At Fit 4 Adventure, we live to hike, whether it’s Utah’s Zion and Bryce Canyons, the Mont Blanc trail system in France, Switzerland and Italy, or the epic Grand Canyon. Just as with any sport, the key to a happy, healthy and memorable hike is ensuring you’ve got the right equipment.
Rhythm for the gait and support for the knees and the limbs are just two reasons why the use of trekking poles is increasing in popularity. The poles offer relief for the knees, especially on longer treks, because the impact and shock of the activity is transferred to four limbs instead of only two.
Often made from lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber, this practical trekking accessory is compact to store, however, not all of poles come with similar features. You should analyze your needs and trekking ambitions to decide on the best set for yourself.
Thinking about packing a pair of trekking poles for your next trip with Fit 4 Adventure? Here are five important features to look for when buying a set.
Telescopic adjustment offers several key benefits that will make trekking that much more enjoying:
Grips that have been shaped to fit in the hand comfortably will make them easier to use over an extended period of time. Harder grips tend to get wet with sweat and can be quite uncomfortable to hold while trekking, especially longer distances.
Poles with extra padding below the handgrip are a plus because you can grasp the pole below the grip on a short uphill climb, instead of taking time to adjust its length.
Trekking poles with built-in shock absorbers are far more effective than standard ones. Anti-shock systems offer a range of settings that can be adjusted depending on the kind of trek being taken and the trekker's preferences.
Anti-shock systems help to absorb the impact that is created when the pole strikes the ground, thereby easing the strain on your shoulders and arms as you walk — especially helpful if you are on a long downhill climb.
Baskets are the round rings on the bottom of the trekking poles. They help trekkers to maintain a “float,” the ability of the poles not to sink into the snow or the ground.
If you are planning to take up snow trekking, choose baskets that are cut out like snowflakes. If you intend to use your trekking poles on soft and muddy ground, choose baskets that are large and solid. It is always advisable to purchase a set of additional set of baskets with your poles.
Trekking poles come with three different styles of tips: single point, chiseled and rubber tipped. A chiseled point is generally considered the best option because it is effective in most settings. It offers traction in almost any terrain, ranging from ice to a paved path.
Rubber tipped poles work best on hard-packed surfaces or boardwalks while a trekking pole with a sharp point is best for icy conditions. In addition, tips made from carbide are generally going to be more useful than aluminum ones, and it is often beneficial to have a rubber tip that can be added or removed depending on the sensitivity of the ground you’re crossing.