The thing that instantly separates the newbie trekkers from the seasoned ones is trekking poles. It has been around for as long we can remember and still they are somehow not in use as much as they should be. People often disregard them while going on those challenging treks and then pay for it later dearly in the form of dislocated joints and broken bones.
But as more and more people are becoming aware of the many benefits that come with trekking poles, the paradigm is consistently changing for the better. Now they are not just a tool for the old and the weak. But something that every healthy and smart individual must carry with them to stay that way on all of their hikes.
Below are 8 benefits that carrying trekking poles gives you while hiking.
Benefits of Trekking Poles
There are many obvious and few subtle benefits that are only visible with the continuous use of the trekking poles. They offer amazing support throughout the journey and it is only after using them that we realize that this is the ideal way to trek long distances without getting ourselves into any severe injury.
1. Offer That Necessary Boost On Uphills
The journey up the hill is quite tough on the leg muscles. If we have a handy pair of trekking poles with us at that time, we can actually distribute a good chunk of that physical stress throughout the body with their help. This way we will be able to stay strong and fresh in the game for a longer duration of time.
In addition to this, the trekking poles also bring a certain rhythm to our movement with their use. And whether it is finishing those reps in the gym or adding more green patches to our trekking journey, a rhythm in our step always makes it easier for us.
The total strain our body is going through at the moment gets tuned out with the right song, right attitude, and the right rhythm. We can just plant those trekking poles on the ground as we move and pull ourselves up with the help of our arms in an effortless manner.
2. Shock is Taken off the knees on Downhills
Trekking across challenging regions can wreak havoc on the body without the trekking poles. The downhill trek is just as difficult as its uphill counterpart. During the uphill journey, our legs might get strained a bit. But it is during the downhill journey that our knees suffer the worst.
We find it quite easy to climb down a hill or green stretch but the gravity gets us on each step. With every single move we make, we are focusing the entire weight of our body on our knees. And that happens for the entire duration of the downward descent.
The right pair of trekking poles can intercept this trouble by helping us with the distribution of our body weight evenly over those trekking poles. This way only a fraction of our total weight will be exerted on our knees. And the total damage will be much less thus making our recovery process all that swifter.
3. River Crossing Aid
Every beautiful trekking region has at least one bubbling brook flowing across it. Some of them might be shallow while others run deep. And if it is just to admire the beauty of the nature we are surrounded with, they are perfectly harmless.
The problem arises when we need to cross one of these river streams. The shallow ones might give us a false sense of safety and make us slip at the worst possible moment. While the deep and swift ones might whisk us off to a totally new location.
A pair of sturdy trekking poles can give us extra points of contact during such a tricky river crossing scenario. This way we will be able to hold ourselves upright even if something shifts underneath our feet. There is no better companion than the trekking poles on those slippery riverbeds.
4. Clearing the Path Ahead
Nature does not plan itself according to the latest city construction guidelines. That is why we witness a lot of unruly growth across the path or over it as we move past it. And all this contributes to the beauty of those green sanctuaries which are still able to brave the mass urbanization.
Some of the climbers and the creepers strewed across our path may or may not be toxic. That twinkling pattern might be a giant spider web about to be pasted on our forehead. And that rope right there might be a cobra enjoying the lazy afternoons.
A single nudge or clean sweep with our trekking pole can save us from getting into a lot of trouble. The way of nature is unpredictable. That is why it is better to always have a trekking pole with us at all times. This way we will never be stumped with the outcomes of the mysterious jungle maze.
5. Great Support for the Tarp
The joys of camping out and sitting around the bonfire take us all back to our childhood days. We realize that there is a time machine after all that takes us back enough just the right amount. But as the stars and the fireflies come out to play, we realize that we need a cozy place to admire them from.
And that is when the trekking poles come to our rescue yet again. We can easily use them to pitch the tarp and sleep soundly underneath it without any trouble. Most of the times we forget to bring along the suitable supporting poles.
But the trekking poles give us the option to be more flexible with our plans. If we want to sleep under a starry sky that night we can very well do so. The applications of a trekking pole are limitless. Erecting a makeshift camp under the forest sky is just one of them.
6. Emergency Splint Construction
When we have just started trekking, the things don’t come that easily to us. We bruise a lot before finally understanding the ways of the forest and the hillside. And till then we need a reliable partner by our side to guide us through the chaos.
That can be the trekking poles. We could have twisted our ankle while stepping onto a slippery slope or broken our arm while trying to break a fall. The trekking pole can easily become the handy splint that will keep the muscles and the bones right in place.
In the middle of the wild, it is not possible to get the right help at the right moment. And that is when these trekking poles give our injured limbs all the support that they need. They can be used as the crutches too when we are either severely exhausted or just badly hurt.
7. Self-Defense in the Wild
Nature is breathtaking but occasionally it can get deadly too. To the giant black bear lurking in the bushes and the rabid raccoon, we are just the next meal or target. They don’t fear the local laws since life is simpler back there in the woods.
And that is why it doesn’t hurt to carry a strong trekking pole with us that can be used for self-defense too when the need arises. As soon as the hungry and angry animal in front of us starts baring its teeth as well as claws and has us cornered, we can just use our trekking pole to get out of the situation with minimum harm.
Whether it is the city or the wild, accidents can happen any time. So it makes total sense to take all the protective gear with us for when the situation gets tense. This will make us fearless and fill us with the confidence to trek far and wide.
8. Fitting Tripod Substitute
Whether we want to broadcast our latest trekking experience shamelessly or save some memories for the future us, a trekking pole can help with all these kinds of tasks too. It is actually the wrist strap that acts as the perfect holder for our cameras.
We can click pictures or shoot long videos with the help of this arrangement. It will keep our camera safe from all the dirt and rough handling that it would have otherwise gone through. And we will be able to enjoy the best of trekking without getting lost into the irritating chore of chronicling every second.
We can just attach these pictures and small video snippets and forward it to our family and friends. It can be something to discuss and humbly brag about the next time we meet them. And it never hurts to upload more personal adventures on our socials!
How To Use Them Correctly
We can buy the best pair of trekking poles available in the market. But if we don’t know how to use them properly then we might as well throw them out the window since they are going to be useless anyway. That is why it is better to learn the correct way to use them so that we can avail all of its benefits.
The first step towards this direction includes adjusting the pole length. The ideal pole length for every person will be the length at which as its tip is touching our foot, our elbow is making a perpendicular with it. If we want to make it easier for us to clear the rocks and plants on the way then we can just make it a bit shorter.
Now, there are different kinds of movement patterns that people seem to be comfortable with while using trekking poles. We have the alternate legs pattern, parallel legs pattern and finally the double/simultaneous pole pattern. We can pick different patterns to suit different scenarios during our trekking sessions.
Gas, Brake, and Coast: Main Movement Techniques
Usually, the trekking poles are moved according to the terrains we are present at that moment. So it becomes different for the flat, uphill and downhill regions. But now the effort is made according to the activity that we want to perform with them.
And on that basis, we have three main techniques namely gas, brake, and coast. The gassing technique is used to add thrust in all kinds of terrains. Braking is used to slow down the pace while drifting speedily downhill.
Coasting is used to normally trek through the sights without adding much effort to our organic flow of motion. This is usually how the trekking poles will be used for most of the duration of our treks.
Trekking is one of the healthiest outdoor activity for both mind and body. And we can make it even more enjoyable for us with the help of trekking poles. Good habits like trekking should persist until our golden years. And the trekking poles make it possible for us to brave all sorts of troubles and ailments as we map new locations on foot.
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