You see them around: if with a speed walking grandpa, or young man’s plowing down the road, trekking poles (also called hiking poles or walking sticks) are just as ancient an outdoor device as hiking itself. Yet why should you need it? The rewards of toting these sticks are greater than you would think.
Rather than the most well-known application – improving flexibility and equilibrium – the trekking poles help to redistribute the weight from your legs to your arms and upper body, minimizing the pressure on your joints, particularly when moving downhill.
This adjustment lets other people begin to feel less discomfort and is of growing significance when using the correct procedure, usually aiming at a 90 ° elbow bend, changing the length of the pole to compensate for the hill slope. Poles are also invaluable at river crossings, may assist with first aid, or when building shelters-some shelters are also constructed with this in mind.
Ultimately, if these are not enough choices, a fast search offers a few more examples: from photography (needs a mono / tri-pod? What about a DIY selfie-stick?) to scrapping fishing poles, washing lines, or innovative chair alternatives, poles have almost unlimited applications.
Types of trekking poles:
So, what’s the trekking pole? I’m going to go through more specifics of their morphology below, but in general, trekking poles are classified through three major categories: upright, telescopic, or folding. Set trekking poles are the simplest concept and the way they sound set. It’s a sturdy piece of material with a fixed height, like a ski pole. They are flat, often lighter (because they lack any additional mechanisms to allow them to change the length or become more packable), and very simple.
The folding pole typically has three or four pieces of a set length that are strung on a string so as not to miss the pieces. The pole should, so to say, be ‘broken down’ into smaller parts to make more packable. These poles do have a set length since their main emphasis is the speed at which they can be disassembled and reassembled.
Last is the telescoping pole, the most common form of a trekking pole. These poles usually have two or three parts that move in and out of each other, helping you to decide the height you need. The locking mechanism is used to hold the pole to position (see further below under the anatomical section). The benefit of this type of pole is its packability and the ability of the customer to change the total height, which is also important for proper usage. The downside: the locking mechanisms also act as a failing point (more on this later) and these poles are heavier than a fixed pole.
Grip – from cork to rubber, poles come with a range of fabrics to pick from, differing marginally in weight, toughness and ‘squishyness.’ In the end, the sort of material you will use depends on your own choice. Another thing to remember in the form of the handle.
Most (including myself) enjoy the expanded grip, which includes a grip as you would anticipate, and an expansion of the material below. This alternative, smoother grip helps you to adjust the location of your hands to retain the right stance when you need a shorter pole (for example, when scaling a slope) without having to change the length of the pole.