Why Use Trekking Poles?
Posted on May 15 2019
Are trekking poles really necessary? Are they suitable for all kinds of hiking or trekking usage? You might be thinking about all the hiking trips that you’ve taken or just simply recalling the moments when seeing other hikers or trekkers using their hiking poles. How come trekking poles have become a trend or even a necessity in the hiking package? If you’ve used trekking poles in your previous hiking/trekking/backpacking trips, how handy do you think they’ve performed? Did they boost your trips or did they become a bit more hindrance to you? How to use them more effectively to utilize their abilities to help you in your future hiking expedition? We’re here to answer these questions by starting with the pros and cons of using trekking poles in different situations and then to provide you the guidance on how to effectively use them. If you’ve just come to prepare for your first great exploration upon a corner on the wonderful planet earth, and not sure about if trekking poles are really needed in your package, this article by ENKEEO will help to make your decision of that and hope to provide more information about other hiking techniques.
Using trekking poles or not? That is a question that has been considered by many people most frequently before starting their next hiking journey. We’re fully aware that the answer is never fixed and not applicable for every kind of situation: it depends. It is mostly depended on the length of the route that you’re going to take and the types of terrains that you’ll be mostly encountering with. The longer the route, the bigger the advantage will be using trekking poles. The biggest advantage of taking a pair of trekking poles in your hands is that they greatly help stabilize and balance your weight especially when you’re carrying a heavy backpack. When hiking long distance, you’re more likely to encounter multiple hills and many hazardous forms of terrains. Imagine the poles in both of your hands as two extra legs added to your body; four legs provide more balance when you’re either climbing upon hills or descending on a trail. With the use of trekking poles, you can rebalance yourself more easily with the right angles and strength which are expected to save you from multiple times of falling.
Apart from using trekking poles as balance keepers when ascends or descends, they’re also a great help when you’re trying to cross tumultuous streams, muddy puddles, or any rocky or slippery trails. They can be a great detector when you’re about to cross a stream or puddle that you’re not sure about the depth.
Use the trekking poles to see if the bottom/rocky slippery surface is safe and stable, then make the next steps to keep the balance when crossing. Make sure your poles are extended long enough to reach the bottom. When jumping over small puddles, the poles can be planted into the sides of the puddle and used as support for an easy bounce. A similar usage can also be applied when jumping across large rocks. The trekking poles provide stable pushes between the rocks for a swift safe pass.
Any cons for the great keeper of balance that the trekking poles as they are? Probably is that not to use them with too much strength. When using the poles for balance, it’s important to remember that they’re not feasible for bearing your weight. If with too much weight relying on the trekking poles, they’ll probably break and you’ll fall.
Improve speed, hold posture, take off your strain
A pair of trekking poles are especially useful to provide balance when they’re used in tough terrains. Besides that, they are also beneficial when you’re taking long walks on gentle terrains. Having a pair or just a single trekking pole would be an immense boost for your walking speed. Apart from that, they also keep the rhythm to help you maintain a consistent walking speed. With everything kept in an harmonious order, they also help you hold your posture longer. When using the trekking poles, your body will be lifted and your posture will be kept along with the stable balance that the poles provide.
The trekking poles help to keep your spine straight and the muscles around it a good healthy strength of supporting. The longer you hike, the longer the support will be. In order to take most advantage of the consistent hold for the healthy posture, it’s important to know the right ways to angle the poles. When ascending a terrain, push off the poles in a direction that is parallel to your body. In this way, they can effectively reduce the strain on your shoulder joints. When descending a terrain, lengthen the poles to make them above the height of your elbow to the ground. Place the poles firmly onto/into the ground then take careful steps when stepping down steep terrain. They are useful for deviating the soreness of muscles in your lower body, especially for knees, hips, and ankles.
If accounted for any occasion that one might lose the advantage of improving speed or holding a stable posture with the use of trekking poles, it may just be that people don’t know how to use them correctly. Many would find using poles can be a means of nuisance when finding the right angle and the place to locate the poles. As for that, it always needs some practice before you apply them in actual hiking. Considering either of the occasion, namely, when you’re ascending or descending, the aim of using poles properly will depend on how much your elbows bend. Both of your upper limb and lower limb of the arms should keep a 90-degree bend in any possible situation. The poles are expected to have a much more effective cause on keeping your body move steadily light and fast even with a heavy backpack.
More pros and cons for using trekking poles in hiking/trekking/backpacking to be explained in our next week’s blog. Keep notified with more interesting content to be expected!