How to choose and use Trekking Poles?

Trekking poles are auxiliary equipment used in mountaineering, also known as trekking sticks. The correct use of trekking poles can bring many benefits to many other trekking activities such as outdoor mountaineering,Hiking and Crossing.

The First is its main function is to use the arms to assist the legs to relieve the endurance of the leg muscles. When using the trekking poles to go downhill, the user naturally leans forward, changing the original force posture, thereby reducing the burden on the legs. Studies have shown that the correct use of trekking poles can help users reduce 22% of the impact on the knees and 21% of the burden on the leg muscles when going downhill.

The second is that trekking poles can help maintain balance and stability on steep and rugged mountain roads, thereby reducing the risk factor. Big data surveys show that among 104 injured players, up to 95 did not use trekking poles, accounting for 91% of the injured. Among the 49 users who used trekking poles on the other side, the probability of injury was only 18.4%.

In addition, it can also be used to detect unknown areas, remove obstacles, and support tents.

Then how should we choose and use trekking poles correctly?

Structure, Materials, and Selection of Trekking Poles

Structure

First of all, when we choose and use trekking poles correctly, we need to understand what structures and materials are made of trekking poles.

Handle:

Different materials, the user's gripping feels also different. If you want to choose a suitable one, it is best to actually experience the gripping feeling and comfort level of each material.

There are generally two shapes of the straight handle and T handle on the market. The straight handle is more ergonomic, so you generally choose the straight handle. The T handle is more suitable for people with older grades or people with inconvenient hands and feet.

Material:

Rubber:

Advantages: moisture-proof, shock-absorbing, and durable.

Disadvantages: the surface is easy to wet, slippery, and causes blisters

Foam:

Advantages: relatively comfortable and soft.

Disadvantages: easy to absorb dust after being wet, and become very sticky and slippery

Cork:

Advantages: Lightweight, moisture-absorbing.

Disadvantages: not durable

Rubber and cork materials are more advanced, so the price will be relatively expensive. When using trekking poles, the force point is mainly on the wrist strap, so the choice of the handle is entirely based on the user's personal preference. If you have a sufficient budget, it is recommended to choose rubber and cork.

 

Wristband:

The wrist strap is a very important part of trekking poles. The main load-bearing force is the wrist strap. During mountain climbing, it can transmit the strength of the arm to the trekking pole, and use the arm to help the body move forward and reduce the legs. Department of pressure.

Be attention When Choosing the wristband. The wristband must be complete. It is not recommended to have a design such as a buckle. This type of design will increase the friction of the hand and it easy to be injured and blisters. If there is, it is best to design Where it is not in direct contact with the hand or arm.

The choice of the material of the wristband directly affects the feel when in use, so it is best to actually experience it.

 

  1. Choose durability, high comfort, and fit your own hand size
  2. The middle part is wider and the sides are narrower, which can prevent the hand from being strangled
  3. The inner side is made of suede anti-friction material, which effectively protects the wristband of the skin contacted by the wristband.

 

Rod/Strut:

The pole/support pole is the body part of the trekking pole. The main materials on the market are aluminum alloy, carbon fiber, titanium alloy, wood, steel, and other materials. Aluminum alloy and carbon fiber are most used. The lighter the pole, the more expensive it is.

Material:

Aluminum alloy:

Advantages: High hardness, strong and durable, low price.

Disadvantages: The weight is relatively heavy, it is easy to be corroded, and the rebound vibration is obvious.

Carbon fiber:

Advantages: Lightweight, very strong and tough, corrosion-resistant, expensive, fragile material.

Disadvantages: Not suitable for complex terrain.

 

The choice of the pole should be based on the terrain and the degree of use. For cost-effective, aluminum alloy material is recommended.

 

Shock absorb system:

The shock absorbing system is equipped with a spring inside the trekking pole, which can relieve the impact force, and is generally used when going downhill. Trekking poles with a shock absorbing system are relatively more expensive than those without. There is also a trekking pole with a switchable shock absorbing system, which is more expensive.

Trekking poles with a shock absorbing system are definitely easier when going downhill, but you should pay attention to whether you need a shock to absorb system when choosing.

 

Rod holder/ski ring:

The pole holder is also called a ski ring, a mud-blocking pad. Because the trekking pole is a product derived from the ski pole, the pole holder is mainly used to prevent the trekking pole from falling into mud, sand, snow, or gaps. Cause danger.

The cane holder can be disassembled and cleaned. Like in the bushes or thorns, the cane holder is useless. On the contrary, it will cause some trouble in walking, so it can be removed when appropriate.

There are generally two types of rod holders, snow holders, and mud holders. The larger ring is used in the snow, and the relatively small one is used in the soil.

 

Lock:

The locks are generally used for the length of the trekking poles. Generally, trekking poles have 2-3 sections that can be adjusted to match the height of the user or the length of different terrain. Therefore, the quality of the lock is particularly important. Poor quality locks are easy to loosen and damage, causing dangers during mountaineering, so you must choose a very good quality lock.

Trekking pole locks are generally divided into the rotating type and quick-locking type, without lock and with lock (internal and external lock)

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Quick buckle type:

Advantages: Relatively tight, high safety.

Disadvantages: Need to check the tightness of the screw frequently.
Rotary type:

Advantages: Earliest locks, Price is cheap

Disadvantages: Difficult to operate

No lock:

Advantages: Light, high strength, safe and durable.

Disadvantages: Not easy to carry, not adjustable

With lock:

Inner lock: Adjustable-light, adjustable length. Not easy to unscrew, easy to get stuck

Internal lock: Not adjustable-light, easy to lock. Length is not adjustable

External lock: Easy to lock-length can be adjusted. Partiality.

Inner lock + outer lock: Light, easy to lock, adjustable length. The length can be adjusted in a small range

General trekking poles have length scale displays and warning texts (Stop, Top, Max) to remind users that they should not be adjusted too high or too low during use, which may cause danger.

 

Trekking Pole Tip:

The tip of the stick is at the bottom of the trekking pole, and the shape is generally divided into pointed and round heads. The pointed head has a good grip and should be used carefully, otherwise, it is easy to get into your teammates. Although the round head has less grip than the pointed one, it is relatively safe and can be used with confidence.

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Material:

The tip material is generally Tungsten steel, Iron

Tungsten steel: high hardness, wear resistance, high price

Iron: moderate hardness, moderate wear resistance, moderate price, easy to rust

Cane tip cover: 

Cane tip cover: detachable, generally made of rubber material, mainly used to protect or cover the cane tip, or provide anti-slip function when walking

The common patterns on the tip of the rod include the mesh, diamond, and grid patterns. Among them, the diamond pattern has the best anti-slip and penetrability.

When choosing the tip of the stick, it also depends on the environment in which it is used.

 

How to use trekking poles?

Single rod or double rod

There are many people who use single poles for mountain climbing, but it is recommended to use double poles because double poles are more stable and safer than single poles. When using double poles, there are three fulcrums. The bearing capacity of the triangle is the most stable and can be better reduced. If the pressure on the body is carried forward, it is even more necessary to use double sticks.

When walking with a single stick, only one hand receives the force, the stress points are uneven, and there are only two fulcrums, which cannot maintain a good balance of the body, which will increase the risk of injury.

Wristband use

The use of wristbands is also very important.

  1. First, we need to adjust the wristband smoothly, and then extend the wrist from under the wristband and hold the handle of the trekking pole
  1. After putting on the wristband, put your hand on the grip easily, not too tight, so as to better distribute the body-weight

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  1. Keep the wrist, wrist strap, and stick head firmly fixed together, so that you can keep the stick stable and give full play to the role of the wrist strap.
  1. When in use, exert downward force to let the wristband play the role of endurance
  1. Pay attention to the left and right order of trekking poles, generally, there are standard L and R on the wrist strap. Reasonable wearing can better play the role of trekking poles.

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  1. The length of the cane should also be adjusted properly. After the body stands upright, the position of the handle of the hand hangs naturally, the tip of the cane should be lightly touched on the ground, and the length of the cane should be based on the 90 degrees of the elbow joint, wrist joint and the handle of the cane.
  1. Adjusting the length of trekking poles can well share the body's load and reduce the impact and damage to the knee joint and other parts.
  1. When going up steep slopes, the length of trekking poles should be appropriately shortened, while the length of trekking poles should be appropriately adjusted for downhill sections.

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  1. Whether it is uphill or downhill, the elbow joint must be kept at 90 degrees from the handle.
  1. When walking on level ground, the grip should be slightly tilted, lower the swing, and the tip of the stick should not exceed the tip of the front toes so that the trekking pole can play the role of pushing forward.
  1. When walking on steep terrain, remember to land with two sticks and use the triangle fulcrum as the benchmark, so that you can walk more stably

 

Other Using Tips 

  1. When using trekking poles, avoid the raised ground as much as possible to avoid slipping and affect safety.
  1. Do not use trekking poles as a tool for pulling people.
  1. No trekking poles are used on rocky cliffs.
  1. When not in use, remember to put it away in time to avoid hurting people. → Professional Climbing bag

 

Summarize

Trekking poles are an indispensable tool for mountaineering and trekking. The correct choice and use of trekking poles can greatly improve the efficiency and safety of outdoor mountaineering and trekking. It can not only reduce about 30% of the body burden, maintain a stable balance of the body, but also It can well protect the user's knees, making outdoor walking easier, easier and safer.

 

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