Pacerpole 2-Section Trekking Pole REVIEW

Unique molded grips add extreme comfort and power to these heavier two-section aluminum/carbon fiber hybrids. But are they worth the weight?

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by Marty Coatney | 2006-09-06 03:00:00-06

Pacerpole 2-Section Trekking Pole REVIEW

Introduction

The Pacerpoles are the heaviest carbon fiber poles that we’ve reviewed. Are they worth it? It depends on where you are hiking. The innovative grip design allows you to propel yourself over level terrain with ease and in a manner where the weight is hardly noticeable (when used correctly). The grips allow you to securely hold the poles with minimum effort - your hands seem to curve naturally around it. The molded grips are also where the majority of the Pacerpoles’ excess weight is found. They also limit the poles’ usefulness in steeper terrain and require a slight learning curve. The poles are rock solid with an aluminum upper section and a carbon fiber lower section giving excellent stiffness and stability.

What’s Good

  • Extremely comfortable and unique grips minimize hand fatigue
  • Adds noticeable power to strides on level or smoother terrain
  • Excellent quality and construction
  • Light swing weight due to carbon fiber lowers
  • Weight savings of 0.6 ounces per pole over the aluminum 3-Section model

What’s Not So Good

  • At 10.6 ounce (301 g) total weight per pole these trekking poles are quite heavy
  • The molded grip weighs 4.4 ounce (125 g) alone. That is 42% of the total weight of the pole.
  • Grip design limits use in steep descents or ascents
  • Two-section poles only collapse to 99 centimeters (39 in), making them more difficult to stow than three-section models

Specifications

  Year/Model

2006 Pacerpole 2-Section

  Style

Adjustable length, two-section collapsible

  Shaft Material

7075 aluminum upper, carbon fiber lower

  Tips

Carbide flex-tip

  Grips

Molded thermo-plastic/rubber

  Grip Size

One size

  Weight Per Pole
(without baskets)

10.6 oz (301 g) measured weight; manufacturer’s specification 10.5 oz (298 g)

  Pole Length

39-54 in (99-137 cm)

  Baskets Included?

Yes - diameter: 2 in (13 cm), weight: 1.6 oz (43 g)

  Basket Type

Leki-style

  MSRP

$114 (US)

Performance

Pacerpoles set themselves apart with their unique grip. The molded plastic/rubber grips are specific to the right or left hands and angle the hands further forward than any traditional trekking poles, which are gripped in the vertical position. It definitely took a period of adjustment for me to get comfortable with these poles. My first instinct was to use them as I would any other pole: bringing the whole pole out in front of me with each stride; however, the proper technique with Pacerpoles is different than either trekking or Nordic walking techniques.

Pacerpole 2-Section Trekking Pole REVIEW - 1
The Pacerpoles’ unique grip is what sets it apart from other trekking poles on the market.

With proper Pacerpole technique, the poles are held lower and extended behind the hiker and used to propel forward. (Pacerpoles’ website has extensive instructions on how to correctly use their trekking poles.) The poles aren’t meant to be lifted off the ground and swung forward; instead they come forward during natural walking with the tips “skimming” the ground and the entire pole basically staying at the same angle throughout the stride. When used correctly I felt a noticeable increase in my forward momentum. Using the poles on a stretch of open beach hiking I found I could set the “cruise control” and haul on down the trail at an amazing clip and I barely noticed the extra weight.

And the Pacerpoles do weigh more. At 10.6 ounces they are the heaviest carbon fiber trekking poles that we’ve tested. If the neoprene grip on the shaft is removed that weight can be reduced to 10.4 ounces but the majority of this weight is found in the grip. At 4.4 ounces alone (per pole) the grip makes up 42% of the entire pole. Subtract this weight and the Pacerpole would be comparable to several of the poles tested.

When carrying the Pacerpoles in your hand or in a pack, there is no denying the weight increase over lighter collapsible poles. However, this weight is not as perceptible in use as a traditional pole would be because the heavier grips are not a part of the “swing weight” and the light carbon fiber lowers swing with the best of them. That’s if they are used correctly; in varied terrain I found correct usage harder.

The Pacerpoles’ distinctive grip shows its limitations on moderate to extreme ascents and to a lesser extent on steep descents. According to the manufacturer’s website the correct method for ascents is to keep the hands near the sides of your torso and pump the hands up and down “like pistons.” This puts the poles more behind you and does provide forward thrust but provides no increased stability. When I used the Pacerpoles to pull myself up steeper inclines or uneven terrain (as I would with traditional poles), my wrists bent at unnatural angles. The poles do have a 14 centimeter neoprene sleeve on the upper shafts for use as a grip on steep climbs. These were indispensable on the steeper climbs but of little use of slight up-hills or stepping up onto smaller obstacles without adjusting pole length.

On steep descents or stepping down I needed to release the grip slightly to be able to reach and plant the poles. (Note: I have observed this same trend when I use traditional trekking poles.) Once I learned how to properly adjust my grip I never felt as if the difference compromised my safety.

Pacerpole 2-Section Trekking Pole REVIEW - 2
When used to pull myself up rough (even small obstacles) terrain, I found that the grips placed my wrists in uncomfortable and unnatural positions. The neoprene shaft grips only helped with this problem on steeper climbs or larger step-ups. On descents I noticed myself having to release the grip some to reach down.

Like other adjustable poles, the Pacerpoles can be used in shelters requiring trekking poles. The grips contact the ground at an angle and are slightly less stable than traditional poles but I never found this to be a problem. However, I did not try them in a teepee-type shelter that requires the poles to be linked into one long pole so I cannot comment on their usage with this type of shelter.

Compatibility With Trekking Pole Shelters

Shelter type and pole length required Usable with this shelter?
Gossamer Gear/Tarptent Squall Classic (42 in/107 cm) Yes
Tarptent Virga 2 / Squall 2 and Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo / Europa (45 in/114 cm) Yes
GoLite Trig 2 (48 in/123 cm) Yes
MSR Missing Link (54 in/137 cm) Yes

The Pacerpoles show excellent construction. The twist locks never slipped, even while pole-vaulting myself across stream crossings. The poles are easily adjusted, though I found that the length I used was a good 10-15 cm less than what I would with other poles. This is because of the extra height of the grips and the fact that the poles are held lower when using the Pacerpole technique. On the newest version of the 2-section Pacerpoles the carbon lower is roughened to provide additional grip when making adjustments.

Overall, I loved the innovative grips of the Pacerpoles, especially when using them on smoother terrain. On sections of the PCT they did great. On firm open beach they excelled. When used correctly they have the potential to propel a hiker to speeds they normally wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to attain.

Pacerpole 2-Section Trekking Pole REVIEW - 3
One of the few optional accessories available for the Pacerpoles is this custom aluminum camera mount that turns the pole into a monopod. This is done by removing the colored plug in the grip and sliding the mount easily into place. The newest version includes a protective cap to cover the threading so that the mount can be left in the pole without becoming clogged with grit and dirt.

What’s Unique

The molded plastic/rubber grips are what set the Pacerpoles apart from any other pole on the market. The poles are available in both the version tested here with the carbon lowers and the Pacerpole 3-Section which is all-aluminum and was tested by Backpacking Light in 2005.

Recommendations for Improvement

Pacerpole has reduced the weight of their trekking poles by producing the carbon fiber lower section (by 0.6 oz) but I would like to see the weight reduced further in the grip, possibly with a thinner plastic or carbon fiber core and an EVA foam outer surface (though this would most likely increase costs).


Citation

"Pacerpole 2-Section Trekking Pole REVIEW," by Marty Coatney. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/pacerpole_2-section_trekking_pole_review.html, 2006-09-06 03:00:00-06.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Pacerpole 2-Section Trekking Pole REVIEW


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paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: pacerpoles on 01/10/2007 13:49:11 MST Print View

James, just to make sure that i was clear, my gripe isn't with the PacerPoles (or any trekking poles/staffs - there are others that i really like using also), but rather with dogma that states that under any circumstance and on any terrain short of scrambling, a certain set, cast in concrete FORM (pun intended) must be employed or PacerPoles are being used incorrectly. Perhaps i've stated the case of the opposing viewpoint too strongly here, but if so, it is merely intended as a rhetorical device (viz., hyperbole, i.e. "exaggeration for the sake of effect"). I think you and i are basically on the same page. However, unlike your experience, my experience with UL CF poles lacking load bearing wrist straps has been very positive. A "white knuckle death grip" is only temporarily utilized during maybe (and i'm guesstimating here) 25% of the "cycle". Blood freely flows back into forearms and hands (as well as lats, pects, bi's and tri's) when they relax for the remaining part(s) of each "cycle". Several others, who have responded to similar Threads over the last couple of years have had a similar positive experience with these UL CF poles which typically lack wrist straps (other than super stiff staffs like the LuxuryLite TrailStiks - wonderful staffs; some of favorites to use).

Also, don't worry about stirring the pot (i've done that myself enough with CG and packing issues as well as some others. you can learn a lot by doing so. others reply and tell you what they think and sometimes it's things that i hadn't thought of). There's an old saying that goes like this "Sacred cows make the best hamburger!" I trust you understand what that saying means.


EDIT
NOTE: be sure to read all of Dondo's posts and mine to get a better idea of the issues. Apparently, some of my statements are not very clear to some and, hopefully, by reading all of our Posts, what i was attempting to communicate may become clearer.

Edited by pj on 01/11/2007 12:59:37 MST.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: pacerpoles on 01/10/2007 18:07:19 MST Print View

>>Again, PacerPoles, as wonderful as they are and as much as i like mine, are not the perfect pole, IMHO, for steep inclines.

No argument here. I happen to prefer Pacer Poles for steep inclines, but different strokes for different folks.

>>The suggestion of changing pole length simply is impractical for some of the surfaces i regularly encounter. Doing so would be tantamount to take several steps, change pole length, take several steps, change pole length, take two steps, change pole length, ascend for 30seconds, change pole length again.

This would be a ludicrous solution at best.

Agreed that this would be ridiculous. I don't see anyone suggesting this. I have found that it is helpful with both conventional poles and Pacer Poles to shorten the pole a bit when encountering a long sustained steep climb.

You next five paragraphs are a good argument for using poles rather than no poles. They have nothing to do with Pacer Poles vs. conventional poles. I would suggest that one uses his/her upper body as much with Pacer Poles as with conventional poles, but does so in a more efficient manner.

Edited by Dondo on 01/10/2007 21:14:33 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: pacerpoles on 01/11/2007 04:04:33 MST Print View

Guess i wasn't clear again.

Anyone who has read any of my T-pole related posts over the last 2+ yrs would know that i argue strongly for the use of poles except when scrambling/climbing. There is much more info in some of these many Posts than in my last. My point, which i guess wasn't very clear was not against pole/staff (of any type) use. It was against a dogmatic this must be the form used when using PacerPoles (or any other pole/staff for that matter whether used singly or in pairs). Hiking is much too dynamic for such dogmatism.

Read HR's post again and one will see her statements about the continued use of handgrips. HR suggests changing pole length rather than continued use of hand grips. That suggestion would be ludicrous if anyone would accompany me on one of my Treks. I'd be up and back down before anyone reached the top if they kept on adjusting their poles lengths. NOW I REALIZE THAT HR WASN'T ENVISIOINING SUCH AN ENVIRONMENT when she made her suggestion. There is no way, regardless of pole length, one could avoid some continuous use of handgrips on this terrain i've often hiked if only one or two proper length adjustments were to be made. Additionally, proper efficient PacerPole form could NOT be maintained using just one or two adjustments on this terrain. HR is obviously very intelligent and i'm guessing she would not have offered that solution had i been more descriptive as the the types of terrain i sometimes encounter (fault mine).



>>"You (sic) next five paragraphs are a good argument for using poles rather than no poles."

And well they should be. That's my point exactly - guess i wasn't clear enough again. As, i believe it's Leki that says, "Four legs good; two legs bad." My point is against NOT OFF-LOADING the lower muscle groups simply b/c it's less efficient. Off-loading is best accomplished in the situations i've encountered by planting the pole tip in front and using larger (i.e. larger than just the tri's) upper body musculature to assit the lower body muscles. Planting the pole tip alongside instead of in front simply does not allow as much use of upper body musculature - simple mechanics at work.

Many thanks for implicitly pointing out the lack of clarity in my prev. Posts; i appreciate it. I intend to find time later today to re-read them and try to make the points that i was attempting to make a bit clearer.

Feel free to point out more areas where additional clarification is needed. I'll further edit my Posts to make them clearer, but as far as new Posts, i'm all "posted out", so don't take any further lack of response the wrong way, i just don't want to muddy the waters any more than i apparently already have.




EDIT
NOTE: be sure to read all of Dondo's posts and mine to get a better idea of the issues. Apparently, some of my statements are not very clear to some and, hopefully, by reading all of our Posts, what i was attempting to communicate may become clearer.

Edited by pj on 01/11/2007 13:00:11 MST.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: pacerpoles on 01/11/2007 17:55:58 MST Print View

It appears that you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one, pj. Whereas I've had great success ascending steep slopes using the "Dogmatic/Orthodox PacerPole Form", it's evident that you strongly prefer the more freewheeling "pj way".

All kidding aside, anyone trying to decide if PacerPoles are right for them should go back to the top of this thread and read the BPL review that sparked this controversy, Chris Townsend's response (first post in the thread), as well as these reviews collected on the PacerPoles site.

Still undecided? The two posts in this thread by Heather Rhodes, the designer, are gems that bear careful reading and rereading with a willingness to challenge your own assumptions of how treking poles are supposed to function.

Edited by Dondo on 01/11/2007 18:13:39 MST.

Heather Rhodes
(HeatherRhodes) - F
Re: Pacerpoles on 02/11/2007 06:19:57 MST Print View

>>"The two posts in this thread by Heather Rhodes, the designer, are gems that bear careful reading and rereading with a willingness to challenge your own assumptions of how treking poles are supposed to function."......Thanks for the kind words Dondo, they are appreciated.

Perhaps it may be useful to put things into perspective. Conventional poles have been designed in isolation of the body. They focus on competitive engineering detail and product materials. Most are well engineered but their designs lack the fundamental application - that the inanimate pole however high-tech, has to integrate with the animate arm so both become one inter-dependent unit working together from shoulder to shaft tip on the ground (so that the natural arm actions are not distorted when having to contend with an 'add-on' as they move as levers to thrust against the ground).
How to exploit the arm/pole leverage during each stride frequently results in the "multitude of errors" mentioned in the previous post. Conventional pole manufacturers appear backward in coming forward with accurate information as to the 'How-and-Why' of best practice to gain the most from upper body power; this is the 'bigger picture' referred to in my initial post – which has not been grasped. Instead only engineering issues are addressed, to improve existing 'shafts' and achieve the easy (hence frequent) 'new and improved' status to 'up' sales and increase marketing superlatives.
How these 'shafts' integrate/attach to the body is consistently inadequate - using a strip of padded material almost as an after-thought, which has been accepted as industry-standard on the basis that it's better-than-nothing. To use it means pushing down on the strap (tensile and tortional loading) which pulls down on the top of the pole which then pushes the pole tip into the ground from which to thrust against.
With the hand suspended like this in indirect compression of the shaft, the forearm continues to pivot and over pronates as it extends behind - so power and thrust direction are lost as well as any mechanical advantage when the elbow flexes for the next stride.
In addition the extent of thrust/pressure is directly proportional to the degree of discomfort the user can endure; the greater the pressure – the deeper the strap rubs into the flesh………. which is self limiting, so fails to exploit the upper body's full power-potential mile after mile. Even if cadence was perfect, shaft length was perfect, strap adjustment was perfect, shaft weight was feather-light etc … etc…. the design concept of relying on a piece of webbing to link the moving arm to the shaft on the ground, is flawed and the user will under perform hour after hour.
In the February 2007 issue of TRAIL UK magazine, Pacerpoles were given 1st Place in their trekking pole review (Black Diamond were 2nd) but what is significant is the last time TRAIL reviewed poles (2003) the exact same Pacerpoles were placed 1st. This is probably a 1st in its own right - for an identical product being placed 1st ...four years apart. It must say something about its unique design to out-perform (on all slopes and not just the moderate or level ones…) – as well as indicating our lack of marketing promotion! Check www.andyhowell.info/trek-blog/?p=81

Our arms extend, rotate and flex naturally for each stride – and how well pole integration is achieved, allows the body to benefit from arm leverage pushing against the ground - and – benefit too, from instant reflex actions to correct instability (safety factor). Understanding the biomechanics of how the body moves as a whole (rather than isolated bits) is fundamental – and inherent in Pacerpole design and concept as an extension to the body, with the pole being retained using only minimal grip.
The weight of the arm segments moving naturally is not dead-weight like sacks of potatoes; each segment is basically a triangle (bulky upper arm down to slender elbow; thick forearm down to slender wrist; chunky hand/handle down to narrow shaft tip). Each segment keeps the muscle bulk high (with thinner tendons directed to attach lower down onto the next segment of the lever) so by keeping the weight high means less effort is needed to move each segment. The arms continue to move naturally (walking levers) above the legs whether or not they include poles (if not, then they waste their backward thrust by just pushing against air). Knowing how best to exploit your arm/pole leverage (e.g. pole tip placement as a pivot point in relation to your centre of gravity as you move about a vertical axis) equates to improved performance and endurance levels; this means an 'education' process – and a re-think on pole design as a body part. Inherent in this is the understanding for joint range of movement (ROM) to be normally working through mid range (the ROM of a joint's excursion is basically divided into three: Outer - Middle - Inner. The Middle is obviously the central part of the arc with the Outer and Inner being the extreme ends ........such as if you were sprinting - you'd feel your legs going through full ROM..........and hard to sustain....but if you go for less extreme ROM it can be sustained (generally middle distance running....except when you want to speed up a bit and take a longer stride/increased ROM etc for part of the race). Lance Armstrong may well adjust his settings to allow the geometry of leg ROM to pass through their middle range but not go for extreme full excursion – so he can fine tune and sustain the ROM to high cadence whilst maintaining a good rhythm. (Let me know if this strategy helps re cycling-light!)
Learning to include effective arm-walking-resources via Pacerpoles should not be a dogmatic process but should provide a better understanding for maximising potential (and safety) in the great outdoors.

Edited by HeatherRhodes on 02/11/2007 06:34:17 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Pacerpoles on 02/12/2007 00:40:43 MST Print View

What is really amusing about this argument is that most Australian walkers don't use trekking poles at all - and still manage to get up and down mountains at high speed.

For that matter, if you go back a couple of decades, trekking poles didn't exist, and yet walkers still managed to get up and down mountains at high speed.

I do have an excellent research paper which showed that the use of trekking poles had no effect on the force exerted by feet on the ground for level walking. All that arm energy apparently did nothing at all.
http://www.thesportjournal.org/2005Journal/Vol8-No3/jacobson.asp

One wonders, one does ...

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 02/12/2007 00:42:39 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/12/2007 03:30:54 MST Print View

Roger, briefly skimmed the article. good article, IMO. Here's some observations from one who likes to be as techical as the next guy:

1) the article concerns itself with only one aspect of T-pole use, viz. traversing level terrain. it does not appear to concern itself with ascending or descending steep grades, not with stepping up and down. This is one of two areas that i feel T-poles excel in.
2) commonsense tells anyone that using T-poles when stepping up or down off-loads the lower body. Simply stand on a bathroom scale with T-poles in your hands and lean on them. The weight registered will be reduced. Not exactly stepping up, but it illustrates the principle involved.
3) where does balance and the workload performed by core body musculature come into play? certainly not in that study (as good as it is for what it was trying to show - level ground traversal). This is another very important area that T-poles excel in. Anyone who has ever reached out to touch/grab something to steady themselves or keep themselves from falling knows this - even a young child.
4) we have centuries of history of man using walking staffs or even using long spears/javelins in this fashion. do we simply ignore the somewhat common experience of geographical distributed man for centuries? Anecdotal? sure. Do we really need a simple laboratory experiment to teach us something that our ancestors knew from actual practice? of course not!

Like i've tried to make clear in my prev. Posts, trekking, particularly over extremely rough terrain is much too dynamic for dogmatism regarding both form as well as for a trivial/simple experiment touching upon just one aspect of T-pole use to have much meaning upon the whole.

HYOH.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/12/2007 06:23:14 MST Print View

Heather,

Congratulations on Pacerpoles again taking first place in the TRAILS UK magazine trekking pole review. They certainly deserve it. Best of luck in getting the word out on this side of the pond.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/12/2007 06:59:06 MST Print View

Roger,

The concluding paragraph of the the sportjournal study states:

"It is plausible that the ground reaction variables measured in the current study were compromised by the short duration of testing. In contrast to actual hiking, the average testing duration for the current study involved a practice period and thee successfully completed trials, which lasted a total of betwenn15 and 20 minutes. In normal hiking situations, the duration of walking is extended by several hours and as fatigue becomes a factor, the reliance on the hiking poles is likely to become greater in order to reduce the demand on the lower extremities. Further, greater dependency on hiking poles may become evident as the terrain changes from flat to incline, decline or lateral slant. Recommendations for future studies should encompass longer walking durations, inclined/declined walking, and lateral slant in order to more closely resemble actual hiking activity."

The study itself seems to have little to do with real hiking conditions outside of the lab.

>>"For that matter, if you go back a couple of decades, trekking poles didn't exist, and yet walkers still managed to get up and down mountains at high speed."

I go back more than a couple decades and admit that I did fine in the mountains without them. But since I started using Pacerpoles my experience of the act of hiking has become so much more enjoyable. Anecdotal, to be sure, but I go out there to have fun, not to test scientific theories.

It is possible that the use of trekking poles is still another example of the delusion of the masses. But, based on my experience, I think that there is a little more to it than that.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/12/2007 07:48:41 MST Print View

>>"Like i've tried to make clear in my prev. Posts, trekking, particularly over extremely rough terrain is much too dynamic for dogmatism..."

pj,

Do you imagine that Connecticut is the only place in the world with rough terrain? That the many very experienced hikers in the UK who have switched to Pacerpoles are just ambling over moderate terrain?

I've been trying to ignore your repeated accusations of dogmatism but frankly, I feel that it is nothing more than name calling.

The fact is that many users,including myself, have had great success in using Pacerpoles over steep terrain in the manner for which they were designed. It's not a rigid, robot-like process, but a fluid learning experience as you become more skillful at negotiating a variety of landscapes.

If they don't work for you that in that manner, it's fine. You paid for them, you own them. Use them however you like. Carry them upside down if that suits you. HYOH.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/12/2007 13:03:37 MST Print View

My comments were intended for the article referenced in another Post. I was attempting to point out that i was aiming to be consistent in my thought processes and application of my principles to varied situations - hence, my reference to a point i had made earlier. My apologies to you that you took offense (none was intended) at them and thought that they were addressed to you instead of Roger who i had addressed my Post to. I will try to be clearer in the future.

Edited by pj on 02/12/2007 16:21:11 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/13/2007 03:02:37 MST Print View

Hi pj

> 1) the article concerns itself with only one aspect of T-pole use, viz. traversing level terrain. it does not appear to concern itself with ascending or descending steep grades, not with stepping up and down. This is one of two areas that i feel T-poles excel in.
Yep, I agree.
I am distinguishing between the use of poles for ordinary walking and their use as a balance aid on very rough or steep ground - or while crossing rivers. As a balance aid they are good.

I just don't think the strength of my arm muscles is very significant compared to that of my leg muscles, so I would not expect to get nearly as much benefit from adding my arms into the action. I would expect greater overall efficiency (on the flat) from putting my energy into my legs.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/13/2007 03:13:48 MST Print View

Roger, have to agree with you on the efficiency aspect. Many thanks for your clarifying remarks.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/13/2007 12:53:32 MST Print View

Hi Dondo

> In normal hiking situations, the duration of walking is extended by several hours and as fatigue becomes a factor, the reliance on the hiking poles is likely to become greater in order to reduce the demand on the lower extremities.

This is where I strongly disagree. As I said to pj, my arms are much weaker than my legs, so at the end of the day my arms are going to be much more fatigued than my legs if I try to use them with poles to propel myself along. The demand on the lower extremities is actually much less than the demand on arms.

Basis: lots of XC ski touring, where I do use my arms a lot to help my skis to grip when going up hill. It's not my legs which are tired at the end of the day! On the other hand, as aids to balance when I am teetering around on a steep slope on XC skis with a big pack on - yeah, the poles are very valuable.

'Delusion of the masses'? Look, the vendors of poles are going to hype their importance as far as they possibly can. They are solely concerned with their profit margin. So they are going to make claims way beyond what is reasonably justified: that's just human nature. You just have to be careful to see where the benefit stops and the hype starts.

I did see one pole site where the vendor was claiming that the poles would save your legs from many TONS of load by the end of the day. Now that IS extreme hype!

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/13/2007 18:21:08 MST Print View

Hi Roger, I actually haven't read any of the science or the advertising on trekking poles beyond what is in this thread.

For me, it's very simple. I know how I feel when hiking without poles, with a walking stick, with conventional trekking poles, and with Pacepoles based on the feedback my body is giving me.

On that basis alone, it's a slam dunk for Pacer Poles.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/13/2007 19:01:15 MST Print View

C'mon Roger, Do these people look like greedy capitalist pigs to you?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/15/2007 02:35:53 MST Print View

> C'mon Roger, Do these people look like greedy capitalist pigs to you?

Nope. Thanks for the URL in fact. I shall watch to see whether the rest of the world agrees with them or not.

One place where I question the concept is when you are not 'walking along' but trying to negotiate tricky country (river, snow-covered granite scree, neve, etc). Balancing - or teetering. I am not saying they wouldn't work, just asking whether the conventional straight grip might not be better. However, not having tried the Pacer Poles I just don't know.

At a tangent - whether you would call people who love wandering around in the less hospitable UK weather sane is another matter. But then, been there, done that myself, so who am I to talk? :-)

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
trekking poles and evolution on 02/15/2007 03:17:33 MST Print View

Wow, this thread is getting complicated. I think if that form of walking was more condusive to survival, a million generations of evolution would have resulted in our arms would reach the ground. Or if you prefer, God would have created us that way. But, we are not talking survival here, except as reduction of injury promotes longevity..

I am growing dependent on my poles, not for efficiency or survival, but for balance. Before I had them I never needed them; now I seem to.
It is a trade off, and they become more valuable the more you need them.(how's that for circular reasoning)

We saw a similar phenomenon in downhill skiing. When I try to tell my skiing friends that you can downhill ski just fine with no poles, they recoil in horror or stare in scepticism. (note, does not apply to x-country skiing)

Edited by Brett1234 on 02/15/2007 03:20:38 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/15/2007 07:34:30 MST Print View

Roger, IME (in my experience) they work fine for balance. No problems at all on some of the most uneven rock & root covered trails (you might recall Dale Wambaugh posted a pic of a portion of a PNW trail he had been on - it looked just like many of the trails i'm forced to hike on, virtually 0% even/flat ground or large rounded rocks for a foot placement; also, totally uneven & near constant ascents & descents). When i know that i'll be on such surfaces, i use the 3section Al poles and not the lighter more fragile 2section CF poles.

[Note: this post is intended to share with DrC some of my own personal experiences and should not be misconstrued to be a criticism in any fashion of PacerPoles.]

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pacerpoles on 02/15/2007 18:15:02 MST Print View

Roger, I would agree with pj that Pacerpoles work well in negotiating tricky country. The limitations of Pacerpoles are the same that I've found with conventional poles. I put them away in sections where I have to use my hands a lot such as scrambling or climbing over deadfall. They also get carried through very brushy sections.