Trekking Poles: Parts Explained (Part 2)

1:31 p.m. on May 26, 2010 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "Trekking Poles: Parts Explained (Part 2)"

Trekking poles have become more complicated than the single-piece hiking staffs they've replaced. Here's a primer on the parts of a trekking pole: from strap and grip down to basket and tip.

Full article at http://www.trailspace.com/articles/trekking-poles-parts-explained.html

9:58 p.m. on May 26, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: Trekking Poles: Parts Explained

Handle, pole, thingy part that sicks in the ground?


I am not one to over-complicate things.......... but then it is tough for me to remember to wash my shorts.

11:56 a.m. on May 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: Trekking Poles: Parts Explained

I like the idea of "The FLASK POLE" you can put a Martini in it and at the end of the day you can have a Martini shaken not stirred

4:51 p.m. on May 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: Trekking Poles: Parts Explained

..it is tough for me to remember to wash my shorts.

As long as you reverse which side faces your skin daily, that's ok.
Ed

6:27 p.m. on May 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: Trekking Poles: Parts Explained

noddlehead said:

..it is tough for me to remember to wash my shorts.

As long as you reverse which side faces your skin daily, that's ok.
Ed

:)........... Good to know!........ Now I just gotta remember which side I wore the day before??


Good article on the trekking poles and I use them on most any rough terrain with any grade.

I guess it is like most everything and we have our own personal preferences.

For me the lighter the better and I do not like using the straps.

I'm a former golfer and club builder. I was looking at a set of trekking poles I had purchased one evening and the light bulb came on.

Two extra stiff driver shafts, over sized club grips, commercial tips and some parts from a hardware store and I had made what fits me to a tee. (No pun intended.)

They cost a fraction of commercial trekking poles as well.

6:59 p.m. on May 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: Trekking Poles: Parts Explained

I'm a former golfer and club builder. I was looking at a set of trekking poles I had purchased one evening and the light bulb came on.
Two extra stiff driver shafts, over sized club grips, commercial tips and some parts from a hardware store and I had made what fits me to a tee. (No pun intended.)

They cost a fraction of commercial trekking poles as well.

Cool! You should post a picture with some DIY info and show us.

8:39 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: Trekking Poles: Parts Explained

Thanks for the informative article.

I prefer cork grips, I have not tried the BD Flicklocks yet.

I like baskets & metal tips.

After reading about the LED lights and stuff I told my wife I was going to add some Shimano 600 center pull brakes to mine for steep terrain, she just shook her head and walked out of the room.

Waiting for part 2.

9:08 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: Trekking Poles: Parts Explained

After reading about the LED lights and stuff I told my wife I was going to add some Shimano 600 center pull brakes to mine for steep terrain, she just shook her head and walked out of the room.

ROFL!

Did you expect a different response from someone who is "normal"??

2:28 a.m. on June 17, 2010 (EDT)
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Re: Trekking Poles: Parts Explained

Other than being adjustable, there is only one thing that differentiates a trek pole from a stick. It is the strap ('wrist strap'). Rather than a cool decoration or a means to keep it attached to your body, or a complete bother, the strap's major purpose is to transfer the weight placed on the pole from a large bone connected to the rest of the skeleton. The muscles controlling the hand and fingers are relatively small and fatigue easily. Putting downward pressure on a properly fitted wrist strap transfers a lot of energy from the body's larger upper muscles (back, shoulders, upper arms) to the wrist bone instead of the hand. The hand and fingers don't need a death grip on the trek but are mainly used to flick the trek forward and make sure it gets planted correctly. (This also means you don't need expensive feather weight treks.) Then the power stoke takes over putting the energy transfer to the wrist bone. (There goes the expensive shock absorber.) If you simply take the weight of your arms off your feet, over the day's hike, you can save substantially on what is normally being moved along by your lower body.

Once you get good at it, and well coordinated (as well as a fit upper body), you can press down with just 20 pounds on each stride (left and right step) for a fairly long distance. This is maybe over twice the weight of a big arm. Over the length of a mile you will transfer 40,000 pounds to the poles instead of your legs and feet. This assumes you have something near a left to left foot pace of about five and a quarter feet. This gives you about 2000 strides a mile (times 20 pounds each stride).

If you only have one trek, you are mostly carrying it instead of taking advantage of all the walking efficiency a pair was designed for.

While getting prepared for that hike in the future, along with jogging and running stairs, you had best be getting that upper body buffed out as well...if you are planning to use trek poles.

If you have ice on your mittens or gloves it is almost impossible to adjust twist locks with out exposing your hands to some really, really cold metal. And don't take the dare to touch your tongue to it either.

For the measuring geeks, the Roman Pace is left to left (or right to right) foot. A mille passuum ( "a thousand paces") is perhaps the linguistic root of our mile and became the distance between those milestones on the Roman roads. They had shorter legs apparently as their mile is less than all of the other UK (English, Scot, Irish, or statute) miles.

On a related mater, if you count the number of Roman Paces you make in 36 seconds and divide by 10, it will give you a rough approximation of how fast you are walking (in mph). Works best on level, well groomed land. Again, it assumes your pace is close to 1000th of a mile (5.28'). If not, adjust the arithmetic to make it work. The derivation of the algorithm is left to the reader. (HINT: 60 minutes times 60 seconds is....). Extra credit if you figure the metric equivalent in KPH.

HEY! A new iPhon ap.

8:33 a.m. on October 17, 2015 (EDT)
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I have a pair of Ascend trekking poles and the locking part of one of my poles stripped. can parts be purchased.

10:15 a.m. on October 17, 2015 (EDT)
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I like using poles with a pack. They provide balance in the rough sections and help to unweight the joints. The technology goes way beyond what is functional and practical. I do not care if they are aluminum or carbon fiber. If you can transfer 40,000 pounds in a mile, as speacock suggests, why would we care if they weigh 4 oz or a pound and a half?

11:58 a.m. on October 17, 2015 (EDT)
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Seth, interesting article. Somehow I missed "Part 1"???

A comment on straps - I do a lot of backcountry skiing... actually a lot of skiing, and I have been using hiking/trekking poles for years, though I started as a kid using a hiking "staff", or sticks I picked up off the ground. I was taught by experienced hikers to use the straps just as you describe. However, in August this year, when Barb and I were hiking Fuji (trip report here with the Mongolia section added), one of our guides made a strong statement to our little group of 27 people that having your wrist in the strap (whether the preferred direction bottom to top that you prescribed and I have used for years or some other insertion direction), you run a high risk of seriously damaging your wrist or even breaking your arm should you stumble and fall. I noted that I had been taught the bottom insertion method by people with years of experience and have been using that way for decades. The guide claimed that Andy Tyson had made that statement in their guide training. Now I know Andy (author of several excellent books, including one on self-rescue) and have never heard him say such a thing. I have never heard any of my ski patrol friends say such a thing either, and they see many injuries on ski slopes.

Have you ever heard or seen any strong evidence concerning injuries with the straps for trekking poles?

11:44 p.m. on October 17, 2015 (EDT)
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I rarely use a hiking pole, and when I do its a sturdy stick I picked up off the ground to cross a stream or help me up or down a steep grade, then I toss it back onto the ground.

I have tried a few hiking poles over the years but could never get into the swing of using them. The last ones I had were in the 90's and I left them against a tree for someone else to find and use if they wanted them.

Its kinda like owning a gun or bow to me, I can fashion a tool to hunt with like early man did then leave them behind back in nature when I am through with them. 

8:23 p.m. on October 18, 2015 (EDT)
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I use straps when cross-country skiing.

However I do not use them while walking.

Once (when skiing on hard-packed icy snow) I have fallen and hit the snow with my fingers gripping the pole. My thumb stopped hurting in about half a year. :(

Based on this experience I just ignore straps on my trekking poles. :)

8:17 a.m. on October 19, 2015 (EDT)
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Have you ever heard or seen any strong evidence concerning injuries with the straps for trekking poles?

No - but I haven't been looking. My guess is that samples are so small there hasn't been any systemic study on that issue. My instinct, personal practice and recommendation is to remove straps when descending challenging terrain. Last weekend, I had a classic, New England descent of South Moat mountain. Wet, slippery granite on a fall-line trail. On several occasions, I had to toss my poles to the side when my feet flew out from under me! I could easily imagine a scenario where such a slip could result in a wrist strain.

7:34 a.m. on October 20, 2015 (EDT)
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I've always been of similar thought Seth, keeping my hands free of the straps so I can toss them aside if needed. Then this year I spent some time using them just to see why proponents are so vocal about the benefits. So far I've been lucky on the couple of slips I've had with no injury. Thinking the reward might be worth the risk, though tearing off a hand would probably make me rethink that.

11:59 a.m. on November 7, 2015 (EST)
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In reply to Bill S. I fell in September with a pole strapped around my right wrist. Yes it broke both the radius and ulna in my lower arm and dislocated my wrist. I had to be flown home and am now held together with internal wires after a full surgical operation. I have been in a cast for 6 weeks and gather it will take up to a year to get full strength and mobility back. The pole caused me to fall in such a way that I couldn't protect myself and the strap was what caused the break. I hadn't even started hiking and was on an ordinary flat pathway. Be careful of straps! Much better to just use the pole such that you can drop it if you fall.

3:17 p.m. on November 8, 2015 (EST)
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Margaret makes a good point. I have never felt comfortable using straps on hiking poles for this reason. A fall is potentially a problem. I have used straps on x-c and telemark skis for decades, but snow is much more forgiving to fall on.

In Sept I was hiking in Oregon, and there was a low mat growing shrub along the trail a lot of the time. It had short stout branches and I managed to snag a pole basket in one of them. No fall but an awkward step. It is worth it to take the baskets off for hiking when not on snow.

9:46 p.m. on November 8, 2015 (EST)
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Margaret, you say the pole caused you to fall and that you were on an ordinary flat pathway, that you hadn't even started hiking. I am curious about the details of how the pole caused the fall (single pole or two poles in use?), and what the mechanism that triggered the fall:

on an ordinary flat pathway

where you:

hadn't even started hiking

One reason I ask is that Barb and I just did our renewal and certification of Wilderness First Aid, where one of the scenarios was somewhat similar to your description.

ppine, good point about removing the baskets when not needing them for snow or soft surfaces (like bogs and marshes). For "dry land" hiking, we have dedicated poles from which we have removed the baskets. I have had and seen many baskets seized by the "bush gods".

5:38 a.m. on November 9, 2015 (EST)
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The point I was trying to make was that the pole caused the severe damage entailed by the fall not that it actually caused the fall itself. If you fall and in the process the pole gets caught under you (or elsewhere) it pulls on your wrist and can break it. In my case I fell sideways to the right and the pole got caught underneath me. Coincidentally a friend had a similar injury from the strap on her ski pole - luckily she only fractured one bone in her arm and the damage wasn't so bad. As to the cause of the fall I can't be sure - it was very quick and I don't recall slipping, but I was trying to get something out of my jacket pocket at the time so the pole strap was hung round my wrist and not actually in use while I stretched across to the pocket. I may indeed have fallen due to the pole getting entangled with my legs but I'm not sure. All I know for certain is that during the fall it was the pole that broke my wrist. I hope this answers your questions.

June 25, 2016
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