Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters


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Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 09:58:04 MDT Print View

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Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/22/2013 12:20:46 MST.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 11:09:36 MDT Print View

Not a necessity but they do still help. I have thought of them as a burden from time to time but mostly its because I still have the uber-heavy leki anti shock poles I bought back in 98.

For some folks with knee problems trekking poles can be a godsend even with no pack at all.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 11:32:02 MDT Print View

My hiking is 90% off trail, and poles are very useful for steep descents on rough ground. I often have to cross streams during a hike, and poles are a great help when wading.
The area i hike in is mostly tree-less, so poles are needed for pitching shelters.
At the moment i'm carrying a hip/leg injury, and they definately help to absorb impact, and spread the load.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
poles hiking UL on 09/14/2008 11:35:30 MDT Print View

I held out for poles forever but now I hate to be without them. 90% of my hiking is to peaks and in the mtns and they're a life saver for me on talus/scree/wet tundra etc. I won't give them up now even though I have to have "heavier" collapsible ones for when I put them on my pack to climb/scramble.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 11:45:54 MDT Print View

I personally, don't think it's the weight that determines whether or not trekking poles are a benefit. Although, I admit, that more weight makes them that much more appreciated.

For me, it's the terrain that determines whether or not I bring my poles. I always use them in mountainous conditions and river crossing situations and I'm thankful for them. For hikes on flat ground, I never use them, they are then a bother.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 11:56:52 MDT Print View

You can easily get a pair of poles for half a pound, so weight matters even less these days.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 12:13:19 MDT Print View

I have not found poles to be usefull on any terrain except snow.
Good posture will prevent most all the endless problems people seem to have but there is near universal silence on the subject in the backpacking community.

Peter Atkinson
(sewing_machine) - MLife

Locale: Yorkshire, England
Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 12:37:39 MDT Print View

Most of my fell activity is off trail in Scotland, pretty much like Mike; I'm a hill runner and so find that poles get in the way more than they are of use - the exception being in snowy conditions when I find them invaluable.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 13:09:48 MDT Print View

Brian, tell us about posture? I'd think it was good balance instead if wanting to go without poles.

I've seen very fit yoga instructors bust their ace during creek crossings (without poles), but I've also seen someone carrying poles that did the same.

Edited by jshann on 09/15/2008 05:13:40 MDT.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Poles and carried weight on 09/14/2008 15:01:49 MDT Print View

It's difficult to evaluate the impact of pole weight on your hiking experience. They'll hardly ever be on your back but even when in use they're resting on the ground a good part of the time so I guess technically your're not "carrying" them but when you swing them forward.

The trekking poles are one item I never bothered about getting lighter, I still use the same old ones, more than a pound for the pair but I don't consider them part of my base weight so they don't spoil my UL figures :)

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Trekking Poles on 09/14/2008 17:25:37 MDT Print View

I carried a hiking stick for years and always appreciated it when descending big "steps" or steep, rough ground. For the past four seasons I've carried a pair of the original LuxuryLight "TrailSticks". They help my old knees on downhill trails, cross country hiking, and stream crossings. They weigh 8 ounces, the pair, and I'd hate to be without them; my posture not withstanding.TrailSticks and LuxuryLight Pack

By the way, I'm glad to see the posts slowing down for the past month. I hope it means that more of us are out there, on the trail. I'm leaving Saturday for seven days in the Emigrant Wilderness. My seventh trip this year.

Edited by redleader on 09/14/2008 17:30:55 MDT.

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Re: Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/14/2008 18:45:03 MDT Print View

There is more use for hiking poles other than distributing load and shock and aiding balance. Many (including myself) like using them "nordic style" to help propel yourself down the trail more easily. It provides a whole body workout, increases my pace, and gives my legs a little more energy at the end of the day.

Troy Meadows
(LightWorker) - MLife

Locale: Sierra foothills
Trekking poles a must on 09/14/2008 22:27:49 MDT Print View

Use to think poles were for sissys. Now it's like having 4wheel drive. Never leave home without him.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
For wheeling! on 09/15/2008 10:39:41 MDT Print View

Your "4 wheel drive" is a very apt description. That's just what my poles do. LOL.

JAMES CALL
(Conductor) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Hiking poles for this Hiker on 09/15/2008 11:46:33 MDT Print View

Being semi-klutzy, poles help me quite a bit especially during stream crossings and on rough ups and downs. I also use them diagonal stride style where they not only add propulsive force, they also help reinforce my pace when I’m getting tired. One place where I’m experimenting in not using my poles is on easy to moderate down hills, where they seem to make my stride jerky instead of easy and open by breaking my momentum with every pole plant.
Lastly, poles are part of my shelter system.

Peter Macfarlane
(ptc) - F

Locale: The Scottish Highlands
Poles on 09/15/2008 12:15:05 MDT Print View

Poles have saved my ass on a number of occasions. It's not so much taking the load for me, it's stability and propulsion for your upper body.
Your legs are pulling your whole weight along, so a little help from your top half doesn't hurt.
The best poles I've tried are from UK manufacturer Mountain King, the Trail Blaze. A pair weighs in a 220g, they're aluminium sections like a tent pole.

Edited by ptc on 09/15/2008 12:17:21 MDT.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Newbie to Poles on 09/15/2008 16:06:18 MDT Print View

I hiked this year the first time for 2 weeks with poles. Used them for my tent set up. Anyway, what I liked about the poles is they kept my hands from swelling a lot. Just like giving blood. A little squeeze now and then. I enjoy the poles on descents. I also like collapsing them and putting them in my pack. We had one day with a lot of descent through steep rocky trails. The poles got in the way so I just put them away. I think I'm hooked.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Nordic Walking on 09/15/2008 18:18:47 MDT Print View

Re: " I also use them diagonal stride style where they not only add propulsive force, they also help reinforce my pace when I’m getting tired." I use that technique, and if it is uphill, I often use the double-poling technique useful in cross-country skiing. I like my poles very long. I plant both poles simultaneously, each one several inches behind my feet (they never get planted in front of my feet except on the downhill), push off on my poles using full-strength straps (not the winmpy little strings some light poles come with), and keep walking / pushing-off until my hands reach way, way behind my back. I often take 2 or 3 steps per pole plant. At the extreme end of the push off, most of my fingers come free of the grip, and mostly the strap connects me to the pole. The final push is excellent excercise for the triceps.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/17/2008 12:35:26 MDT Print View

"Brian, tell us about posture? I'd think it was good balance instead if wanting to go without poles."

Well Im no expert on posture but balance and posture go hand in hand.
Poles seem to make people want to hunch forward so they can put more weight on them and create 4 points of balance.
At least I noticed this when I use them. The decision to go poless was more philosophical though. I felt freer without them and that just went along with my UL style of hiking in general. I know some people feel they allow them to move faster, but I feel I move fast enough for my needs as is.
I usually pass most people I see on the trail whether going up or down -and most of them are using poles. Im no trail runner by any stretch though. I dont jog or run ever anywhere.
Back to posture, All I did is what I was taught in kindergarten.
Stand up straight with your chest out. Simple really. But I found it to be harder than I thought at first and I had to learn to do it unconsciously. I was amazed how I would start to get a cramp and suddenly remember to correct my posture and the cramp would go away. My balance had always been very good so I saw no need to get help there -in fact I felt my balance was worsening with the use of poles because my body would compensate all day to balance with poles and when I wasnt using them my balance would be a little off.
River crossings are a slightly different situation. Tradition says to use one good sturdy pole. And you can usually find a stick that will do the job. Streams are easy just rock hop across or walk.
I know I wont convince anyone to stop using poles and Im not really out to do that. I would like to see articles or studies on posture for backpacking though- it just seems to be a subject that could be usefull.

Michael Wands
(walksoftly) - F

Locale: Piney Woods
Hiking poles and necessity for Ultralighters on 09/17/2008 12:48:53 MDT Print View

I generally hike in Texas, Arkansas and New Mexico. When I get on the trail I'm going to have to find some sort of stick anyway. This is to protect myself from all of the spider silk. The little buggers rebuild every night. With a single hiking stick I can clear the silk with an implement where I know the weight and the length. Much better than just picking up the first stick that comes along. The fact that I also use the hiking stick to erect my tarp and scare off all of the wild jackalopes is an added bonus.