Did you know that the use of trekking poles allows hikers to consume more calories and prevent hypertension? Probably, we have just made you discover two of the benefits of using trekking poles in the mountains. If you are planning to travel a long way, don’t hesitate. The longer your walk, the higher the performance you will get.
The sticks ensure that the weight and effort do not fall only on the legs, thus minimizing the risk of injury. Despite being highly criticized, trekking poles are gaining a lot of acclaims. More and more trekkers and mountaineers who do not hesitate to carry this indispensable accessory in their backpack.
Here we had selected some of the best trekking poles you can choose which one suits you.
Trekking Poles Buyer Guide
In this buying guide, we will help you find out everything you need about trekking poles. If you don’t know how to use them, adjust them correctly, and take proper care of them, rest assured!
You will learn a lot of things that will be very useful when choosing a model over another. We will also tell you about the types of soils for which they are not recommended.
What Are Trekking Poles?
Trekking poles are a kind of bar that helps to offer more excellent safety and stability to trekkers and mountaineers. This accessory is made of very light materials, and its goal is to distribute the weight over the whole body, avoiding that the effort overloads the legs. Also, trekking poles make walking more pleasant.
What Parts Are Trekking Poles Made Of?
Trekking poles are made up of various parts that can be blocked thanks to different technologies. In general, all sticks are made up of the same elements, although in some cases, they can vary from one type to another. Below, we explain what a trekking pole is made of :
- Handle: It can be made with different materials, such as plastic, foam, rubber, or even cork. The handles are of different sizes and shapes. Ergonomic ones are usually the most comfortable. Plastic ones are not recommended, as they can cause problems in the case of sweaty hands. There are some sticks with a broader handle that allow the change of position of the hands in long slopes.
- Loop: It is the tape that attaches to the wrist to grasp the stick with more security so that it does not escape. You must bear in mind that the passerby must not limit the movements of the wrist.
- Telescopic Sections: They form the stick body, divided into various parts. Usually, the poles are divided into 2 or 3 sections made of aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber poles are much lighter and absorb vibrations very well, even if they are less resistant than aluminum. Each section is a little narrower than the top part to allow for optimal folding and height adjustment.
- Locking Mechanisms: These are the closures or assemblies that allow you to adjust the length of the stick and keep the sections securely joined.
- Washers: To get an idea, we can say that they are a kind of plastic basket located at the top of the tip. Smaller diameter washers are suitable for summer, as they prevent the tip from getting caught in roots and rocks. The larger ones are the most recommended for snow.
- Tips: They are the part of the stick that is in continuous contact with the ground. Generally, they are made of tungsten (chemical element), to ensure maximum durability. Today, trekking poles are usually equipped with interchangeable tips. The sharpest points can leave marks on the rocks, so they are not recommended. Always avoid tucking the spikes between the stones, as they could get damaged.
- Rubbers: It is an accessory that protects the tip and promotes gentle support. Usually, they are made of rubber. Therefore they tend to give less adhesion. They are used exclusively for walking.
- Lower End: It is the part where the tip is inserted. Usually, it is interchangeable plastic.
- Mechanism Anti-Shock: This mechanism is not present in all the poles. These are shock absorbers and elastic materials that cause the tip to bend every time we hit the stick against the ground. The anti-shock system adds weight to the stick. If you have to do climbs, it is not the right choice.
On Which Terrains Is It Not Advisable to Use Trekking Poles?
There are some terrains on which the UIAA (International Union of Mountaineering Associations) does not recommend the use of trekking poles. We are talking about territories with narrow edges and climbing terrains where, in movement, the poles do not reach the ground and where the possibility of stumbling due to the narrowness of the passages is quite high.
Snowy terrain with steep slopes is also not recommended, since, in the event of a fall, it is practically impossible to stop. In these areas, where the possibility of falling is quite high, it is essential not to use the loops and keep the sticks only and only for the handle.
Do I Need to Take Any Special Precautions for My Trekking Poles?
If you want your trekking poles to last as long as possible, you need to take proper care of them. Whenever you come back from a walk, it is advisable to take them apart. You will need to wash and dry them as much as possible to prevent them from oxidizing. Finally, let them finish drying in a ventilated place.
We recommend that you do not use oil on the locking systems, as they may slip on the way. If you notice that something is damaged, replace it. Otherwise, over time, you will need to purchase a new stick. During long periods in which you do not use the sticks, it is advisable to leave the closure systems open.
The weight will depend on the material of manufacture and the accessories with which the trekking poles are equipped. So those who include the cushioning system will weigh more than those who don’t. As for the material with which they are made, those in carbon fiber are much lighter than those in aluminum.
The ergonomic handles, with a positive angle of 15 °, are the most comfortable, since they allow you to relieve stress and excessive activity of the wrist joint. This is because they keep the hand in a neutral position. This type of handle is specific for the left and right hand, so you don’t have to change sides.
If you are a beginner, it is essential to evaluate the mechanisms that can be easier for you when locking your trekking poles. You must also take into account the speed with which you can make such a block. Below, we introduce you to the different types of locking mechanisms.
- External lock with a lever (speed lock): Allows quick and easy adjustment.
- Turn-lock ( super lock, twist-lock): Allows the stick to be locked by turning it clockwise.
- Hybrid block: Made through a mix of the two previous systems.
- Lock / unlock button: This is a steel pin that locks the segment by slipping into a hole.
Trekking poles offer a lot of safety and stability to both trekkers and hikers and mountaineers. Also, they distribute both the weight of our body and that of what we have in the backpack, avoiding excessively overloading the legs. There are numerous types of trekking poles, and telescopes are the most common.
Before leaving, it is essential to adjust both the length of the sticks and the loops. Also, remember that, on very rough terrain, their use is not recommended. Analyze the different movement patterns, plan the route, and grab the sticks. A lot of adventures await you!