Why Use Trekking Poles (Part 2)
Posted on May 22 2019
Last week’s blog has covered the three most obvious advantages of trekking poles: 1) to give stable support when you’re either climbing or descending on hills, 2) to offer extra stabilizing points when crossing tumultuous streams, puddles, or slippery ground, 3) to improve the marching speed on plains, to keep the posture straight, to reduce the strain on your body. All of these benefits are based on the correct usage of the trekking poles. We’ve suggested a position that is to form a 90-degree bend between the upper limb and lower limb of your arms when holding trekking poles in your hands. Without a correct position, using trekking poles incorrectly might injure your wrists. You may be wondering: is it all what matters most when it comes to using trekking poles? If you ask the question when holding them in hands while you walk, the answer is yes. Using them in correct positions makes much difference. But when not holding them for the purpose of walking, the answer might deviate. In many other cases, trekking poles can become a surprisingly useful tool.
In terms of using the trekking poles correctly, one of the most disputed discussions is about whether to use trekking poles with straps or not. Some say it’s useful to help to push the poles for more stability and some say it can be dangerous when moving on rough trails with many tree roots in narrow places. So, is it better to use or not to use them? We’ll talk about the pros and cons of using the straps as well as other useful alternatives for the use of tracking poles. Keep reading and find out which way suits you the best!
Clear the route
One of the most fantastic usages of trekking poles in hiking/trekking/backpacking is to use them to clear the route. You can use them to move thorns or bush out of the way, to free the branches dropped from the trees, or to get rid of the spider webs around your lower leg.
Having trekking poles in your hands can make it more convenient to clean all the impediments along the way!
When thinking about using the trekking poles to clear the way out, it naturally occurs that not only the still objects on the way can be an inconvenience. Living animals on the route are also largely potentially dangerous. When encountering with small animals or just trying to take some precarious actions, a pair of trekking poles can be a great safety guard for you.
That’s right, trekking poles are effective tools to defend yourself from the unknown dangers. Encounters with small animals like snakes, beavers, or other wildlife can be avoided when you place the poles on the ground to create some vibration so they can sense it and move out of the way.
Make your tent
Not sure how many poles you need to take along with your hiking/trekking/backpacking trip? Another trick that trekking poles can do is to work as a substitute for tent poles. Always save one or two when you have trekking poles in hands. Use them as extra support for your tent/tarp, spare the weight, or make a self-standing with ease.
Also, trekking poles are stronger than tent poles so they can stand in heavier winds. Many backpackers choose ultra-light tents that only rely on trekking poles for a lighter stronger kit. So you’d probably consider to remove the tent poles and save some extra space for other essentials on your next hiking trip!
Warmth and food are always the most important things during a long-time trekking/backpacking trip. In most cases, we tend to believe that we’ve got everything prepared. Yet nature can get a bit tricky sometimes. And we don’t always get warmth in the night or just enough food supplies. Luckily, having a pair of trekking poles can help for both. For warmth, the core of the poles is hollow so they can be used to blow air into fuels to ignite a fire. For food, the sticks at the bottom favor the poles to be used as fishing poles when food is needed.
Trekking poles are a great tool for photography lovers too. Use your pair as a convenient help for your wildlife photography, set up a tripod easily with another pole from your partner. It can also be used as a selfie stick. Simply adjust the angles and length to make your perfect outdoor selfie with your trekking poles when using the timer function on your phone’s camera.
Straps: yes or no?
Almost every trekking pole is equipped with wrist straps as an integral part of the design. Nevertheless, not all love these adjustable straps when they hold the trekking poles in hands. The ones who love the straps believe that using straps is extremely helpful for supporting their hands and giving them relief from strain gripping. Straps can be great assistance to support tired hands and to provide more supporting powers. They also offer great convenience when climbing on hills so that the poles can be hung upon the wrists.
Those who don’t use straps at all often perceive them as a hindrance. Walking with the straps around the wrist can take more effort to complete simple tasks, for example, taking out a cup for some water, or a quick grab of a handkerchief to wipe your forehead. In addition, walking with the straps is more likely to make small incidents into more serious ones. Straps around the wrist already make it much more difficult in an emergency when both hands need to be freed from the poles. Many have got hurt in such cases. Also, when in rough terrains, most hikers would choose to remove straps in order for a safer pass with relatively free hands.