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Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Outdoors Activities => Camping => Topic started by: survivNca on June 28, 2011, 10:23:40 PM

Title: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: survivNca on June 28, 2011, 10:23:40 PM
Are they worth the money or are they for show? If they are worth buying how do you use them properly? Thanks
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: NotoriousAPP on June 28, 2011, 10:35:32 PM
They truly are worth the money.  I lived in the French Alps for two years and I always asked the same question when I saw people hiking up and down the mountain with them.  I didn't realize their true worth until I went hiking a couple years ago in Estes Park Colorado.  My friend had a pair and he let me try them and man do they help.  I'm no expert with them but what I took away from the experience is that they help quite a bit with balance and take some of the weight off your back when you're headed up hill.  I found them most valuable when headed down hill where they could help support some of my weight and help take some of the impact off of my lower body (especially my knees).

I'm not sure how much you plan on hiking or what the terrain looks like but I would highly recommend them if you're doing infrequent hiking and will traverse up and down medium to large hills/mountains.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on June 28, 2011, 10:41:50 PM
OK... A hiking stick and/or treking poles are very effective in helping you hike faster, longer, farther, and especially when you have a heavy backpack on. They take a lot of the weight off your back and help you walk more upright. They give you different leverage and help you use your arms to assist climbing. There are other benefits.

Now on the other side, if you run out to REI and pick yourself up a set of poles for $150 I'd have to say... IDIOT hahaha...

Let's see in the back of my Jeep on hiking weekends I have the following, all which work great for their intended purpose and were all free or ALMOST free.

Set of aluminum ski poles purchased for $.50 from a thrift store. I bought them for skiing as they are nice and my size, however they work great hiking in the snow and or trails.

Big walking stick I picked up on a hike where I was determined to find my walking stick. I think it is a tree root because it was just laying on the ground and has a rooty feel to it. It is very strong and I've had it for over a year now. It looks like something Gandolf would rock from Lord of the Rings and maybe I'll carve something into it. I've seen people varnish their own walking sticks and pimp them out with leather straps etc.

Hockey Stick I found on a trail (no blade). This just happened to be a good length for me and is very light. I am probably going to screw some sort of spike into the end of it when I feel like it.

If you do end up getting collapsible aluminum poles, get GOOD ones because the cheap ones will collapse on you regardless of how tight you lock them down.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: survivNca on June 28, 2011, 10:58:47 PM
Thats exactly the info i was looking for. I just could never understand taking 2 more things with you. but now it all makes sense. They are on the if i find a smoking deal ill buy them list.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: SteveandTracyinKY on June 28, 2011, 11:05:06 PM
I use trekking poles regularly. All the above info is correct, but they also help prevents falls. If you are about to fall for some reason, they give you something to catch yourself with. Also good to make an emergency shelter. I carry an old ground cloth with me, that I can rig up to make a lean to.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Westonian on June 28, 2011, 11:23:52 PM
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?

To beat back stray dogs. In the backwoods of Texas they perform this function quite nicely I must say.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: survivNca on June 28, 2011, 11:34:49 PM
Lol. Texas sounds scary. Is it better t have one or 2 sticks. in other words I am cheap and want to buy one stick.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: FreeLancer on June 29, 2011, 12:04:32 AM
Trekking poles are invaluable when carrying a heavy pack in rugged mountain areas.  It turns you into a four-legged animal so you can use some upper body strength to save the legs over the course of the trip.  You might not notice their benefit much on the way up, but at the end of the day they can really save you on the descent.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: TexGuy on June 29, 2011, 05:44:39 AM
Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?

To beat back stray dogs. In the backwoods of Texas they perform this function quite nicely I must say.

I generally make my stick once I am in the woods. I make them about 6 foot long with a Y at one end to press snakes against the ground. If I go out to where I might need to eat wild food, a noose over the Y helps to catch and hold the snake to the stick. The other end is sharpened to a dull point to stab at the face of hogs and dogs. It's amazing how many hog hunters just leave their dogs in the woods. It's sad to go out to get away from everything only to watch 3 skinny dogs follow you around for days.

Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Mr. Red Beard (UKtheBUNNY) on June 29, 2011, 06:19:39 AM
I see the benefit to the lite weight manufactured ones but I think I'll stick to the handmade wooden ones because they have their benefits too. On a side note most of the manufactured ones are not tall enough for my liking.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Alan Georges on June 29, 2011, 06:29:38 AM
They help when looking for geocaches too, because you can poke into piles of brush and know what's inside instantly.  Hollow "tunk-tunk" sound = ammo can.  Solid "thock-thock" feel = log.  Scary "rattle-rattle" sound = step back.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: progunner on June 29, 2011, 08:59:24 AM
I hike with @ least one being that I have arthritis in my ankles.  If my ankles are a bit weak or unsteady, it helps keep me even.  I got mine on the cheap during a trip to Cabela's.  They had some inexpensive store branded ones w/ a shock absorber feature you can turn off and on.  It also had a "Y" attachment you could screw on in place of the bulbous handle and use it as a shooting support.  The threaded rod also screws into my camera base for steady shots.  I have since lost the rubber tip and the carbide tip that it housed, but it still does the job in the woods and on unpaid trails.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on June 29, 2011, 09:47:38 AM
There are pros and cons to using one or two poles. That would just be a personal preference. A different setup would be good in different situations.

There are people who make little stick-based survival kits too, check those out when you have a chance.

Also the points made about helping you out when/if you fall are good points as well. When traversing across rocky / uneven / precarious terrain they can help you move faster as you have 3 - 4 points of contact with the terrain instead of just 2 (your feet).
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Nate on June 29, 2011, 05:41:16 PM
Most often I take a Tracks Sher-Lock hiking stick with me.  It adjusts to various heights and is easy to pack when I get tired of carrying it.  I have had it for almost 10 years and it has accompanied me for many miles.  It is very solid and you can screw your camera into it.  I added some P-cord and duct tape to mine.  If I cant fix something with these two items than the thing cant be fixed!  It is also light enough that you can really swing it baseball bat style if the need arose.....  The carbide spike on the end has come in pretty handy too in rough terrain.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: survivNca on June 29, 2011, 10:20:29 PM
I never would have thought those little sticks were so valuable. I really appreciate the help my trips coming up soon. Hiking poles are on the list.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on June 30, 2011, 09:52:23 AM
They even make backpacking tents with no poles where your hiking poles are to be used instead. They also make bicycling tents with no poles that you pull off your front wheel and use the front fork/handlebars as the support to raise the top off the ground!
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: donaldj on June 30, 2011, 10:21:24 AM
As has been said, the walking sticks or trekking poles help out a lot and let you get your upper body involved in the load bearing.

Every path to the ground is a path that you are distributing your weight to. Traditionally, this is done through the back, into the hips, through the legs, and into the feet.

Every single step, this adds up.

By using a walking stick or the trekking poles, you are creating another ground path (sorry, I'm an electrical engineer...) to carry the weight through. Your arms can "pull" the weight up a bit off your back, and sink some of that weight into the ground through the poles.

With one pole, it's every two steps, and with 2 poles, it's every step you see the benefit. It does add up at the end of the day.

Addressing Adam B.'s assessment, I went to REI and got a good pair for about $90.  I am, however, not an idiot. I have a pair with a great handle, useable straps (this is KEY!), a camera thread bolt for use as a monopod, fully adjustable height (long uphill treks you can make them shorter and long downhill treks you can make them longer).

The hand strap is a critical aspect to the pole. You want the strap and you hand to do most of the gripping to keep the pole secure, not your actual hand and finger muscles. If you relied only on your grip, at the end of the day you'd have very sore hands, and at the end of your trip you'd have the best damn handshake of anyone.  =)

The benefit of additional load paths to ground is lessened by the actual weight of the stick. So, for effectiveness's sake, the lighter you can make these, the better. This is where the extra $ for dedicated trekking poles comes in, as these tend to be far lighter than a wood walking staff or stick.

Finding cheap ski poles is a great way to save costs here, but you do give up some versatility. Make sure the poles are the right height. I've found that having them at pectoral height works for me so I can "pull up" on them a bit. Many people prefer having them set so their forearms are level with the ground.

There are concerns from enviro-weanies that the tips of the trekking poles digging into trails causes an increased erosion. If this is a concern you share, look at a rubber tipped type, or buy a few extra caps to keep on yours. I've even seen people mount tennis balls to their poles by drilling a hole in them and duct taping them on.

Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: NotoriousAPP on June 30, 2011, 10:58:11 AM
I very much agree with donaldj, adjustable height is a must for me since it makes a big difference if going up or down hill.  The straps are useful for a long hike but I've done without them as well.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on June 30, 2011, 11:05:02 AM
LMFAO...

Quote
Addressing Adam B.'s assessment, I went to REI and got a good pair for about $90.  I am, however, not an idiot. I have a pair with a great handle, useable straps (this is KEY!), a camera thread bolt for use as a monopod, fully adjustable height (long uphill treks you can make them shorter and long downhill treks you can make them longer).

Hey, $90 is not a bad price for a good monopod (and you got some trekking poles for free with the purchase).

If you are going with trekking poles get the best you can get because the cheap ones will end up being worthless to you.

As for hand strength there are other ways to increase the strength of your grip while on a long hiking trek... But I'll just leave that up to the imagination of the forum viewers...

And tree huggers who are concerned about the tips of their hiking poles "ruining" the woods need to get a life. I guess those are the same people who carry their poop around in plastic bags so they can dump it down the toilet or throw it in the TRASH when they get back to their little studio apartment above the coffee shop in Greenwich Village.

I absolutely HATE all of the stupid ass fights between the tree huggers, hikers, mountain bikers, horse people, quad runners, jeepers, etc etc about who should be kicked out of the woods and who gets to stay and how a strip of freakin DIRT through the woods can actually be ruined! I will not argue that trails need to be maintained and that reckless usage can cause problems that need to be fixed but that is a long way away from a trail being DESTROYED because people are using it. I get REALLY mad about this because I am a mountain biker, hiker, Jeeper, quad runner, and sometimes horse rider, and that's all these assholes talk about (how every other group aside from their own should be kicked out of the woods)...
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Doug on June 30, 2011, 12:37:35 PM
They were a big help backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch. I did buy the expensive REI carbon fiber pools for that trek and the reason was I busted these XPG aluminum poles from Cabela's on a practice hike in the Wichita Mountains http://www.cabelas.com/hiking-staffs-cabelas-xpg-8482-trekking-poles-1.shtml

The carbons were much lighter and held up extremely well to my 220 pounds
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: FreeLancer on June 30, 2011, 07:09:15 PM
Make sure to utilize the straps properly to minimize grip fatigue, makes a huge difference. 

http://youtu.be/tfVEvxFXiPY (http://youtu.be/tfVEvxFXiPY)
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: idelphic on July 01, 2011, 09:28:30 AM
I generally make my stick once I am in the woods. I make them about 6 foot long with a Y at one end to press snakes against the ground. If I go out to where I might need to eat wild food, a noose over the Y helps to catch and hold the snake to the stick. The other end is sharpened to a dull point to stab at the face of hogs and dogs. It's amazing how many hog hunters just leave their dogs in the woods. It's sad to go out to get away from everything only to watch 3 skinny dogs follow you around for days.
Funny you should mention that Tex - Cody does the same,.. It needs to be longer then you are tall so if you fall you don't jam it into your eyes, and a 'Y' on the end for snakes..

Multi-tool.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: survivNca on July 02, 2011, 10:12:50 AM
Okay so i am getting some poles and i want to buy a pair. But i want my wife to use one and me the other. Are the cork pole Pairs nowadays ambidextrous?
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Doug on July 02, 2011, 01:12:18 PM
Okay so i am getting some poles and i want to buy a pair. But i want my wife to use one and me the other. Are the cork pole Pairs nowadays ambidextrous?

Yeah, they are ambidextrous...but I didn't like the cork handle poles. I thought they'd cause blisters over an extended period of time.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: survivNca on July 03, 2011, 10:03:47 AM
Dang it Doug i was really diggin the cork. lol
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Doug on July 03, 2011, 03:02:14 PM
The Cabela's XPG poles that I had used cork handles. I thought they would good for sweat but once I began using them the ribs in them became an announce and I wanted gloves.

At Philmont, were we hiked 65 miles, I actually ended up lending one my one of my poles to a friend who hadn't brought/bought any. I prefer two but having the one was well worth it trekking up and down some of those rocky trails. With a backpack your center of gravity is higher up your back and the poles add a lot more stability. If you can get two. Because I broke the aluminum one so easily with my 220bbl body weight was glade to have the carbon ones for Philmont Scout Ranch.

Now another friend of mine and his sons used wood hiking sticks for the same trek and didn't complain but I'd rather minimize the weight.

BTW in the two week-long trek I lost 12bbls of body weight carrying that 50bbl pack up and down those mountains while still eating a high caloric diet.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: survivNca on July 13, 2011, 03:14:59 PM
Well thanks to every ones wisdom, I got my poles from UPS today. They seem nice and they are strong, Thanks for the help.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: BassManNate on November 08, 2011, 07:08:35 AM
What good would these do on flat terrain?

The reason I ask is because I had to take my daughter in to see a specialist in Vernon Hills (read, expensive property prices) yesterday. I noticed a couple of soccer mom looking women using them but they had no packs, the "trail" they were walking on was paved and the terrain was virtually flat since we're in Illinois. I just kinda looked at them and thought, "why would you weigh yourself down with those for your morning walk?"
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: TANK on November 08, 2011, 07:23:09 AM
I like to make things, I was reading an article on making hiking staffs, in the article is said to try a shovel  handle. I was at a garage sale and saw an old shovel the blade was bent and broke, I bought it for .25 cents. took of the shovel blade and have a nice pole (staff) for hiking, it will not break easily. and is just about the right leanth. I was also able to find a rubber crutch end and put that on there. That protects the wood and also makes it  slip resistant. I have harvested small trees for the wood, small hickory tree, walnut maple, and cedar all make good poles. I also have a collapsible alumin pole that junk.
But I get a great deal of satisfaction of making things with my hands instead of buying everything. 
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: rogersorders on November 08, 2011, 07:44:38 AM
What good would these do on flat terrain?

I moved to Germany this past year and wondered the same thing.  It's called Nordic Walking.  They have a ton of trails here and I'd see a few people with poles walking along.  From what I can tell it gives some more stability and allows you to go faster with less impact on your joints and gives you a arm workout too.  I used a pair once on a hike and was surprised how sore my arms were after.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: rustyknife on November 08, 2011, 08:16:37 AM
I have a couple of aluminum ski poles I picked up at a garage sale that work well, however, I like to make mine when out hiking. I have two right now. I like to use them awhile then if they're keepers I start carving little designs on them. Kinda like a little totem. Might even attach some leather or feathers them. Must be something left over from scouting days.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: brokenbottle on November 08, 2011, 05:22:37 PM
Granted I use my stick mostly for geo caching and don't go to far off the in the woods, but I made a really cheap stick out of a 48" long 1 1/2" diameter wooden dowel. I jammmed a BMX bike grip on one end and a 1" rubber table leg foot thingy on the other end. probably not the strongest or lightest stick, but suits me. It was a great family project too, kids all got to make their own and paint them how they wanted.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on November 18, 2011, 07:01:04 PM
I saw a pair of men's trekking poles at REI's used and returned gear garage sale late in the season (august or september I believe).

I paid $17 for the "Traverse Men's" poles. They are normally much much more and these were in mint condition (REI has a return policy that causes people to just return stuff on a whim when they don't use it or they even return boots after wearing them for 2 years — REI takes ANYTHING on return — an employee once told me they took a return on a TENT someone used for 15 years since the guy had the original receipt)!

Anyway — I have used them a lot on some decent length hikes and I now appreciate them a little more. I would never go backpacking again without them if I have a heavy pack. My last backpacking trip I took a heavy walking stick (that I picked up off the ground 3 years ago but like a lot — it is quite the perfect stick).

But yeah — if you adjust them correctly and use the straps correctly (very important for comfort sake as they do a lot of work for you when you loop them correctly). I can keep up with a very fast hiker friend of mine much easier when I am rocking the poles.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: RPZ on November 18, 2011, 07:24:04 PM
Are they worth the money or are they for show? If they are worth buying how do you use them properly? Thanks
In addition to balance and support over difficult, steep or descending ground, they can be used to steady a field glass, lensatic compass, camera, rifle or pistol. Collapsed or cut they can be used to make a split for a broken limb, or just used as crutch. They can be used to kill a snake or defend against other creatures. A center pole for a shelter using a fly, poncho, tarp or other improvised cover. Spear for fishing or hunting (or defense). Yep - useless.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: TexGuy on November 28, 2011, 09:51:03 PM
Funny you should mention that Tex - Cody does the same,.. It needs to be longer then you are tall so if you fall you don't jam it into your eyes, and a 'Y' on the end for snakes..

Multi-tool.

I just saw that episode a few weeks ago. It was Dave that made a similar one. I've never really thought about falling on it but that is a good idea. Need a rope on the end for the snakes tho, I don't like grabbing them just being pinned down. Guess Dave is more badass than I am.

Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on December 14, 2011, 01:49:00 PM
Quote
In addition to balance and support over difficult, steep or descending ground, they can be used to steady a field glass, lensatic compass, camera, rifle or pistol. Collapsed or cut they can be used to make a split for a broken limb, or just used as crutch. They can be used to kill a snake or defend against other creatures. A center pole for a shelter using a fly, poncho, tarp or other improvised cover. Spear for fishing or hunting (or defense). Yep - useless.

Nice.

A lot of the nicer trekking poles are threaded at the top for standard camera mounting threads so you can use them for a monopod etc.

They also make backpacking tents that rely on the poles for structural support (for the ultralight crowd) — meaning you don't need to carry tent poles in your pack.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: RPZ on December 17, 2011, 05:08:10 PM

They also make backpacking tents that rely on the poles for structural support (for the ultralight crowd) — meaning you don't need to carry tent poles in your pack.
Great that there has been some innovative commercial thinking on that one. Any particular tent makers you know of?
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: FreeLancer on December 17, 2011, 05:17:00 PM
Great that there has been some innovative commercial thinking on that one. Any particular tent makers you know of?

Here's the Poncho Tarp from GoLite.

(http://www.golite.com/Assets/Tents/SheltersTents/PonchoTarp_Bamboo.jpg)
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: RPZ on December 17, 2011, 07:30:46 PM
Neat, and you could add stabilizing lines as desired to the top of the staff
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Wingman115 on December 19, 2011, 10:32:05 PM
I own a pair of Black Diamond Trekking Pole and I love them. You really notice how well they work when  your going down a trail with a full pack. They take a great deal of pressure of the knee's and are great for keeping the snakes away as well.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on December 20, 2011, 06:25:02 AM
I won't go backpacking without hiking poles ever. The last time I went seriously backpacking, I took my "gandolf staff" which is just some piece of wood I found in the woods one day and have been using as a hiking stick ever since. However, I found a set of poles for $15 at REI at their garage sale one day and they’re the ones REI sells for $75. They are pretty nice, very light, and much more durable for those conditions than a pair of ski poles would be (especially the  tips). The hard carbide tips really suck on pavement, rocks, and wooden plank walkways where they can get caught inbetween boards, but they make rubber walking tips if you choose to use them on harder surfaces.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Deeweext on January 31, 2012, 02:36:09 PM
Trekking Poles are wonderful, but they can be more trouble than worth if you are not using them in a correct way.

First up, consider what you are actually walking in, if you are walking on solid surfaces with slopes, then they are great. They also give great balance when used on cliff-like terrain. But if you are walking on flat roads, or lose earth surface they don't offer the same weight reduction abilities, at least not in same extent. I suggest you go for some collapsable poles, with a round plate for lose surfaces in the bottom. They also make extra equipment in form of point covers, that allow you to use them on roads without ruining the tip, furthermore you can even get tents that use trekking poles as tent poles. Be sure to get some with a proper grip, as these vary a lot, and there are difference in pole grips used for faster walking and pole grips used for steeper walking.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Greywolf27 on January 31, 2012, 03:00:35 PM
Last year I spent a week in Denali, AK.  My pack was a bit on the heavy side... ~ 85+ lbs.  I took along a telescoping pole with a "spring" in the bottom to help reduce shock.  Crossing rivers, going up and down terrain, and just standard flat ground, the pole was really helpful.  I did test how much it helped, by stuffing the pole in my pack for one of the days... I was noticably more tired that day.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on February 15, 2012, 01:00:12 PM
<------ Jealous. My best friend lives in Anchorage and we spent some time in Denali but not backpacking into the wild. We did meet up some folks who had spent almost a month out there and they looked more grizzly than the bears LMFAO...

My $15 hiking poles from REI broke a couple weeks ago, the internal wedge broke so they would not lock in place. I was able to fix them though by taking a piece of cardboard and putting it in where the plastic wedge used to be and it was enough to get them to lock again. I couldn't take them back since I got them at the "garage sale" where they sell crap that people have returned.

Still think they are decent poles but I don't know if I could trust some twist-lock poles for a serious adventure after that experience. I am just glad it was a local hike where I brought them to help keep up with my ultra-hiker friend who is training for the AT this summer.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on February 15, 2012, 01:04:40 PM
85 lbs is crazy! My friends laughed at ME for carrying a 72lb backpack into Dolly Sods wilderness for a couple days until they were eating granola bars and i was rockin' a 6 pack of ice cold beer, NY strip steaks stuffed with gorgonzola and baked potatoes... Eggs and bagels for breakfast, etc etc...

In hindsight I was doing it for kicks to see how much I could fit into this military backpack I bought a year before but had never used (FIELD PACK LARGE / PATROL PACK) — and probably had enough crap to live out there for a month.

Next time I go long distance I am sticking with a 30lb pack LOL. I used my trusty hiking stick I picked up off the ground 3 years ago (that looks like something a character in Lord of the Rings would carry) that I love and I don't know how I could have carried all that weight without it.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Greywolf27 on February 15, 2012, 01:30:59 PM
85 lbs is crazy!

85 is heavy... though I am 6'3" ~ 215...
not saying that I am some gorilla... or sasquatch...
it just isn't THAT crazy when its 40% of body weight.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Albatross2.5 on February 15, 2012, 01:41:38 PM
      Let me think,  rattlesnakes, copperheads,  Yup I usually have one in my hand.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: reefmarker on February 15, 2012, 05:20:02 PM
What good would these do on flat terrain?

The reason I ask is because I had to take my daughter in to see a specialist in Vernon Hills (read, expensive property prices) yesterday. I noticed a couple of soccer mom looking women using them but they had no packs, the "trail" they were walking on was paved and the terrain was virtually flat since we're in Illinois. I just kinda looked at them and thought, "why would you weigh yourself down with those for your morning walk?"

Protection.  Either from animals or human animals.  I see a rather large man walking almost daily with a golf club over his shoulder, and I'm pretty sure he isn't heading for the driving range.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on February 15, 2012, 05:55:53 PM
I thought 72 lbs was crazy when I did that. It sure made me slow. The worst part is getting the pack on and off not the actual hiking itself so much. I did it as a test and sure would not enjoy carrying more even thoigh that pack can sure hold well over 100lbs of garb. If I had to I would do it for sure but for recreation ill leave much more at home.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: cohutt on February 15, 2012, 06:49:29 PM
old knee saviors when walking down grades with a load.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: TwoXForr on March 06, 2012, 10:25:03 AM
If you are the first on the trail in the morning you can use the poles to clear spider webs.   And after a rain storm to knock rain onto from overhead trees onto your hiking buddy. ;D
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on March 13, 2012, 02:58:04 PM
Or hold thorn bushes back so you can smack your buddy who's behind you in the eye with em LOL...

If I didn't have my trekking poles last weekend I would have been one unhappy camper. The trails where I went backpacking last weekend were so muddy that at times going down some of the steeps where there was nothing but thorn bushes on either side, forcing you to take the mud route, at times I felt like I was "mud skiing" and using my pole plants like I would going through a mogul run!

There were several hills I would not have been able to climb or descend safely without the trekking poles — without them I would have been covered head to toe in mud.

There was more than one occasion where the trekking poles sunk into the mud were the ONLY stable thing to grab onto while the soles of shoes may as well have had dress shoe soles on them.

I also find that my average speed is significantly higher when I am hiking with poles vs without them. They are a pain sometimes, but overall worth it.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Cryptozoic on July 14, 2012, 09:12:09 AM
When descending with a pack it is important to have a staff you can put some weight on.  It is your 3d leg or tail.  In rough terrain you may have to step down 2 or 3 feet and with a strong staff you can put its tip where you want to be and lean hard on its top as you take the big step.  Ski poles and fancy aluminum gadgets can't do that.

Being old school, I prefer a stout wooden staff.  I don't know how to post pictures on here (yet) but my latest staff I made of Oak with a T on top.  The T is secured with a wedged mortise & tendon joint.  The T vastly increases the multi-purpose capabilities of a staff.
I made it armpit high so it can double as a crutch.  When descending I can put a lot of weight on the top of the staff without hurting my hand.  If used as a tarp pole the 6" T won't poke a hole in it as would a simple stick.  I can pull down high-hanging fruit branches with it. 
And an Oak staff is much better for dealing with critters than a ski pole.

For you woodworkers; I did not use a solid piece of Oak but rather, used 1" plank and glued two sides together.  Then used a spoke shaver to make it round.  The T is rectangular with rounded corners and edges.  Oh, I also pinned the T with dowels.  This way the staff and T have two grain patterns, making it much stronger than a single piece. Modern wood glues are stronger than wood.  This staff will never break and once it all dried out in the house it is very light weight.  Watco oil finish periodically.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: snickers on July 14, 2012, 10:33:02 AM
When I was out hiking on the PCT last summer I did not see a single person without them! There were young and old, male and female, super in shape and just kind of ambling people out there.

I've used them for hiking, for making shelters, and when I've dropped things off the trail I've used my poles to retrieve them. If you happen to injure a foot or ankle you'll be so happy to have them!
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Chemsoldier on July 14, 2012, 11:21:43 AM
I have always been a single hiking staff kind of person but have decided to get some poles and give it a shot.  If hikers who are so weight conscious they cut down the handle of their tooth brush to shave weight think they are worth it then there has to be something to it.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on July 16, 2012, 09:11:03 AM
They are worth it because you can carry more items like a toothbrush with the handle cut off with much more comfort. Plus, when you have an awkward size backpack it is like having 4 legs on rough terrain.

I could never go backpacking without my poles anymore. They are way to valuable to leave behind. I also found wearing cycling gloves helps keep my hands blister free and the terry cloth on the gloves is nice for keeping sweat out of my eyes.

I think the biggest thing people should realize with poles is to use the straps correctly. People usually have no idea how to properly wrap them around your hands but if you do it correctly you don't even have to grip the poles with a closed hand to support yourself on them and it removes even more of the work.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: ToMegaTherion666 on July 16, 2012, 03:38:23 PM
spiderwebs

problem is where to find a stick store in the woods


Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: PistolWhipped on July 16, 2012, 08:04:33 PM
Wussy Wands?  :P

Most of the time I'll only mess with them if I'm crossing water, to probe the bottom. I might pick some up and give them the old college try one of these days.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: rustyknife on July 16, 2012, 09:15:30 PM
Found something interesting at a garage sale this weekend, a solid oak shaft, six sided about 5 ft long. First thing came to mind, "What a cool hiking stick for a buck". They said it was part of a railing on a stair in a house they built awhile back. They finally decided to sell after hanging on to it for a couple years since they couldn't figure out what to do with it. Just what I needed. ;D
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Crazy Fox on August 29, 2013, 11:19:28 AM
I realize I'm reviving a dead post here, but I have an interest in this topic so I thought I'd give you my experience.

I prefer to use a single wooden stick (aka "hiking staff")  rather than two skinny metal ones (aka "trekking poles"). While having 2 trekking poles allows you to better utilize your upper body and provides great stability, I like having one hand free while hiking (grab water/snacks, check my GPS, grip a rock for stability, etc.).

Also, a hiking staff is usually more adaptable. Since it doesn't have a built in grip, you can grip any part of it with almost equal comfort. If you are descending steep terrain, you can hold on to the very top of the staff to ease your descent. If you are ascending, you don't need to reach way up to the top of the staff, you can grab the middle to pull yourself up. With trekking poles you are limited to the existing position of the grip, which is perhaps only an issue in undulating terrain, but worthy of consideration.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: kwayne4588 on August 29, 2013, 07:51:59 PM
I have heard that they can help keep your hands from swelling while hiking.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Crazy Fox on August 30, 2013, 08:52:39 AM
I have heard that they can help keep your hands from swelling while hiking.

Yeah, maybe since your arm won't be dangling at your side all day.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: BradliusMaximus on August 30, 2013, 09:09:32 AM
Lol. Texas sounds scary. Is it better t have one or 2 sticks. in other words I am cheap and want to buy one stick.

Well I know the OP of this thread already bought poles, but for anyone else wondering about it I wanted to just throw in my take. 

I don't have a whole lot that I can contribute to this thread that has not already been said, but I will at least add one more voice to the list of those that would not hike without them (at least not any hike with a decent amount of distance/elevation change anyway). 

And I would definitely recommend using 2 and not 1!  For me personally, using just 1 doesn't seem to help a whole lot.  Using 2 at a time is a lot easier to get into a rhythm with.  Basically the rhythm works by having the pole in your right hand contact the ground and begin supporting your weight just before your left foot hits the ground.  They basically simulate how a dog walks.  Watch a quadraped walk and you will see that whatever front foot is on the ground; the opposite back foot is paired with it.  Aides in speed and stability too.  And for me, they help save some energy in my legs when going uphill and help take a little bit of pressure off your back, but they are SUPER helpful going down.  They help out my knees so much! 

I go backpacking a few times each year out on the AT (Appalachian trail) in VA and WVa and I can tell you that they cut out any sort of knee pain by at least half but probably more.  And probably more importantly, I have never gotten a sprained ankle since I started using them, like not even 1.  I trip and lose footing ALL.THE.TIME. but I never experience anything more than a brief "ouch!" because you almost instantly transfer your weight from your legs to your arms in the event of a slip, so it doesn't result in any injury.   

One thing I will caution you on though, I get the whole not wanting to spend a lot of money on gear thing, but I wouldn't skimp on a pack, boots, and poles.  You want high quality stuff with these 3 items because skimping on these can result in injuries, blisters, and/or muscle pain/soreness.  Get a good pair that will last.

*Edited out a spelling error.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: GrizzlyAdams on August 30, 2013, 05:52:50 PM
My wife and I hike all over the White Mountains of NH and never go without them. 

1. They are excellent for steep descents to prevent you from falling as you get your footing on wet rocks, tree roots, and loose rockets. 

2. They also will save tons of wear-and-tear on your knees on the descents as well.

3. Great for knocking down spider webs that are across the less used trails.

GA
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: NWPilgrim on August 31, 2013, 03:03:13 AM
My wife and I hike all over the White Mountains of NH and never go without them. 

1. They are excellent for steep descents to prevent you from falling as you get your footing on wet rocks, tree roots, and loose rockets. 

2. They also will save tons of wear-and-tear on your knees on the descents as well.

3. Great for knocking down spider webs that are across the less used trails.

GA

Exactly why my wife and I use them.  Plus, they are helpful when crossing snowfields and slippery or fast moving streams.

I used to think they were silly accessories, but as I got older and the knees would get painful on long descents I wised up.  I can really lessen the shock to my knees a LOT with the trekking poles.  My wife laughed at me using them until I lent her mine and she loved them.  I really like the Black Diamond ergo cork handle ones.  My wife got the same but in carbon fiber. Very sturdy, compact, solid and fast  latching, reference marks for lengths, basket and carbide tip.

No way I needed these when I was 16-40 yrs old, except on snowfield or stream traverses.  But especially after 50 they are most welcome.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on September 03, 2013, 01:44:33 PM
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Lol. Texas sounds scary. Is it better t have one or 2 sticks. in other words I am cheap and want to buy one stick.

My good friend hiked 800 miles on the AT last summer — and only took ONE of his two trekking poles. His muscular problems that he's had since proved my point in telling him to take both and to not be as concerned about micro-managing your backpack weight. He was even cutting the "un-necessary" straps off his pack to shed ounces…

Having two poles keeps your balance in check.

The thing is, you can pretty much try out the concept by picking up 2 sticks off the ground for free — and then invest in the $$ poles when you have the $$ or feel they are worthwhile.

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Here's the Poncho Tarp from GoLite.

I've used mine with some paracord to create shelters, and to string along paracord between trees to make a rain canopy over my hammock — using the trekking poles and more paracord to lift the corners higher off the ground, giving me a larger field of view while laying in the hammock. 2 trekking poles, some paracord, and a tarp makes a shelter if you don't mind insects crawling on you while you sleep!

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When I was out hiking on the PCT last summer I did not see a single person without them! There were young and old, male and female, super in shape and just kind of ambling people out there.

My first experience WANTING them was when I went hiking with this group with people I could otherwise keep up with, on some harsher terrain than we normally hiked. Watching some of the people who brought poles putting half an hour on the rest of the group (and having half an hour longer to relax at rest stops) was enough reason for me to want them. They really speed you up through the woods.

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Most of the time I'll only mess with them if I'm crossing water, to probe the bottom. I might pick some up and give them the old college try one of these days.

Just make sure to use the wrist straps PROPERLY. I see so many people just half-assed wrap them around their wrists having no idea that the straps actually DO SOMETHING OTHER than keep your pole with you when you fall.

Used properly you hardly have to keep a grip on the poles themselves. They should be wrapped in such a way that when you open your hand completely and put all your weight on the poles, the straps keep your hands right up against the grips. Not having to grip them with much strength makes a huge difference at the end of the day.

I also hike with cycling gloves all the time. I use them on my canoe, hiking poles, and bicycles because blisters really SUCK compared to sweaty hands. The gloves help your grip, prevent blisters, give you a terry cloth to wipe sweat (certain gloves), and other benefits. I pretty much keep a pair in my backpack all the time.

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I realize I'm reviving a dead post here, but I have an interest in this topic so I thought I'd give you my experience.

I prefer to use a single wooden stick (aka "hiking staff")  rather than two skinny metal ones (aka "trekking poles"). While having 2 trekking poles allows you to better utilize your upper body and provides great stability, I like having one hand free while hiking (grab water/snacks, check my GPS, grip a rock for stability, etc.).

Also, a hiking staff is usually more adaptable. Since it doesn't have a built in grip, you can grip any part of it with almost equal comfort. If you are descending steep terrain, you can hold on to the very top of the staff to ease your descent. If you are ascending, you don't need to reach way up to the top of the staff, you can grab the middle to pull yourself up. With trekking poles you are limited to the existing position of the grip, which is perhaps only an issue in undulating terrain, but worthy of consideration.

For short hikes I don't mind using a single staff. It is more convenient, and the one I use is just a pretty solid, straight stick I picked up off the ground several years ago and kept since it worked well. They even MAKE thicker single-pole hiking staffs that they sell alongside trekking poles at REI etc.

However, I won't take a single pole on any hike of significant length, carrying a backpack, challenging terrain, or hiking with people who are faster than me.

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One thing I will caution you on though, I get the whole not wanting to spend a lot of money on gear thing, but I wouldn't skimp on a pack, boots, and poles.  You want high quality stuff with these 3 items because skimping on these can result in injuries, blisters, and/or muscle pain/soreness.  Get a good pair that will last.

No TWIST-LOCK poles. They tend to collapse on you over time, especially on rough terrain. I will never own twist lock trekking poles from here out once mine have rendered themselves useless (or earlier). WATERPROOF boots are a seriously good thing, because once your feet are done YOU are done (even if the rest of you is fine). A pair of TEVA sandals (with the 3 straps) are also essential for stream crossings and relaxing at camp allowing your feet to dry out.

As for backpacks — the higher up the weight is distributed, the more comfortable it will be. My military rucksack (the FIELD PACK LARGE / PATROL PACK) does not sit high enough regardless of how it is adjusted and I know that the "trail" oriented backpacks all distribute the weight higher on the body than the mil-spec packs seem to do.

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Plus, they are helpful when crossing snowfields and slippery or fast moving streams.

YES THEY DO. Waist high fast moving water is really tough as it is, but when you can lean against the current placing your poles in to lean against as you move sideways across, you can cross streams that you'd otherwise need the "buddy system" to cross safely.
Title: Re: What is the point of those silly hiking/walking sticks?
Post by: Adam B. on September 03, 2013, 01:46:47 PM
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Most of the time I'll only mess with them if I'm crossing water, to probe the bottom. I might pick some up and give them the old college try one of these days.

I've used them in snow to discover holes in the rocks and uneven surfaces that saved my ankles from being beat to crap more than they normally get when hiking uneven hiking trails in the winter without snowshoes.