Despite the increased use of trekking poles in Australia in recent years , many people are still reluctant to use them. Although you may look like you are ‘skiing on dirt’, we think poles are very useful for most bushwalkers. Lets have a look at the good and bad of the trekking pole world.
The good :
Balance : trekking poles basically extend your arms , giving you two extra points of contact with Mother Earth whilst maintaining an upright posture.
Fall arrest : remember that time you slipped on some mud and ended up on your backside ? Poles will help you with that. If you slip , a firm planting of your poles will probably give you enough support to stop you hitting the ground. You may avoid a broken ankle, wrist or collarbone, and the hefty evacuation from the bush.
Load distribution : trekking poles help distribute load over a broader surface area, taking load off ankles, knees and hips. This is very noticeable when carrying heavier loads, or walking downhill for a long time. Many customers comment that the downhill sections is where poles provide the most benefit.
Do you wear multifocal glasses : some customers have commented that their new multifocal glasses don’t pick up contrasts
in the dirt under their feet , and the slight blurriness between looking from a long distance to close up can be disconcerting. Trekking poles provide an extra level of security when you experience these moments, as the extra contact points provides better support.
Improved fitness : get the poles really swinging on your evening stroll and feel the increased cardiovascular workout! Poles can help strengthen your back, shoulders and core as they provide extra resistance and promote good posture.
The bad (and the myths):
Environmental damage : the hard tips can scar rocks, so please always use rubber tips !
They can get in the way : on some tricky terrain the poles can be more of a nuisance than a help , but in those moments you can just fold them up and chuck them in your pack. However, in relative terms, this ‘tricky terrain’ is fairly minimal for most bushwalkers walking on tracks.
Poles lead to increased fatigue : no they don’t. Well, okay you are swinging your arms more so technically there is slightly more fatigue , but no-one we know has ever finished a good walk and said “gee my arms are tired”. Your legs will always be tired first. Anyway, the extra ‘fatigue’ in your arms is well and truly offset by the reduced fatigue in your legs and joints, thanks to the extra support that the poles provided.
It feels weird to use them : remember when you first learnt to drive a car? That probably felt weird also, but we adapt, and now for most of us driving a car is an everyday occurrence. You’ll feel the same with poles after a few minutes.
We’ll admit it now that we are converts to poles. The new lightweight trail style poles (like the Black Diamond Z-Poles) have changed poles from being heavy ‘converted ski poles’ into super lightweight trail specific poles that pack up really easily to daypack size.
All the poles that we sell come as a pair. Two poles works much better than one, but if you would really prefer only one pole then find a buddy and buy a set together !
All prices are in AUD.