a man with a backpack walking through a field

10 Essential Benefits of Trekking Poles

Trekking poles may seem like an extra gadget, but they add value. If you’re using an old-school walking stick, this is true. Modern trekking poles offer significant benefits to hikers. This blog post talks about some of them. You’d thank your poles over ten years.

More than a stylish accessory, trekking poles are a game-changer for hikers. These high-tech tools could reduce knee strain and improve balance, turning strenuous climbs into smooth saunters. It’s time to switch the stick for the slick.

Crafted with lightweight, durable materials like carbon fiber or aluminum, modern trekking poles are a masterstroke of outdoor tech. With ergonomic handles, adjustable lengths, shock absorbers, and even removable snow baskets, they’re a versatile ally for all types of hikers, from Sunday strollers to mountain conquerors.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the numerous benefits of trekking poles, uncovering how they enhance stability, pace, weight distribution, and safety. So, whether you’re a veteran trekker or a hiking newbie, let’s explore why a pair of trekking poles could become your most valued hiking companion, deserving a heartfelt ‘thank you’ in a decade.

Trekking pole helps to maintain balance in challenging terrain.

Balancing in a flat path is easy. You might have to pass through uneven terrain. You have two extra contact points on the ground with a hiking pole. Poles may help you regain your balance.

Trekking poles help maintain the balance

Walking downhills is the trickiest. You need to find a grip in an area you don’t have much access to yet. But trekking poles can help you. 

One note when using trekking poles in downhills is that you may need more than the length to get you to the ground ahead of you. You must set your pole height to match a 90-degree elbow bend for a flat path. But downhill, this setting will leave your pole shorter. 

Be sure to increase the pole height to get more support in downhills.

Trekking poles also adjust your little mistakes along the path. For instance, you must find out what’s underneath the surface in icy, muddy, or bushy terrain. With trekking poles, even if you step on an unstable spot, your other leg and the poles won’t let you fall. 

Also, your legs may become shaky with a heavy backpack and long walk. At this point, you’re more likely to lose your balance. You could avoid legs shaking or losing balance with a good pair of poles.

Maintain traction in slippery terrains.

The cuts on the bottom of your boots are only one of many ways to gain traction. Trekking poles do help.

Benefits of trekking poles in slippery terrain.

The grooves or cuts on the bottom of your boots significantly provide traction when hiking or trekking, but they are not the only method to ensure stability. Yet, other tools can aid in maintaining balance and preventing falls. Trekking poles certainly do. 

Trekking poles are not just accessories; they serve a crucial function during hikes. Their usage is quite simple yet effective. Before stepping forward, you usually position or tuck your pole on the ground. This ensures that you have a firm support base before moving your foot.

The advantage of this technique is apparent when the ground is slick or unstable. Even if your foot slips after you’ve moved, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll tumble down. That’s because you would have already mounted your trekking pole on the surface, providing an additional contact point. This gives you a better grip and balance, reducing the chance of a fall.

Trekking poles save your joints.

Your knees and ankles will hold more weight and work hard to get you through the hike. Trekking poles reduce the impact on these joints.

Trekking poles reduces knee pain.

When you hike, your knees and ankles bear a lot of weight and exert effort to help you navigate the trails.

Trekking poles, however, can provide significant relief to these joints. You distribute your lower body’s weight to your shoulder joints by holding and using a trekking pole while hiking.

This means that your shoulders will help carry the weight of your body and your backpack, providing some relief to your knees and ankles.

Furthermore, studies have shown that the compressive force or pressure exerted on your knees is reduced by about 25% when you use a trekking pole. This reduction in pressure can make your hiking experience more comfortable and even help prevent potential injuries to these joints.

Other studies have shown that using a trekking pole can significantly reduce the muscle pain experienced next day.

Your trekking pole can be an excellent first-aid tool.

If you’re unfortunate enough to break an arm or an ankle during your outdoor adventure, a stick can be a crucial support.

Ideally, a tree branch could serve this purpose, providing you with the stability and balance you need to navigate your way back to safety. However, the wilderness may not always provide such resources when you need them.

In such a situation, your trekking pole can be a lifesaver. It can be used as a makeshift splint, tied securely to your injured limb to immobilize it and prevent further damage.

Alternatively, it can serve as a walking aid, allowing you to lean on it and take some weight off your injured ankle. The extra points of contact will help distribute your body weight more evenly, allowing for a smoother and less painful journey.

Trekking poles help clear your way.

Traveling on a narrow path makes you more likely to experience bruises from branches, thorns, and grasses. The trekking pole clears your way.

Benefits of trekking poles in road obstacles.

Navigating a narrow path presents challenges, including potential injuries from branches, thorns, and sharp grasses, especially when wearing shorts. A trekking pole, however, can effectively minimize these risks.

As it leads your way, the pole pushes aside prickly elements that could harm your skin, significantly reducing the possibility of scratches and bruises. It also comes in handy for clearing cobwebs, a typical encounter when trekking through dense areas like jungles. Swinging your pole ahead helps prevent unpleasant interactions with spiders, potentially saving you from harmful bites.

Furthermore, the trekking pole enhances your awareness of the path. It subconsciously previews potential obstacles, reducing the likelihood of accidents like tripping over unseen rocks or accidentally hitting a boulder, thereby protecting your toes.

Trekking poles don’t just shield you against nature’s sharp elements but also provide an extra layer of safety against unforeseen hurdles. It proves to be an invaluable tool for any adventurous trekker.

You can be safer with snakes and other animals with a trekking pole.

You can chase away small animals with your trekking poles.

Going on a hiking adventure means stepping into the wildlife domain. Meeting these creatures is often unavoidable; it’s even part of the appeal for some hikers.

That’s where your trekking pole becomes an essential tool.

Beyond aiding your mobility and balance, it can shoo away critters like snakes and lizards that might cross your path. If you encounter a larger animal, simply having a pole in your hand can provide an extra layer of safety and confidence.

It’s important to note that the pole isn’t meant for aggression or harm toward the animals. On the contrary, it’s a tool to ensure mutual respect and safe distance.

It allows you to alert wildlife of your presence, preventing accidental stepping on them. Thus, a trekking pole becomes a bridge between ensuring your safety and preserving the harmony of nature during your hike.

Trekking pole helps you study the surface.

Sometimes, what you see is not accurate. It is especially true when crossing rivers and ice-covered surfaces.

A typical case is a river crossing. The depth of a river is usually hard to judge by looking at it. You can dip your pole to see the real depth before entering. 

Besides depth, you may also want to know how forceful the river is. You can gauge better with your eyes. But you can put your pole in the river for an even better idea. 

Like rivers, ice-covered roads are challenging too. Also, ice can break in certain places. You can use the trekking pole to judge the strength of it.

Walking with a trekking pole gives you rhythm and speed.

Using a trekking pole while walking enhances your rhythm and speed. While walking naturally engages a rhythmic motion involving your legs and feet, the addition of trekking poles also brings your arms and hands into play.

The poles in your hands make this rhythm more comprehensive by involving the upper body. This full-body engagement results in a coordinated walking rhythm that is efficient and enjoyable.

Moreover, using a single trekking pole adds momentum to your stride. Yet, for optimal efficiency, it’s recommended to use a pair of poles. With two poles, you achieve a balanced momentum evenly distributed across your body, boosting your walking speed and providing stability.

You burn more calories with a trekking pole in hand.

You may think you’d burn fewer calories when you carry a pole. That’s because you feel more at ease when you have trekking poles with you. 

But that’s not true. 

In fact, among the many benefits of trekking poles burning more calories is one. instead of only using your legs, your hands, and wrists are also doing more work now than before. Therefore when carrying a trekking pole, you burn more calories. 

This may not be desirable if you’re on a multi-day backpacking trip. You may want to save as much energy as possible. Then again, considering all the other benefits of carrying a trekking pole, you’re better off having one. 

However, for those who consider trekking a great workout, a trekking pole is a booster. 

There is more than one use for trekking poles.

Of course, the primary reason to use a trekking pole is to aid walking. But there can be more. Your pole can be converted into a tent, a monopod, or a selfie stick. 

To be smart about trekking and hiking, cut down your backpack weight. It may sound easy, but every gear has its purpose. When you decide to leave, you’re giving up the benefits. 

However, modern gears are designed to serve more than one purpose. And designers have been innovative on trekking poles also. 

The most common second use of a trekking pole is to use as a tent pole. The tent needs to stay up. You can use your trekking pole as support. 

Likewise, the load and space of a monopod or a selfie stick significantly hinder collecting beautiful memories. Yet, if you can use your trekking pole to serve this purpose, wouldn’t it be better?

Now, there are poles specifically designed to serve as monopods. However, a simple gadget can turn any pole into a monopod or selfie stick.

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