Adding trekking poles to your hiking gear might be a no-brainer after you’ve tried them for the first time. Yes, they appear to be a variation of skiing poles, but they offer a plethora of advantages, some of which might even save your life! Whether you’re hiking in good weather and flat terrain, or in the snow, or even in the rain, and you’ve ever wondered “why use trekking poles?” these are some bona fide reasons why you should use poles when hiking on your next adventure.
10. They Can Save Your Knees…And Possibly Your Face
Why use trekking poles, you might ask? Numerous times during various hikes, there is the potential for trips and blunders. Some are more imminent, like slipping on rocks and gravel, while others are more prolonged, such as tired and achy knees.
9. Trekking Poles Can Help Test the Depth of Uncertain Terrain
When hiking, the likelihood of running into unexpected puddles, snow, or even quicksand can bolster the benefits of using trekking poles. Using the poles as a guide, questionable spots can easily be tested with a quick poke or tap, ensuring that it is safe to cross.
8. Use Your Arms to Alleviate Burden on Legs and Give You More Power
On longer trails, your legs can start burning with all the effort that goes into maintaining a steady pace. Even on shorter hikes, trekking poles can help by transferring some of your weight onto your arms for a more full-body experience.
7. Make Sure You’re Only Swept Away by the Scenery, Not Fast-Flowing Water
Chances are, you will come across a stream or fast-flowing river. While they’re not always dangerous, it helps to have some extra stability when crossing these types of estuaries. Like a horse, you can have the security that 4 points of contact allow and more easily pass through any flowing water.
6. Rocks, Mud, Snow, and Uneven Ground
Another benefit of trekking poles is sometimes sudden shifts in terrain can catch you off-balance and make travel slower and more tedious. Whether it be weather-related or just a rockier trail, poles are a great initiative to even the playing field.
5. Uphill, Downhill, and Traversing
Traversing is when you are walking sideways on a slope with one leg taking the brunt of the load while the other leg is keeping you precariously upright. Wouldn’t it be nice if some sort of tool existed to help make the task at hand easier? Uphill or downhill is twice the battle with gravity, but you can stake your trekking poles, one step at a time, to help you reach the summit smoothly.
4. Saves Energy and Helps You Move More Quickly
If you’re in dire straits and need to get to your destination rapidly while conserving as much energy as possible, you’ll definitely be glad you had hiking poles. Even when survival isn’t at stake, poles help preserve energy and maintain a reasonable level of endurance.
3. Defend Yourself from Wildlife
One of the benefits of trekking poles that folks don’t think of much: If you happen to run into a pack of wild dogs, wolves, or even a bear on your trip, those poles can help save your life. Wave them above your head to scare them off or brandish them as a weapon, if you must. Let dangerous, unwanted animal visitors know you aren’t kidding around.
2. Noxious Plants and Pesky Spiderwebs
Bat away that spiderweb crossing your path to avoid sticky web on your face and hair. Also, put those poles to good use when you’re not sure if that vine up ahead if poisonous or not. Your exposed skin will thank you.
1. Pitch a Tent or Make a Splint in an Emergency
Poles work great for pitching a tent if you need to, as the poles are incredibly sturdy and can resist high winds. Making a splint for a broken or sprained bone can also be assisted with a stout trekking pole, helping you get back to safety and possibly even saving your life in the process.
Whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced hiker, the benefits of trekking/hiking poles are numerous. They can help you out in a bind or just make the travel faster and easier on your body.
Interested in learning more about how to use trekking poles? Check out our handy Guide to Using Trekking Poles for Every Type of Terrain.