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Do Trekking Poles actually help when hiking?

Updated: May 18, 2023

Trekking Poles

Do Trekking Poles actually help when hiking? Trekking poles are often seen as a luxury item for hikers and backpackers, but they are actually an essential piece of gear that can greatly enhance your outdoor experience. Whether you are embarking on a day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, using trekking poles can provide numerous benefits that improve your safety, comfort, and overall enjoyment of the great outdoors.

Gossamer Poles

First and foremost, trekking poles can provide added stability and balance on difficult terrain. Whether you are navigating steep inclines or uneven terrain, trekking poles can help distribute your weight evenly and reduce the risk of falls and injuries. This is especially important when carrying a heavy backpack or traversing slippery or rocky surfaces.

Another major benefit of using trekking poles is the reduction of stress on your joints. By transferring some of your weight onto the poles, your knees, hips, and ankles will experience less impact and strain. This is especially important for older hikers or those with preexisting joint issues, who may find that trekking poles allow them to hike for longer periods without experiencing pain or discomfort. Studies have found that trekking poles can reduce forces on your knees by as much as 25 percent.

Trekking poles can also be useful for maintaining a consistent pace and rhythm. By using your arms to assist with each step, you can maintain a steady cadence and conserve energy. This can be especially helpful during long hikes or multi-day backpacking trips when you need to pace yourself to avoid fatigue and exhaustion.

Tent with Poles

In addition to the physical benefits, trekking poles can also be a valuable tool for navigation and safety. By using your poles to probe the ground ahead of you, you can test for hidden hazards such as loose rocks or deep puddles. Trekking poles can also be used to fend off wildlife, such as snakes or aggressive dogs, and can be used to signal for help in an emergency situation or even lighten your load by serving as tent poles for certain tents.

Finally, trekking poles are lightweight and compact, making them easy to pack and carry. They can be adjusted to different lengths to accommodate various terrain and personal preferences, and many models come with additional features such as built-in compasses or shock-absorbing technology.

Trekking poles are a versatile and valuable tool for hikers and backpackers of all skill levels. They provide added stability, reduce joint stress, help maintain a steady pace, aid in navigation and safety, and are lightweight and easy to pack. So, the next time you hit the trails, be sure to bring along a pair of trekking poles and see the difference they can make in your outdoor experience!

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