This guide is designed to help you find trekking poles that fit your needs best. Different body styles and activities require different poles. We will discuss various benefits and features of different poles in order to help you find yourself the perfect match.
If you're hiking or backpacking experiences are anything like mine, you're used to getting to camp at night with a lot of aches and pains. Whether you ache from too heavy of a pack, rugged and uneven terrain, or you're just plain out of shape, you can reduce the discomforts by using proplerly fitted and activity specific trekking poles.
Trekking poles can be anything from a stick you find out in the woods to a new aluminum, ergonomically engineered, trekking pole from an industry leading manufacturer such as Black Diamond or Leki. The whole purpose behind using a trekking pole is to reduce the pressure and discomforts in your legs and back by distributing the weight of your load throughout your whole body. Trekking poles also increase your endurance and power up steep inclines and provide stability on uneven terrain.
With so many benefits to using trekking poles, it wouldn't make sense to not have them fitted properly in order to maximize your trekking poles' performance. There are a few basics that everyone should know when it comes to fitting your poles.
First, unlock both sections of one of your poles. Extend the bottom section all the way and then lock it. The new Black Diamond poles have what they call the Binary System. It shows a red dot when extended fully and locked in place.
Second, stand straight with your shoulders relaxed. Place the pole about 2-4 inches under your armpit, depending on what feels most comfortable for you, and lock the upper section of the pole.
Finally, place the first pole alongside the second and fit accordingly as to make them identical. This height will be your poles optimal height in releiving your legs of stress and distributing the load throughout your arms and upper body.
Many brands such as Leki and Black Diamond recommend adjusting the poles' length as you travel across various terrains. For example, going uphill you would want to shorten the poles length to accomodate the slope of the mountain and vice versa for downhill. This logically makes sense but, more often than not, is very time consuming and becomes an annoyance. I tend to leave them at their normal lengths unless I'm going across a long traverse. In this case, I recommend shortening the uphill pole and lengthening the downhill pole. The amount you will want change the length depends on the angle of the slope. A good way to do this is by standing sideways, with one foot downhill of the other, and doing the 2-4 inches under the armpit trick again. This will give you a good idea of where you will want to adjust the poles.
A few last things you should look for before buying or using trekking poles is that many poles feature a shock absorber. This is a great feature for hiking and backpacking but for skiing it can actually be a hindrance to your technique and can cause more stress than it relieves for your joints. If you're looking for a universal pole that you can use backpacking in the summers and backcountry skiing in the winters, make sure to buy poles that allow you to lock out the shock absorber. The Leki Classic series poles are an example of poles that have a lockout suspension system.
I hope this guide has been useful to you as you go about exploring the comforts and luxuries of using trekking poles in the backcountry. Remember to take advantage of every little benefit and feature that they have to offer. Check out the full listing of Leki and Black Diamond trekking poles at the gotyourgear e-bay store. Keep on Trekking!
copyrighted by gotyourgear 2007