[Cdt-l] Trekking Poles

Jim and/or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 31 19:39:38 CST 2007

Doug - 
Some hikers don't like them.  Cool.  It's their hike.  
But there are several positive aspects to them.  In no particular order - 
1. They'll save your knees.  If used properly they'll relieve part of the stress - especially on the downhills.  Those who use them tend to have less knee problems.  Some people have severe knee problems and can still hike as long as they use the poles.  
2. You "can" use them to increase hiking speed.  I've done that - and increased my speed by at least 30%.  But that really uses calories.  And increases the stress on the knees as well as other body parts.  Not for long term use.  
3. They'll maintain at least some of your upper body strength.  Most long distance hikers used to lose a lot of upper body muscle mass - and strength.  With the advent of trekking poles, that has been somewhat mitigated - for those who use them.  Makes sense - if your body's gonna eat muscle mass (and it generally does over the course of a long distance hike) then it'll take the muscles that aren't immediately needed - meaning NOT leg muscles.  
4. For wet, muddy trails, the poles can save you from falls. That can happen on western trails as well as eastern ones.  They're also really handy for stream fords and blowdowns, too.  
5. Some people favor carrying weapons on the trail - I don't.  But the poles "can" be used as such. 
If you have the knowledge to use them.   
6. Too many people just step over tree litter (branches and other bits and pieces) on the trail and leave them for "someone else" to clean up.  We don't.  We use the poles to clear a lot of the small stuff - it's a lot easier to "flick" branches off the trail than to bend over and move them.  Or to step over them in some cases.    
Using them "may" (in fact, probably does) use more calories - but not significantly.  For me, certainly not enough to offset positive aspects.  But YMMV.  
Walk softly,

From: doug-sue71 at comcast.netTo: Cdt-l at backcountry.netDate: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 16:52:46 -0500Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] Trekking Poles

A LDH on the Backpacker forum mentioned he didn't use trekking poles because they used up more calories than they were worth.  I like using trekking poles generally, but wonder if the posters comments are valid?  Do poles use up more calories than they are worth?  How many LDHers use trekking poles?  Now I am wondering....
I watched Walking The West- "Hiking 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada  about a hike on the PCT.  I noticed the two hikers on the video didn't use trekking poles but they did carry an ice axe.  That got me thinking.  Seems like I use trekking poles like a second pair of arms and hands at times.  
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