Hiking and trekking are popular outdoor activities requiring specialized equipment, including hiking poles and trekking poles. These poles serve as valuable aids during these adventures, providing support, stability, and safety in challenging terrains. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between hiking poles and trekking poles and choose collapsible or telescopic poles for your outdoor pursuits.
Differences between Hiking Poles and Trekking Poles:
- Hiking Poles: Also known as snowshoe poles, hiking poles are designed primarily for climbing mountains at altitudes above 3500 meters. They focus more on providing protection and stability in high-altitude environments characterized by low temperatures, ice, rocks, and challenging terrains.
- Trekking Poles: On the other hand, trekking poles are designed for fitness and safety, suitable for both hiking and protecting the body during outdoor activities. They are ideal for altitudes below 3500 meters and can be used for day hikes and flat terrain walks. Trekking poles are recognized as excellent aerobic exercise and have gained attention from fitness and medical experts.
- Hiking Poles: Hiking poles prioritize strength and support; hence, they are often made of metal alloys, providing enhanced stability. The handles are designed for palm grip, and the wrist straps are simple circular bands. The poles might have internal shock-absorbing springs, but they do not consider features for smooth and hard surfaces like pavements or roads.
- Trekking Poles: Trekking poles are designed with versatility in mind, using materials like carbon fiber composites to make the poles lightweight and durable. The special wrist straps, similar to gloves, enable users to change the direction of force. The bottom tips of trekking poles have metal spikes for walking on snow and mud, while the rubber boot tips ensure slip resistance on smooth surfaces like cement.
- Hiking Poles: The primary usage of hiking poles involves gripping the handles and using the poles to maintain balance by altering the support points during uphill climbs. Hiking poles are not suitable for flat terrain walking, and using only one pole is not recommended.
- Trekking Poles: Trekking poles require the shoulder joints to swing forward and backward to increase the range of motion, thereby enhancing fitness benefits and protection. Users can use a specific walking technique on flat terrain by placing the poles slightly behind the body for additional support. During uphill climbs, the wrist straps play a crucial role in propelling the body forward.
Collapsible vs. Telescopic Poles:
Two-Section Telescopic Poles: Two-section telescopic poles are the sturdiest and best suited for high-intensity activities like snow sports. However, their portability is relatively poor as they cannot be compactly stored, even when minimized. Due to the two-section design, there is considerable overlap between the segments, adding to their weight. In recent years, two-section telescopic poles have become less common due to the influence of lightweight trends.
Three-Section Telescopic Poles: Three-section telescopic poles are the most common design in the market. They are more compact than two-section poles and can be easily strapped to a backpack or placed inside an average-sized suitcase. Though they might be slightly less sturdy than two-section poles, they are still sufficiently durable for most hiking and trekking scenarios.
Collapsible Poles: Collapsible poles have gained popularity recently for being the lightest and most portable option. While they may not be as durable and strong as telescopic poles, they are sufficient for regular hikers and trekkers. Collapsible poles are particularly favored by mountaineers and trail runners due to their compact size and weight. Some collapsible poles do not have adjustable lengths, but their lightweight construction compensates for this drawback.
Selecting the appropriate poles for your outdoor adventures depends on the specific activities you engage in and your personal preferences. Both hiking poles and trekking poles serve essential purposes in supporting your journeys and safeguarding you from potential risks.
While telescopic poles are versatile and can cater to various terrains, collapsible poles offer excellent portability for travelers and adventurers on the go. Consider your intended use, terrain, and preferences to make an informed choice that best complements your outdoor endeavors.