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Why Trekking Poles?

Why trekking poles? is a common question from hikers and backpackers who've never used poles or a hiking staff. In this video we discuss some of their many performance benefits.

Why Trekking Poles?

Why trekking poles? This is a fairly common question for many a hiker or backpacker who hasn’t used trekking poles or a walking staff before. And it is a question with multiple answers. The following will examine some of the benefits of using poles and explain why our Backcountry Edge Gear Specialists don’t tackle any backcountry adventure without them. Even on flat or rolling terrain, transferring some of the weight of your pack from your back and your knees to your arms and your poles can reduce fatigue and keep you moving stronger and faster. This is especially important as the weight starts to catch up with you over the course of an especially long day of hiking.


Using trekking poles helps to promote a more upright posture as you hike, combatting against the natural tendency to lean slightly forward or hunch, especially as you become tired. Standing straighter with the aid of poles opens up lung capacity, and as you can take in more oxygen, more oxygen travels throughout the body and allows muscles to stay stronger longer.


On hill climbs, with each step, all of the weight you are bearing is driven down onto your knees. By putting poles out in front of you, you redistribute that weight and take stress off the knees and off of your back, as well. Similar stresses occur on descents, but here quadriceps muscles are also working overtime and taking the brunt of that weight. By getting trekking poles out in front of you and redistributing that weight, you can really reduce muscle fatigue.


Whether or not you have got a heavy pack on your back, navigating uneven terrain can be difficult and even treacherous. Trekking poles really come in handy here as they provide extra stability and greatly improve balance. Creek crossings are a great example of why it is far better to have three or even four points of contact rather than relying just on your own two legs. With poles in hand, you can be significantly more sure-footed.


So, why trekking poles? Improved balance, greater stability, stress reduction on your joints, weight redistribution to reduce fatigue and improved posture on the trail are just some of the benefits to using poles.