If you hike often, you might see some hikers using trekking poles. But the importance of the trekking poles has been much debated. Like every great discussion, there are pros and cons regarding the subject. The hiking community is split on the need for this gear, so the decision truly depends on you. In Explorandes we give the pros and cons of walking poles so you can decide for yourself if they are right for you.
1. Pros of trekking poles
First, let’s mention the advantages of trekking poles.
- Reduce the impact on knee and ankle joints and leg muscles
If you have sensitive knee or ankle joints, then you could greatly benefit from using trekking poles while hiking. When you use them, you are distributing some of the weight and strain from your legs and hips to your arms, chest, and shoulders.
- Extra help on uphills
Probably the most common pro of using trekking poles is the poles’ aid while hiking uphill. By putting weight on the pole while trekking uphill, there is less strain on your legs. Shorten your poles so you can load on your poles more efficiently when they are planted up high.
- Trekking poles are lightweight
Thanks to advantages in material, trekking poles today usually weigh in at under 16 ounces. A lot of people find it worth this bit of weight for the extra stability and how the they help distribute weight.
2. Cons of trekking poles
Now, let’s discuss the cons of trekking poles:
- They mean extra gear and weight to carry
For an ultralight backpacker, trekking poles are just additional weight to carry. In addtion, on flat, even terrain, they are practically useless.
- They can be expensive
Like every great piece of hiking gear, trekking poles can be a bit pricey. There are cheaper ones available, but don’t expect the best quality. However, poles with a lower price will do just fine if you are an occasional hiker.
- Trekking poles tie up your hands
Do you want to stop and take a photo? Or how about to take a snack or water break? You’ll have to put your poles down first.
There are trekking poles with straps, but they can be annoying because they may dangle your wrists whenever you try to use your hands.