Every tramper knows what trekking poles are. But even though many are aware of their existence, not so many people use them. I didn’t use them in my early tramping days either. But then I gave them a try on one of my tramps and got totally addicted.
It was a 4 days hike in the mountains, where I had to climb about 1000 meters and descend them afterwards, cross many creeks and one river, and many kilometers of rough terrain to conquer. Since it was a multiday hike I also had a fairly heavy backpack with me, carrying my tent, food, and other gear.
I thought – what the hell, this is going to be a difficult tramp, so why not try to make it a bit easier by using trekking poles. And guess what? They did a terrific job! Lets see how they helped me:
1. My backpack was heavy so when I had to walk through rough terrain, it was pretty difficult to keep my balance, but with trekking poles I felt much better, it was like having four legs.
2. When I climbed up, I made my trekking poles shorter, and they helped me to maintain straight posture while climbing, where otherwise I would bend.
3. When I descended, I made my trekking poles longer, and they did the same thing as when climbing – helped me to maintain straight posture.
4. Crossing creeks was that much easier – you can hop from stone to stone and the only thing that gets wet is, of course, the trekking poles.
In addition to my own experience manufacturers claim that using trekking poles reduces the strain on your knees by 20% ! So by using them you can help preventing future injures and knee problems.
Of course, using trekking poles is something that you’ll have to get used to. It can take you more than one tramp. And I also don’t recommend using them on all the tramps that you do. For example if you go out for a one day (or less) walk, and you only take a water and snacks with you, then most of the chances are you will do just fine without trekking poles.
So in my opinion every tramper should at least give trekking poles a chance.