Trekking poles have become increasingly popular equipment for backpackers, hikers, trekkers, and snowshoers alike. Using these poles while walking has been proven to improve stability and add extra support on every type of terrain. On downhill hikes, these poles help reduce the amount of stress put onto your legs and joints. On uphill hikes, they transfer weight throughout your body and can reduce exhaustion. Trekking poles make crossing slippery surfaces and uneven terrain easier and leave less risk of falling. Because of these reasons, many people, from beginners to experts, are investing in a good pair of trekking poles. The key considerations while shopping for trekking poles should be shock absorption, shaft construction, weight, price, and type of grip.
Although trekking poles help in so many ways, they may actually take more energy because you will be using your arms more than without the poles. The benefit to this, however, is that the poles distribute the weight throughout your body, allowing you to increase your endurance while hiking. When shopping for trekking poles, it’s important to know how strong your knees, ankles, and hips are so you can find poles that help ease stress on these bones. Also, knowing what type of terrain you are typically hiking will make shopping for trekking poles much easier.
These are the four most commonly used trekking poles. Anti-shock poles are designed with internal springs that take away shock when walking downhill. These poles are recommended to people who have fragile or damaged knees, hips, or ankles. Standard poles don’t feature the anti-shock setting and are fairly affordable. They provide a good amount of support and balance for the price though. Women’s poles, or compact poles as they are sometimes referred to, have smaller grips, a shorter length, and they weigh substantially less than the other poles. A hiking staff is a very common and effective pole used on flat terrain with no extra luggage on your body. They are adjustable and sometimes referred to a walking staff. These are the most simple of the trekking poles and typically the most affordable.
Weight and cost have a lot to do each other when it comes to trekking poles. Typically, a heavier pole is much more affordable and a lightweight pole is fairly expensive. Lighter poles give hikers an advantage of carrying lighter equipment and are easier to move, which means less work and less fatigue.
Grips of trekking poles vary between each design so it’s important to try several different brands and models to see what feels right for you. Some trekking poles have grips that are designed at an angle and others are positioned into a neutral area, which improves compatibility and comfort on your hands. Many trekking poles are also designed with one for the left hand and one for the right so remember that when trying out different poles. Finding poles with grip that makes your hands fit comfortably is just as essential as choosing the design of the entire pole. There are a couple different materials used to create the grips, each having their own benefits. Cork grips eliminate moisture and fit comfortably to the shape of your hands. Rubber is a popular grip when buying trekking poles for cold-weather activities such as snowshoeing. Foam is the softest of the three materials and can absorb moisture from sweaty hands.
Several other features to consider having on your trekking poles depend on what kind of activities you will be doing and how long at a time you will be using them. If you often take full day hiking trips, wrist straps could be very helpful. They allow you to adjust the length of the straps to ensure a tight fit around the wrist and models with padded straps provide plenty of comfort. If you are going to be using your trekking poles in cold weather a lot, pole tips will be very useful. Steel or carbide tips are located on the bottom of the poles and provide traction when trekking across most slippery terrain, even ice. They are also helpful in areas where you do want to disturb the environment at all.
Choosing a pair of trekking poles can be a long process but once you find a pair that you’re comfortable with, they will last you a long time and provide you with plenty of support and comfort.