The walking stick or trekking pole is one of the most important gear items you can utilize. Especially when it comes to making life easier and helping you through tough situations. The walking stick is designed to improve balance and to give you additional stability when you hiking. However, you also need to understand how to use walking sticks.
As a beginner, you might look at the trekking pole as something of a fashion statement used by professionals. However, this is not the case and as you become better at using it, you will notice how much of a difference it can make. In this article, we will help you understand how to use walking sticks.
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The Benefits Of Using Trekking Poles
Before we dive into the guide, it is important to understand that trekking poles provide real benefits. These benefits can make your life easier when you are hiking and it could even improve your performance. Here are some of the main benefits that you can expect to have from using trekking poles on your next hike:
- Improved Balance: The trekking poles serve almost as two additional legs and you will find that you have more legs to lean on.
- Protecting Your Joints: Another important thing to keep in mind is your knees and joints. The trekking pole reduces the strain on them as well.
- Better Posture: To hike comfortably, you need to have the right posture and the trekking poles are designed to make this possible.
- Flattens The Trail: When hiking up or downhill, the trekking pole can slightly even the surface due to not having you slide off.
- Improved Endurance: One of the main benefits is probably increased endurance. You will notice that you have more energy and less of it is wasted.
While there are plenty more benefits of hiking with trekking poles, these are some of the most common and you will find that they can significantly improve your hiking experience. The 5 benefits we have focused on should make sure that you get better performance and they will certainly make your life a little easier.
How To Use Walking Sticks When Hiking
Now that you have seen the benefits, the main question remains and this will focus on how to use walking sticks when hiking. We have tried to give you a complete guide that will make it possible for you to understand all the ins and outs. Now, you can see how to use walking sticks correctly when you are out hiking:
Finding The Right Walking Stick
The first step on your journey will be to find the right trekking poles. There are plenty of different brands and trekking poles on the market today, but not all are created equally. The top trekking poles are adjustable and they have variable lengths that could make your life a little easier. The TrailBuddy Lightweight Trekking Poles are our go-to trekking poles and they are made from carbon fiber and feature numerous different foot pieces.
Adjusting The Length
Once you have the right poles, the next step is to adjust them to a comfortable length. The length will vary depending on the terrain and the situation. However, once you have the right length, you should be ready to go hiking. Keep in mind that the length is always adjustable and should you encounter up or downhill sections, you will need to adjust them for the right length.
It is often tricky for beginners to find the right length and the only real way you will find the ideal length is to adjust them while you are hiking. You will find at which length they work the best and at which length they don’t provide any benefit.
Finding Your Grip
The next important part to consider is the grip of your hands. If the walking stick is snug in your palm, it will be that much more comfortable to walk with. For the most part, the top trekking poles feature a rubber grip that should make it possible for you to hold onto it firmly. It should also have moisture-wicking properties to get rid of excess sweat.
The minor strap that has been fixed around the pole is also beneficial. The goal of this strap is to keep the pole fixed in your hands. The LEKI Mct 12 Vario Carbon Walking Poles might be some of the most expensive on the market today. However, they are extremely beneficial when it comes to giving you more grip on the pole.
Selecting The Right Foot Piece
While this might be a little tricky and it differs from brand to brand, you must consider looking for the right foot pieces. There are plenty of different foot pieces and some of them are flat. The flat ones are great for traversing rocks and even snow to keep the trekking pole from digging into the loose terrain.
The sharper tips are for traditional hiking and the purpose of these sharper heads is to give more of a hook to the pole. This means that the pole will grip into the surface and you can use your upper body instead of your lower body to propel yourself forward. We recommend closely looking at the different foot pieces as well.
Finding The Right Motion
When your walking sticks have been set up and are ready to be used, you should also find the right motion. The right motion will allow you to propel yourself forward and bury the pole into the ground more effectively. Once again, it will take a bit of time and practice for you to master this and make life easier.
Keep On Trying
The final aspect you have to consider is that you will fail. Sometimes you won’t have the right motion and other times, you might not have the ideal length down yet. It is important to know these things and to prepare for occasional failure. However, once you become a master with your poles, you will know when to use one and when to use both.
We would also like to mention that hiking with one is often fine and you will only need to use two poles when going downhill or when facing a steep uphill section.
How To Use Walking Sticks Wrap-Up
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Understanding how to use walking sticks can make your hiking journey that much easier and ensure that you have enough balance. It could even make the trips a little easier. We would love to read some of your comments on the best trekking poles. Be sure to let us know how and which techniques you are the fondest of.