When it comes to hiking sticks, everyone has a different opinion. There are some hikers who do not go anywhere without their hiking sticks or trekking poles. On the other hand, some people consider these sticks to be an extra burden. However, there are a number of benefits of going on a hike with hiking sticks, especially for people who are suffering from knee issues or joint issues.
Many people who suffer from some knee problems like to take these sticks with them on hiking trips as these sticks allow them to enjoy their trip without worrying too much about their knee problems. There are some benefits of using hiking sticks on a trail, even if you are completely healthy.
One of the biggest benefits of hiking sticks, especially if you have two sticks with you is that you get two extra legs that provide more stability. Stability is extremely important when you are on a hiking trail. You want to be completely stable when you are crossing streams on stones and other such things where you can easily lose your balance.
It’s not easy to change shoes every few hours in the middle of the hike as you would want to keep your shoes completely dry. In such a case, hiking sticks offer you an extra pair of legs that help in maintaining balance which lets you maintain your momentum when you are crossing streams.
These sticks also keep you safe as when you have extra stability, you are less likely to twist your knee and ankle as your arms also bear some of your weight and everything is not on your feet. These sticks help in distributing the shock of each step you take which an absence of any stick goes directly to the knees. These sticks also help you in keeping upright when you are carrying a lot of weight. Similarly, these sticks help in distributing your weight confidently when you are going downhill on a steep decline.
These sticks also have some unexpected benefits. For instance, these can be used for probing the depth on a stream or crossing in a marshy area. Similarly, these can be creatively used as a makeshift tripod for taking photographs. You can also lean on these sticks for taking rest, or you can use these sticks to push yourself up when you are going up the hill.
It is important to hold the sticks properly to get optimum benefit. In simple terms, you need to use the straps that are attached to the handles of the hiking sticks. These straps allow you to hold onto the stick lightly. If you are forced to have a vice-like grip on the montem trekking poles, you will use a lot of energy in keeping that grip without the straps.
To take complete advantage of the straps, you need to place your hand through the looping strap with your fingers upright, and your palm was facing forward. Make sure that your wrist is resting on the strap and your fingers can easily grip the stick. It works similar to the ski poles used for cross-country skiing.
Once you have properly gripped the stick, it is important that you take a few steps to establish a rhythm with your arms as well as legs before you go hiking. This will ensure that you are using the stick properly. Ideally, one leg and one stick should hit the ground at the same time, preferably opposite sides.
While there are some advantages of these sticks, there are also some drawbacks. One of the biggest drawbacks is that you need to carry extra weight, and you do not get to keep your hands free. Similarly, you have to make extra effort as your arms are also working. Sometimes, it can be especially cumbersome with the lack of free hands especially when you need to hold onto rocks and trees.
If the sticks are not used carefully, these might also get caught in grooves or dense vegetation or fallen trees. If you have a hiking partner, you might also poke your partner with the hiking sticks inadvertently. Also, if you are walking on a hard surface such as a pavement or granite, these sticks make loud noises. These sticks may also destroy vegetation if you’re walking on a narrow trail as you will need to use more room for hiking.
Overall, there are some advantages as well as drawbacks of hiking sticks, but the benefits greatly outnumber the disadvantages. Ultimately, it depends on your comfort levels and your particular hiking situation. There are some hikers and backpackers who do not like to use hiking sticks, and there are others who are of the opinion that hiking sticks enhance the overall outdoor experience. Ultimately, the goal of a hike is to enjoy the nature and hiking sticks just make it easier.