Talk to any hiker who already uses hiking poles, and you’ll quickly hear about the benefits of walking with a pair of sticks in your hands. Hiking poles can dramatically reduce strain on your knees during the course of a long hike, as well as improve circulation throughout your body. On top of that, hiking poles are indispensable in providing balance when walking through difficult or slippery terrain. Thanks to those benefits, it’s no surprise that hiking poles are now standard in the kits of many hikers, backpackers, snowshoers, and urban walkers.
Choosing the Right Hiking Sticks
Hiking poles may initially all look the same, but there are important differences between them. Choosing the right trekking poles comes down partly to preference, but also to the type of terrain you’ll be walking through.
One Stick or Two?
While many hiking poles are sold and used in pairs, single poles – often called walking sticks – are also available. Having two hiking poles is generally superior whenever you’re carrying weight on your back or hiking through difficult, mountainous terrain. A second pole allows your body to better distribute weight and to reduce strain on your knees. However, if you generally walk on flat terrain without a backpack, a single pole may be enough to help maintain balance and absorb shock from your feet.
Aluminium vs. Composite Poles
The material that hiking poles are constructed from plays an important role in how light and durable they are. Aluminium poles are generally heavier than composite poles, but they bend rather than break when stressed and are often significantly less expensive. Composite poles, made from carbon fibres, are extremely light, but may splinter if they are bent too far.
Grip Materials There are three materials commonly used in trekking pole grips: cork, foam, and rubber.
Cork pole grips are best for hot weather, since cork won’t soak up moisture from sweaty palms and conforms to the shape of your hands with use.
Foam grips absorb moisture from your hands, which can be helpful in warm weather but will lead to wet grips in very sweaty conditions.
Rubber grips are ideal for hiking in cold weather since the grips won’t become frozen and chill your hands. However, rubber is somewhat abrasive, so rubber grips can cause blistering on your palms in hot weather.
How to Size Hiking Sticks
When sizing hiking poles, the pole height should be such that your elbow is at a 90-degree angle when the pole is touching the ground. As a rule of thumb, women will generally need a pole around 105-120 cm long, while men will need a pole around 115-130 cm long. If you have adjustable poles, you can shorten the poles by about 5-10 cm during uphill sections and lengthen them by the same amount during downhill sections.
Hiking Poles at addnature.co.uk
Here at addnature.co.uk, we have a huge selection of hiking poles from quality brands such as Black Diamond, Komperdell, LEKI, and more. Our filters make it easy to find the poles that are right for your activities. Plus, we offer flexible shipping options so you can get out on the trail with your new poles right away.