“Should I have a pair of walking poles?” is one of the most popular questions I get asked.
My answer is always “yes they are a very important tool in the mountains when used correctly.”
Let’s bust a myth to start, using walking poles is not a sign of weakness or that you’re getting old!
So what is the point of walking poles and why they should they be used?
- Provide stability on uneven and slippery ground
- Help during stream crossing; give extra support on stepping stones
- Provide additional power as you are walking up hills/mountains
- Turn your walk into an all body workout
- Aid in setting and keeping a constant pace
- Conserve energy
- Reduce impact on your joints as you walk down the hills/mountain
- Share the load when you’re carrying a large heavy backpack
- Ward off over inquisitive farm animals
- Check boggy areas
I could go on!
As with everything there are also a few disadvantages that I find, namely:
- Your hands are full meaning you have to juggle. Things around when taking pictures, drinking, using map and compass.
- Become less useful when ground becomes very steep and you need to use your hands to scramble.
So to summarise I always have a pair of walking poles with me when I head out into the hills or mountains. I’m either using them or have them strapped to my rucksack and therefore easy to retrieve when needed (Some rucksacks provides walking poles stowage systems).
In a future blog I will cover the types of walking poles available, the best way to use walking poles and provide hints and tips.