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Trekking Poles And Walking Sticks

Are walking sticks longer than trekking poles? What about hiking staffs and hiking sticks? Whatever you call them, and whatever their differences, they are supposed to help your knees more than anything. This they do very well, at least when you're going downhill.

What else are they good for? They help you keep your balance. You can use them as defense against wild animals as well. I use a walking stick to rest my head on from time to time, and I also use it as a monopod for steadying the camera.

Do You Need Trekking Poles?

What if you don't have knee problems, and you are hiking on level ground? Then maybe there is no point to using trekking poles. They can be just more things to carry.

Do they save energy? They take weight off your joints, but logic says you'll expend more energy by carrying them. I use a walking stick at times, when my knees insist, and it's fun to poke at things, but it's not a necessity. For what it's worth, Ray Jardine, the "father" of ultralight backpacking, doesn't recommend trekking poles.

If you decide to use them, consider the incredible Bozeman Mountain Works Stix Xls Trekking Poles. They're made of a high-strength carbon fiber and weigh 2.7 ounces each! That's is half the weight of the nearest competition.

Walking Sticks and Other Options

I often cut dead sticks and use them until I lose them. I always lose my walking stick - a good reason not to buy the expensive ones. If I do still have it at the end of the trail, I leave it for the next hiker. Hand-cut walking sticks are heavier than high-tech trekking poles, but you can just leave them behind when you get tired of them.

You can use bamboo to make good light hiking staffs. It's stronger than it looks, so use a piece that's only about 3/4" thick. I bought cheap decorative bamboo at Pier One Imports, and cut it to size. You can glue some soft scrap leather on for a comfortable handgrip.

Finally, ski poles work as trekking poles. It's best if you remove the baskets, especially if you're hiking in wooded areas where they may catch on something.

Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of lightweight backpacking. His advice and stories can be found at http://www.TheUltralightBackpackingSite.com

In The News:

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Sun, 19 May 2019 11:08:00 +0100
Voters in India have gone to the polls in the final stage of the world's biggest general election to decide whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns for a second term.

Austria faces snap election after vice chancellor resignation
Sat, 18 May 2019 13:55:00 +0100
Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called for a snap election after the resignation of his vice chancellor over an alleged corruption scandal.

Arnold Schwarzenegger attacked by 'crazed fan' in South Africa
Sat, 18 May 2019 15:46:00 +0100
Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken out after being attacked while out at an event in South Africa.

US warns airliners about risks of flying over Persian Gulf
Sat, 18 May 2019 07:58:00 +0100
US diplomats have warned that US air carriers and commercial operators flying over the Persian Gulf face a risk from being "misidentified" as tensions between US and Iran continue to escalate.

Netherlands wins Eurovision, as Madonna flag stunt irks organisers
Sat, 18 May 2019 23:58:00 +0100
Bookies' favourite The Netherlands has won Eurovision, as Madonna ends up in hot water with organisers after showing Israeli and Palestinian flags during her performance.



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