Trekking poles or hiking poles are considered a standard tool by many experienced hikers, but are trekking poles useful? A lot of people ask the question What are trekking poles for? Do I need them? Do they worth the added weight. Well, according to the experts a trekking pole is one of the MOST useful equipment you’ll need, whether it’s a one-hour trek or a ten-day trek. Experts say that it makes you a more efficient trekker. As the experts say you can save up to 40 per cent of your energy by using them. Well, it might seem like just a number, but on a high-altitude trek, 40% energy makes a world of a difference!
A lot of trekkers, struggle throughout their trek, and they barely make it to their camp because they are exhausted and fall asleep immediately because they have no energy left. By using a trekking pole, they can use that extra energy to find a campsite, build a campfire with their trek friends, or they can even do some photography around the site. Why, because trekking poles make it easier for you, resulting in more energy left at the end.
What Are Trekking Poles For?
Are Trekking Poles Useful?
Trekking poles offer some well-documented benefits. Research has shown that using trekking poles can improve your hiking performance, whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced hiker. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the evidence-based benefits and some of the drawbacks of using trekking poles and explore some of the reasons why they worth adding to your hiking/trekking gear bag.
- Distributes weight more evenly – First is what I call the mechanical advantage. With trekking poles, you’re using arm and shoulder muscles to relieve the leg muscles. One study showed that on level ground, poles reduce the weight the legs carry by approximately 10 pounds in every step. On an incline, that advantage is increased to about 16 pounds per step this translates into tons of weight for even a short two-hour hike. Trekking poles give you propulsion on the uphill which makes hiking uphill less exhausting. On the downhill, poles provide cushioning that’s especially helpful on long steep descents. With poles, you’re using your upper body muscles to preserve your body’s wear and tear joints like knees and ankles.
- Balance– Another thing the trekking pole does, it gives you that extra balance and stability that you need in rough terrain. Well think about this example, you’re on a steep climb, you have a heavy bag, and you want someone to share the load with you! Right? Well, trekking poles do exactly that! they serve as the third and fourth legs, and they take off little impact from your body. Especially helpful in crossing streams, on boulder hopping, walking on scree slopes, crossing snow fields, or walking on soft ground, and you’ll find all of those challenges in lots of areas. It is like having extra legs they give you greater stability and reduces the likelihood of injury. And finally, using trekking poles gives you a healthier walk.
- Increases Circulation- By elevating your hands, you improve circulation, and your heart rate is reduced. You’ll find your hands won’t swell up as they might without poles. Poles give you a rhythm that leads to a relaxed, more regular breathing pattern and increases stamina.
- Trekking poles take the stress off your joints – The biggest advantage of hiking with trekking poles is that they absorb some of the shock of your joints when you step up, especially on climbs and descents. Have you ever felt pain in your knees while climbing a steep slope? Try using a trekking pole to take some of the pressure off your knees and relieve the pain.
Now let’s be completely honest, poles have some drawbacks also. Some of the cons are.
- A bit inconvenient– For me, the biggest drawback of trekking poles is that they can be limited in some situations. On trails where you need to climb by hand or you have to use a rope assist, it can be annoying to put your trek poles on your pack, and then pull them back out, and then hide them, and then take them back out again. Just like that, Poles can get in the way they can make it more difficult to use your camera, look at your watch, take a drink, or have a snack. But I still wouldn’t leave without them.
- More gear to store –Secondly, when poles are not in use, poles are just another piece of gear that you need to carry and worry about. You need to collapse them or stow them in your pack before you board a bus or a train and on commercial airlines, poles must be checked since they’re not allowed to board the aircraft under security regulations.
- Added Expense – And finally, a good pair of lightweight collapsible poles are a significant expense, starting at about 100 dollars. Putting together a good hiking/backpacking kit can be quite expensive. Trekking poles might not be essential pieces of gear, so it can be difficult to justify the cost for those starting from scratch or for hikers with no gear or on a budget, but for safety reasons, I consider them “a must “.
So, there you have it some of the pros and the cons. The longer the trek, the steeper the terrain, the more rugged the trail, and the older you are, the more you’ll appreciate the benefits of quality trekking poles. If poles can reduce fatigue, protect your knees, extend your day, and help you hike further, you’ll enjoy the experience more.
Trekking poles are not a strictly necessary piece of gear, but many people choose to take them on their hikes because they offer so many benefits. Poles take a lot of the pressure off your joints when you walk and can help you maintain balance in a variety of difficult terrain. Some people realise that they walk faster using poles and enjoy having their arms entertained, while others find trekking poles cumbersome and don’t like having their hands occupied. If you choose to go hiking with trekking poles, it is important to make sure your poles are adjusted to the correct length and proper technique to get all the benefits they deserve. Be Safe And Happy Trekking.!