Jun 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm #1750223Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I have been using a pair of LT4s for a couple years, my first trekking pole experience. Can't say they really help at all. Mine are light and it seems I just carry them most of the time. I do use them on uphills often, and can't say they help at all, but they seem too. Downhills, not really any help at all… they actually get in the way, and if I strap them to my pack I am much more sure-footed on rocky downhills. They are a pain in really rocky terrain. And I think they look 'geeky.' They are excellent for my tarps. I keep telling myself I should just leave them at home, but for some reason I always take them with me one almost every trip.Jun 17, 2011 at 5:15 am #1750285Jayah PaleyMember
@adventurebuddiesLocale: Bay Area
Using poles for walking and hiking enables us to use our upper body muscles to help preserve our joints. Spine function can be restored. This is done because, when we walk with poles, we appear to walk as we did when younger – with attitude. We are using muscles which support AND lengthen the spine. Walking with attitude – with purpose – is the natural walking pattern. It’s called reciprocal gait. It’s the diagonal pattern of opposite arm and leg. When this occurs, the spine is able to ROTATE. This spinal rotation feels good, looks good and is very healthy.
Walking with poles recruits core muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, lower trapezius and oblique muscles. These core muscles, when used, strengthen. When optimal posture and form are used, the spine lengthens. Gravity acts, the spine compresses, we get shorter. Using poles actually can reverse this process – the spine lengthens and elongates.
All that said, here is a discussion on whether or not people can become dependent on using poles: http://adventurebuddies.net/blog/2010/09/poles-faq-can-i-become-dependent-on-using-poles-yes/
Jayah Faye Paley, AdventureBuddies
Helping people more completely enjoy the outdoorsJun 17, 2011 at 5:28 am #1750288Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
They're a tool like anything else in my pack, which have their place in my kit on various trips and at various times throughout a day of hiking. They're becoming increasingly unnecessary however, much like the hipbelt on my pack, which I always forget to cinch up before the day's end.Jun 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm #1750496AnonymousInactive
"In rocky terrain and on scree – of which there is a great deal in Scotland – I find I can place poles much of the time and that I move faster with them than without them as I feel more stable"
This has been my expperience as well.
"Of course when hands are needed they a nuisance – then they go on the pack."
This is my last resort due to the hassle of dropping the pack to stow the poles, but is sometimes necessary when both hands are required, as in scrambling class 3 rock. An intermediate option is to just carry them in one hand while negotiating slightly less demanding terrain where one hand is sufficient for balance or pulling up.
I also find them very useful for descending rougher trails or off trail slopes, for use with a tarp or tarp tent that requires poles, and when fully extended for probing the brushy margins of trails in snake country at night.Jun 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm #1750502spelt with a tBPL Member
@speltLocale: Rangeley, ME
I use a bamboo staff. It's a great multiple-function tool:
– support for knees and a dodgy hip on steep descents
– cobweb remover
– push aside branches (esp when wet)
– phase 2 snake defence
– tarp pole
– camera mount
– something to lean on
And of course…
– drop bear deterrent
You forget weight. Mine weighs 3 oz. Not sure what a pair of poles weighs but I'm thinking it can't be less than that. :)Jun 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm #1750608James WinsteadSpectator
Does anyone have comments about poles as a mental distraction?
I don't use em, but have a minor knee problem that will only get worse as I age. I assume I'll use them eventually.
I try to spend as little time as possible staring at my feet unless the trail is particularly rocky or irregular. I could see myself getting into a trance and staring at the trail to place my poles with each stride and thus missing the whole point of hiking.
Does it become second nature? (obviously, asides from difficult terrain) Anyone been disappointed along these lines?Jun 17, 2011 at 9:29 pm #1750609d kBPL Member
Yes, it does become second nature and you don't really focus on where you place the poles…or at least I don't.
I started trying to use poles while training to hike Mt. Whitney several years back. I'd always thought they were for old folks who couldn't hack it without them, so really resisted them, but read somewhere that they were an essential piece of equipment for Whitney, so we got some. I hated them on a couple of training hikes and stopped training with them, but brought them along for the Whitney trip. I absolutely LOVED them on that trip, much to my surprise, and when we summited from Consultation Lake and came back down to the parking lot at Whitney Portal the same day, I felt like I could've kept on going a few more hours, which had NOT been my experience on previous long downhills.
YMMV.Jun 18, 2011 at 8:03 am #1750684Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
"Does anyone have comments about poles as a mental distraction?"
It can happen, but for me it's only a slightly greater temptation than when hiking poleless. For the most part, pole placement becomes about as second-nature as foot placement.Jun 18, 2011 at 8:55 am #1750701Andy FSpectator
If the ground is slippery due to snow, ice, or mud, I definitely bring poles. They help significantly with maintaining stability and a faster pace in these conditions.
They do help some going uphill. With lower pack weights, I'm less likely to bring them just for help on uphills.
On downhills and level ground, they annoy me slightly. I'd rather take a controlled fall without poles than with them.Jun 18, 2011 at 11:31 am #1750743Mike ClellandMember
@mikeclellandLocale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
I do NOT use trekking poles.
I find that they ruin my sense of balance.
I do just fine walking down steep terrain, and boulder hopping.
I do a lot of cross country skiing in the winter, so I am pretty darned skilled at using poles in a winter skiing situation. But I just plain don't like 'em in the summer.Jun 18, 2011 at 11:57 am #1750747Greg MihalikBPL Member
I use them. I like them. I don't leave home without them.
They hold me up. The hold up my shelter.
They keep the skin on my ass, and my ass out of the ER.Jun 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm #1750757David DrakeBPL Member
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
Poles + lighter pack got rid of my knee problems. Love them for downhill, stream crossings, pace, and plan to use with shelters I'm making. I don't use them for boulder-hopping, talus or scree.Jun 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm #1750759Luke SchmidtBPL Member
I first tried trekking poles in Alaska after an partially healed knee injury was bothering me. Since than I've used them on most trips.
One thought I have is that I'm experimenting with more minimalist shoes and might try my merrell trail gloves for a hike someday. I'll be interested if the change in stride changes my attitude towards trekking poles one way or the other.Jun 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm #1750774Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
What Greg said!!! What Jayah Paley said!!!Jun 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm #1750817tommy dMember
I realize that different people just have different tastes and preferences, but I find it rather odd that people would claim that poles "ruin" their ability to balance during the summer months, but help during the winter. Perhaps these people are just being colorful with their use of the word ruin. I can imagine that a person might find poles unnecessary, but if that's the case, why wouldn't it be the same on snow?
Generally, I've observed that when people begin to lose their balance, their arms and hands go out and down, trying to establish additional points of contact and reestablish balance by shifting weight. Babies crawl before they can balance enough to walk. Poles are simply extensions that allow a person to establish contact with the ground sooner and spread the weight of the arms wider. Perhaps that can be viewed as a "crutch," but I don't see why that would have a negative effect on balance.
If there is a reason, I'd love to hear it.Jun 19, 2011 at 2:58 am #1750912Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> I can imagine that a person might find poles unnecessary, but if that's the case, why
> wouldn't it be the same on snow?
Because snow is very different from soil or rock.
You stand on soil or rock and you know what your feet will do. The soles of your shoes grip and the surface is hard.
You stand on snow, and anything can happen. The snow can sink a foot; the snow can have slippery ice on top; the snow itself can slip sideways as it compresses. Bit like walking on greased steel sheet!
CheersJun 19, 2011 at 4:19 am #1750917John Frederick AndersonBPL Member
I use Pacer Poles, and they have changed my life. (no affiliation btw)
Combined with a lighter pack I have far less issues with knees (rugby injuries) and back pain (dislocated hip falling off a horse).
Without poles and UL techniques, I wouldn't be hiking at 46 years old. Period.
They help me going up hill and down, hold up my shelter and I can choose to stow them when the terrain doesn't suit their use.
Ryan Jordan says many things, but we don't have to agree with all of them, right?
Hike your own hike. Use the gear that suits you.
fredJun 21, 2011 at 8:31 am #1751632David UreMember
Not sure if anyone has seen this or if it was previously posted:Jun 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm #1751817Jun 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm #1753485Michael ReaganMember
@michaelreaganLocale: Southern California
I find poles to be very nearly a necessity. As I draw nigh onto 60 years of age, they do seem to aid my wrecked knees and ankles quite a bit and provide a greater sense of security in my balance. They are a real life-saver in the many creek and river crossings I face in most of my canyon hikes. I can also testify that they have saved me from serious falls on more occasions than I can remember when I stumbled at a bad moment. And if/when I do take a fall, they have worked to slow my crash, making the landing a bit easier. Plus, they hold up my tarp at the end of the day.
I kinda sux to get old and need stuff like this, but if you need 'em, use 'em. I surely do!
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