We recently got a question sent to us from listener Rainer asking about Trekking Poles. Here was our response:
Well we certainly wouldn’t consider ourselves experts, but here’s our take on it.
I (Sonny) like the adjustable aspect. Some models twist and some use push buttons. Find the ones that adjust easily. When you go uphill you can make them short and then make them longer when you go down hill. It’ll make sense to you when you do. Of course don’t adjust on every little hill, just on large ones that go a long way.
Find grips you like. It’s the part that touches your body ALL day long, if you don’t like the grips, it can be miserable. Gloves are not a bad idea too.
I like poles that have shocks in them. Some other people do not. On mine you can “lock out” the shock effect so they become more like rigid poles. Nice.
I never use the rubber feet on my treking poles, but do have one on the single hiking stick (much like a staff). The trekking poles have nice carbide points that will take a long time to wear down and grip well on most surfaces. The only bad surface is soft, loamy soil where the point might bury themselves into. That is the reason for the basket guards. (They look kinda like baskets on the bottom of ski poles). They keep your pole from going too far deep. I suppose the rubber feet would be useful if you were ONLY going on paved roads or surfaces like that. I’ve seen people using trekking poles on paved, flat roads! I guess you still can get a good workout (incorporating your arms) even if you don’t get the added benefit of stability and balance.
By far the biggest advantage is stability and balance. It’s like having a portable handrail (like on stairs) to give you that tiny bit of force needed to keep you upright sometimes. Hiking downhill for a long time can hurt (read older) my knees, young kids won’t have a problem. But on a recent long downward hike, I think they just might’ve saved my knees.
There are many excellent brands out there. As in anything else, you get what you pay for. No need to go overboard though. And remember there’s a lot of technique (google the web to find some suggestions) of HOW to use the poles that can make a world of different in your experience.
Oh, if you’re going to buy a pair through Amazon.com, please consider purchasing through the podcacher store
A small portion of your purchase price goes to help support the PodCacher podcast! Thanks!
Hope this helps!
Thank-you for Helping Support PodCacher
Become a PodCacher Member and receive the MAPP (Member Appreciation Premium Perk) shows as a special thank-you as well as Silver and Gold Geocoins (new for 2009)