Hiking and treking poles

Just a quick question ref. the title.

What are peoples experience of using the hiking/treking poles and are they as beneficial as the makers claim they are?


I use an ash stick with a knob end which I find very beneficial when walking and it also keeps the beaters in line! I see a couple of wrinkly walkers on the downs with thos flash extending thingies but they look like they are missing a couple of planks on their feet!
I've never used them myself, but they're supposed to be excellent for taking the shocks on the way downhill.

I remember seeing one bloke running down the side of Pen-Y-Fan using them, and he wasn't on the path!

Quite impressive I thought, but even so it didn't make me rush out and buy a set.

LOL Ugly, my thoughts exactly. Although I am hearing great things about them, and that is from people who would never have been seen dead with them 5 years ago, planks of wood or not.


They help, perhaps not as much as claimed by some, but do make a difference. especially in terms of the knees I find.
I used Leki poles when I trekked over the Higher Atlas Mountains a few years ago. Our Berber guide also used them - he was in his late 40s and said that he'd asked our Brit guide to bring him some out a few years previously as his knees were no longer what they once were!

I found the poles invaluable on the descents as they provided much needed stability and shock-absorbing. Saying that, my knees are knackered and I was in plenty of pain at the end of each day even with using them!


Book Reviewer
They've got a load at www.outdoorsman.co.uk in the 'Travel Aids' section. Can't say I've used them myself as I prefer a good old fashioned 4x4.


War Hero
And don't forget that they can affect the the reading of a compass. Had this happen to me when I was out with a civvie walking group on Dartmoor. The leader of the group had been out the day before and had recce'd the route. When the mist descended we had to walk on compass bearings rather than by visual waypoints but he couldn't understand that when he walked using the compass he wasn't walking through terrain that looked familiar the day before. I watched him go back 3 times and try again before breaking the news that he should give his poles to someone else to hold before taking the bearing. Muppet.
I spend a lot of time in the Alps and the mountains where I live, I always use good quality poles (or an ice axe).
They aid safety significantly, especially when crossing ice, badly broken ground or when carrying a load.
They help going up hills, especially when carrying a load as you can transfer some work to your arms; down hills they take impact away from your knees - especially if you find yourself on a "prepared" path with steps.
Keep away from cheap stuff, (heavy) and gimicky things like shock absorbers
I have used most makes, but currently have found these the best for "hiking".
For mountaineering I use a heavier pair from Kohla - sadly no longer available.

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