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Use of hiking sticks/poles


Michael Crooijmans

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I disagree.

Off trail hiking, down a steep slope, they are super useful.   

 

I find them useful as well - I'm getting old.

But people have been walking down steep slopes off-trail for thousands of years without them. This guys is asking if it is necessary to run out and buy poles before his first hike, which I think is ridiculous.

A lot of people are so passionate about their hiking poles that others get the idea that you can't go in the woods without them. They are not necessary and you really should decide you need to carry them after hiking enough to know if they help you. They weren't useful to me in the past - I found them annoying. Now I find them useful carrying a full pack. Never on day hikes.

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It's kind of an interesting line of questioning to ask if something is necessary.  You don't "need" a backpack. You can easily fold a tarp up into a pouch to hold all your gear and hang it from a slin

I would suggest not thinking about useful vs necessary as the standard for considering a purchase, but rather risk vs. reward or discomfort vs. comfort.  This is basically the decision we make with al

The big negative is having them in your hands all the time, which is annoying and takes away from the simplicity of walking outside. But at some point, early 50's for me, I decided the benefits of sta

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I find them useful as well - I'm getting old.

But people have been walking down steep slopes off-trail for thousands of years without them. This guys is asking if it is necessary to run out and buy poles before his first hike, which I think is ridiculous.

A lot of people are so passionate about their hiking poles that others get the idea that you can't go in the woods without them. They are not necessary and you really should decide you need to carry them after hiking enough to know if they help you. They weren't useful to me in the past - I found them annoying. Now I find them useful carrying a full pack. Never on day hikes.

Passionate? No.  Speaking from experience, yes. A $10 set of used ski poles works just fine and works well. Not a large investment in time or money to see if they are useful. First hike or not. I've used ski poles a fair amount while hiking myself..   You may be old and infirm as you said. I found them useful starting at age 24 esp on the steep slopes of the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  

In any case, I am not saying a person has to have them. That would  be silly to make blanket statements. I am making the logical assertion they are very useful and that for $10 or so, a person should try them and see if they like the for themselves rather than what a person on the internet may state as Gospel Truth.

Speaking of thousands of years off-trail on steep slopes. This is a reconstruction of Otzi..aka the Iceman from the Alps.  Hiked the Alps. Not much in the way of trails then.  And he was found with a walking stick.   Circa  ~3000 BC.

otziimgp0413.jpg

And this gentleman looks to be in his late 20s/ early 30s. Traditional equipment for the Japanese pilgrimage routes. (Basho et al)

 

japanese_pilgrim.jpg

Finally, my Dad of all people just sent me this video. :)

 

Michele is a shepherd from the ancestral homeland in the low mountains south and east of Rome. The dapper gentleman with the scarf is from Tibet.  

I am starting to see a theme here... ;)

 

 

 

Edited by PaulMags
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Michael Crooijmans

Thank you ALL for your input. I think I'll go and look for something cheap to start.

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I agree with everyone else. I'm pretty new to hiking and have some difficulty/am nervous going down rocky hills. I find that the poles help a lot with steadying me. I got mine second hand for about $10 and will probably buy better ones depending on how often I continue to hike. 

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This is one of those backpacking topics that really gets contentious.  Leather Hiking Boots or Trail Runners?White Gas or Propane? To trek with poles or not?  And really, there is no one correct answer - it all comes down to personal preference.  Where are you backpacking?  Will there be a lot of water crossings?  Is there a lot of elevation gain and loss?  Are you young or old?  What is your physical condition like?

My preference happens to be to hike with trekking poles.  I don't like the "downs" and having a set of trekking poles I can extend and reach out in front of me helps me navigate descents much more easily.  They also help me to stabilize when I'm crossing water.  And I can use them for much more than just walking - they can be used to snag a dropped item off the ground (who likes to bend down and pick up something with a 30 pound pack on), or to help set up a dining fly, or even to extend between a couple of trees and hang wet clothes on...  If I'm in the middle of a hike and don't want to use them, I just close them down and strap them to my pack.  

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Michael Crooijmans

The reason for questioning is that I'm all new to this. You read a lot, see a lot. Hard to determine where to start or to qualify to the situation yoh thinn is coming if you start out blank.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

I've never been a regular trekking pole user as I prefer to keep my hands free, but I do plan to work them into my hikes more regularly moving forward. Picked up a minor but nagging injury to my knee somehow on a trip over the summer...not sure if using trekking poles would have prevented that, but now that it's there they do really seem to help on climbs and descents. Plus I can use them to setup my shelters, so that's a plus.

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Aconcagua

One thing I have learned over the last few weeks is that some look down upon the use of poles for some fairly silly reasons.

Some seem to think they're only for the aged, infirm or weak. Some seem to think they're a sign of being oversold by a clerk at the local REI. Still others seem to think they're a mark of being a newbie. Finally some decry the "damage" they do to trails.

I just try to keep in mind that the great Reinhold Messner used ski poles on some of his alpine climbs...

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Michael Crooijmans

I recently bought 2 cheap ones at decathlon for €17, good enough to start out with. Without spending money uf I never use them again. Otherwise I can always buy better/loghter/easier ones.

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