View Full Version : Sold on hiking poles - thanks to you guys!

04-23-2005, 09:16 PM
I had been reading some old posts about hiking poles here. I had always considered aluminum hiking poles some kind of yuppie gimmick. From time to time I had used a wood hiking staff, but I couldn't bring myself to pay good money for a couple of pieces of aluminum.

Well, I recently bought a set of poles from LL Bean with a gift certificate I got as a gift. They are the "Vario HikeLite" poles made for LL Bean by Komperdell of Austria. $50 for the set.

I spent most of the day today exploring a new area that I'm scoping out for a ramble later this year. It's got a lot of very steep hills, with muddy bottoms.

The poles really helped. They made the steep climbs easier, as well as the steep, gravel covered descents. When climbing steep muddy creek banks they were a great help. I didn't slip a single time. They really took the strain off my knees, and made steep muddy areas much easier to traverse.

I used them to deflect briars, poke for snakes, testing how deep mudholes were, etc. Now I don't have to cut poles every night for my parahootch.

If there is anybody out there reading this that has thought about hiking poles, but shied away from trying them because of the cost, or fear that you might look like a yuppie idiot - all I can say is try them. Order from somebody that you can return them if you decide they aren't for you so that way you are covered. But my only regret is that I took so long to try them. I'm sold. They will be with me anytime my pack is on my back.

04-23-2005, 09:26 PM

I, too, have a pair of Komerdells and they've become one of my most used pieces of gear.....really help this geezer's knees, especially on descents and crosssing tundra hummocks w/a pack.


04-24-2005, 12:08 AM
You can also loop the handles together for a variable height bipod

dan garcia
04-24-2005, 01:07 AM
I'm not quite up there in geezerhood yet, only pushing 30, but in army years I guees I'm getting up there. I too was like you guys and though no way, especially since I'm a recreation major in school and fight w/all the tree huggers in my classes anyway. But after a broken leg about 2 years ago I followed the advice of my doc during rehab and tried a set of poles (started out with a set of MSR denali, but upgrading soon). I can't believe I waited so long to us ethis method (not as long as some of you maybe) because after a few 50 milers last summer here's my conlcusion:

Trekking poles= 50-70 dollars
Knee Replacement surgery= 10,000 dollars
Not falling on your ass while ascedning steep slopes with my EMR fully loaded= priceless!!
(and if any tree hugging commies look at me funny I can shove the trekking pole up their..well you get the idea, they have a million and one uses besides just walking/balance)

04-24-2005, 06:42 AM
I agree about the trecking poles they are great! When combined with a gun bearer they are the only way to cover ground in comfort. Dean

04-24-2005, 08:07 AM
Trekking poles are awesome. When you can feel the ache in your arms the next day, you know you've been helping ease the load off your legs. I like that.

And when you're stepping off a boat, nosey reporters get really skittish from afar when they think you've got a speargun in hand, LOL.


dan garcia
04-24-2005, 12:16 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Trekking poles are awesome. When you can feel the ache in your arms the next day, you know you've been helping ease the load off your legs. I like that.
</div></div>Have you tried or do you use the ones with the shock absorbers in them? I don't know if you were serious or oking about the sore arms, but witht he MSR ones I've sued for the last 10 months I really feel it in my arms after about a 10-12 mile day, soon I'll upgrade to something with shock absorbers, they look pretty comfy, I like the to use mine as a spear as often as possible! /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

04-24-2005, 06:55 PM
It's a tradeoff. I use a pair of MSR Overlands during hunting season, but a pair of Lekis with shocks at other times of the year. The Lekis are easier on the arms, but I have yet to find any model with shocks that I consider quiet enough for hunting.

Rusty Hook
04-24-2005, 07:32 PM
Dan, don't bother with the shock absorbers. I agree with the others, they are too noisy and they make your pole set heavier. The rubber cam shaped feet accomplish much the same thing and really quiet the poles down. They also grip much better on rock. If you do not need poles that telescope down, you can save even more weight and money by going to the Nordic Walking or CrossCountry Skiing poles...Rusty.

dan garcia
04-24-2005, 09:05 PM
Think I'll try the one piece instead, I usually use a poncho and bungees if I need rain coverage so I never use the poles for tent support. Where do I get the rubber cam shape feet for the best price out there, anygood tips?

Rusty Hook
04-25-2005, 09:04 AM
Dan, if you order the the Nordic Walking poles, a lot of them come with the rubber feet. Do not confuse these with the rubber knobs or tips. The feet are made for use on cement and pavement and allow you can transmit force to the pole over a much better range of movement than with the carbide or rubber tips. Komperdell had the feet first but Leki makes better ones. If you put them on carbide tipped poles, glue them in place. Otherwise, you will eventually drive the carbide tip through the rubber...Rusty.

04-25-2005, 02:43 PM
Jeez, an old treehugger like me is almost afraid to post on this site, but, good thing I have guns to protect me!!!!! I have been using various types of poles for hiking for over 30 years, since I was pushing 30 and they are a HUGE help, especially in really remote wilderness where you don't have anyone to save your ass if you fall and injure yourself.

My all-time favourites are a pair of 30+ yr. old Kerma Alpine Racing Ski poles and I also use fiberglas Nordic poles; these in winter conditions. I like a long ice axe as a hiking aid, especially crossing mountain creeks, but, I am about to try some Komperdell Ti collapsible ones due to the space factor. I have heard that these are somewhat brittle, anyone tried them in actual field conditions?

dan garcia
04-25-2005, 09:06 PM
Thanks for the tips, I found some of the Leki tips today in a local outdoor shop, only 8 bucks so I threw them on my MSR denalis, but I think I'm still going to upgrade. I got to play w/the Komperdell at the last outdor retail show here in Salt Lake, I think those will be my upgrade poles, besides I let a buddy w/only one eye use my denali's not to long ago and he (pretty heavu too) did a number on them during an extended backpacking trip. But he at least got to get out finally and enjoy the outdoors.

I thougt all Canooks ahd to turn their guns in? Oh, well you're a better man for not doing that, I won't tell anybody, and you're welcome to expend some lead with me anytime you're in utah. I guess if trying to keep the enviromment clean and make it last makes you a tree hugger then I'm guilty. I just get frustrated in the program I'm in at university with some of the guys who go too extreme. I think you have the right idea though, the sooner you start using trekking poles the longer your knees, ankles, and hips hold up= the longer you can get out and hunt, hike, ramble, camp, etc. The best lesson I've gotten in the 12 years i've been in the army is there's a fine line between hardcore and hardheaded, the latter usually end up w/permanent physical ailments or disability that are self inflicted due to their own stupidity.

Rusty Hook
04-26-2005, 09:10 AM
Dan, a possible inexpensive source for Komperdel poles is the Sierra Trading Post. Their on the web...Rusty.

Dale Lindsley
04-26-2005, 01:55 PM
Being a Yuppie Idiot myself, cost has been the only thing keeping me from buying some poles. By "cost" I mean the cost of all the Kifaru equipment that I must have before I get around to buying on trekking poles.

04-26-2005, 03:21 PM
LOL @ Dale

Two of them there hickerrrry sticks and some paracord handle wraps make great poles for the Kifaru addicted.

dan garcia
I went with simple EMS telescoping ones without any shock absorbers. Cheaper and they work just as well for me. I don't feel that ache too often (about the same as you, 10-15 mile days). But last week we were searching monolithic strainers along a river bank and after a full day using the poles to poke for footing or moving brush and really working hard, my arms ached like the dickens.

04-26-2005, 05:31 PM
Catfish,These guys do tend to make you look at some good things, huh? They got me into poles,too. Only I'm too cheap to spend much. Went to sportsmans whse. and found these lite/strong graphite or carbon-fiber type decoy stakes for mine.46 in. long,lighter than golf club shafts and stronger than alum. ski poles. And a arrow target point fits on the end,maybe not as tuff as carbide or as useful as rubber tips but easy to change and works for me. 4 bucks a stake and 2 target tips at a buck, voila, poles at under $10. I didn't even bother with fancy handles, just friction tape.I hunt horseback so they fit in the scabbard with the gun when not in use, no need for mine to be collapsible. And make purty good buffler sticks,too. If you have time to fasten them together with castration bands,they are even better as a rest.

Dan garcia, they may be worth checkin' out for the one piecers. Don

Woods Walker
04-26-2005, 09:05 PM
Catfish. I never got into the pole thing. Felt I might look like one of those powerwalkers with 5 lb's in each hand. But you say they are good? Hummm maybe have to try it.

Rusty Hook
04-27-2005, 08:04 AM
To all: The strain in the arms after a hard day with poles is mostly due to a lack of use. Our legs get used more or less constantly but not so with our arms. At least, not to the same degree. If you do any kind of training, start training with your poles. A pole walk once a day will go a long way toward alievating this condition. Nothing is as tough as hiking in the mountains, so be advised that almost nothing will be a complete cure for this condition...Rusty

04-27-2005, 08:26 AM
...Nothing is as tough as hiking in the mountains...Rusty, my friend, maybe you have not experienced treeplanting in B.C. bush in March with a mattock and bareroot seedlings. Equal fun is fighting a big, hot fire in massive Cedars that go 8ft. on the stump and explode as they burn, this in terrain that is perpendicular.

Believe me, even the toughest hiking is playtime compared to these activities. In fact, it makes a guy desire some of that viniferous potion that you Californians are so good at making, just to "soothe" the battered bod!

04-27-2005, 10:10 AM
Sounds like we have a wildland firefighter in the house? PM inbound!

Rusty Hook
04-27-2005, 11:15 AM
Kut, I was talking about what most normal people can do around home. Many of us are flatlanders...Rusty.