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The argument for a single trekking pole and rubber tips.

I recently ordered a Leki Wanderfreund.  A newer, upgraded model of what I used for years.  It is a cane style T-grip trekking pole.  I thought I was ordering a pair, since the photo on the website showed two poles, but it turns out that only ordered one.  I was hoping to use them on my Friday (yesterday) hike to Forrest Lakes, from the Moffat Tunnel.  Then I started thinking, why not use just one trekking pole.  It's basically a cane and I don't see elderly people with two canes.  One of my big complaints about trekking poles is they tie up my hands so I can't do simple things, like put on Chapstick or eat a Kind bar, without tucking both poles under an arm.  While I'm doing this, I'm not able to use either pole.  With a single pole, I can do simple things with my free hand and still have one pole in use.

So, I went for my hike with a single pole.  Overall, I'd call it a success.  There were times I wish I had two poles and times I wish I didn't have any, but overall, it was a good compromise.

The other thing I don't like about trekking poles is the metallic click, click, click sound invading my peaceful commune with nature.  The Wanderfreund has carbide tips, but it comes with a good rubber trekking tip over it.  It worked pretty well and was much quieter.  At least for now, I plan on keeping the rubber tip on. 

I disagree that a trekking pole is "basically a cane." I have no problem with chapstick or snacks while using two trekking poles.

If you are using the loops correctly, you can easily release the pole (or poles) to grab a snack, handhold, or whatever and still retain control.  Read the directions.  I have used a pole singly for years, but i am contemplating going for two on an upcoming trip.

All the poles I have purchased come standard with a rubber tip, which is quite useful in many situations, as is the bare carbide tip in others.

 A trekking pole is basically a stick, often enhanced with a hand loop at the grip.  It provides a third, or fourth, point of support.  I have used everything from a stick whittled from trailside brush, a mop handle picked up on the beach, to actually spending about forty-five bucks for an adjustable pair.  All did the job.  The prices I have seen for high end poles, up to $200, are just ridiculous.

Randall is using a pole that has a Fritz handle grip, as well the pole shaft grip typical of trekking poles.  Therefore his pole can be used like a walking cane. 

As for rubber tips: I think the metal tip finds purchase on rock surfaces that a rubber tip would tend to glance off.  Rubber tips also wear out quickly on the trails I hike.  I mostly use a staff while on-trail, and only place it when aiding stability, so I am much less bothered by the click than one who places a pole with every foot step.

Many people opt for using a single pole; if it delivers the utility your seek, then it works for you.  Given the description how you use it, I was wondering if you considered a staff?


I agree with those who find two poles better and not a problem to let them hang while doing other things like photography. I have one of those Leki Wanderfreund for decades and only found in useful when I turned my ankle once, used it around town for a week, never in the wilds. I do know of one other person who swears by it though but know of hordes of hikers who use two normal trekking poles. Now I know two who do the Wanderfreund thing. I need serious turbo charging in the terrain we inhabit.

I do agree on the rubber tips and have grown used to using them on all terrain. They don’t tear up and erode the trail like carbide tips do and are quiet. They do wear out but I just buy another set and slide them right on.

I'm leki staff user, I find it helps a lot going up and down.  I have been using the walking staff for long time, I use to use the 1/4 by 20 for my camera but not any anymore.  Going up I'll use both hands on step climbs, maybe not the best but also nice to lean against to rest.  The rubber tip for me is waste of time for me.  In SoCal lots of rocks and the metal tip has held up great.  The little shock at the end help it last a long time.  I have tried using for small fishing pole but didn't catch anything to date.  I was crossing stream 2 years ago and pulled out broken staff that has 50mm snow flake, which I added.  This did help in the rainy season.  The bottom line the sound doesn't bother me, and I feel a staff is safer then a 2 pole set up.

Carbide tips bite nicely into rock.  I like them.

I often see rubber pole tips along the trail after they fall off. 

My kids are so flaky about poles they often discard theirs into my pack so instead I just refuse to give them their own and simply loan them one of mine if they want.  One pole is a pretty good compromise but I prefer the carbide tips, even though they cause more erosion in dirt. 

I have wavered back and forth on the rubber tips...currently not using them much.  I find the carbide tips do work well on rock but there are times the rubber tips work better.  They wear through quickly though.  I tend to carry a set on short (weekend+) trips where weight is less of a factor and throw them on for sections if the "ticking" is bothering me.

To each their own on the single vs double pole choice.  A couple of folks have mentioned safety - I find two poles much safer for me but that is going to be a personal choice based on your gait, legs, speed, terrain, etc.  I tend to eat as I walk (my wife has set a rule that I can't start snacking while we can still see the last nights camp!) and have no trouble doing that with poles.  My injured knees miss the two pole set when I hike with one - a couple of trips ago I broke a pole so had to use one and my knees felt it the next week or two. Sometimes I'll loan a pole to my wife or another companion on a day hike and it limits my flexibility in choosing which side to stabilize as we climb or descend a hill.

In Canyonlands I noticed that my pole tips were scarring the soft sandstone and so I stopped using them when crossing slickrock. Otherwise I like to have a pair of poles with hard tips when carrying a load, but not so much on day hikes and scrambles, when I would rather have mu hands free.

August 3, 2020
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