Whether you are a hiker or simply love to go snowshoeing, you will find one of the most useful tools you can have with you is the trekking pole. When purchasing outdoor equipment, you will always find there are several things you need consider and it is no different when picking a trekking pole. The truth is, they come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and prices. If you are in the market for a new pole, the following are a few questions you will want to ask yourself:
Should I have one or two poles? Truthfully, two poles are always better than one. When you use them in pairs, you will find you have better balance and they can take even more stress off from your knees and ankles. In other words, they are spreading out your weight even more, which means less strain on your body.
Should I purchase adjustable height poles or non-adjustable? Generally, this depends on what you will be using them for and if you plan to share your poles with others. If you are going to be the only one using them and the treks you take are usually in flat areas, the non-adjustable poles may be the best bet. However, if you sharing or you are taking treks in more rugged terrain, the adjustable height poles will be the better purchase. But, before you purchase, always test out the locking mechanism used to make sure you are safe during your treks.
Is there a preferred type and angle of grip? Basically, the best way to tell which grip for you is to test each of them out. The grips come in several types, including foam, plastic, rubber, and cork. While you will find the rubber grip may be more expensive, it can also have the tendency to become a little slippery if your hands sweat. On the other hand, the foam may be more comfortable, but it will retain odor from sweaty palms. As for the angle of the grip, the straight grip may be more popular, but the angled grip will actually help your wrists from becoming tired. You will also want to consider the type of strap on the grip. If hiking in cold weather, make sure the strap itself can be adjusted, in case you are wearing heavy gloves. Again, the best way to determine which grip is right for you is to take the time to test each one out for its comfort.
Do I need to purchase anti-shock poles? An anti-shock pole will actually reduce some of the shock you feel when the pole strikes the ground. This may be important to some, but what you must remember is that it will increase the weight of the pole. If you are unsure of whether or not the anti-shock system would benefit you, try it out for awhile and see if the weight actually distresses you more.
Do I need special tips or baskets? This all depends on the type of trekking you are going to do. If you are hiking in the snow, a larger basket will actually help prevent the poles from sinking too deep in the snow, whereas the small baskets are make for hiking on dirt and rocky areas. As for the tips, they are usually made of carbide or steel. They help you to keep your traction and should come with rubber tips to protect them when they are stored or even for using in areas where you do not want the tips to penetrate.
These are just a few of the things that you will want to consider when picking a trekking pole. Of course, your budget is also going to play an important factor in your decision. If you are planning on hiking just a few times a year, you may want to purchase a set of poles in the lowest price range. However, what you do want to consider is that your safety may depend on the trekking poles you choose. Therefore, it is always best to consider the quality of the pole before making your decision on which one is the right one for you.