View Full Version : I can't believe I bought a...
I've just got back from a week in Scotland and the Lake District, a reward to the family for letting me do my Bushcraft course 3 weeks earlier! You married chaps will know how it works! :-D
During the week my knee started to play up when making descents, so at my wife's insistence I bought a cheap trek pole for £10, having taken my usual assortment of hazel and ash sticks out of the car to make room for the luggage. My wife has been using a trek pole one for some time as it helps her back problem when hill walking.
I have to say it was a great help, my knee is now fine again.
I think I prefer the feel of a natural stick, but the adjustability and different tips etc seem to make the trrek pole worth having.
Anyone else a fan?
Yes, me too. I never believed in these things until I had a complete energy-dump while bivvy-ing out for a few days on top of the Cairngorm plateau a couple of years ago. Borrowed a pair on trek poles and they saved the day!
Now I always carry my pair when out on the hills. They really take the load off the knees, especially when carrying a full rucsac, and generally help stability in all sorts of conditions (river crossing, snow, wet rock etc. etc.) Being collapsible they can easily be strapped to the ruc out of the way for scrambling or travelling in a vehicle or extended as an improvised tent-pole for my hoochie. Beats the traditional hand-shaped walking stick/alpenstock in everything but image!
So get some, you’ll might look like a sad old f***, but your knees will bless you for it!
My mum bought me one for my 29th birthday 1/2 doz years ago and I thought "what a cheek I'm not that old and decrepit". It was one of the best presents that I have had. As a keen hillwalker I found it great on descents for the Knees and good for additional stability.
I also use it as a pole for my poncho bivvy - either fully extended and put in the hood to create a sort of tepee or at one end to give me a sloping ridge arangement with some para cord.
Haven't brought myself to buy another one for walking - seems like overkill to me, but I did buy my daughter one so I could use it for making a bigger ridge bivvy when we are out. She loves sitting under it while I make a brew for us.
Great dual use of walking pole and poncho.
Having a pair of dogdey knees, not to mention ankles, at times, I'm a definite fan.
Small, lightweight (the poles, not me), they help with walking and holding tarps. Also useful for handing stuff across small ravines.
I bought a Kola a few years ago (cost a bit) which I was very happy with. Until I lost it decorating the house. It'll turn up someday. I hope...
With the trip to Dartmoor planned, I bought a cheap-and-cheerful £9.99 one from the Innovations catalogue. It's got a shock absorber!
Didn't absorb my shock however when Womble asked me if it did and I said 'No, its a cheep one I paid a tenner for' and promptly sank as it compressed! :lol:
after 8 months in the outdoors and carefully looking at what each person used especially where to cut corners.
i noticed many used poles!
i have to say i really hurt my knee, in potholes the knee bent the wrong way, that's three seperate occasions :o\: :yikes: !
during ice climbing i found using the axe as a walking pole when others had them stowed actually saved me from several falls!
if someone could invent a walking pole with an axe type "T" grip i would definately use one.
plus they are a bonus bivi pole!
there is an issue with personal ego that i have to deal with first, somehow it feels that if i start using a pole i have to join the ramblers and wear red stockings, with cord breaches!
and I'm only 31! :cry:
Hey, I'm only 35! And I own 2!
I just see it as a tool to make my life easier. I'd rather be able to walk down the mountain by myself than be vain and end up wishing I'd not worried about what I look like! :lol:
And yes, they are great for an extra bivi pole, holding a poncho 'porch' up, passing things across gaps, knocking your hat out of a tree, knoking apples out of trees...
holding low branches out of the way when passing under them...
I have mixed feelings about them.
They are great when going up and down hills :-P
But I hate having my hands "tied" up :cry:
On balance though they do save a lot of damage to the old knees.
After using a friend's walking pole on a few occasions I eventually bought the same model, the "Wanderfreund," I believe it is. The open triangle grip is the closest I have found to a traditional cleft stick and quite comfortable.
I never find it essential - it spends as much time strapped to the pack as it does in my hand - but many's the time on Welsh hills when I've been glad of the stability and, especially, the support for my dodgy knee.
But I still can't envisage ever walking "Nordic style" with two of them. That's not walking, it's just exercise.
Yep - another man with shot knees here too. I can get up OK, but on a couple of walks, had a knee give out halfway down from one of the lakeland tops - after needing six hours to complete the descent, I bought a spring loaded pole by leki. It helped me recover, and now I always carry one in the hills. Surprisingly tough poles, good with a tarp, the only snag is that the rest of the family keep borrowing it, so my knees still end up crocked at the end of the day !
BTW, leki do several models with a T handle that would feel similar in the hand to an ice axe if that's preferred - or just get a long shafted walking axe - long axes are very much cheaper than ice climbing tools.
Many of the trek poles have their handles fixed by screws - you could always change the handle for a homemade one to your own specification :idea:
One other area where they come in very handy is in Welsh bogs or snow fields.
You can use them to find firm/safe ground...
My Kola has saved me from a few snow covered holes and such like...
Yep, it's for the knee's.
I sp[end more time hiking than bushcrafting, actually the bushrafting is something I do when I arrived at night after a day of hiking. My problem was always pain in my knee’s after a day or so walking with a heavy pack in the mountains of hill’s. I also felt much to young to walk with a stick.
Once in France we had do decent a very slippery path down a steep hill and I cut myself a stick for extra balance. It worked, I did not slip of fall, and made it down even quicker than my mates who where helped by gravity in an rather uncontrolled manner.
Since we had to clime and decent the next hill to, I kept my pole and actually never let it go for the rest of the trip. What a relief! You have to get used to it but for me, I got it right in a matter of minutes. I admit, that I had muscle ache in my lower arms after a day or so but that was manly from the constant force of my fingers gripping the pole. It was a plane stick, no handle and no wrist strap, to ease the grip.
When I got home I bought a real pair of Leki, half the weight much stiffer and a good grip. I use them every time now whenever I head into the mountains of hills and have to carry a load.
Good sensible attitude.
Better to not be vain now and admit it helps you than regret it later in life when you realise if you'd just given in and used one you'd still be able to hill-walk now you're 80.
And no that is not a dig or anything at anyone who wants to use one but feels they're too young. In my mind you're never too young...
Just my own personal view. :-)
I used to own two cheap poles, and was quite happy with them. However, since getting my ash thumbstick I've used them less and the real stick more. I can't imagine walking woods without my stick anymore, but that hasn't stopped me walking off from a location and leaving it a couple of times...
i used to know a guy who always used his trekking poles in a rowing sort of fashion, best calculated to skewer other walker's eyeballs and low flying seagulls. so we used to call them seagull-sticks! :o):
i used a borrowed pair to great effect on this walk, i was still crippled though, not as fit as i used to be.
Nice to know I'm not alone in finding the thing handy. Quite convenient to strap to the pack when not needed. I still prefer the look and feel of a natural stick though - theres a nice piece of ash in the shed seasoning ready for the coming shooting season and all the beating I seem to do.
I agree Dave.
I normally have a couple of sticks on the go for personnal use and a dozen or so for any beaters that forget thiers during the season.
They're all normally hazle.
Personally, I prefer a shorter stick with a handle at right angles to the shaft, like a walking stick. It's not too long that it gets in the way when going through heavy cover and you can rest on it when waiting for people to stop talking. :twisted: :roll: