If you are a skeptic of trekking poles, join the club! There are a lot of hikers that would rather trudge through rivers and up mountains using only what god gave them. I used to be just like you. Fortunately, I caved one day and my outdoor life was forever changed.
In this article, I will outline the top 10 reasons for trekking poles. Whether or not you decide to run out and purchase a pair afterward is up to you!
Top 10 Awesome Traits of Trekking Poles
#1. Reduced Strain on Knees
Even if you are a young outdoorsperson, you should consider your knees. Many times, the aches and pains we experience when we are older directly result from activities we did when we were younger. In fact, force on the knees is reduced up to 25% with trekking poles!
#2. Improved Balance
If you are going to encounter a water hazard during your outdoor adventure, you should consider using hiking sticks. Why? They improve your balance as you cross slippery creek rocks and uneven river beds. There’s a reason everyone hiking the Zion Narrows has sticks!
#3. Forge the Way
For the hardcore hikers that go off trails, making your own way can be a thorny nuisance. Not so with trekking poles. These long sticks give you a huge advantage when slicing through brushy areas.
#4. Better Traction
Everyone fears the dreaded slippery sections of the trail. No one likes to move across wet rock, leftover snowpacks, or slick sand. Trekking poles offer a solution to your traction fears by giving you 2 extra points of contact. That means you can feel more confident in every sketchy step!
#5. Improved Posture
Most people have an unhealthy posture, and that can affect the way you hike. I know I’ve caught myself hunching forward on more than a few trails. Hiking sticks keep you standing upright. As an added bonus, better posture leads to better breathing. Go forth and conquer!
#6. Lightweight Tent Poles
If you are a backpacker, you know every ounce counts. That’s why most ultralight tents allow the option of using trekking poles in place of the manufacturer’s poles. This way, you can have the balance and stability without increasing the weight.
#7. It’s all in the Rhythm
Trekking poles help you find a comfortable natural hiking rhythm. Your arms, as well as your legs, are moving to the beat, so taking that next step isn’t quite so hard! On easy terrain, this rhythm will propel you forward!
#8. A Need for Speed
Using hiking sticks can increase your speed. How? The poles make you use your arm strength, and that boosts your pace! Here’s an illustration. Think of how much faster you can move on ellipticals with moving arms as opposed to ellipticals with stationary arms.
#9. Easy and Comfortable Splint
Rolled and broken ankles are some of the most common trail injuries. Everyone should have a first aid kit, and hiking sticks are just an extension of it. Sure, you could use a wooden stick, but a trekking pole feels much more comfortable rubbing against your body!
#10. On the Defensive
No one likes to imagine the worst-case scenario of getting attacked in the wilderness. However, it is better to play it safe now than be sorry later. Trekking poles can act as protection from dogs, bears, and other predators. You can stab, poke, throw, or use them to look menacing.
One Last Word about Trekking Pole Uses
These are only 10 of the many reasons why trekking poles are worth the investment. Most are relatively inexpensive, and you will reap the benefits in knee health alone! What are some reasons you like or dislike hiking sticks? Let me know in the comments below.