In the 1990s, hiking poles (also called trekking poles) were considered a novelty. However, today, you aren’t likely to find too many avid hikers and outdoorsmen who venture into the great unknown without them.
With a hiking pole in hand, you can use your upper body to help make climbing uphill easier while absorbing shock in your knees as you descend. Also, with heavy packs in tow, trekking poles can be real lifesavers and help to alleviate some of the burdens.
Regardless of your age, using these poles while hiking can help reduce knee pain while saving energy. They also help with balance during potentially perilous log and creek crossings.
However, not all trekking poles are created equal. Because of this, there are a few things you must consider before purchasing this product for an upcoming outdoor adventure.
Today, most of the trekking poles you will find are collapsible. They are also likely going to be offered in one of three designs – folding, telescoping, or a combination of the two.
The design configuration is used to describe how the pole extends into three sections to form a strong pole that you can use for hiking and walking. Usually, telescoping poles are strong and adjustable, while folding poles are lighter and easier to stow when not in use because of their smaller size. Combination poles are also popular because they combine the best features of both telescoping and folding poles.
You will find several options when it comes to trekking pole material. Some of the most popular options include:
This is a stiff, light material used for items that are needed to support a lot of weight and stay light. Choosing a carbon fiber pole gives you something very strong with a vertical load while remaining light to carry.
Unfortunately, if the pole is bent horizontally, they become weak, and the material can crack on rocks, which leads to an increased possibility of the pole snapping.
Choosing an aluminum pole will give you something that’s more durable than carbon fiber, but it’s also heavier. These poles are also usually more affordable than carbon fiber. They can bend without snapping, which is beneficial for long trips when breaking a pole would be a problem.
Mechanism for Adjusting the Pole
Most adjustable walking poles use a lever lock system. With this, you don’t have to use the older twist-lock system that was commonly used in the past. If you have never used the lever lock system before, you will be impressed by how easy it is to use and the secure way it locks.