5 Reasons to Hike with Trekking Poles

If you love to hike but have never used trekking poles, you should consider giving them a try. As someone who only recently discovered the magic of hiking with trekking poles, I can understand why you might be apprehensive. Hiking poles aren't just an extra piece of gear you need to carry; these stabilizing sticks offer a number of benefits.

1. Hiking Stability

Trekking poles supply you with two extra points of contact with the ground, adding stability to your hike. This is especially beneficial when hiking on tricky terrain or with a heavy pack. More stability means more safety on the trail, which is always a win-win situation.

2. Weight Distribution

When hiking with trekking poles, some weight is shifted to your arms, giving relief to your knees, ankles and legs. This is most noticeable when hiking uphill and downhill. Pro tip: Most hiking poles are adjustable. To benefit the most from even weight distribution, shorten your trekking poles when hiking uphill and lengthen them when hiking downhill.

hiking with trekking poles

3. Tent Pole Alternative

When backpacking, it's important to keep your pack as light as possible. Some ultralight tents require trekking poles to be used in place of standard tent poles. In other tents, this option is left to the backpacker. Since hiking poles are already on most backpackers' packing lists, using them in place of a few tent poles prevents the need to pack unnecessary weight.

4. Water Crossing Safety

Crossing streams, rivers and other bodies of water puts your balance to the test. These balancing acts are much easier when you can rely on hiking poles to stabilize you. Be sure to check the depth of the water before crossing and adjust your poles if necessary. Trekking poles also make wading through water safer by offering more points of contact with the ground.

hike with trekking poles

5. Pace Assistance

Sometimes it's tempting to rest your arms by holding the straps on your pack as you hike. Using trekking poles forces you to use your arms while hiking, giving you more momentum and making better use of energy. The need to swing your arms and touch your poles to the ground also creates a rhythm, which helps with holding a pace and getting into the hiking zone.

For more information on trekking poles, head to our trekking pole buying guide.
posted by
Lauren Seidl
Blogger at Sierra Trading Post
Lauren enjoys hiking, camping, climbing and exploring the outdoors. She's always up for trying something new, especially if it involves getting outside. When Lauren isn't out finding adventures in her home state of Colorado, she can be found writing as Sierra Trading Post's blogger.
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