Travel & Places Outdoors

Trekking Poles Or Walking Stick?

Most people who take hiking seriously know that some sort of aid like a hiking pole is not only helpful, it should be required.
Why? Because something like that can save your life when you're hiking in the backcountry, making your way over rough and rocky terrain, fording deep rivers, or fighting off critters.
But even if you go hiking in relatively sedate and safe areas, a hiking stick is good for other things.
The most important is that it relieves the burden on your back, your calves, your ankles, and your knees.
For many people, that is absolutely critical.
Especially if they have weakened muscle strength, if they're not in the best shape, or they have some sort of nerve damage.
But if you are going to purchase a hiking stick, you might be wondering what's the best.
A brief Internet search reveals that there are a lot of options, a lot of discussions, and a lot of points to consider.
The first thing you need to do is understand the difference between a trekking pole and a walking stick.
Trekking poles look a lot like ski poles, because that's basically what they are.
They have the baskets at the bottom, rubber padded handles, and wrist straps.
They are thin and light-weight, which means they don't add any additional weight to your trek.
You don't want to burn energy on lugging something heavy up a mountain.
They also tend to be strong.
They're retractable, which means you can shrink them down to something that fits in a bag, or you can extend them to something that is almost as tall as you are! But despite the benefits of a trekking pole, it might not be the best answer to your problem.
For one thing, they do cause ecological damage.
That's because the bottoms are sharp points, and they dig into the ground, putting holes in the ground and in vegetation and disturbing the natural ecology.
Another problem is that they are not heavy enough to be used in self-defense.
It is not always likely that you'll be on the wrong side of a wild animal, but it could happen, and if it does, you must be prepared to defend yourself and other people in your party.
A large, heavy stick made from thick, strong wood is always a better weapon that a light-weight aluminum pole.

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