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Buyer's Guide

Hiking Poles Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best One for You

True, not all trekking poles are created equal.

The length of the pole, the type of pole, and the weight of the pole are all important considerations. You'll need a hiking pole that's the right length for you.

A pair of poles can cost anything from $5 to $200. This pricing range is decided in part by the attributes of your trekking pole, such as its ease of use and durability.

A decent hiking pole should be able to help you balance on uneven terrain, conserve energy, and provide support when climbing over large rocks.

Other characteristics that make your journey simpler, such as shock-absorbing mechanisms or ergonomic grips, should be included in the best hiking poles.

 

What is a hiking pole?

A hiking pole is just a metal pole that is used for trekking. Hiking poles are a wonderful choice because they are lightweight and portable, but they can also give some practical benefits.

Hiking poles come in a variety of styles, including recumbent, trekking, cross-country, ergonomic, ski pole, and ankle support poles.

Hiking poles come in a variety of lengths, including long and short, but don't buy a pair that's too lengthy. Some people are terrified by hiking poles because they believe their upper body is too short, however, a hiking pole will be too long if your upper body is still wider than your hips.

You might not need a 15-foot hiking pole, for example. You might wish to invest in a 10-foot hiking pole.

When would I use a hiking pole?

You may have to walk uphill at times.

If walking uphill hurts your knees, bring a hiking pole to assist you to get around the worst of the slopes.

You will occasionally have to climb high inclines. If you need to use your hiking pole to ascend a hill, you'll benefit from feeling less weary while walking uphill.

At times, you'll be going through grass or mud. In these cases, a hiking stick may certainly come in handy to assist you to maintain your balance on uneven terrain.

You may also use a hiking pole to walk downhills. You'll need a little extra assistance maintaining upright on steep downhills.

Different Types of Hiking Poles

Hiking poles are available in a variety of styles. Some of the most common and crucial qualities to look for are listed below.

The direct mount pole is one of the most popular trekking poles. These are the poles with a grip on the bottom and a handle that rests on your waist.

These trekking poles work best on level, smooth, and well-paved surfaces, such as hiking routes.

The bottom of the pole has grips that allow you to comfortably hold onto the handle.

Direct mount poles are ideal for hiking because they are easier to maneuver.

These poles are ideal for hiking because they take up no extra room in your backpack or purse.

Things to Consider before purchasing a Hiking Pole

All trekking poles are not made equal.

A decent hiking pole is a long steel rod with a padded rubber grip at one end. The primary shaft of the pole is sturdy and flexible, allowing you to walk or run with the pole erect. The poles are sturdy and should last a long time.

You should pick a shorter or longer hiking pole depending on your demands.

The length of a hiking pole is important to consider while purchasing one. Your hiking technique will be determined by the length. You should ensure that the pole is convenient to use while walking, running, or standing still. When utilizing the pole, you should also avoid bending your arms.

Fixed Length vs Adjustable

For most hikers, adjustable poles are the best option because they let you customize the length to your exact needs based on your height and the terrain. As an added plus, a single set could be shared by two hikers who are of different heights and only need one pole. They're often telescoping, which means that the two or three parts slide into one another to readjust and collapse for carrying.

In my perspective, fixed-length poles are only useful if you're going as light as feasible. They are available in a variety of sizes, separated by 10 cm. Leaving away the adjustable function saves a few milligrams per pole, but this weight difference is probably only meaningful for long-distance or fast-and-and-light travelers. The term "z-poles" refers to folding fixed-length poles that are attached with an inner cable.

Rigid vs Anti-Shock

The "anti-shock" component of some trekking poles contracts as the pole is grounded, reducing hand discomfort from repetitive shock. Does using anti-shock poles make sense?

If you have problems with your hands, wrists, or elbows, you may benefit from using an anti-shock pole. They're also useful if you're going to be hiking on granite throughout the high Sierra for an extended amount of time.

The rest of you can probably live without it. It's heavier, has the potential to create loud noises, and reduces your uphill pushing power. While some poles can shut out the spring function in this situation, it's not always possible to lock it securely.

Hiking poles made of carbon have the same kind of anti-shock capabilities as natural ones, but without the downsides.

Ultralight vs Lightweight

A typical pair of hiking poles weighs between 10 and 20 ounces, with the 13- to 17-ounce range being the most frequent. Poles that are lightweight and perhaps even ultralight fall under this category. The adjusting mechanism, composition, and, to a certain point, style all contribute to the variance.

How important is the weight of the trekking poles? Excess weight throughout the shafts and tips will be evident because poles are long and must be waved with each stride (thank you physics). If your poles aren't tied to your pack, the grip weight isn't as evident.

Aluminum shafts are used on poles. Even if they're of great quality, they may not last as long if they're flimsy or difficult to swing swiftly. If you decide to keep them, your load will be heavier as a result.

More expensive and less adaptable, lightweight poles are typically constructed of carbon. Under excessive stress, such as getting stuck between two rocks as you race ahead, they're somewhat likely to shatter.

Do you, then, require short, light poles? An affordable, mid-weight trekking pole is an excellent choice for backpackers who want to take it easy and enjoy the comforts of home on their excursions. The compromises and cost of lightweight poles may be worth it if you're a fastpacker, thru-hiker, or hiking enthusiast who values weight savings.

Weight comparison: Fixed-length foldable poles are the lightest and telescoping adjustable poles are the heaviest for the same brand and materials.

 

Other Things to Note

Telescoping poles are available in three or two sections that can be slid along a track. However, three-piece poles collapse more quickly, but otherwise they are the same as two-piece poles.

It's not a big deal for the majority of people, but for those who are particularly tall, ensure the poles stretch far enough to accommodate their needs.

It's critical that the grips you use be soft and comfy in your hands. Trekking poles shouldn't be chosen entirely on the basis of grip type, but at least knowing what you're getting is comforting.

  • Cork Grips: While cork grips are more cumbersome, they eventually conform to your hand for a custom fit. They're excellent at wicking away moisture and are suitable for the majority of hikers.
  • Foam Grips: Despite being lighter and better at absorbing sweat, foam grips don't mold to your hand.
  • Rubber Grips: Using rubber grips will keep your hands warm in the winter and prevent you from overheating while trekking while skiing. It's a rare occurrence.
  • Tips: Some poles come with interchangeable rubber & metal or carbide tips; if you like, you can purchase these extras individually. Even on strong surfaces like granite, metal or carbide (a hard element composed of metal and carbon) can lose their grip, and this can scratch or ruin soft materials like sandstone. Carry carbide or metal-tipped hiking poles for most hikes, and rubber-tipped ones for delicate terrain or lengthy distances on rock.
  • Snow Baskets: Some hiking poles come with "snow baskets," which are only the typical discs at the tips which keep the poles from digging excessively deep into the ground. Snow baskets, also known as powder baskets, are bigger and keep the poles from going too much into heavy snow. If you're hiking through deep snow, this will come in handy.
  • Lever lock, twist lock, and button lock: are some of the locking mechanisms available on telescoping poles. They're all usable, but make sure you pick one with a dependable locking mechanism. However, the quality and manufacturers of a twist lock might make it more trustworthy or less dependable than the other two.

Gender

The only difference between men's and women's trekking poles and the majority of hiking sticks promoted as unisex (and which work both for all men and women) is in the color and length. Hiking poles designed exclusively for women are available from several manufacturers. Apart from the color scheme, what's the difference?

Women's hiking poles often have the following features:

  • Have a lower working range (up to about 120cm), or are shorter. In comparison to the unisex model with a larger range, this can save on weight.
  • Have grips that are smaller and more comfortable for people with smaller hands.

What are the advantages of hiking using women's trekking poles? Only if you're short and want to keep the pole as light as possible, or if your hands are extremely little. Otherwise, unisex poles aren't likely to cause any problems for most ladies.

Price

Several relative and absolute aspects influence the pricing, including the type of material used, the features and usefulness, as well as the brand. It's understandable that there are less expensive and more pricey brands and models. LEKI Micro Vario Carbon and other models from well-known manufacturers cost $150-200, whilst more affordable options like TrailBuddy Trekking Poles, Foxelli Trekking Poles and Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles cost 35-55 dollars.

How to Choose the Best Hiking Pole for Your Specific Needs

When purchasing a hiking pole, the most significant elements to consider are length, weight, and price.

Hiking poles are normally measured in feet, and the manufacturer determines the length.

In fact, this is often difficult to determine accurately because a hiking pole built in Australia will be longer than a hiking pole made in the United Kingdom.

Length: The length of your trekking pole is measured when it is fully extended. When shopping for trekking poles, the length is the most important factor to consider. Depending on your height, a hiking pole that is 5cm to 10cm longer than your arms when extended is ideal.

The length of your hiking pole is the length when fully extended.

Final Thoughts

The final line is that you can acquire a trekking pole to help you hike.

If you're a beginner, a trekking pole with a shorter length that adjusts to your height is a fantastic entry-level alternative.

If you have an athletic build, choose a hiking pole that is heavier (at least 3-4 pounds) and has extra grip handles.

When purchasing a trekking pole, conduct your homework on the quality of the poles you intend to purchase.

Shop some of the top hiking poles on the market. If you are a beginner, you can begin with the style of hiking pole that is lightweight and long in length.

 

FAQs

Is hiking with poles better?

Some walkers adore them, while others find them repulsive and despicable. Despite the fact that walking poles appear to be splitting the walking community, they are becoming increasingly popular, and individuals are adopting them in order to reap the various benefits they provide. According to the findings of a recent study, walking sticks or trekking poles are highly recommended for anyone planning a walking holiday. According to research, walking with poles can help to lessen stress on your feet, legs, and knees.. This is particularly true if you are carrying a hefty load on your back.

Is it better to hike with one pole or two?

Trekkers frequently inquire as to why they require two trekking poles rather than a single walking staff. Poles provide a symmetrical support that is not obtainable from a single stick or other similar structure. Trekking poles are useful for a variety of reasons.

What is hiking with poles called?

On rocky terrain, trekking poles, also known as hiking sticks, are a traditional piece of hiking equipment that improves rhythm, stability, and reduces joint pain while hiking.

What is the ideal hiking pole height?

Ideally, the height of your walking poles should be equal to the height of your palm while you are standing with your arm straight down and forearm stretched in front of your body at a 90-degree angle. With your elbow bent 90 degrees, you should be able to reach the handle from the height of your hips or waist. It is possible that the height of your thumb at the tip of your thumb will be closer to the length of your stride if you have long legs and are tall. The space between the palms of their hands and the ground may be more comfortable for those who have shorter legs.

What is the point of walking sticks?

Using a cane or walking stick can make walking more comfortable and steady for the elderly or disabled. Depending on how they are designed, you can use them as fashion ornaments or as self-defense weapons. Walking sticks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some becoming treasures in their own right. Walking sticks can be used by people with disabilities to help them maintain their balance. A walking cane is not intended to support the entire weight of the individual. To defend themselves, both sword sticks and sword canes rely on the usage of a walking staff. Walking sticks are used by hikers for a variety of reasons. Trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, and hiking sticks are all terms used to describe these items. Obstacles on the path and mud or puddles can be identified with the help of these devices. An alpenstock is a walking stick with a metal point and a hook on the top that is used for mountain climbing. It was first used in mountaineering in the Alps, where it became popular. You can create a walking stick out of any fallen wood that you happen to come across. A higher-quality hiking stick is available for serious hikers who enjoy displaying their "conquered" territory with baubles and medallions, as well as for casual hikers who enjoy the outdoors. For outdoor activities, upper-body exercise, and memorials, wooden walking sticks are commonly used. Metal engraved plaques or wood carvings can be used to personalize them if desired. They are crafted from a variety of woods.

Do walking sticks help knees?

Knee problems can affect anyone, regardless of their age. However, the younger you are, the more crucial it is to take good care of your knees. Modern walking sticks, which resemble ski touring poles in design, are gaining in popularity around the world as more people get active outside. By shifting your weight onto your arms or poles, you can reduce the amount of tension on your knees and lower legs. This will help to alleviate knee pain while also improving hill climbing skills. When undertaking activities that demand additional effort, such as traversing rivers, scree runs, or crossing soft, swampy ground, they can be quite beneficial in maintaining balance and keeping you from falling over. They can also boost your energy expenditure because your arms are required to bear the majority of the weight. Some people may find this to be an issue. These obstacles might be an impediment on difficult sections such as ladders or brief scrambling portions. Certain varieties of poles can be equipped with wrist straps, allowing you to let go and not lose your grip on them.

What are the best types of walking poles?

Walking poles are available in a variety of colors, shapes, and materials. The decision to purchase one is dependent on your own personal preferences and requirements. The comfort of your walking poles, as well as your walking style, are also crucial factors. Trekking poles that are lighter in weight are preferable for longer treks. They must not, however, bend or split as a result of the weight of the weights they transport. It is not required to utilize walking sticks that are shock-absorbent. They are an extra source of stress. When it snows, snow baskets are an absolute must. During the summer, though, they can be removed.

Do walking sticks help with back pain?

Walking sticks, because of their better balance, might be beneficial for people suffering from back discomfort. Walking necessitates the use of your back muscles in order to maintain your equilibrium. As soon as the strain is relieved from these stabilizing muscles, the soreness will usually disappear as well. Climbing hills, stepping off curbs, and walking on uneven terrain can all cause additional difficulty for people who are already suffering from back pain. When executing these tasks, it is easier and safer to wield a stick with one hand rather than use both. It all comes down to pain management if you want to be active. It is possible that you will simply require a walking stick or other minimal assistive equipment to finish your journey.

Is a walking stick better than a cane?

Despite the fact that walking sticks are more fashionable than functional mobility aids, they can be useful in a variety of circumstances. Walking sticks can be used for brief periods of time, such as when trekking, although they are not recommended. These walking sticks are not intended to support a person's complete body weight, and the handles can be difficult to rely on in certain situations. Walking sticks and walking canes are distinct in that they can be customized to match the needs of the user. When it comes to long-term mobility assistance, a cane is the finest option. A walking stick, on the other hand, can be employed as a fashion piece or as a backup in case you ever find yourself in a bind. Walking sticks are more secure and pleasant than walking canes, and they last longer if they are used on a regular basis.

Is one trekking pole Enough?

There is no requirement to own more than one pole. A second pole isn't necessary unless you're walking on rocky scree and carrying 70 pounds, in which case you should use two poles. A single pole can provide a great deal of support and strength. Crossing rivers can be accomplished by a single person. When fly fishing in fast-moving rivers, fly fishermen only use one rod to maintain the upright position of their poles. When ascending or descending steep, rocky sections of a route, you can leverage one pole by using both of your hands on the same pole. It works almost as well as having both at the same time. Taking photos, using a GPS or map, wiping your brows, or stuffing your face with full Sour Patch Kids can all be done with one hand. When you just have one hand, it's far easier to pretend to be a sabre-sword fencing champion than when you have two.

Are walking poles worth buying?

Trekking poles are cumbersome, but the effort is well worth it. Trekking poles have been demonstrated to relieve stress on the body in several studies. This is excellent news for anyone who has ever suffered from hip or knee problems or who has hiked far with a heavy load.

How do I measure myself for a walking stick?

Back and shoulder pain, as well as aching joints, can be caused by using a walking stick that is too short or too long. It is possible to have your shoulder raised by using a walking stick that is overly lengthy. A walking stick that is overly short, on the other hand, can create a stoop and backache. We've put together this guide to assist you in selecting the best walking stick for you. If you're using a walking stick, begin by standing up straight and keeping your back as straight as possible. It is critical that you wear shoes that you are comfortable walking in in order to receive an approximate measurement of your height. Take a measurement starting at the base of your wrist and ending at the ground in order to estimate the height you require for your project. You can confidently walk down the street with your wrist in the proper position and your arm slightly bent.

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