Hiking poles can provide a number of benefits when hiking or backpacking. They can help to improve balance and stability on uneven terrain, reduce stress on the knees and joints, and aid in uphill and downhill hiking. They can also provide an additional point of support and can be helpful in crossing streams or other obstacles.
They can also be used to probe the depth of snow or mud and clear a path through brush or overhanging branches. They can also serve as a tool for self-defense against wild animals. Hiking poles can help to make the hiking experience more enjoyable and less strenuous, allowing you to cover more distance and enjoy your time on the trail.
Length: Make sure the poles are the right length for your height. A general rule of thumb is to hold the pole upside down and have the handle reach your wrist.
Material: Hiking poles can be made from various materials, including aluminum, carbon fiber, and bamboo. Aluminum is the most common and budget-friendly option, while carbon fiber is more expensive but lighter.
Weight: Consider how much the poles weigh, especially if you plan to carry them for long periods.
Locking mechanism: Look for poles with a reliable locking mechanism to ensure they stay securely in place while in use.
Comfort: Consider the grip, wrist strap, and any additional padding on the pole to ensure they are comfortable to hold and use.
Purpose: Trekking poles have different features, like snow baskets for winter hiking or rubber tips for urban use. Make sure to choose the poles that best suit your intended use.
You can also try the poles in a store or read reviews from other hikers to get an idea of the quality and durability of the poles.
Ultimately it is your personal preference. Hiking poles are not for everyone, as some hikers prefer to have their hands free while hiking. It’s always best to test out new gear on a training hike rather than a MammothMarch event.