Hiking can be physically demanding, and many people find it a lot easier when they use hiking or trekking poles. In addition, using these poles can help when hiking over long distances, mainly when the terrain is rough.
Trekking poles complement an excellent pair of hiking boots. They help hikers be more efficient and comfortable. They can move faster, cover more ground using hiking poles, and enjoy hiking much more.
Keep reading to find out how do hiking poles help.
Reasons to Use a Hiking Pole
Many novice and experienced hikers find they enjoy using hiking poles on their treks. They make hiking easier and help work more muscle groups because you are now using your arms and shoulders, not just your legs. Not only do you work these muscle groups, but you will also have increased speed without putting too much strain on your legs and feet.
Here are a few more reasons why you should use a hiking pole.
1. Reduced Impact
Using hiking poles makes you less likely to sustain leg pain and injuries. There will be much less impact on your legs—the knees, ankles, and feet. This can be a real blessing when you are going downhill. In fact, a 1999 study reported in The Journal of Sports Medicine shows that hiking poles can reduce impact by up to 25 percent.
2. Deflect Nuisances
There will always be things getting in your way while hiking, such as thorny bushes, spider webs, vines, etc. You can use a hiking pole to push these and other nuisances out of the way so you can continue your hike. You can also use the pole to hit branches and shake the water from them, so you don’t get wet.
3. Set a Rhythm
Hiking is much easier when you have a good pace. Setting a good rate is easy when you have a hiking pole because it allows you to set a rhythm. This can provide a faster pace, especially if you are hiking on flat terrain free of bumps and other things you could trip over.
4. Better Traction
Obviously, while hiking, you will wear hiking boots with good traction. But you can give yourself even more traction when using trekking poles. Poles will provide additional points of contact. This can be particularly handy when hiking slippery surfaces, including ice, snow, and mud. They will also keep you steadier while walking over loose rocks.
5. Improved Balance
Hiking over rugged terrain can easily throw you off balance, and using hiking poles can help you keep your balance. You can use them while crossing shallow rivers, trails covered with roots, and log bridges that may be slippery from wet moss. A good balance will help you to move quickly and help you avoid injuries.
6. Use Poles as Probes
There will always be things you cannot see while hiking, especially in the woods. Using poles can help when used as probes. Just as the seeing-impaired use white canes for guidance, you can use your pole to probe for dangers, including water, melting show, and even quicksand.
Many people take their dogs on hikes, but many don’t put their dogs on harnesses or leashes. This isn’t so bad if the dogs are friendly, but a dog or another animal may aggressively come at you. In such a case, you can use your hiking pole to keep the animals at bay and protect yourself.
8. Weight Distribution
Hiking with a backpack will add extra weight for you to carry. Using hiking poles will distribute the weight and ease your load. Technically, you will have four limbs to hold the weight instead of two, reducing the pressure from your legs and back.
9. Medical Emergencies
You could always fall while hiking, leading to an injury, such as a sprained ankle or broken bone. In such a case, your hiking poles can be used as makeshift splints. This will help you to be able to get back to civilization and get treatment as soon as possible. Without a splint, you could be lying on a trail for some time before help comes along.
10. Makeshift Tent Poles
You can also lighten your pack by leaving the tent poles at home. Hiking poles can be used and are much stronger than typical tent poles. They are much less likely to snap, so you can ensure that you have a secure shelter. You can also set up hiking poles to hang wet clothing at the campsite.
If you are an avid hiker or are considering getting into hiking, you need the right gear. While you don’t really need to have hiking poles, they can come in pretty handy. Many hikers recommend that poles be a part of your regular hiking gear, no matter where and how long you will be hiking.