By Margaux Gros. Trekking Poles. Published at Tuesday, December 04th, 2018 - 15:51:07 PM.
Trekking poles come with wrist straps, which when used properly can reduce pressure on the hand and wrist. Personally, I cut mine off for reasons I delve into. Most trekking poles will come with trekking or mud baskets, which are about two inches in diameter. I always remove them. They add weight, tangle in trailside brush, and have no apparent value. Snow baskets are a different story. Without them, poles are nearly useless in unconsolidated snow. With most models, they are a $15 accessory item
I have a stronger opinion about extension grips, which sit below the primary hand grip. For easy trails, they’re not critical. But when hiking on steep grades, trails filled with obstacles (rocks, roots, big stairs), and off-trail terrain, they offer instant height adjustment without touching the locks.
Folding poles pack down really small—to 15 inches, say, versus about 25 inches for telescoping poles—making them ideal for air travel, mixed hikes and scrambles, and trail runs. But they come with trade-offs: The joints always wobble, and the design is usually heavier, resulting in a sacrifice to either weight or strength.
A few years back, a friend and I were assembling a gear list to send to a couple of gentlemen joining us for an ascent of Mt. Whitney. He and I had both been up many a mountain, but the other two were inexperienced climbers, so we were taking pains to make the list exhaustive. At one point during a review, I realized we had not put hiking poles on the list. When I pointed this out to my climbing buddy, he replied: ”I guess I took that for granted. Hiking without poles is like hiking without whiskey.”
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