Should You Use Hiking Poles?

Out of all the outdoor activities out there, hiking may be the simplest. After all, it’s just putting one foot in front of the other, right?

If you said yes, then you probably think that you don’t need another piece of gear to do something that’s technically as simple as walking. However, there are reasons why so many hikers use hiking poles, and we’ve listed them below to help you decide whether or not you should invest in a pair. Check them out below, and if you decide to try hiking with poles then stop by ASO Mammoth to buy your first pair!

Hiking Poles Are Great for Carrying Backpacking Loads

Although you’ll see plenty of day hikers using hiking, or trekking poles, they are especially helpful for backpacking trips. Although the gear you carry during a backpacking trip will keep you healthy and happy while you’re on the trail, it also weighs on your body with each step. The extra weight backpackers carry can show up in the form of soreness like knee pain, the need to take more breaks, or any combination of the two that ultimately results in fewer miles covered per day.

Hiking poles provide extra support to backpackers carrying heavy loads, and, however counterintuitive, adding the extra gear of two poles can result in even more distance covered than without them.

See our Article about What You Need to Know About Choosing a Hiking Backpack

They Also Help You Go Uphill and Downhill Faster

Even if you’re not carrying the load that backpackers do on your day hike, hiking poles can still help you hike further faster.

For example, if you’re hiking up steep terrain then chances are that you’ll be stepping up onto rocks, roots, and other uneven features. The poles can give you an advantage by supporting you as you step up. Plus, if you slip or lose your balance as you step up then a hiking pole can give you the support you need to stay upright.

Hiking Poles are also helpful on descents as well though. Those same features that you had to step up on during your ascent turn into drops on the descent and after a dozen or so drops your knees might need a break. With hiking poles though, the impact of those drops can be lessened due to the support poles provide. Of course, poles also help keep you upright on the descent just like they do on the ascent!

Hiking Poles Can Help You Cross Tough Terrain

There’s nothing worse than having your hike cut short by terrain that you don’t feel safe crossing. A great example is a stream that is running higher and faster than you thought and is now blocking the trail. Although hiking poles will not make the stream’s flow and less dangerous, they can improve your ability to balance while you cross it so that it’s safe to do so.

You should never cross terrain that you’re uncomfortable with, but trekking poles could make terrain like a stream or narrow part of the trail doable to the point where you feel comfortable crossing it, so if you know you’re heading into difficult terrain then consider carrying poles with you.

So, Should You Use Hiking Poles?

At the end of the day, using hiking poles or not comes down to personal choice. However, we recommend using poles if you’re carrying a heavy pack such has a backpacking bag, are expecting dramatic elevation changes on your day hike, or just want extra support for your legs and to stay upright. If hiking poles sound right for you, stop by ASO Mammoth to find your first pair!

Do you like or diss-like hiking with poles? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

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