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#284183 - 04/09/17 08:43 PM Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed?
hikermor Offline
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6224
Loc: southern Cal
For quite a few years, I have used some kind of hiking staff or another. These have ranged in complexity from a staff fashioned quickly from a trailside brush pile, to a repurposed replacement shovel handle, a mop handle found on a beach, and finally to a set of fancy-dancy aluminum trekking poles. These last are adjustable in length and I have used them a lot over the last twenty-five years or so, and I really like them.

Costs of these different rigs have ranged from $0 to about fifty-five bucks or so. Checking out REI's current offerings, you can spend as much as $220 on a set of poles, which does seem a mite excessive.

I prefer to use a single pole, rather than a pair. My pole is useful on slippery terrain, and especially when crossing streams, acting as a third point of stability. In snake country, usually dense brush, my hiking staff takes the point, while my feet loiter behind. The adjustability feature is often useful when using the staff as a tent pole. At one time, I had a pole than contained matches and tinder in waterproof cases in the handle (tactical hiking staff??)....

What has been your experience with hiking staffs and their uses? Any good war stories?


Edited by hikermor (04/09/17 10:16 PM)
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#284184 - 04/09/17 09:03 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4709
Loc: SOCAL
I don't carry a staff much here, the terrain I hike is too benign. The hiking poles at REI are way to pricey. However, when I hike in the PNW, I have a staff I fashioned years ago from a Vine Maple I had to remove. That is one strong piece of wood.

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#284185 - 04/10/17 03:12 AM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 820
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
I have a bad knee, but not so bad that I'm dependent on a cane. I walk fine without it, but I walk further and have less pain that night if I use one.
My favorite is a Leki Wanderfreund. Because I'm not dependent on it, I forget to bring it on trips, so I've bought a couple at the camp store at my destination. I have 3 now. I left one on the trail once, and someone found it and mailed it to me, since I put a name and address sticker on most of my gear.
My first one had a shock absorber, but I find that doesn't make much difference, even though I put a lot of weight on it.


Edited by GoatRider (04/10/17 03:13 AM)
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#284186 - 04/10/17 03:50 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
wildman800 Offline
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Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2806
Loc: La-USA
I use a oaken tap root. It is very strong and is quite useful setting up my campsite.
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#284187 - 04/10/17 04:43 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 854
Loc: Colorado
I use an adjustable length aluminum one (Trax perhaps?) I bought decades ago.

Not sure I could walk on dirt without it now.
Highly important for off-trail hiking and it's saved me from many potential falls.

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#284191 - 04/11/17 06:34 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1078
Loc: Alaska
I've long been a big fan of trekking poles. Besides helping to maintain balance and prevent slips and falls, I find they reduce fatigue. I think in rough terrain one uses a surprising amount of energy maintaining balance. When using a pole I find I can hike longer and further, and have more energy left at the end of the day.

I generally only use one pole. I think it is the old 80/20 rule. You get most of the benefit from the first pole. I generally carry two, but unless the terrain is really gnarly, one stays fastened to my pack.

My current favorite trekking poles are from Black Diamond and are made of carbon. They are extremely light. They also fold down to a very compact size, which makes them easy to pack in my luggage when I travel. The only minor disadvantages are that they are not adjustable for length, and the wrist strap could be better designed. And they are expensive, but I used one of the REI 20% coupons to get them down to a more reasonable price. Overall I really like them.
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#284195 - 04/11/17 08:15 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: AKSAR]
Russ Offline
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Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4709
Loc: SOCAL
I've never really seen the utility in trekking poles, but when you mentioned carbon fiber as the primary material my antenna went up. CF means the poles would be light enough (10 ounces per pair) that they can be taken along on a walk even if not needed. REI currently has four different models of Black Diamond Trekking poles of which the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z-Pole Trekking Poles seem to match the description of yours. That said, what is the difference in durability and performance(?) of the types of grips? Is there an advantage of cork vs EVA foam grips? TIA.

I'm not a buyer yet, just thinking...

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#284198 - 04/11/17 08:39 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: Russ]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1078
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Russ
I've never really seen the utility in trekking poles, but when you mentioned carbon fiber as the primary material my antenna went up. CF means the poles would be light enough (10 ounces per pair) that they can be taken along on a walk even if not needed. REI currently has four different models of Black Diamond Trekking poles of which the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z-Pole Trekking Poles seem to match the description of yours. That said, what is the difference in durability and performance(?) of the types of grips? Is there an advantage of cork vs EVA foam grips? TIA.

I'm not a buyer yet, just thinking...

I have the Carbon Z model. So far durability seems good. My older length adjustable aluminum poles started to give trouble after a few years, and would slip where the segments joined. My only real gripe with the Black Diamond poles is that the hand straps are too small and don't adjust far enough. I have trouble fitting my hands in when wearing gloves. My older pair of aluminum trekking poles had a much more generous and adjustable hand straps. The things I really like are the light weight and how they fold up very compactly (more so than my old aluminum ones).

Regarding the utility, I would try to borrow some and try them out on a few hikes. My wife was also skeptical of trekking poles. But after I got her to try them on a few hikes she has become a convert! Her knees feel better when hiking with trekking poles, vs without them.
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#284199 - 04/11/17 08:46 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Offline
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6224
Loc: southern Cal
My vintage aluminum poles are starting to slip (20+ years old) and I have been contemplating replacements. Just noticed that REI carries replaced parts for all of five bucks which fit my model (Super Makalu). Also consider Costco - some of their stores carry a model that is $30 and that gets good reviews.

As for carbon fiber, I think I will just wait for the solid diamond model - it can't be that much more expensive.
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#284206 - 04/12/17 04:02 AM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1709
I have the aluminium z-pole from black diamond. Not carbon, but also verly light. Only complain would be the rubber tip not being durable, but they do give you the a pair of carbide tips.

Would recommend it. is really expensive, but bought mine on sale...
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#284208 - 04/12/17 07:01 AM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
quick_joey_small Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 442
Loc: UK
found out the hard way that a rubber tip is useless on ice. you need the carbide.
though that means you have a stick not strong enough to bash creatures away. anyone got a solution?

since started hammock camping, ditched the tent. here's some ways to use sticks for when there are no trees:

https://youtu.be/oNFu2Gw6CSs

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#284209 - 04/12/17 12:17 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: quick_joey_small]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3588
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I started using a collapsible trekking pole when I was pregnant during an icy winter, but find I rarely use it when hiking. I usually grab a stick from the trail head, and that's usually more for protection that balance. We hike in coyote territory, and though I've never seen one and wouldn't expect to since I most often hike with noisy kiddos, I have been rushed by off-leash dogs a few times. (Once I thought that three off leash dogs were a pack of coyotes when they rushed me while I was sitting down for a brew at dawn. That was enough to spook me.) Even a friendly puppy can do damage to a little kid when they're excited and jump up. I'd never want to hurt someone's pet, but it is a safety concern.

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#284210 - 04/12/17 02:08 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: bacpacjac]
hikermor Offline
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6224
Loc: southern Cal
I would not hesitate to use my collapsible pole as a coyote whacker, if it came to that, but the improvised broom handle, etc. is certainly a bit more stout, and much cheaper to replace.

Today, when I discard something like a broom, i often salvage the handle. Traditional wood is being replaced with fiberglass and hollow steel rods - great raw material for the next hiking staff. Can't beat the cost/benefit ratio....
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#284216 - 04/12/17 05:39 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
TeacherRO Offline
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Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2237
I have several sets of poles - I mostly use the single staff style.

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#284217 - 04/12/17 05:41 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
drahthaar Offline
Member

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 108
I have carried one of these for years: https://www.rei.com/product/471038/tracks-sherlock-walking-staff

A little heavier than carbon but it will bend before it will snap. I'm a big guy and I bent one years ago after I wedged it in some rocks on a steep descent. But it did not splinter and snap like (I am guessing) carbon would have.

Has a nice walnut knob on top which can be used, if needed, to whack belligerent cattle on the forehead.

Top knob also unscrews so you can use it as a camera monopod. Handy in general but a neat trick is to screw your point and shoot on there, set the auto-timer, and then hold it out over out-croppings and over streams - gives you a neat perspective on photos.

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#284222 - 04/13/17 02:27 AM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: Russ]
Quietly_Learning Offline
Member

Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 163
Originally Posted By: Russ
I've never really seen the utility in trekking poles, but when you mentioned carbon fiber as the primary material my antenna went up. CF means the poles would be light enough (10 ounces per pair) that they can be taken along on a walk even if not needed. REI currently has four different models of Black Diamond Trekking poles of which the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z-Pole Trekking Poles seem to match the description of yours. That said, what is the difference in durability and performance(?) of the types of grips? Is there an advantage of cork vs EVA foam grips? TIA.

I'm not a buyer yet, just thinking...


REI has good information about choosing different types of trekking poles:
https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/trekking-poles-hiking-staffs.html

There are a number of personal variables to be able to make a recommendation but both Black Diamond and Leki make good quality poles.

I prefer aluminum because they're more likely to bend then snap. I've had a bent aluminum pole which was still useable.

Trekking poles are a great way to show your knees you love them. They also help you avoid falling on your face in tricky terrain.

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#284223 - 04/13/17 06:53 AM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: Quietly_Learning]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1709
Originally Posted By: Quietly_Learning


Trekking poles are a great way to show your knees you love them.


That! I can walk up fill with no issues, but my knees do not like long decents. As a alpine climber, who hates weight, the weight off poles are worth it. Well atleast the lighter models...
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#284224 - 04/13/17 10:37 AM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
voyaginator Offline
Stranger

Registered: 04/21/16
Posts: 8
I like my Foxelli trekking poles https://goo.gl/6kbKNm carbon fiber, very light and seems pretty strong.

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#284226 - 04/13/17 01:30 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: Quietly_Learning]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4709
Loc: SOCAL
Originally Posted By: Quietly_Learning
...Trekking poles are a great way to show your knees you love them. They also help you avoid falling on your face in tricky terrain.
I do leg presses and squats to tell my knees I need them strong. When I ran distance I had many more knee issues, but since I've returned to regular weight training, no issues with my knees at all.

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#284227 - 04/13/17 06:00 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: Quietly_Learning]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6224
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Quietly_Learning

REI has good information about choosing different types of trekking poles:
https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/trekking-poles-hiking-staffs.html



Not only is that section good information, but a considerable portion of REI's website is committed to similar informative discussions about gear and its proper use.

I guess I am a satisfied customer because I have been a member for more than fifty years. I do patronize other outfits as well..
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#284228 - 04/13/17 07:35 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline
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Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4709
Loc: SOCAL
I've only been an REI member for 31 years. cool

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#284229 - 04/13/17 07:46 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6224
Loc: southern Cal
Newbie!! smirk


Edited by hikermor (04/13/17 11:00 PM)
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#284230 - 04/14/17 12:56 AM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1236
Loc: North Carolina
you got me by 20 years!

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#284231 - 04/14/17 06:13 AM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1078
Loc: Alaska
I became an REI member about 1965 or so, when I was in high school. I guess that puts me in the 50 year club too.

Time flies when you're having fun!


Edited by AKSAR (04/14/17 06:14 AM)
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#284232 - 04/14/17 01:11 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6224
Loc: southern Cal
I recently queried REI and they were quickly able to tell me when I signed up, as well as the amount, to the penny, I have spent with them - a figure that is increasing even as we text....
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#284233 - 04/14/17 11:54 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: Russ]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
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Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1634
Loc: Ocala, FL
Originally Posted By: Russ
I've only been an REI member for 31 years. cool

That is how long I've been alive. We're both showing our age.

Jeanette Isabelle
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#287265 - 12/05/17 07:40 PM Re: Hiking Sticks: Are You well-staffed? [Re: hikermor]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2237
Walking sticks are a great addition to Winter walking and hiking!

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