I would still consider myself a novice hiker, but for some reason I’m amassing an impressive amount of hiking gear. One item in my arsenal is a set of Black Diamond collapsible trekking poles.
I never would’ve purchased these on my own. They were purchased for me when I started hiking a few years ago when I thought I was going to hike the West Highland Way (it’s still on my bucket list!).
I did some basic research. Did I want them to be collapsible? Yes. Did I want them to be light-weight? Yes. What kind of grips did I want? Not cork simply because it seems like it would get icky from my sweaty palms. So I walked into REI, looked at what they had, tested out the ease of extending/collapsing a few models/brands, and ended up with these.
As it turns out, trekking poles are EXPENSIVE. Who knew that a stick with a handle could be so pricey? Not a complaint… merely an observation by the previously uninformed.
Honestly, I rarely use my trekking poles. I hate having stuff in my hands while I hike because my hands sweat, so I don’t use them often. However, I’ve been trying to bring them with me, simply because I’d rather have them and not need them than the alternative.
They’ve come in handy for winter hikes. Let’s be real… that snow shifts underfoot, so the peace of mind knowing I have one to two other points contacting the ground as I’m moving is worth it. Also, I let someone borrow them when I hiked Welch-Dickey Loop. My good deed made her hike easier, and I was happy to help!
I didn’t bring trekking poles when I did a sunrise hike on Jefferson and then along the Appalachian Trail over to Washington last year, but, thankfully, my companion had hers. Looking back, I wish I had brought them… I had moments that were a little sketchadoodle on those rocky trails. I have a tendency to fling my arms out for balance, where, honestly, poles would help. However, my companion had hers for that hike. She mostly used them to do little swirlies to catch spiderwebs across the trail before we walked into them. (Note: there are TONS of spiderwebs on the trails before sunrise.)
An unintended use, I’m sure, but useful nonetheless!
A colleague of mine said she likes to have them for water crossings to help with balance on rocks. Seems like a good enough reason!
Do you use trekking poles? If so, why? If not… why not?