Hiking poles or a walking stick can make all the difference for hiking the backcountry, giving me stability while reducing fatigue on my knees and feet. I like to use a pair of poles with built-in shock absorbers, and ergonomic handles as over the duration of the hike this lessens the impact on my hands.
Walking sticks also serve as a handy tool for testing the depth of a stream crossing or poking debris or brush for snakes if you have to walk through an area where you can’t see your feet. When walking over steep terrain the pair of poles can be a big help to either push against while going downhill, or to work as an aid to pull me while walking uphill. With telescoping type poles, you can change the length for hiking up or downhill fairly easy with the twisting adjustments on the pole, but I usually don’t bother unless it is for longer treks.
Telescoping poles are great for packing into smaller spaces where the full length won’t fit. I have a friend who fits hers into her suitcase as she loves to walk in the many places she travels. I can shorten the poles to easily carry when I don’t need them for walking.
My poles have an adjustable hand strap so I can’t drop them by accident and this helps to make my handhold more secure. Aluminum poles are lightweight, affordable, and won’t rust. These poles are not a big expense and are well worth the advantage they provide. There are lots of brands, colors, feet (ie for snow), etc. The main thing I consider is the ease and locking of the telescoping adjustment and the shock absorbers. Also, look for some kind of measurement on the pole to easily match the length of your pair.
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