These days, technology is at its best. Technology designed the ultimate hiking gear and clothing needed for hiking and mountaineering fanatics. In this post, Ballachy, a website that features all sorts of outdoor gears and items, gives us an insight on telescopic poles and why hikers and mountaineers need one.
Why do you actually need telescopic poles, and which one is right for me? Experts in outdoor explorations have put together the most important information for you: Poles make walking safer and more efficient, and the knee joints are relieved on the descent. Poles are standard on tours with heavy luggage, as well as when you are out and about with touring skis or snowshoes. Poles are also very convenient for winter hiking without snowshoes and on high tours, where you walk on rather flat glaciers.
Fortunately, choosing the right stick is not as difficult as choosing a mountain boot, cell phone, or pet. Therefore, the following points to consider are also manageable.
Number of segments
Trekking poles usually have 3 parts. As a result, they can not only be adjusted to the right length but also (pushed together) easily stowed away – for example in luggage or on the outside of a backpack. The latter is ideal when the mountain gets steeper or you take the bus back to the starting point of a hiking tour. Important on buses and trains: the tips point downwards!
2-part touring poles are particularly recommended for ski tours. When carrying bulky skis, it doesn’t matter whether the poles pack away compactly or not.
Logically, 4-part telescopic poles go closer together than 3-part ones – an advantage for transport. In my opinion, that doesn’t justify the additional “fumbling” during use and the (slightly) higher weight.
New types of 3 or 4-part folding poles are interesting for minimalists who value a small pack size and low weight. They (usually) do without the possibility of length adjustment and pay a higher price.
Materials and weight
Gram hunters cannot avoid expensive carbon poles. In my experience, however, they break more quickly than those made of aluminum alloys when subjected to really heavy loads. Of course, not only the material but also the material thickness is relevant in this context. Heavier poles tend to be more stable than lighter ones and better suited for heavier people and expeditions.
Handle and wrist strap
Lightweight foam grips that wrap the top segment are ideal for mountaineering. This allows the poles to be gripped well below the grip on steep terrain. For this purpose, you can also cover the bare pipe yourself with handlebar tape or something similar. wrap. When trekking, it is particularly important that the handle feels good and fits well in the hand. Soft plastics are common, with more expensive models also having cork handles, which is very comfortable. Good sticks have the grips angled slightly forward. A fine hand strap is important that does not pinch or chafe. Otherwise, there will be blisters. If the buckle for adjusting the length is hidden in the handle, this is ideal. A buckle on the back of the hand gets in the way unless you wear gloves that pad everything.
The classic clamping mechanism that sits in the tube is not bad, but it does have weaknesses: the clamp occasionally loosens on its own on tour. On multi-day winter tours with bivouacs, I often had the problem that the clamp didn’t work at all. Most users will be able to handle both. However, the fasteners, which work according to the principle of a quick release on the bicycle seat post, are more reliable. At Leki, for example, this system is called the “Speed Lock System”. As the name suggests, adjusting the length is also much faster.
Conclusion: Do you need a telescopic pole on your next trekking adventure?
Seasoned hikers usually have a single stick-on classic high-altitude tour. However, anyone who is reasonably fit and healthy should not walk with sticks all the time– otherwise, the balance will probably suffer. Summer hikes go well without them, the same applies to walks in the pedestrian zone in Oberstdorf. But it is always nice to have a good telescopic pole in stock to come in handy when needed especially when trekking during the winter months.