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RE: [at-l] Hiking Poles/Sticks

Lynn wrote:
** are two poles *really* better than one?

** is a regular, ole, wooden stick not as good as a hi-tech hiking pole?

** is there anything to think about concerning the difference in handles?
Wrist straps?  Other features?

Seems that everyone else has beaten this to death already, but I'll chime in
from lurker-hood anyway.

Keep in mind that carrying poles of any type *does* increase your total
energy budget.  They do have weight which you're constantly picking up and
setting down, which requires work.  However, if you use the poles properly,
they make the rest of your work so much more efficient that they more than
pay for their cost.  The key is to use them in such a way that they pay for

I suppose everyone has a different style, but as for me, my two poles carry
a *lot* of my weight, especially on hills (up and down).  In fact, most of
the time I use them in such a way that if one of them magically disappeared
as I was walking, I'd almost certainly fall over.  (Maybe not on the flats,
but definitely on hills!)  I use the wrist straps to really lean on the
poles and let them take strain off my knees.  Wrist straps are absolutely
vital, because there's no way you'd want to bear all that weight all day
just via the strength of your grip.  The straps transfer your weight from
your wrists and palms directly to the poles, so that you don't really even
have to hold on with your fingers except to keep the poles from flopping

Other people tend to favor a less aggressive approach to pole use.  That's
fine, but remember that however you use them, they must pay for themselves.
Otherwise, leave 'em at home.  I question whether just tapping a wooden
staff on the ground every couple of paces will really help very much.  At
least, it never helps me very much.

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