KHC member Susan Cullum found some information regarding trekking poles that she wishes to share from the book Where the Locals Hike in the West Kootenay by Kathy & Craig Copeland. The following has been posted with permission from the authors.
“Long steep ascents & descents make trekking poles vital. Hiking with poles is easier, more enjoyable and less punishing to your body. If you’re constantly pounding the trail. they could add years to your mountain life.
Working on a previous guidebooks, we once hiked for a month without poles. Both of us developed knee pain.The next summer, we used our trekking poles everyday for 3 months and our knees were never strained. We were more sure- footed. Our speed and endurance increased.
Studies show that during a typical 8 hr. hike, you will transfer more than 250 tons of pressure to a pair of trekking poles. When going downhill, poles significantly reduce stress to your knees, as well as your lower back, heel and forefoot. They alleviate knee strain when you’re going uphill too because you’re climbing with your arms and shoulders not just your legs. Poles also improve your posture, they keep you more upright, which gives you greater lung capacity and allows more efficient breathing. They also prevent ankle sprains – a common hiking injury. By making you more stable, they actually help you relax, boost your sense of security and confidence.
Don’t carry those heavy, gnarled, wooden staffs. They are more burden than benefit.
If you can’t afford trekking poles, a pair of old ski poles will do. They aren’t as efficient as or comfortable as poles designed for trekking but they are better than hiking empty-handed.
If possible, invest in a pair of true hiking poles with a soft anti-shock system and adjustable, telescoping, easy-lock shifts.
When backpacking, keep your poles inside the tent at night. Otherwise, the grips and straps – salty from your perspiration -will attract critters, such as porcupines , who will quickly chew them to shreds.”
Written by Kathy & Craig Copeland – hikers & writers from the West Kootenays, authors of Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenays, and Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies.
The all-new 7th edition of Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, the Opinionated Hiking Guide totals 677 pages yet has an average trail weight of just 67 grams per hike. Click here to see a short video about it.
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