Trekking and hiking poles are the most important equipment for trekking or hiking anywhere. These stick-like structures provide ample support while walking, especially on difficult and unstable trails. They are also commonly known as walking poles, hiking sticks, and even hiking poles.
These poles are used to maintain the rhythm of walking. Think about all the times it was too difficult for you to go on a hike and had to use a makeshift forest stick as your designated trekking or hiking poles. Yes, a pole made for hiking and trekking will support you while eliminating the need to look for one in nature.
Further, trekking and hiking poles also provide stability during walking. They are also responsible for reducing the strain during extensive walks, especially on joints and rough trails.
So, with all these outstanding needs for trekking and hiking poles, it becomes important to invest in a good one. And we will be doing just that as you read along this article. Are you ready to purchase the trekking and hiking poles of your dreams?
If so, then let’s go!
What is the difference between trekking poles and hiking poles?
There is a significant difference between trekking and hiking, where one is more strenuous than the other. Trekking often requires walking on difficult trails enduring various kinds of weather and can last for days.
However, hiking is often done on a shorter route where the trail is predetermined and ends after reaching the top and returning, often following the same or alternate yet similar routes.
But when we talk about trekking poles, we also talk about hiking poles because trekking poles are hiking poles and vice versa. Trekking or hiking poles look like ski poles. They also have a handle to hold them while trekking or hiking. In addition, these poles are used in pairs.
However, it is also important to know that there are hiking staff too. A hiking staff is commonly known as a hiking stick and is used singly, not in a pair. But many trekkers or hikers prefer trekking poles to a single hiking stick.
5 Best Trekking Poles
Do trekking poles really help?
Every trekker in the world uses trekking poles. So, there might be some reason behind using trekking poles to such an extent. To sing the praises of how a trekking pole can be helpful in your next trek, let us break it down for you.
Keep the Wild Animals Away
Trekking can be dangerous, especially in a forested area where wild animals are lurking. Also, more than utilizing your hands and sometimes even legs is required while getting rid of those pesky animals. Plus, it is scary too.
Sure, you avoid going too deep into vegetation where a face-to-face encounter with the animal is inevitable. You also do everything you can to use a predetermined trekking trail and try to avoid disturbing the animals. And all of these steps can help. However, even though we try to not come in contact with a wild animal as much as possible, sometimes the situation can be unavoidable.
So, let us say you came in contact with a wild animal, for example, a bear, and then trekking poles can rescue you. You can scare away the mighty bear by banging your trekking poles against each other or on a tree to produce noise that can scare away the bear. Also, an age-old trick of waving the trekking poles over your head can scare animals away.
But make sure not to break your trekking pole during the process.
Keeps Your Arm Busy
Trekking can be hard for the legs. Walking for days on end can be hard for your legs. However, incorporating your free swinging hands and arms can be less unless you rock climb or hang from a surface during your trek. So, a trekking pole can come to the rescue to give some job to your arms.
Furthermore, trekking poles can give you something to do while holding them as exercise. It can also reduce swelling while you gain elevation during your trek. Whenever one tries to go uphill and gain substantial elevation, the dangling arms, hands, and fingers might suffer from poor blood circulation and can swell.
So, the arms holding trekking poles can increase bird circulation and reduce swelling.
Helps to Hitchhike
Think about it like an age-old trekking tradition where putting trekking poles out can signify you want a ride from a town to the trekking trail or vice versa.
Sticking trekking poles out gives a message to fellow drivers that you need a ride, and if they know what the message means, you can save some bucks and energy in reaching your designated trekking trip spot.
Have you wondered how mules can easily climb up with such heavy weight? It is most likely so because they have four limbs. So, think of the utilization of trekking poles as having four limbs or legs of your own. Poles can help maintain balance while going up or down a hill and in areas with deep snow.
They also allow easy access in walking across rivers or streams, narrow ridgelines, and loose soil, ice sheets, or scree. Trekking poles can also help maintain balance during extreme wind.
Can Replace Tent Poles
Some miraculous trekking poles in the market can also double as tent poles. If the tent you are using is ultralight, then the trekking poles can replace the tent poles. In that condition, some trekking poles can replace tent poles.
Maintain Good Pace
The pace while using trekking poles differs greatly from trekking or hiking without it. If you use a trekking pole, your pace will look like: legs, pole, legs, pole, and so on. Thus your pace will be maintained for a long time. Most trekkers attest that the rhythmic pattern of walking while using trekking poles can be quite meditative and may also increase your trekking speed.
Use it to Test Water Depth and Strengths of Ice
Many use trekking poles to check the depth of a lake, stream, or river before going into it. You can also use it to check the strength of an ice sheet to determine whether you can walk on it.
Are hiking poles good for bad knees?
One of the most important advantages of hiking poles is that anyone can use them, and if you are a person who suffers from bad knees or has pain in your knees, then a hiking pole can be your best friend.
So, hiking poles can reduce the impact of knee pain during hiking. In addition, hiking poles can also increase your endurance and stability, especially going uphill.
Hiking poles are good for bad knees because they take the stress hiking puts on knees and joints to the poles through arms. Making the whole ordeal for anyone, especially folks with bad knees.
What are the disadvantages of hiking poles?
Every amazing thing in the world has a dark shadow. Okay, we don’t mean that hiking poles are bad, but they also have disadvantages. But don’t worry; these sticks are so good that you can overlook the disadvantages or work your way around them.
Some disadvantages of hiking poles can be:
- As hiking poles are great and provide stability, they can be an extra weight to carry on your backpack while not using it or an extra thing to carry.
- The rock formation is a natural process, and they must be left like that. The main point of trekking is to maintain the local ecosystem. So, you may dig into rocks whenever you use trekking or a hiking pole. By digging into rocks, you may unintentionally cause chipping of rocks or even scratches or gouges.
- Hiking poles can, unfortunately, tangle on shrubs, trees, and bushes, causing your pace to slow down.
- Hiking poles aren’t that cheap and can cost roughly around 161.66 USD on average. These prices are for the latest types of hiking poles from new and upcoming brands.
- In places where you need to free your hands, like physically climbing as a part of your trek or hiking, the hiking poles can be useless. So, you need to store them on your backpack again, adding extra weight during your climb.
- Hiking poles can make the operation of using a compass or map difficult. Also, eating and drinking can be a menace too. Similarly, the chances of your hiking pole causing you difficulty increase if you try to jump over fences.
Are folding or telescoping trekking poles better?
Okay, let us begin by understanding that there are three main types of trekking poles: folding, telescopic, and fixed.
Telescopic trekking poles include one fixed section of the pole; other sections can slide into it easily while storing the poles. On the other hand, folding trekking poles are like tent poles where you can slide out sections from the shaft and then fold to compact the poles. And as the name suggests, fixed trekking poles cannot be compacted and are fixed.
If you are looking for trekking poles that can be reduced in size while not used, go for telescopic and folding trekking poles. In addition, it is also important to know that while telescopic poles are compact, folding trekking poles can be made ten times smaller than telescopic ones.
Also, folding trekking poles are thinner and more lightweight because they have thinner shafts. But because of their thin structure, they aren’t as durable as telescopic trekking poles.
How long should my trekking pole be for my height?
An ideal trekking pole lets you bend your elbow 90 degrees while holding the poles touching the ground and straight to your body. The good news is that most of the trekking poles in the market have adjustable lengths, so you can easily achieve the 90 degrees criterion.
But if you are in the mood to buy fixed trekking poles, that is okay, too, because we are here to talk all about the various size and length ranges.
The Foldable and Telescopic Trekking Poles
If you are one of the lucky individuals whose height is more than 6 feet, go for foldable and telescopic trekking poles with a maximum length of 51 inches. However, if you are shorter than 6 feet, any foldable and telescopic trekking poles would work for you.
The Fixed Trekking Poles
To determine the length of fixed trekking poles, look at manufacturers’ size charts. However, we also have a standard chart for the length of fixed trekking poles you need to go for.
|6 Feet or More||51 inches or 130 centimeters|
|5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 11 inches||47 inches or 120 centimeters|
|5 feet 1 inches to 5 feet 7 inches||43 inches or 110 centimeters|
|Less Than 5 feet||39 inches or 100 centimeters|
Now let us look at the ideal height you should place your trekking poles while trekking.
While going uphill, shortening the length of your trekking poles can increase your pole’s capability to plant itself and get more leverage. However, if your uphill is steep, you might need to shorten it even more.
In contrast to going uphill, while going downhill, you need to lengthen your trekking poles by 5 to 10 inches.
In a general setting, you need to shorten or lengthen the trekking poles according to your judgment to make your elbow at 90 degrees to the handle of the trekking pole. However, it is also important to note that adjusting the middle section of the trekking pole makes handling the trekking pole much easier than adjusting the bottom section.
How do you carry trekking poles when not using them?
There are many ways you can pack trekking poles when not using them. If you have telescopic or foldable trekking poles, you can easily store them inside your backpack. You can also use the loops and straps on your backpack to store your trekking poles while trekking.
So, these are all the facts you need to purchase your next best trekking and hiking poles.