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Going on another hiking adventure? Or maybe you’re a first timer? Whatever your skill level, you’ll know how important it is to get the right gear and to train with that gear as much as possible before your scheduled trip.
The most common thing we see with people embarking on hiking trips for the first time is that they either resist buying the gear they need for as long as possible, or they buy cheap alternatives in the hope they will do the job. What we can tell you is this:
IT IS BETTER TO TRAIN IN YOUR GEAR FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO KNOW HOW IT FITS, HOW IT FEELS AND HOW IT WORKS.
WHY DO I NEED HIKING POLES?
Most first-time hikers think they can get by without hiking poles but they can be your best friend, particularly going downhill; the poles absorb a lot of the impact that your body would otherwise sustain.
Almost everyone that goes long-distance hiking will benefit from the use of poles - even the pros! According to a 1999 study in The Journal of Sports Medicine, hiking poles can reduce comprehensive force on the knees by up to 25%. To put it into context, this 25% reduction translates into literally tonnes of weight that your body will not have to support during the course of your training and your adventure.
Hiking poles are ideal for enhancing your stability and support on all types of terrain and are particularly effective on long, downhill sections. Put simply, hiking poles will save even the fittest of athletes from what can be very serious leg problems and knee injuries.
When choosing hiking poles, your key considerations should be weight, price, shock absorption, shaft construction and the type of grip. Here’s a few practical advantages of choosing the right hiking pole:
• They provide better balance and footing.
• On downhill sections especially, they decrease the amount of stress on your legs and joints.
• On uphill climbs, poles transfer some of your weight from your shoulders, arms and back, which can reduce leg fatigue and add thrust to your ascents.
• They make crossing streams, loose rocks and slippery surfaces easier and safer.
• They help establish a walking rhythm.
• They can push back overhanging vegetation from the trail and probe soggy terrain for holes and boggy spots.
All in all, a set of hiking poles is going to make your experience easier, more comfortable and with less risk of injury. With poles to suit every budget, hiking poles should be a key piece of equipment for all adventurers in their gear packs.