Are you thinking do I need hiking poles to go out hiking? Then read on below and I will try to give you the pros and cons of hiking poles when out hiking.
Firstly a little more info about hiking poles. Also known as trekking poles they can be great for extra stability on the rough or slippery ground. They are also good for getting yourself into a rhythm while out on your walking trip.
You may not need hiking poles if you are only going to be going on flat terrain or tarmac paths. If you do decide to buy some trekking poles, then make sure you learn how to walk with them properly before you head out on your big adventure.
Our pros and cons to hiking poles/trekking poles
Benefits to Hiking Poles
Hiking poles provide an extra point of contact with the ground, which can give you extra stability when the surface is slippery or rough. I find using them useful when crossing streams by using them as extensions to my arms. My balance is not the best and they really do help
Takes the strain off
Walking poles can take the strain off your knees and ankles as they help spread the weight more evenly. This means they can help prevent injury while you are out hiking. I find when hiking downhill without hiking poles that my knees, hips and back really feel the added strain and I can be in pain for days later. However, using trekking poles while walking downhill takes nearly all this strain away.
Moving Things Out The Way
While out walking along the hiking trails, you may come across overgrown areas. Hiking poles can come in useful to push away any branches or nettles.
Disadvantages to Trekking Poles
Get In The Way
Walking poles can sometimes get in the way if you need to use your hands for something else like taking pictures or eating as you walk. Although most hiking backpacks do have pole hoops, so if you wish to walk for a while without poles you can stow them away
If you have never used them before, then you may find them more of a hindrance, especially if you put too much weight on them and fall. If you really wish to have hiking poles, then make sure you are practising with them before you go away.
More Energy Is Used
You will use up more energy by using walking poles, as you are using your arms more. This being said if you take regular breaks then this more than likely won’t be too much of a problem. It is also a great way to keep fit.
We find that having hiking poles are completely optional and so it is down to you as the walker to decide whether or not you need/want them. If you didn’t want to buy a pair of trekking poles, you could make first see if you can hire or borrow a pair (or one) so you can try before you buy!
If you want to take a look at our walking tours then why not head over to our Tour Selector for a browse.
First Published October 2016