Compared to traditionally one-size-fits-all equipment like backpacks and water bottles, there are many more measurements and facets to take into account when buying hiking poles. Pole type, material, length – each aspect is integral to providing support that is optimal for you.
Personally, I used to never use hiking poles. However, after one particularly long trek in which I
quickly became fatigued and unbalanced, I decided to go and find a pair to see if they could help. However, I realized that quality poles from top brands like Black Diamond and Leki could cost upwards of $150. I opted to buy them in lightly-used condition off Rerouted for half the price instead – to put it simply, they worked wonders on hikes. I couldn’t even tell the difference between those and a brand new set. It increased my stamina and stability on uneven surfaces while simultaneously reducing the amount of time I needed to spend resting. It is extremely important to find the right poles, since badly fitted ones can impact joint and muscle movement. Let’s get into covering the specifics!
This seems like a strange question, but many people are actually uncertain if they need hiking poles or not. Even though poles can add some balance and support, sometimes it’s just not enough to justify the price tag or extra weight of carrying them. These are valid concerns – however, it is overwhelmingly recommended that you do use hiking poles, especially on longer trips. It promotes better walking stance, as it enforces the natural arm-swinging walking
stride while also helping deliver power with every step. They also help you rest when you need it, as I often needed to take a quick breather while scaling a particularly mountainous stretch of land. Instead of needing to sit down and break your rhythm entirely, you can lean on the
poles for little breaks at a time to take pressure off your backpack and joints. Your endurance and stamina will noticeably be better too. Ultimately, hiking poles do offer a myriad of benefits to help you the trails you decide to tackle, but they are by no means a prerequisite.
This is the most important aspect to buying hiking poles, new or used. There are actually many different types of poles available, and each is suited to accommodate a specific environment or body type.
Telescoping poles are extremely adaptable and easy to carry, since most models are foldable and can be stashed in backpacks or bags. They are also adjustable for your height, which makes it easier to adjust in correspondence. Generally these extra features make the poles slightly more expensive than the counterparts I’m about to describe, but I think it can be worth the investment. Hiking poles are also nearly indistinguishable from lightly used to new, but buying the former can save tremendous amounts from the retail price.
Non-adjustable poles initially seem inferior to telescoping poles because they are not as easy to pack or carry, but they do have their merits. If you know your measurements well, a nonadjustable pair is a good choice if you don’t want to break the bank on foldable ones. Don’t worry, you won’t be compromising the quality!
Ultralight poles are a great option if you prefer to travel with as little excess weight on you as possible. They feel almost lightless – most sets can weigh under 1 total pound altogether. These will keep you going for long periods of time while still maintaining durability. These can fall under the non adjustable poles category.
Hiking poles are generally made out of either carbon fiber or a type of lightweight aluminum.
Generally, the best option for you depends on the type of hiker you are. If you are willing to pay a little more and want a pair of light poles, carbon fiber is the way to go. But if you want to lean on your poles for support often and don’t want to break the bank, aluminum is the reinforced material you want to opt for. Carbon fiber is best for hiking in less treacherous weather and terrain, while aluminum is the tough material you want when conquering snow or mountains.
An issue that often goes unseen is that hiking poles can actually cause some damage to the environment if used excessively. The poles can break apart the natural formation of dirt and vegetation on trails, and this can cause the land to become more susceptible to wind or water erosion. At Rerouted, we are heavily committed to the environment. We want to use our platform to support the natural Earth around us and do as much as we can to preserve it. Please follow Leave No Trace best practices. Remember not to use hiking poles in easily accessible areas unnecessarily. Try to use rubber tips on the end of your poles, as they do much less damage to the ground.
Now, you know everything you need to go out and buy a pair! If you want to support the environment, invest in a pair of lightly-used poles. They don’t differ in performance from brand-new ones, but they promote reusability and reduce the amount of waste on the planet. Rerouted is a website I personally love to use when buying hiking poles and all other types of outdoor equipment, because the buyer to seller connection is extremely quick and straightforward. A combination of this and the heavily discounted prices on quality gear makes the Rerouted website truly a diamond in the rough for buyers. Enough talking – get out there and see what Mother Nature has to offer!