I’ve found them invaluable for balance on long hikes. Especially when fatigue sets in. Too much risk of a fall and sprains!Slightly off topic but do users have an opinion as to whether they make a difference walking? I can see them helping on long descents but do they actually help with trudge walking? I like to have my hands free walking but if they result in less effort walking or something I'd be interested.
Appreciate you taking the time with your reply. You make a good case for using hiking poles based your experiences, and your video clip confirmed that I had been using mine correctly, so no problems there - plus it seems we do agree on dispensing with the poles on steep climbing sections in favour of using hands.........
and we felt more confident just using our hands on steep / rocky ascents. On steeper descents you can find yourself bending over forwards a little too much when placing the poles out in front (even if they're fully extended) - we felt more comfortable keeping our balance if we stayed more upright
My experience is the opposite. I find them ideal and a boon on steep and rocky ascents and descents. However I do not use the poles like you describe and suspect you maybe reaching too far forward with them.. My torso remains vertical and I do not reach forward. Reaching forward would actually be very dangerous on steep trails if you slipped.
Plus if using my larger backpack I might have 14-20kg on my back and bending forward would make one me very tired.
If it an especially steep section that I have to actually climb, rather than step, then the poles go on the loops for that section.
I've read or heard they can help you cover more ground faster. That is, you can increase your pace a bit without expending a lot more energy. I'm assuming that would involve using the poles to help propel yourself forward so using arm strength along with leg power. But that may all be marketing!I’ve found them invaluable for balance on long hikes. Especially when fatigue sets in. Too much risk of a fall and sprains!
I've read or heard they can help you cover more ground faster. That is, you can increase your pace a bit without expending a lot more energy. I'm assuming that would involve using the poles to help propel yourself forward so using arm strength along with leg power. But that may all be marketing!
If people are doing that then they are using the poles incorrectly.It doesn't seem we will agree regarding steep descents, though. People generally have their hiking poles adjusted to a comfortable length for their height and nobody wants to stop and re-adjust them on the go when the terrain is variable.
For me, if the landing spot is 6 or 8 or even 10 inches below my feet that means that it's near inevitable that I need to bend forward to plant the poles so my preference is to squat slightly and use my hands to to steady myself to the sides.
I do understand your point and preference here. However I personally will go with improved safety and comfort during the walk. I also now use my mobile phone (image quality has vastly improved) alone for many hikes. Rare are the days now, when like my first trip to Nepal where I lugged around 2kg of camera and lenses, that I will even take my DLSR (It was film back then).Generally I much prefer to have my hands free rather than have them holding poles - much of the time when walking/trekking I have my DSLR in hand ready for whatever wildlife shots (or candid shots of Mrs V) might present themselves at short notice (the lens makes it awkward to have the camera bouncing around my neck).
We finished the Path of the Gods walk with the steps straight down to Positano (our BnB was located almost directly below as we were about a 10/15 minute walk out of Positano). From memory it was about an hour of constant steps.FWIW, at age 65 I did manage the Path of the Gods last year virtually unscathed, sans poles, although I did save my knees by not doing the 1700-odd steps up from Positano.
I have not had sea-lions, but have found them useful for dogs, snakes, swooping birds and a bull (I was on a hike in the Cotswolds and he was an unwelcome surprise!).I use mine for balance as I have a peripheral neuropathy and spinal canal stenosis which certainly affect my balance.
I also shorten or lengthen the pole when going up or down.really is very easy just turn it one way to loosen,change length then turn back to tighten.Second nature for me as well.I also appreciate not bending my back.
When in South Georgia the poles were also effective against sea lions or seals that decided to charge.
I am sorry that you have taken offense as my advice was only well intended, but advocating that people should not adjust their walking poles for going up and down steep paths is simply not how the they should be used. You may not be a doofus , but you are advocating incorrect usage of walking poles.Clearly you have firm opinions, but I don't need to be lectured to any further because I am not a doofus.
Why would you even take it that way? The context was about strain on the knees when hiking and not on boasting about walking prowess.As if your boorishness knows no bounds, you also made some gratuitous “mine’s bigger than yours” comments suggesting your walk of the Path of the Gods was more arduous than mine