Hiking Poles

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fricknaley
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Hiking Poles

Post by fricknaley » Jan 18 2009 10:19 am

Sooner or later I need to start looking into these, so I'd like your advice HAZ. Who here uses them, what kind and what do you think?
hi

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dysfunction
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by dysfunction » Jan 19 2009 8:43 am

I used to snub them too until I tried them. Now I bring them with me pretty much every trip, sometimes they stay collapsed and hanging on my pack, but all in all I'm really pleased with them. My, somewhat abused, knees appreciate it quite a bit on descents as has been mentioned. I would say that if you're increasing the strain on your back during ascents using them that you're using them wrong, personally I find myself walking more erect when using poles. I also thought I'd find their usage odd, turns out it came pretty naturally to me, but I grew up doing things like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing so I suppose those habits just returned. FWIW I bought my paid of leki ultra-lights for $50 at summit hut. They had been demo units, but were in great condition (sans baskets). They're wonderful downhill, especially with a pack. It was about the same, realization wise, as backpacking in running shoes the first time.
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by Jeffshadows » Jan 19 2009 8:55 am

See, what everyone doesn't realize is that Nick is secretly a masochist who will be lost without the extra pain on these long hikes... :sl:
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by Jeffshadows » Jan 19 2009 10:01 am

Has anyone used the "Tracks" poles? Good/bad?
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rushthezeppelin
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by rushthezeppelin » Jan 19 2009 10:02 am

Jeff MacE wrote:
I can say that, on more than one occasion, I've rolled an ankle so badly that many people would have sat down and waited for SAR. I had a near-dislocation once that I just wrapped in duct tape and ambled on through the agony that increased as the swelling grew. Every time this happens it's on the descent and almost always when the descent is very steep and rocky. I can envision poles having prevented all of these incidents...maybe even acting like a crutch if it happened, anyway. :D
Ya I think that's about the #2 reason to use poles. They have saved me from loads of rolled ankles. Not only that but as others have said if you have a tendency for your knees to be screaming at you by the end of a hike then your knees will love you for using poles.

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writelots
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by writelots » Jan 19 2009 10:38 am

I've always been a single-pole hiker. It's great for all of the above mentioned reasons, my particular interests being keeping the worst of the brush at bay, steadying me through stream crossings and keeping the swelling down in the hands. When I carry a pack, I consider it essential. It's saved my butt when I've sprained the ankle as well. Mine is also cheapie cheapie. I tried to move to using a set of poles - bought some nice Komperdells from REI on sale for $70. I liked the cork grips, and the twist-lock seemed to work well. However, those hiking with me on that first trip out said that the second pole tended to swing around pretty wildly (I suppose because it's in my left -non-dominant- hand and I wasn't used to having to think about it). Then it tripped me going over a log and I bent the chit out of it when I tried to catch myself. Anything that would bend under my body weight was not trustworthy enough to keep, so I sent them back and didn't get new ones. Maybe I'll find another pair sometime, but 'till then I'm a mono-pod kida girl...
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johnr1
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by johnr1 » Jan 19 2009 12:08 pm

I find my Leki poles to be extremely helpful (but then I am old so the comments about elderly, infirm and sissy apply). They have prevented many falls, make good snake sticks, allow for pushing back the cat claw, are good for scraping off cholla, can be used as a splint, etc. They also make moderate downhill much easier on the knees. I also get some upper body work out which is a real bonus.

One caution about construction material. In my passion for weight reduction, I tried a set of carbon fiber poles and broke one while leaning heavily on it. Carbon fiber leaves a wicked edge when it breaks and the break was near the top. I just missed slicing a wrist. After that, I decided 4 oz extra was okay and went with aluminum.

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rushthezeppelin
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by rushthezeppelin » Jan 19 2009 12:15 pm

In response to johnr1:

I've heard that the wrapped carbon fiber poles are much sturdier than the old extruded ones. Not sure which you were using but thought I might throw that out. Also I know te-wa uses some of that electricians heat shrinking wrap stuff on the bottom of his poles for added stability and protection from snapping from getting jammed in a crack.

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JimmyLyding
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by JimmyLyding » Jan 19 2009 12:26 pm

Heat shrink tubing can help hiking poles in a variety of ways. There's also cold shrink tubing for those of us who don't like torches

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JoelHazelton
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by JoelHazelton » Jan 19 2009 2:55 pm

I have a set of Lekis and I use them on every long hike, I can't imagine not having them. The people who think they're wussy won't be laughing in ten years when they have knee problems. I, on the other hand, will be chugging along with my poles. They help me to power through canyon hikes and over creek crossings, I love them.
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Hoffmaster
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by Hoffmaster » Jan 19 2009 4:00 pm

rushthezeppelin wrote:
Jeff MacE wrote:
I can say that, on more than one occasion, I've rolled an ankle so badly that many people would have sat down and waited for SAR. I had a near-dislocation once that I just wrapped in duct tape and ambled on through the agony that increased as the swelling grew. Every time this happens it's on the descent and almost always when the descent is very steep and rocky. I can envision poles having prevented all of these incidents...maybe even acting like a crutch if it happened, anyway. :D
Ya I think that's about the #2 reason to use poles. They have saved me from loads of rolled ankles. Not only that but as others have said if you have a tendency for your knees to be screaming at you by the end of a hike then your knees will love you for using poles.
This is a really good case for using poles and it brings to mind an incident that happened to one of my buddies in the GC.

We were 5.5 miles down the Boucher Trail, when my buddy rolled his ankle and crumpled to the ground in agony. He took off his boot and we could see his ankle swelling and turning purple. Quickly he put his boot back on before his ankle swelled too much. It didn't take much to decide to abandon our trip and turn around. Long story short, he was able to hobble out of the canyon on his own power and wouldn't let me carry his pack. Fortunately he had trekking poles to assist him. The next day at the hospital he found out that he had in fact broken his ankle! Crazy!

Trekking poles certainly won't prevent a rolled ankle, but I feel that they'll eliminate a fair majority that might have happened otherwise. And if the worse happens, at least you know you have some crutches!
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azbackpackr
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 24 2009 5:43 am

I didn't know if I would like the two-pole system, so bought a couple at Walmart. Swiss Gear. They are also available at Target. This is a good way to try out this "fad" to see if it works for you. I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised. Although I mostly use them just for backpacking, not for dayhiking, they are really a help with my bad knee, and balance, etc. Also, I think I will take them dayhiking when I go climb some of the steep and dangerous desert peaks around here in Yuma.
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Sun_Ray
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by Sun_Ray » Jan 24 2009 5:54 pm

Interesting how much more interest, based on the number of comments posted, on this topic than when I posted a similar question on Sept 22, 2006. YES, they help a great deal and I'd say again because of the number of our comments there use is increasing.
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big_load
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by big_load » Jan 24 2009 9:26 pm

Sun Ray wrote:Interesting how much more interest, based on the number of comments posted, on this topic than when I posted a similar question on Sept 22, 2006.
The question comes up a lot on various forums. I think the volume of response depends on how long it's been since it came up and how contentious the last discussion was.

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snakemarks
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by snakemarks » Jan 25 2009 2:08 am

Sun Ray wrote:Interesting how much more interest, based on the number of comments posted, on this topic than when I posted a similar question on Sept 22, 2006. YES, they help a great deal and I'd say again because of the number of our comments there use is increasing.
I agree. More younger people are trying these out and discovering they benefit all ages. My 22 year old son laughed when he first saw me with them, but after giving them a try, he thinks they're the greatest. So, we have another convert!
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fricknaley
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by fricknaley » Jan 25 2009 5:54 am

UPDATE: Trying out my new set of Leki's today for the first time. Thanks for the info
hi

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te_wa
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by te_wa » Jan 25 2009 11:18 am

Jeff MacE wrote:I found a study that seems to agree with what Matt said with regard to this point, as well. The results found there was a larger oxygen demand with pole usage, the logical conclusion being that you somehow work harder over the same terrain with poles in hand. My guess would be this has something to do with the fact that you are transferring some of the effort to your arms, which would require more energy to do the same work than your legs. It's interesting, really.
if you are hiking for fitness, as most of the dayhikers are, then yes. You would gain to realize that even if each pole weighs 8 ounces, you are lifting that 8 ounces several hundred times over the course of one mile. No brainer here, using poles increase muscle metabolism and burns more calories.
Another thing, if you are considering carbon poles, know that they are not all created equal. If all you have used is something you bought from REI then you need to look around- Gossamer Gear and Ti Goat, Stix, Pacer and Life Link (my choice) all have quality carbon that is much better and stronger than the REI/Komperdell version. They have a following, but usually they are used by thru-hikers and ULers as a way to incorporate poles into a "system" that which can be used as multi purpose gear ie: to pitch a tarp or shelter, to aid in bear bag hanging, etc. I use poles about 8 out of 10 times, and find them to be necessary on many trips. Canyoneering, not so much.
So if you want to consider them a "fad" remember that they are no more a fad then trail runners or hydration bladders. If it works, use it.

*to answer an old question, the reason they are called trekking poles is that most are made in Europe. Trekking is the term. Tramping is the term used in Aus/Zealand
Last edited by te_wa on Jan 25 2009 11:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
:D

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Jeffshadows
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by Jeffshadows » Jan 25 2009 11:35 am

Yea it would be nice of the Lekis had the camera mount like the singles do, speaking of multipurpose...
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snakemarks
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by snakemarks » Jan 25 2009 12:43 pm

te-wa wrote:*to answer an old question, the reason they are called trekking poles is that most are made in Europe. Trekking is the term. Tramping is the term used in Aus/Zealand
"Tramping"? That has an entirely different meaning in Chicago! :sl:
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 26 2009 3:45 pm

Trekking schmekking. I'm a HIKER!
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e005229
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Re: Hiking Poles

Post by e005229 » Jan 26 2009 5:23 pm

Seems to me on some hikes that I've been on- going down the Flatiron and boulder-hopping up the creek to LaBarge Canyon for example,they'd be more a hindrance than a help. In fact I followed a guy who had poles down the Flatiron last time I was there and he lost one on the way down. We both watched as it clattered its way down to the end of the slick rock area. Wasn't much help to him down there.

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