Barring a trek up Mount Everest, hiking isn’t typically regarded as the most extreme of sports.
Nevertheless, safety is an important consideration to make, especially if you wander on trails that take you far from civilization and potential rescue.
Hiking poles not only increase your speed and comfort on the trail, but also your safety.
Here’s How Hiking Poles Enhance Your Trek:
1. Hiking poles act as antennas.
That rock might look stable, but you won’t know until you put your foot on it.
Hiking poles can allow you to test surfaces before transferring your full weight.
Use hiking poles to probe the ground for slippery ice patches, rogue holes and loose rocks.
This is a good way to avoid falling down or twisting an ankle.
2. Hiking poles prevent stress injuries by reducing strain on your feet and knees.
As anyone who’s hiked in steep ranges such as the Alps can tell you, mountain terrain can really wear on your legs.
Repetitive stress injuries are common among long-distance hikers, so it’s important to take preventative measures.
3. Hiking poles keep you alert.
If you don’t believe this one, try doing an algebra problem after walking for a few hours with a heavy pack.
The discomfort of a heavy pack tires you out and dulls your senses, making you vulnerable to wrong turns or surprising dangerous animals.
Hiking poles will ease the weight of a pack. This will make you more comfortable and therefore more able to be aware of your surroundings.
4. Hiking poles keep you balanced on tricky slopes.
No hiker wants to fall to their death; hiking poles are handy on a steep slope that’s intent on pitching you to the bottom.
Whether ascending or descending, hiking poles will make slopes much safer, allowing you better control over your balance.
Poles allow you to have four points of contact, which can help you negotiate patches of loose rocks and slippery mud.
While safety is top priority, also consider the other benefits that improve the trail experience. Poles allow you to move faster and cover more ground. If your goal is maximum mileage, poles better be on your equipment list.
The use of poles can also make more difficult terrain accessible to older nature lovers.
You may be over the hill, but with poles, you can get over a mountain.
Buying Trekking Poles
Many poles are listed at $200, but your first set doesn’t need to be that expensive.
You can purchase a perfectly reasonable set for $100 or less.
If you’re short on cash, simply repurpose some used ski poles, which can often be found for cheaper. To read more about things to consider when buying a trekking pole check out this post [with videos] >>>.