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#161156 - 01/03/09 09:39 PM Re: Trekking poles [Re: oldsoldier]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...knees were giving out, and it took a LOT of stress off of them..."

I think that is the whole thing. You see people hiking along on flat level ground, and a pair of hiking poles look pretty silly, they often don't even touch the ground. But once you hit rougher country they really help, 'specially on the downhill. I think that a solid method of adjusting the length is important. I just don't trust those twist lock things, if they are to suppord me and my load going downhill. I prefer the spring button type of lock. Not quite as adjustable for length, but a nice solid lockup...

#161158 - 01/03/09 09:48 PM Re: Trekking poles [Re: Tom_L]
bmisf Offline

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 185
Originally Posted By: Tom_L
I suppose trekking poles MIGHT be marginally useful. Marginally in the sense that they will make hiking seem a little easier for a while until your arms tire and that's about it. Somehow I just find them amazingly annoying as an increasingly popular fashion statement, though. Everyone seems to bring along a pair nowadays, even on really easy treks and EVEN in the cities! That, to me, is just plain ridiculous. I must also admit that I know not a single serious outdoorsman under the age of 50 who ever uses trekking poles to any extent.

Not a single serious hiker I know *doesn't* use them, at least sometimes, if not all the time. Amongst my hiking buddies and acquaintances are writers for an ultralight backpacking magazine and a photographer for other outdoors publications, long-distance ultralight hikers, and a group of friends with whom I get out backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere many times a year for trips where we cover anywhere from ten to 20+ miles a day, with thousands of feet of elevation change.

Trekking poles are particularly useful for easing strain on knees, for safely crossing streams, and for adding extra oompf on uphill stretches. They also can serve double-duty as poles for tarps or tarptents.

I personally favor ultralight carbon fiber poles like those GossamerGear makes; they weigh only a handful of ounces each, so I hardly feel them (especially when attached with a keeper strap, so that a strong grip is unnecessary), and they've saved a lot of wear and tear on my body.

So, "hike your own hike", as they say, but definitely don't discount or disparage trekking poles out of hand, especially if you've not tried them.

#161159 - 01/03/09 09:48 PM Re: Trekking poles [Re: ]

I myself and the five others of our group that will be hiking the Canol Trail do not use trekking poles at all. The suggestions we have read in taking the poles is to aid in some crucial spots along the trail such as the river crossings. The trail itself is mostly in wide open country such as seen below and as you can also see there can be a dearth of suitable downed trees for obtaining a decent stick....if and when it would be needed. We do not want or physically require the poles as daily walking assistants, rather we would carry them strapped to the packs and used for the river crossings as seen in the second photo below

#161175 - 01/03/09 11:55 PM Re: Trekking poles [Re: tomfaranda]
Jeff_M Offline

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Northwest Florida
Originally Posted By: tomfaranda

haha - I enjoyed your deserved putdown of my little comment. From your picture, you certainly don't look funny to me,

That's just because the picture's too small.

Originally Posted By: tomfaranda
and if you were to see what I generally wear, you'd know I'm not very fashion-conscious.

For the techno-record, we have three black diamond trekking poles. A matched pair and a sinlgle one, which also has the little screw thingie on top, to use it as a camera monopod.

They are very good poles, and I can find no performance difference between the shock absorbing ones and the non-shock absorbing single.

I agree. Shock absorption is a marketing thing.

Originally Posted By: tomfaranda
I still plan on only using one pole, and not two, at least for the foreseeable future.

Viva la difference. Know what works for you.


#161192 - 01/04/09 01:07 AM Re: Trekking poles [Re: Jeff_M]
Colourful Offline

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 86
Loc: Yukon
In the Northwest Territory section, from McMillan Pass to Norman Wells is definitely hiking pole country. Getting out of there by plane can be costly.

In the Yukon, the South Canol, from Johnson Crossing to Ross River is a fairly well used gravel road.

The North Canol from Ross River to McMillan Pass is a driveable but rough.

Edited by Colorama (01/04/09 01:12 AM)

#161203 - 01/04/09 02:00 AM Re: Trekking poles [Re: Colourful]

Originally Posted By: Colorama
In the Northwest Territory section, from McMillan Pass to Norman Wells is definitely hiking pole country. Getting out of there by plane can be costly.

McMillan Pass to Norman Wells is the actual Canol Trail. You are correct, flying in / out of Norman Wells is extremely costly, not to mention the cost for the plane to / from Macmillan airstrip.

We have not decided which way to go yet. Some prefer east to west, some west to east...either way the cost is going to be the same.

#161207 - 01/04/09 02:49 AM Re: Trekking poles [Re: ]
tomfaranda Offline

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 301
Loc: Croton on Hudson, NY


you are right - whatever floats a person's boat and keeps them going.

#161214 - 01/04/09 03:20 AM Re: Trekking poles [Re: ]
PackRat Offline

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 56
I have used two poles for hundreds of kilometers of hiking and my knees really notice it when I forget to bring them along especially when hauling a heavy pack over mucky terrain or covering a lot of vertical.

The only place where I don't like poles are on steep scrambles where two free hands are more useful that a couple of pointy sticks.

I use Black Diamond poles that have a "Flick Lock" system to lock the pole length and it allows me to quickly shorten the poles for the uphill and lengthen them on the down hill. The Flick Lock can be adjusted with mitts on and have worked well in the winter where I have seen other poles freeze up.

I prefer a three section poles as compact a little smaller and can be strapped to a pack when not needed.

Pole shafts are also a great place to store some extra wraps of tape.

#161232 - 01/04/09 06:21 AM Re: Trekking poles [Re: PackRat]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2741
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I have always carried a staff of some sort while hiking, whether hand-carved from a saskatoon (serviceberry) bush or an old downhill ski pole picked up at a garage sale for a buck.

The amount of stability it adds in rough or slippery terrain, and the protection it gives to my trick knee, makes it indispensible. Surprisingly, it helps you slow down while packing a load, meaning you have more control over where you step and how hard you land.

I generally only use one pole, except while snowshoeing. I switch sides on a regular basis.

A few years ago, I acquired a collapsible 'trekking pole.' It's not as sturdy as a heavy-duty downhill ski pole, but I like the fact it can go short and be used like an alpenstock, just marking time until you need a little extra push to hop a boulder or puddle.

I would be worried about getting tangled up with two poles while crossing a strong stream. But from my limited experience in wading streams, I would say that one pole is certainly worth having.

#161293 - 01/04/09 06:18 PM Re: Trekking poles [Re: dougwalkabout]
DesertFox Offline

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 339
Loc: New York, NY
I recently started using the collapsible poles on hikes with lots of hills. They seem to reduce the punishment my knees take, especially with a heavy pack. There is greater fatigue to the upper body. But what the heck. It's a good workout.

For the hike Sherpadog is making, judging from the photos, a hand carved staff from a branch picked up along the way should do just fine.

I find the poles are somewhat of a nuisance on flat, level terrain. There might be some advantage on a really long hike over flat ground. But I haven't done one of those in a while.

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