Hiking and trekking can be more comfortable, efficient, and even safer when the right trekking pole or hiking staff is selected and used properly. Careful consideration will save you time and money in choosing the right trekking pole or hiking staff, and proper use of the implement will add to your hiking experience. In this article we’ll explore how to choose and use trekking poles and hiking staffs.
What Are Trekking Poles and Hiking Staffs?
Trekking poles, also known as walking poles, are designed for active outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and backpacking. They are usually made of lightweight, durable materials such as aluminum, fiberglass or carbon fiber, and offer features that make them easier to use. Hiking staffs are longer and heavier, usually made of hardwood such as beech or ash, and are better suited for leisurely walks.
When to Use Trekking Poles or Hiking Staffs
Trekking Poles are Good for Steep Terrain
Trekking poles are a must for any hiker traversing steep terrain. The poles will provide extra stability when going downhill, distribute body weight more evenly, and reduce the impact of your body on your knees, especially when making tight turns.
Hiking Staffs are Better on Easy Terrain
For terrain that is not steep or treacherous, a hiking staff is often a better option than a trekking pole. They generally weigh more and provide better balance. Additionally, hiking staffs can be used to probe for submerged rocks or other obstacles in shallow water.
How to Choose a Trekking Pole or Hiking Staff
Look for Quality Materials
When selecting either a trekking pole or hiking staff, you want to make sure the materials are strong and durable. For trekking poles, look for lightweight, rust-resistant aluminum or fiberglass materials. For hiking staffs, pick a hardwood option like beech or ash.
Check the Adjustability
It is important to choose a trekking pole or hiking staff that is adjustable to fit your height and terrain conditions. Trekking poles usually have a simple twist-lock system that can be adjusted on the go. Hiking staffs usually have a telescopic design with a spring-loaded lock that keeps the staff securely in place.
How to Use Trekking Poles and Hiking Staffs Properly
Maintain Proper Posture
The proper way to hold a trekking pole or hiking staff is with your elbow slightly bent at about a 90-degree angle. This position will allow for maximum power transfer, so your arms and legs can work together to make the walking easier. This also helps you to maintain proper posture while hiking.
Grip the Pole or Staff Firmly
When gripping the pole or staff, make sure your fingers are lightly wrapped around the handle and your thumb is pressed firmly against the palm of your hand. This will help to ensure a secure grip and prevent fatigue in your hands during long hikes.
People Also Ask
What are the benefits of using trekking poles and hiking staffs?
Using trekking poles or hiking staffs can help to improve balance, reduce the impact on joints, and provide an additional point of support in challenging terrain.
Do I need special accessories for trekking poles or hiking staffs?
Most trekking poles and hiking staffs come with their own accessories such as shock absorbing tips, wrist straps, and adhesive grips. Depending on the terrain, you may need to purchase additional accessories such as snowshoe baskets or trekking baskets.
How do I know what size trekking pole or hiking staff to get?
The size of trekking pole or hiking staff should be based on your height and arm length. Generally, the pole should be adjusted so that your elbow is at a 90-degree angle when holding it.
What is the difference between trekking poles and hiking staffs?
Trekking poles are usually lighter in weight and designed for active pursuits, such as backpacking and camping. Hiking staffs are heavier and better suited for leisurely walks.
Choosing the right trekking poles or hiking staffs and using them properly may seem overwhelming at first, but with a little knowledge and practice, you’ll be well on your way to more comfortable and enjoyable hikes. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, trekking poles or hiking staffs can make your journeys more enjoyable and safe.