How many of you guys use Trekking poles? I never used before but many people saying that once you try you hardly go back.. Reviews online are usually divided between Good and bad things about it. Direct experience with them? Especially from people that never used before and then they turn on it.
Always use at least one. I’ve lost count of the number of falls they have arrested, some potentially serious.
Essential for me now Im getting creaky knees. I couldnt have done last weekends' return Holdsworth-Mid Waiohine-Aokaporangi trip without it (about 3500m vertical uphill in total). However I have seen a lot of people though use two poles in heavy bush, and they just seem to get tripped up by them. They can also make river crossings safer. Plus with some tents, flies, bivvies (my OR alpine biv for example) a pole makes setup easier, or these items need a pole as part of their structure. Just make sure you get one (or two) that is/are light but robust. I have sen many failures of the ones that fold up - the ones that you twist and then re-twist, seem to last a bit longer - just my view anyway.
I do more off track walking than i do on graded track. Trekking poles borrow the idea from Nordic walking whereby some of the weight carried by the legs transfers to the upper body and shares the load in order to cover more distance and be more efficient with the energy use. This will best be revealed over distance and generally on graded tracks. The sort of walking i might often do is more in line with an obstacle course. There are the vines, fallen trees, scrambling, fences, head high vegetation, rainforest etc. I did a TMC in 2000 on the Tasman glacier. In such an environment it became clear that keeping your ice axe is critical to your survival. After the course i took to a trekking pole (with the T-Grip) with an aim to get so used to having it in my hand that when i didn't have it, i would notice and hopefully trigger the impulse to look around. That way, on the ice i hopefully would never forget my axe and walk on. I found over time, the third leg as i call it became useful in so many ways. When scrambling and with the pole shortened i have at times scared myself when the pole has gotten caught between me and the rock. It could have the action of pushing you off the rock. It provides stability crossing streams or chasms. Even travelling fast on uneven ground. It breaks the dozens of spider webs when necessary. It provides a potential first contact with snakes. I have had several poles now over time. I still only use one in the same form as above. I know quite a few people who have adopted the same standard.
I have a mate that can borrow them to me for the end of the month. I'll give a go...I have something like 80 k to do...so some support probably would be good.
I've been using poles for a few years now and my usage has changed over time. Currently I always carry and use one regardless of being on-track or off-track for support and as a pole for my shelter. I find using two poles on steep, scrambly routes too annoying. I sometimes use two poles if the route is through open terrain or the track is of a good standard. I use some Black Diamond aluminum poles with the leverlocks for length adjustment. I've heard too many stories of carbon poles snapping if loaded wrongly (aluminium is a bit more forgiving if bent) and twistlocks lose grip over time.
Although I appreciate their advantages, I've tried them and disliked them. I discovered that I prefer to keep my hands free. Moh
If i couldn't be hands free whilst carrying my T-grip walking pole, it would lose its appeal real fast. The wrist strap is specifically set up to allow me to let go of the handle and the handle will always swing to a default position in line under my hand. So, when challenged to a duel, i am always instantly ready to over power my opponent.
I agree with some of the comments but would add that I often see people using poles when they either shouldn't or don't need to. Poles are an accessory or a tool to be used when required but not a magic wand that will somehow make rough terrain or a river crossing become less challenging. People need to learn to walk!!! I recently watched a couple stride away from Carrington hut with poles in each hand as if they were in a skiing movie. There seems to be a perception of poles as a necessity with some people (no doubt helped by the adventure equipment marketing boffins) Reliance on walking poles can turn them into death wands through tripping. An ice axe in the wrong hands can be just as hazardous. I suppose my point is not to rely on poles at the expense of good terrain judgement. They are not a vital piece of kit on every tramp and if you really really need a pole you can usually find a stick.
My knees and hips often tell me I should of used poles but getting used to the things is not easy. The number of times I have started with a pole but put it in the pack 400 meters down the track. I did manage one trip with a pole and on that trip I stumbled in a part flooded Orongaonga river leaving me kneeling in nipple deep fast flowing water. It was August so not very warm. Without the pole I'm not sure how I would of stood up. Probably a swim. Next trip the pole stayed in the pack. Maybe I give up to easy
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