Now that we are back in “civilization” with our electronic devices and wifi, I decided to investigate the benefits of trekking poles. Several websites tout specific benefits of using trekking poles: they are proven to reduce about 20% of the stress off of knees and hips. Okay, that got my attention. Also, because they use the upper body, they help condition the upper body and burn more calories. I suppose that this is important if the purpose of my trip is fitness. But, I’m not looking to burn yet more calories on a backpack trip – that means I have to carry more calories. Also, I don’t know how much the benefits of using poles compares to merely reducing the weight I carry – both on my body, as well as in my backpack. Plenty of people sing their praises. I’m just not convinced this is necessary gear. Maybe when I am ten years older…
Trekking poles saved my life! Well, not quite, but they definitely made for a pleasanter journey on long treks. However, I only recommend them to people who need them (I have bad knees) or when the trail is known to be extremely narrow and traitorous. Also, make sure they are light, fold up, and are set to the correct height (this means readjusting when going up or down a steep incline).
Let me know how you like them in 10 years!
Thanks for the insight. I’m becoming more of a believer since I wrote that post. We’ve recently returned from an 18-day trek in Bhutan (slowly getting this trek posted), and I found a walking pole quick helpful on the rocky and muddy steep downhill sections of the trek. I’ll probably bring a pole with me for our next big trip. Happy hiking in the new year!