Sunday, September 12, 2010
Trekking Poles Revisited
Few are those who haven't at least heard of the advantages of trekking poles. The short version is this: You are better balanced, and that means easier walking with less energy required and fewer injuries. You may be taking a few pounds off your hips and shoulders. But are you maximizing the use of your poles? First, I suggest avoiding the straight grip. An ergonomic grip on your poles will be more comfortable, and your hands will be less tired. Some hikers with arthritic hands, as you might anticipate, report less pain with ergonomic grips. Second, be sure your poles have wide, comfortable wrist straps, and use them correctly, and use them all the time. In case you aren't sure: Put your hands up from the bottom of the wrist loops, up through the loops of the straps, and then settle the straps comfortably around your wrists. Snug them up--but not too up. Tight straps cut off blood and comfort, and too loose the straps do not work nearly as well as snug-fitting straps. The straps will take a lot of additional stress off your hands. Finally, you might possibly get an even easier "ride" with poles that have shock absorbers. But, yep, all the extras bump up the retail price quite a chunk. For more info: www.rei.com/expertadvice.