Published at Tuesday, March 05th, 2019 - 08:32:23 AM. Trekking Poles. By Fantina Jacquot.
In 2002, on day eight of my first-ever thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, I descended to the Nantahala Outdoor Center at mile 138 with a deflated spirit, a crushingly heavy pack, shin splints, and inflamed iliotibial bands. That afternoon, I shipped home a box of unnecessary gear, ate a cheeseburger, and traded the tree branches I’d been crutching on since day four for a new pair of Leki trekking poles. Trekking poles transfer load from legs to arms, helping to avoid injury and fatigue, and they were vital on my journey to Maine. The additional points of contact add stability on slippery or unstable surfaces, and on long trips they can even be used as tent poles with some backpacking shelters. I’ve brought a pair on every trip I’ve taken since that first Appalachian Trail journey, including expeditions that lasted months and covered thousands of miles.
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
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