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  1. #1
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    Default Do I really need trekking poles?

    During the last week in February, I did some day hikes in the Rockfish Gap area, between Meadow Mountain south of Reeds Gap (milepost 832.6) to the Wildcat Ridge parking area (milepost 865.8). I have never tried trekking poles, and on these day hikes, I never felt I needed them. Are there other sections of the AT where the need for trekking poles is more obvious?

  2. #2
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    i've never used them but i've only done 5 thru hikes. never thought about them while walkin'

  3. #3

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    It's one of those things where some people love them and others could care less.

    Go pick up a $20-$40 pair at Walmart or a sporting goods store and try them out. See if you like them. Most people I have talked to that tried them have never gone back to not using them.

    Personally, I love mine. Not only for the support they offer while hiking, but also for the dual purpose of being my tent poles.

  4. #4
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    Most hikers, particularly as they get older, appreciate the benefits of hiking poles. SNP is one of the most mellow sections of the AT, so yes, I'd consider them less important there than elsewhere. Not quite a necessity*, but generally quite useful.

    (*Clearly not necessary, as there have been hundreds if not thousands of AT completions without them.)

  5. #5
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    BTW, I finally found those $30 CF trekking poles at my local Costco and nabbed a pair. Someone here at WB posted about them ages ago, but my local Costco didn't have 'em and knew nothing about them. So finally they showed up, out of the blue.

  6. #6
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    Hiking poles are necessary. How else am I gonna hold up my tent?

    Seriously, they are not required but I always hike with them. I can't count how many times they've saved me from falling.

    Studies have shown poles reduce lower body injuries. http://www.cooperinstitute.org/2011/...-a-difference/
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  7. #7
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    You may not, but I sure do now, I was young once a long time ago, not so much now. They have saved me from a face plant or two and my sore knees like them too.

  8. #8

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    Sometimes I get sick of using them so, my suggestion, is to get a lightweight pair. This way you can carry them without adding too much weight to your pack.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    Quote Originally Posted by seattleboatguy View Post
    During the last week in February, I did some day hikes in the Rockfish Gap area, between Meadow Mountain south of Reeds Gap (milepost 832.6) to the Wildcat Ridge parking area (milepost 865.8). I have never tried trekking poles, and on these day hikes, I never felt I needed them. Are there other sections of the AT where the need for trekking poles is more obvious?
    It's worth mentioning that I rarely use trekking poles when I day hike, when I'm just walking without a pack I do quite well without them. On the other hand when I go backpacking I am suddenly strapping an extra 20-40lbs onto my back and throwing off my center of gravity, then I find them to be extremely valuable for keeping pressure off of my knees and helping with my balance.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Ender's Avatar
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    You certainly don't need them unless otherwise instructed by a doctor. I love using them on downhills, uphills they can help a little bit, though on flat ground I feel the actually get in the way and I usually collapse them and carry them on level stretches. That's just me though, YMMV.
    Don't take anything I say seriously... I certainly don't.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    BTW, I finally found those $30 CF trekking poles at my local Costco and nabbed a pair. Someone here at WB posted about them ages ago, but my local Costco didn't have 'em and knew nothing about them. So finally they showed up, out of the blue.
    recently? they were never in my store and they're not on the website..

  12. #12
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    I use them at times to help with balance when carrying big loads. However, I find that I cover distance much more slowly when using hiking poles, and they are impossible if having a dog on leash. Many times here in the Whites I end up throwing them either up down places where as the "Brits" say you are putting hands to rock. Definitely in the way when it becomes "scrambly".
    Everyone has a photographic memory. Not everyone has film.

  13. #13

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    Buy some cheap ones and try them.

    There's no shortage of advice (and all-out wars of words) on the "proper" way to use them, and most people's preferences change over time. I've used them a fair bit and have come to prefer my very light (3.6 oz) MYOG poles, no straps, and like Ender I don't use them on flats, but I use them on downhills for big steps (hops, really) and use them a lot on uphills. I also use them to support my shelters... ZP Duplex and MLD Duomid.

  14. #14
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    Costco puts them on display every spring, along with other seasonal merchandise...

    If you can't find them, they are these....

    https://www.cascademountaintech.com/...les-p/1006.htm

    And, yes, you absolutely must use hiking poles on the AT or you will be cited by the Pole Police. They are also a requirement for summiting Whitney. And, you absolutely must wear the pole loops in case of a fall....

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hillwalker View Post
    I use them at times to help with balance when carrying big loads. However, I find that I cover distance much more slowly when using hiking poles, and they are impossible if having a dog on leash. Many times here in the Whites I end up throwing them either up down places where as the "Brits" say you are putting hands to rock. Definitely in the way when it becomes "scrambly".
    That's a good point... gotta know when to put them away. I've seen people trying to use their poles on really steep stuff where the poles actually made for a dangerous situation.

  16. #16
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    Get a broom and a mop. Turn them upside down and hold them in each hand. Stand on a scale and hold them like trekking poles, resting them on the floor. Don't push, just rest them. Look at the scale. That's one reason why. You're distributing weight with each step. Now imagine ascending and pushing down on those poles. Over the long haul that will no doubt add up. Throw in stability and it seems a good idea to use them.

  17. #17

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    If your just doing casual day hikes, then no, you don't need poles. But at your age (64) if you start doing multi-day or multi-week backpacking trips over more rugged terrain, then you would quickly appreciate hiking poles.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  18. #18
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I use trekking poles. As an older hiker, they help with balance, and sometimes going up steep steps or boulders, they help me pull myself up.

    Last October on the trail covered with leaves, they prevented me numerous times from going down as I slipped on the wet leaves. The one time I didn't use the poles (carried them with one hand as I walked along), I stepped on a rock covered with wet leaves and fell face down into another rock. Got a black eye from that one and cracked my glasses.

  19. #19

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    I found my poles invaluable in Maine and NH with the steep downhill terrain and for balance with the roots and rocks.

  20. #20
    Registered User dhagan's Avatar
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    I thought they looked stupid. Then I used some. Now I look stupid with them every time I go out. They really help my knees.

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