Proper Posture also improves lung function. A straight position allows more air to enter the lungs. More oxygen also means more effective oxygen supply to the tissues, allowing them to remain stronger for longer.

3. Stability & Balance

Trekking poles give hikers two more points of touch with the trail, effectively transforming bipedal hikers into four-legged hikers. Hikers are less likely to trip in the first place with more touchpoints, and drops are less likely to convert into slides.

Consider the following scenarios that might lead to a trail fall: you walk up to ascend and your weighted footfalls in a patch of mud or on a wet root. You'll most likely end up sprawled on the track if you don't have trekking sticks. On the other hand, Trekking poles allow you to brace yourself, maintain three points of contact with the trail, and remain on your feet even if you fall.

4. Maintain Good Pace

Trekking poles will help you maintain a decent hiking speed for more extended periods by allowing you to walk in a steady pattern - foot, pole, foot, pole. When I use trekking sticks, I've found that I climb a little smoother, and the repeated motion can be very meditative. You'll find yourself walking quicker until you get into the rhythm. 

5. If You Get Hurt, This Will Come in Handy

Finally, should the worst happen and you get injured while hiking, hiking poles can prove to be more lifesaving than you realize. Putting any weight on a sprained or fractured ankle can be excruciating. A pair of best-hiking poles can simply be converted into crutches to keep the weight off the injured limb. Suppose you experience a less severe sprain or injury. In that case, top-rated trekking poles will allow you to complete the hike as schedules, only at a slower and more careful pace. 

When You Don’t Need Trekking Poles?

For years, I was a devoted user of trekking poles. Then I came to a halt for a moment, and it felt terrific to "just walk" without any additional gear. This is why I came to a halt.

  • I like to reconnect with nature; the poles began to feel like bridges between myself and the ground. Instead of balancing on a pole, I now reach out and touch branches, rocks, and dirt to keep my balance. It's just more enjoyable to scramble down. You'll revert to a childlike state.
  • I found that using poles was detrimental to my heart and balance. When I don't have trekking sticks, I would extend my arms and move my weight to maintain balance. This improves my natural balance abilities and activates my core instead of shutting off! 
  • On longer walks, I conserve energy by not waving my arms while walking. For shorter climbs, it's not a big deal, so if you're doing anything like a 22-mile day hike up Mt Whitney, getting an extra 1-5 percent of energy in your tank is crucial.
  • It was one less thing to worry about when I ditched the hiking poles. I put on my boots and bag, then go for a walk. It's easy.

Don't get me wrong. I haven't stopped using trekking poles. Sometimes, it's just better to worry about one less thing. I used to be among those people who enjoy hiking with trekking poles regularly. But now, I mix it up depending on the situation. Usually, my trekking poles are attached to the exterior of my bag. So if I want to use them, I just put them out and expand them. It only takes two minutes.

How to Choose Your Hiking Poles?

6 Factors to remember when selecting the best pole for your outdoor experience are listed below.

How to Choose Your Hiking Poles - Explore Land and Sea

Weight 

A lighter weight is preferable because it will be easy to carry around. However, we cannot overlook the added protection and comfort that heavier materials provide. Especially if we need extra strength and durability in our poles for longer, exhausting treks.

Shock Absorption 

Some poles have miniature shock absorbers in the handles to provide relief while going down slopes, which is especially helpful for those who have joint problems. On the other hand, Shock absorbers take more of the work your arms do to propel you forward.

Grips 

Grips are almost exclusively about convenience, but they come in various constructions to fit multiple needs. The most popular materials used in grips are foam, cork, and rubber. We recommend you get the most extended hold you can find. 

Wrist Straps

Wrist belts are standard on most trekking poles and help stabilize and ensure you don't drop your stick if you lose your grip. These belts are elastic and loop around your wrist and under your thumb to keep your hold on the pole comfortable without tiring your hands.

Materials 

Aluminum trekking poles are very durable while also being relatively less in weight. Aluminum does not dampen friction as much as carbon and is heavier, but it is less expensive and lasts longer. When placed under tension, aluminum poles bend but not as quickly as steel poles. Trekking poles with aluminum shafts are a perfect choice if you abuse your gear or want to save money.

Carbon poles are the smaller and more expensive choice, weighing between 12 and 18 ounces per pair. Carbon-fiber sticks are excellent at mitigating vibration, but they are more prone to breakage or splintering under heavy tension than aluminum poles. This is something to bear in mind whenever you hike in wild, remote areas.

Versatility 

Since they are easier to break down, shorter poles are more convenient to bring about while climbing. For well-traveled trails, anti-shock poles are ideal. Be certain that your poles are designed to withstand the weather, nature, and physical demands.

The best trekking poles come from brands that incorporate all of the vital elements of a practical, usable, and durable trekking pole, not from the expensive brands. Experienced hikers and climbers know that finding top-rated trekking poles requires balancing functionality, protection, and comfort. You can check out 'Explore Land N Sea' for buying our best trekking poles as well as other outdoor accessories you would need! We are waiting for you!