Advantages of Trekking Poles

Advantages of Trekking Poles
Beginner hikers are often unsure of the advantages of using trekking poles. In fact, many hikers never feel the need for poles until they first use them. Few avid hikers, and especially backpackers, leave home without them--and for good reason. Trekking poles help reduce leg strain, help establish pace and help maintain balance.

Reduce Leg Strain

Trekking poles reduce the stress on your legs and especially your knees. If you have a previous knee injury or are prone to stiff knees, trekking poles can save you from discomfort since they reduce the weight and impact to your knees during a hike or backpacking trip. You will find poles especially helpful during inclines and declines. While hiking uphill, trekking poles give you added strength to push up the hill. Your arms absorb some of the strain to assist your legs when climbing. On downhill trails, you can use trekking poles to reduce the impact on your knee joints as you descend. If you suffer from knee pain, you'll agree that downhill is harder on your knees than uphill. Trekking poles help reduce this strain. By distributing the weight, you are less likely to injure or strain your knees and legs.

Establish Pace

Using trekking poles helps you more readily establish a pace during your hike or backpacking trip. The rhythm of using the poles in coordination with your stride helps your whole body get into a set pace. Your breathing also becomes steady and controlled as you settle into a steady pace. Many people find they can hike much longer times or distances when using trekking poles than they would without them. If you have struggled with walking, hiking, or backpacking at a steady pace, give trekking poles a try. You will subconsciously settle into a pace when you coordinate your poles and stride. If you are new to trekking poles, you might notice a slight adjustment period, but before long you will establish a pace without even thinking about it.

Maintain Balance

Trekking poles give you four points of contact instead of just two. When traversing rugged terrain, water crossings, or slick surfaces, trekking poles help you maintain your balance and prevent slips, trips and falls. If you are hiking a trail with water crossings, poles can help you walk safely across the water without falling. You can use the poles to test the stability of rocks before you step onto them. If you are carrying a backpack, trekking poles are particularly helpful to keep your balance. Your heavy pack can shift your center of weight back, but trekking poles reestablish your center of gravity forward, to a more balanced and comfortable position.

Endless Miscellaneous Uses

Trekking poles can be used for an endless number of additional purposes, including protection from animals, erecting a temporary shelter, hanging clothes or shoes to dry on, fishing pole, and just about anything else you can dream up. When hiking with a dog, you can use trekking poles to gently prod your dog forward if he stops to sniff a little too long. Trekking poles can be used to make sure no critters, like snakes, are hiding under rocks or in a pile of leaves before getting too close.

Get Trekking Poles a Try

Trekking poles don't have to cost you a fortune. If you are unsure of the benefits of trekking poles, try out a less expensive set before deciding if you want to upgrade your poles. A decent first pair of trekking poles can cost less than $30. If you decide to upgrade your trekking poles later, you might chose a great set that costs closer to $100, though you can spend more if you choose to do so. Trekking poles make a great addition to your outdoor gear, whether you are on a day hike or a week long backpacking trip.

Article Written By Jessica Linnell

Jessica Linnell is a published author, blogger and freelance writer in the Atlanta area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and has been writing for 10 years. She has been published in Atlanta magazine, Cherokee Living, and North Fulton Living, as well as on numerous websites.

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