Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Pros and Cons of Trekking Poles

I tried out a bunch of new gear on my Beaver Brook hike last Saturday, including new boots, a camelback and a pair of trekking poles. Yes, trekking poles. The guy at REI said all the employees had gotten some as a Christmas gift, and after he tried them once he loved them. So I figured I'd give them a shot.

  1. They definitely provided extra stability on uneven areas, like having four feet.
  2. They spread the workout to my upper body. I'd never felt a hike in my shoulders before.
  3. Building on that last one, they definitely reduced the impact on my knees, especially in some of the stretches where I was doing more downhill climbing.
  4. They let me test rocks that could have been unstable with something other than my foot.
  1. The grips irritated the skin between my thumbs and index fingers. Not to the point that they blistered, but it was still annoying.
  2. It was awkward trying to do anything else with my hands -- eat a Clif bar, take a picture, etc.
  3. I found myself looking down at where I was putting the poles way too much instead of enjoying the scenery.
  4. And of course, I felt like a dork.
So after one use I'd say the jury is still out. Some of the cons may go away as I get more comfortable with them. Stay tuned.

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