Hiking is an engaging and enjoyable hobby that may outdoor enthusiasts do to enjoy the warm or cold climate while climbing a hill or going deep into the woods. The activity is done by groups or individuals in the day or night time. Some trekkers like camping out and carry camping gear in their backpacks. There are also hikers who enjoy trekking the snow and ski.
Why use a hiking pole?
To suit the trekker’s needs and for them to reach their destination faster, a trekking pole is used. A trekking pole is similar to a ski pole but is more versatile in rugged terrain. These poles are made with aluminum or carbon and are very light.
The weight of a pole averages from six to 10 ounces. They are very sturdy and are built to support the user in walking, climbing or going downhill.
The support of a pole absorbs the burden of the user’s weight and gear while walking. There is added speed while pacing because the poles will absorb the energy of the user. The weight of the user is lighter. The poles render support when walking on uneven surfaces and will provide balance if the user loses a step or slips on muddy paths.
Trekking poles are retractable. They can be extended or shortened to adapt to the user’s height. The pole should be longer when tackling uphill terrain and should be shorter when going downhill. Most poles come with mud or snow baskets, or attachments that act as a stopper to prevent the pole from sinking.
The tips of the pole are mostly pointed and made of tungsten. The tips are designed this way so that the pole can pierce through the soil and serve as an anchor to firmly hold onto the surface.
Poles are helpful to hikers who have back injuries or arthritic hands and knees. The weight of the user is transferred to the pole and the body tends to be lighter as it exerts force when going uphill and far distances.
How is a Hiking Pole Used?
Before proceeding with the trek, a user must adjust the pole length. To know the right length, the user’s elbow and arm should be flexed in a way that a 90-degree angle is created. The pole’s handle should fit right into the user’s hand.
The 90-degree angle is made so that there is no pressure or strain on the arms when using the pole. If the handle is set higher, then the arms will feel sore soon after the trek has started. The pole will also provide instability.
To create the proper angle, fully extend the second shaft layer of the pole. Then the lowest shaft should be adjusted to the proper height.
All hiking poles have wrist handles. The hand should be slipped through the wrist handle in an upward motion before gripping the handle. This is to ensure that the pole is securely in the user’s hand.
In the event that the pole slips from the user’s grip, the wrist will still hold the pole around the user’s arm. The wrist also takes the pole away if the user falls forward and falls on the pole.
Walking with the Trekking Pole
After securing the pole, the user can start walking. The poles are not to be held all the time as this will cause strain in the hands. The user can walk with arms at the side and the wristband will let the pole dangle around the user’s arm. If the user finds it comfortable to hold on the handles, the grip should be held loosely.
The user’s arms should remain at the side because this conserves energy. Keeping the arms raised will not only cause soreness but will make the body exert more energy on a path that is manageable and smooth.
When walking on an uphill trail, the pole’s handle should face the direction in front while the tips of the pole should be near the user’s foot. This is so the body will get an additional push when going upwards. The opposite principle is applied when going downhill because the user needs more support as the body is going downward.
Users should also make use of the pole to keep rocks, sharp twigs and tree branches out of the way. It can also be used to touch poison ivy and other harmful plants that cannot be moved with direct skin contact.