Gear posts are often horribly condescending (Hiking in hiking boots? You’re doing it WRONG!) Or, just plain financially inaccessible to most of us. However, I have something to say:
Oh shit, am I really doing a gear post?
Bear with me, people, I would only do this if I had something truly legit I felt would actually improve your situation. Trekking poles are everything. I had no idea and I confess for a long time I actually found that constant click-clacking over the sounds of beautiful nature annoying. That is, until I got my own. Now when I see photos of people hiking and not using them, I want to gently suggest to them in a shaking-them-by-the-shoulders and yelling-through-clenched-teeth sort of way: Get Trekking Poles.
I’m looking at all of you, but big bodied babes, I’m extra looking at you.
This is a lot of drama, but they changed the whole game for me.
My angel girlfriend got some for me last Christmas and I was an instant convert. (Yeah, I’ve waited way too long to write this post…) I tried them out for the first time on a trail I knew well, and though I was awkward with them at first, I quickly found out what makes them so important. Ever crossed a creek and wished you had something to hold onto? Tired of feeling like you are about to topple over on a big descent? Are your knees getting too tired, too soon on ascents? Trekking poles help with all of this and more. They redistribute your center of gravity and take the weight off of places that tend to buckle under pressure. They also just plain help you keep your balance, make your steps more even and may increase your speed. You will likely go longer and harder! Plus, you can rest on them when you need a break.
I don’t know the first thing about what you should buy, how much to spend, or what’s best for what. There are tons of articles already out there that do just that and you know how to make a Google work. I will say this, cost does not equal quality, BUT I do feel like it is better to buy the thing that sounds best for you even if it costs more money. You’ll likely have it longer, use it more and replacing something that didn’t work well enough is always more expensive than just buying the right thing the first time. I would also think about the weight of the poles and how the handles feel and then imagine being really sweaty while using them. A plastic or rubber handle would likely be slippery and uncomfortable.
I use the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles. They are not cheap, around $160, though my girlfriend got them on sale for nearly half off. I love them! My favorite part is the cork handles, which wick away sweat and don’t get hot or cold in extreme temperatures. They’re lightweight (though by far not the lightest available) and easily adjustable, which is important because some people like them a little shorter going up and longer going down. They also fold down small enough to stick in a pack or easily store away when not in use. You do have to change the tips from time to time, though I’ve had mine for about seven months now and haven’t had to yet.
They won’t make you look any cooler, but I find the more outdoorsy I get, the less I give a fuck about how I look. (Until picture time…)
Shoot me a comment or message if you take me up on this. I’d love to hear your story!
You’re welcome in advance.
P.S. Someone start paying me money to do this, ok?