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Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Straps on 08/21/2014 12:11:17 MDT Print View

"Just to chime in I really recommend not using the straps on your poles. This year I've had 3 friends either dislocate their shoulder or otherwise injure their arms from falls where the pole stays planted."

Leki poles have a automatic strap release if mechanism for just that possibility.
(not sure if all have this, but I know mine do)

In my case, I couldn't use poles if I didn't have straps... forearm grip tendonitis and Carpel Tunnel...
I really can't grip my poles for long periods... and the straps give you the most efficient way to push uphills.

Billy

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Straps on 08/21/2014 12:43:14 MDT Print View

"Just to chime in I really recommend not using the straps on your poles. This year I've had 3 friends either dislocate their shoulder or otherwise injure their arms from falls where the pole stays planted."

Also, you might minimize this possibility by having your straps not too tight so your hand could slip out.... but it is a small risk... no doubt

Billy

Katherine .
(Katherine) - F

Locale: pdx
Re: Re: Re: Straps on 08/21/2014 12:51:11 MDT Print View

Unless you have some specific hand/wrist issues, I'm in the cut-the-straps-off-altogether camp. Took me awhile to take out the scissors. Finally did it for the last trip and it felt so much better to not have the straps flopping around.

It would be nice if pole makers made strap-removal an option for those of us who get shy about permanently modifying our gear.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Straps on 08/21/2014 12:54:05 MDT Print View

the Pacerpole carbon poles are heavier than my heavy aluminum Leki poles about 1 lb 3oz!

And their alloy poles are about 1 1/2 pounds including baskets...

My Locus Gear CP3 carbon fiber poles are 10.5 ounces :)

just sayin...

These things remind me of the hair-brained ideas that hit the xc ski pole market every few years... very popular for a year or two... people swear by them... cost a bundle... and then they disappear never to be heard of again... only to be replaced by the next fad poles...



Billy

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Straps on 08/21/2014 12:57:17 MDT Print View

"It would be nice if pole makers made strap-removal an option for those of us who get shy about permanently modifying our gear."

er... on all my poles you can remove the straps without cutting them... though I'm sure you're right that on some you can't...

Billy

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - F - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
Re: Re: Straps on 08/21/2014 12:59:56 MDT Print View

Trekking poles are like a lot (all?) of the other gear we buy when it comes to individual preferences.

Being a relatively recent convert to UL, this past spring I started re-evaluating trekking poles to determine if I even wanted to use them at all (some experienced UL folks don't use any, I read) or, if so, on what terrain I found them useful, whether or not to use straps, and seeing if I could live with lighter, fixed-length poles.

Carrying a very light load (12-14 lbs total carried weight) is a lot different than schlepping a trad pack with 35-40 lbs of stuff, and because of the resulting increase in my hiking speed, trail dexterity and overall reduced strain on muscle/skeleton/joint systems, I found I was not using the poles much at all.

I got some of the REI power lock carbon poles and put a few miles on those (approx 85 miles), using them at different lengths, on the flats and on gradual and steep ups and downs, with straps and without. These are imo very good poles, much more robust and rigid than I had expected, and the baskets are easy to change or to remove entirely.

At the end of the process I found that I benefitted from using poles only on moderate and fairly steep uphills, but not when the terrain started having that "scrambly" feel. In all other instances, I don't need poles at all and am actually faster/safer without them. I think this is because I can concentrate more on foot placement without the added distraction of thinking about pole placement as well.

To wrap up this treatise, what I ended up with are Black Diamond Ultra distance 120cm fixed poles with no straps. Removing the straps and cutting out the internal cord gizmos reduced the weight of the poles to 4.3 oz each, with the sections glued together with epoxy. It is a very happy coincidence that the 120cm length is also perfect for pitching my Hexamid Duplex.

But as Billy has mentioned elsewhere, it never ceases to amaze how some things that some backpackers think are total nirvana are considered the suckiest thing on the planet for others.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Straps on 08/21/2014 13:02:08 MDT Print View

"Unless you have some specific hand/wrist issues, I'm in the cut-the-straps-off-altogether camp. Took me awhile to take out the scissors. Finally did it for the last trip and it felt so much better to not have the straps flopping around. "

Yes, but you simply can't get the xc ski pole type push without the straps... which means you do lose some or the potential benefit of the poles...

Also... sometimes on tricky talus I like to just leave my poles dangle from the straps because I need to use my hands on the rock and I don't want to drop the poles down into a talus hole where you may never see them again...

Straps do help at times... though it is true that they get in the way at times too :)

billy

kevperro .
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Lots of opinions on 08/21/2014 13:15:27 MDT Print View

Ask a question... get twenty answers with conflicting advice. :-)

I like the straps... I use them downhill. But I also use the el-cheapo Walmart poles and find that pole weight doesn't make much difference to me.

I've been hiking with straps and poles since 1994 and have done about 2500 trail miles on various flavors. I've yet to have a fall where I have felt the straps were an issue. Of course with poles you don't fall as much.

My trail buddy and I hiked south on the AT all the way through Maine. He was pole-less and fell routinely. I hadn't fallen once and was bragging about the fact right before the New Hampshire border and guess what..... I fell.

Pride cometh before a fall they say.

Edited by kevperro on 08/21/2014 13:28:47 MDT.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Lots of opinions on 08/21/2014 13:22:10 MDT Print View

"Ask a question... get twenty answers with conflicting advice. :-) "

yes indeed... this IS BPL, yo! :)

But I chime in not to argue or prove a poin, rather just to help make sure the OP gets the full range so she can make an informed decision.

Billy

Wolf's Rain
(WolfsRain) - M
Pacers on 08/21/2014 13:22:30 MDT Print View

No offense, Billy Ray, but you sure are going on rather vehemently against something you have absolutely no experience with. I'd be the first to admit that pacer poles aren't for everyone, but no single piece of gear is. Aside from the weight comment (which no one is trying to argue that pacer poles are a light weight solution), most of what you're saying is just hearsay / untrue. There are three or four pacer pole owners in this thread that are saying the opposite of most of your arguement. The unique handle style causes no issues with various hand positioning techniques. If anything, I find them easier on a pacer pole and the handle offers far more comfortable support when ascending / descending. I've used bd carbon corks as comparison too.

Pacer poles are commonly used by our friends across the pond. If you watch any equipment videos by people in the UK, you'll often see pacer poles in the background (Shout out to Tony Hobbs if you ever read this thread. Watching your videos introduced me to pacers. Enjoy your vids a great deal and thanks.)

I've used pacers to set up my trailstar and flat tarp with absolutely no issue. If anything, the offset handle is ideal in the trailstar. It gives three or four extra inches of room without having to pitch the pole at an angle. Offhand, the only time I can see the pacer handle being an issue is trying to do an inverted V pitch in a mid style shelter. Two of the handles might have trouble fitting in the peak. I've seen people pitch mids and crickets with them though without mentioning any issue.

I'm not trying to sell anyone on the poles, just speaking about my experience with them and corroborating others. There are lots of trekking pole options out there and pacer poles are just one of them. I happen to like mine but I'm sure others would work too.

Edited by WolfsRain on 08/21/2014 13:26:36 MDT.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Pacers on 08/21/2014 13:40:27 MDT Print View

"No offense, Billy Ray, but you sure are going on rather vehemently against something you have absolutely no experience with.

No vehemence here... just expressing an opinion and clearly stated I have no experience with them... I just want the OP to think about some things before jumping into what appears to be a 'fad' pole...

"There are three or four pacer pole owners in this thread that are saying the opposite of most of your arguement. "
There are always avid fans of fads... but there are bound to be Pacerpole haters out there too... sure would hate to see the OP make a decision based only on a couple of BPL posts by such fans...

"The unique handle style causes no issues with various hand positioning techniques."
REALLY???? like to see you 'palm' the top of the handle like I do on my more standard designed poles :)

Hey, I have no vehemence against the PacerPoles and I am not invested in arguing this... but I do think it is good for the OP to get all views in order to make an informed decision. Personally, I would like to try a pair of PacerPoles.. .if I could try without buying... perhaps they would fill a niche in my quiver of poles... But I think it wise for the OP to stay with more standard poles if these are her first and only poles...

all opinion... no need to get worked up to defend your toys, Wolfs...

Wolf's Rain
(WolfsRain) - M
Re: Re: Pacers on 08/21/2014 13:48:41 MDT Print View

"REALLY???? like to see you 'palm' the top of the handle like I do on my more standard designed poles :)"
I can and do, its not an issue. Plus because of the way the handle supports your hand, its often less necessary because you can exert downward pressure / absorb shock rather efficiently without having to change your hand grip.

"But I think it wise for the OP to stay with more standard poles if these are her first and only poles..."
I don't disagree. That is why I offered mine up for trial use.

"all opinion... no need to get worked up to defend your toys, Wolfs..."
Ha. I'm not. If anything I thought you were, hence the vehement comment. No worries here. Its all just gear talk.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Straps on 08/21/2014 14:27:59 MDT Print View

+whatever we are up to on the no straps.. no baskets either (lighter and makes them fit in my Osprey holder thing better)

I use my poles for balance and braking on downhills and more of a pulling uphill so straps do nothing for me. I'm a rock climber so hand fatigue is not an issue

i've never bought into the "xc ski" thing.. there is no gliding where the push really comes into play so i dunno. I'll challenge anyone to a 1 mi race in the Whites to prove me wrong ;)

Erica Napolitano
(naperica) - F

Locale: Northeast
Lot's to think about. on 08/21/2014 14:53:40 MDT Print View

Okay, so originally, I was wondering about women's poles and the difference between them and unisex poles.

I think I found that answer....and a whole lot more!!!!!!

I find that I do like use poles, even on the road! It just gives my hands something to do.

My MIL has offered to buy me this pair and has mentioned REI having a sale this weekend, so I think I will end up going with something they have there. (I know she loves a sale and plus she gets the member reward points!)

I just need to decide right now on cork or foam poles, and carbon vs. alum.

Thanks everyone. I love how there are so many opinions, that's why there are so many companies out there!

Cheers!

Jake D, I am in Barrington! Do you have those pacer poles?

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Lot's to think about. on 08/21/2014 15:31:43 MDT Print View

Hiho neighbor ;) I don't have them. i think they look strange and unwieldy ;) I am/was a skier so i'm quite comfortable mogul flicking my way down the trail with conventional poles (BD carbon alpine foam handle)

my gear list is in my profile if there is anything else that you've had your eye on though.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Pacerpoles on 08/21/2014 16:21:12 MDT Print View


These things remind me of the hair-brained ideas that hit the xc ski pole market every few years... very popular for a year or two... people swear by them... cost a bundle... and then they disappear never to be heard of again... only to be replaced by the next fad poles...



Try using that line on Chris Townsend or Peter Vacco.

D M
(FarWalker) - M

Locale: near a trail
Pacer poles on 08/21/2014 21:26:20 MDT Print View

I'll throw my hat in the arena, been using my pacer poles for two years, and currently on the PCT, got the carbons, LOVE EM. Don't knock it till you've tried it. Worth every penny. Pitched a 8 foot square Cuben, Yama cirri form and hexamid plus and duo mid with them NO problem. Designed by a professional, knowledgable physical therapist....what more could you want?;-)
Oh and I'm one who's had a bad fall with "normal" poles with the straps on and I'll never do that again....one of the worst falls I've had hiking, like my hands were hog tied. Broke my fall with my face since I could not use my hands. Not a smart design. JMHO

Adam White
(awhite4777) - MLife

Locale: On the switchbacks
re: Pole straps on 08/21/2014 22:02:43 MDT Print View

Just another opinion, not the right or wrong way, but...

I'm going to chime in and agree with Billy Ray.

I recently tried going strapless, and it significantly reduced the efficacy of poles for me, to the point where I probably wouldn't bring them. If I just gripped the poles, I couldn't load the poles significantly, and if I palmed them, I had to be too careful with placement on the descents, and ended up excessively loading my wrists.

I use poles even when my pack weight is < 5 lbs, on both long hikes and long mixed hikes/runs, if there is significant ascent/descent. On ascents and descents, they are heavily loaded, almost entirely through the straps. I rarely grip the poles.

In my opinion, on flats they are nearly useless, unless you need them for balance.

On ascents, I load them heavily as a means of providing thrust going uphill (climbing a ladder).

On descents, I load them and as a means of braking. Going downhill, I am essentially "falling" downhill, being caught by my poles on every step. I pay only a little attention to where the poles plant--I just swing them out in front of me, barely gripping the pole, then load them primarily through the straps, continuing to barely grip the pole. The angles between the poles and my body would make loading them in this position impossible, unless I were palming the top. But in that case, I can't just swing them out in front of me--I have to lift them with my wrists, and be careful where they land, then load my wrists significantly, with my hands acting as levers. Not good.

I don't mean to imply that poles can't be used effectively without straps, but I can say with certainty that the way that I use poles, they cannot be used effectively without straps.

My moving speed is typically around 3.5 mph using this approach. It would be slower if I didn't use poles, and I'm not sure I'd be able to muster >25 mile days without them.

Again, not to suggest one is more correct than the other--find what works for you; this is just my experience.

(edit: I also have a XC ski background--not sure if has something to do with it or not)

Edited by awhite4777 on 08/21/2014 22:04:05 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: re: Pole straps on 08/21/2014 22:14:13 MDT Print View

I think it has to do with the terrain too. You guys out west have it easy being that your trails are graded for pack animals. Northeast we go straight up and straight down. even our flats tend to have rocks on them or rocks across mud. logs across mud. double pole catapult across mud... uphills are more like stairs than a ramp.

On the flats i'm basically mogul skiing with my poles tapping out in front/side and my legs doing a weird zig zag on the best spots in the middle

Location: "On the switchbacks" what are those? ;)

Adam White
(awhite4777) - MLife

Locale: On the switchbacks
Re: Re: re: Pole straps on 08/21/2014 22:21:16 MDT Print View

> Location: "On the switchbacks" what are those? ;)

Ha! They're something we're apparently lucky to have! Although an enormous number of Mt. Whitney dayhikers might disagree...