Walking Staff, Trekking Poles, Or Nada

10:12 p.m. on August 14, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

What do you guys think.


Walking Staff

Trekking Pole



10:22 p.m. on August 14, 2009 (EDT)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Depends on what works for you! Some people like the nostalgia of a staff, which I understand. I now prefer two trekking poles for traversing rough terrain. I can get by with just one for day hikes, and sometimes hike with nothing on shorter level trails.

Some kind of support will make life easier on longer hikes, especially in rough terrain. Two trekking poles are the most efficient way to transfer some of the strain away from your back and legs, and to offer balance.

12:12 a.m. on August 15, 2009 (EDT)
235 reviewer rep
649 forum posts

My self I use one but its really up to you.

Also you should look at previous topic list this has already been a lengthy discussion and you may find some good info there too.

2:00 p.m. on August 15, 2009 (EDT)
82 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

As those before me have shared it is a personel choice.Due to ageing process,knee problems,i always use trekking poles at this point in my life.On rough terrain and steep descents they help save what remains of my knees.If they had been around when in my twentys maybe my knees would still be good.

5:33 a.m. on August 16, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

Thanks again for the veterans!!

Will do @ Mike

4:59 p.m. on August 16, 2009 (EDT)
848 reviewer rep
3,901 forum posts

Two trekking poles.

6:11 p.m. on August 16, 2009 (EDT)
54 reviewer rep
246 forum posts

I went from none to one sturdy staff to two carbon poles. I can't imagine going back to no poles, but there are some trips I think the single staff would be worth the extra weight for the sturdy factor. I do love my new carbon poles, though!

9:03 p.m. on August 16, 2009 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,248 forum posts

I personably dont own any hiking staffs, but often when on different hikes will find a suitable stick to use in helping in river crossings, steep mountainside walking and other needs, only to toss it back in the woods when I no longer need it.

7:50 a.m. on August 17, 2009 (EDT)
85 reviewer rep
168 forum posts

I've used a staff for decades and still have a very nice hickory staff from Brazos Sticks. I keep it in the trunk of the car; it is always there for casual day hikes etc. But for backpacking, even of fairly light loads, I have gone to trekking poles. What a difference it makes at the end of the day. In part, there is the weight transfer from legs to upper body. But I have come to think that some of the energy savings has as much to do with balance as anything. I use my leg muscles a lot less for resisting side-to-side sway on uneven ground, because that goes to the poles.

9:19 p.m. on November 1, 2009 (EST)
3 reviewer rep
11 forum posts

This is my first reply on trailspace since i joined. I am a hiker/backpacker/camper and competition archer,3-d and bowhunter. I hiked today here in the Wichita mts, in SW Oklahoma. The terrain is rocky with ascending and descending hills. I hike with a staff because i can do more with it like crossing streams,leaning on it when i take a breather,pulling sombody up a step or to and of course keeping critters away, animals and humans etc. there are many more uses than i wrote. Now then the only thing i dislike about trekking poles is that you have to adjust on ascending and descendind and if the locks fail they wont help you much. Both work, you pick em' thank you

10:45 p.m. on November 1, 2009 (EST)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Welcome tony,

Hope you had a good hike, I spent the day organizing camping gear in my new camping shed and working out.

I don't know much about archery, what is 3-d?

See ya' around.

10:55 p.m. on November 1, 2009 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
415 forum posts

My thoughts on poles:

Don't need 'em on hikes of less than 10 miles.

Do need 'em on any kind of backpacking trip.

They are a hassle to deal with if you stop a lot to take pictures.

If you use them, learn proper technique (one stroke for each step, like a cross-country skier). Takes awhile to master but is worth the effort.

Training with them can be problematic: they offer more aerobic rewards because you're moving your upper body as well, but the weight distribution tends to cause your leg muscles to habituate to the presence of poles. If you train with poles, your legs will feel noticeably weaker if you hike without them.

Don't think I've used mine in over 2 years, now that I think of it.

1:29 p.m. on November 2, 2009 (EST)
141 reviewer rep
218 forum posts

I use trekking poles on most hikes. They help in many situations, especially in hilly and mountains areas (more on downhill than uphill), or in areas with lose rock that can make you lose your footing.

9:04 p.m. on November 2, 2009 (EST)
403 reviewer rep
185 forum posts

I am a firm believer in trekking poles for long hikes. When used in pairs they help with stability on rough terrain and river crossings, when used properly take a load off the legs, and are much lighter and more comfortable than walking sticks. Plus when you get tired of using them, the trekking poles collapse for stowaway inside or outside of your pack, which is impossible with a walking stick. Plus if your a minimalist you can use them to turn your tarp into a tent.

8:32 p.m. on November 3, 2009 (EST)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

I have a pair of Lekis I have used for snowshoeing or now, BC skiing. I have used them hiking and wish I had them years ago in NZ for river crossings. I wouldn't judge the need by miles, but by the terrain and how much you are carrying.

One bad step, regardless of how far you've gone and you could tear up an ankle or fall hard. Poles will help prevent that.

12:55 a.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
880 reviewer rep
301 forum posts

FWIW, I use just one trekking pole. It gets most of its use poking around looking for snakes, though.

12:19 p.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
3 reviewer rep
11 forum posts

To TroutHunter

3d archery is tournament archery where the targets are lifelike animal targets like the ones you see at cabelas and hunthing stores. each animal has scoring rings in the vital area. There are different classes for each skill levels from begginner to pro. 3D archery was designed to make you a better bowhunter. It has taken off to international level also. What makes 3d unique is that all classes shoot from thier respective stakes and the distance from the stake to the target is unknown! you have to judge the distance! IT is fun for the whole family.Me and my wife took home world championship gold belt buckles this year.we shoot in a amareur asossiation. Go to your local archery store and ask about it as there are archery clubs in everystate and you can log onto archerytalk. I have to warn everybody that 3d archery is an ADDICTION!! have fun. texas tony

6:19 p.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Thanks for the explanation tony.

I used to shoot '5 Stand' a lot, it's a form of skeet shooting.

One thing I wanted to mention but forgot, some company makes a camera attachment for the tip (dirty end) of a trekking pole so that you can hold the camera away from yourself and shoot video like Survivorman does.

Can anyone tell me the name of the company or product?


7:28 p.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
848 reviewer rep
3,901 forum posts

Leki, Komperdell, and Tracks all make trekking poles with camera mount features. But I don't know if one of them also makes the attachment you're referring to.

Hopefully another community member will have the answer and chime in.

8:04 p.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
43 forum posts

I believe it is called the stick-pic.

It fits on the tip and faces the camera back toward you.


9:09 p.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts

Leki, Komperdell, and Tracks all make trekking poles with camera mount features.

These are called monopods. I have one from Leki (3-section) and have used it on various treks as the second pole. It takes the standard baskets for hiking and powder. They are also made by the major tripod manufacturers (Gitzo, Manfroto, etc), though those are not as good for hiking pole use.

The best of the body-mounted supports are made by SteadyCam and GlideCam.

10:00 p.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Thanks guys,

I was thinking of the Stick Pic, thanks Elder, I would also be interested in something nicer. I'll check out those leads.

I hope to document a trip this winter and post it on YouTube. I taped a trip a few years ago but lost the video during a move to a new house.

One reason I've always respected Les Stroud, doing a tough trip is hard enough, much less filming it yourself. I have a lot to learn, especially in areas with lots of moisture / rain, but I'm sure I'll figure it out with some help.

Mostly I just want to let my extended family see what I get so exited about, some of them don't understand why anyone would want to go hiking and sleep in the woods. If other people enjoy it, great.

The last one was funny in spots, mostly because I am no pro, people laughed at it a lot. I tripped and said a couple bad words, Gotta watch those roots when filming and walking at the same time!

1:02 a.m. on November 8, 2009 (EST)
2,093 reviewer rep
295 forum posts

How old is the hiker

What is the hiker's physical condition

What is the terrain

What are the preferences

For me... I would be foolish to hike without them now...but I am no spring chicken--and not the skinny, fit kid I once was (sigh)---I have even converted my husband who razed me for several years-- until he tried them :)

7:13 p.m. on November 8, 2009 (EST)
5 reviewer rep
39 forum posts

..got two poles collecting dust in a closet for the past couple years. These were given to me as a present (which I did not ask for), and seem silly to me, as well as "hiking staffs." It's one more piece of gear.. though it's neat to incorporate them into tent design, I rather have dedicated tent poles, since I am not a fan of toteing "sticks" in my hands all day.

7:30 p.m. on November 8, 2009 (EST)
21 reviewer rep
9 forum posts

I'm on the fence about picking some poles up. I have pretty strong legs, so I don't find myself wanting the poles for this. They also seem like they'd be a hassle for the times where you don't want/need them, especially steep uphill sections. I like to have free hands for falls, etc. However they seem useful for geneal balance and assisting with more treacherous flatter or downhill portions of the trail. My friend used some sticks as poles during his lack long hike, and really liked the load they took off his legs. He's trying to recruit me.

10:02 p.m. on November 8, 2009 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
17 forum posts

I have a hand carved hiking staff. It has saved me from falling in while crossing streams more than once. I like to have one hand free so the staff works great for me.

11:40 p.m. on November 8, 2009 (EST)
24 reviewer rep
41 forum posts

For the casual hiker on level ground, probably six of one/half dozen of the other. But, if you're planning on strapping 45-60 lbs on your back and pounding ground in mountains for a few days, pair of hiking poles is the ticket. I''ve done most of my trips in mtns of north GA, SE tennessee, and western NC over the past 12-13 yrs and for the first few yrs. used nothing - got a pair of MSR poles about 8 yrs ago and boy-howdy, didn't know what i'd been missing. I have a Dana Terraplane that rides like a dream and didn't think anything could make trips much sweeter, I was WRONG - the poles did for sure. The balance, the surefootedness, portion of the leg-work transfered to upperbody (great for triceps) - I don't leave home without them. My affinity for them is not borne out of poor conditioning, nursing bad knees, or supplementing leg strength etc. - the things just flat out work. Concerning the post about having to adjust them, this just isn't an issue. On level or rolling ridge-top or level basin terrain, set em and forget em - for a long lead or spur, you can let them out a bit for the downhill trip or retract a bit for the uphill trip - takes about 15 seconds. If you cycle, consider this analogy; going without poles would be like reverting to a single-speed mtn bike. (that may be stretching a bit, but not much). Cheers!

12:43 a.m. on November 9, 2009 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
10 forum posts

I have the Black Diamond poles and love it. I was initially against the idea of having any kind of support and all that but frankly it is really a good tool to have on your hikes, I use it a lot where some parts of the trail are covered with snow just to dig in to see if it lands right and the soil dosen't give way. Saved me also from stepping into places that would not support me.

10:32 a.m. on November 10, 2009 (EST)
4 reviewer rep
11 forum posts

For years I used a five-foot staff, mostly to protect my bum knee. Now I have two bum knees, and I carry, but do not often use, a pair of hiking poles. If either knee gives out, I get the poles out, usually late in the day or going downhill. I probably go staffless now so that I can grab onto stuff to keep my balance, which is not what it once was. (I am an old s--t, you see.) When I have my wrists through those straps, I feel clumsy grabbing for handholds. I also think that falling with those poles might be a wonderful way to disjoint a shoulder. Recently I tore a calf muscle hiking, though, and I was very glad to have them on my pack.

10:47 a.m. on November 11, 2009 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
43 forum posts

Cardigan, learn to use the straps correctly, from below, like skiing.

Do not 'reach through'. That is how you get trapped, break thumbs.

Use them correctly, you might not reach the "give out' point.

June 18, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Marmot Precip Pants? Newer: Staking/Anchoring a Tent in Winter
All forums: Older: Training Regimen? Newer: North Carolina hike advice needed