Don't break the bank - Trekking Poles
Written by: Flip-Flop
What was my first impression of trekking poles??
I used to think that they were canes for people in the woods, boy was I wrong.
While prepping our gear for our 2018 Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hike, my setup seemed to be missing one common item; trekking poles. So I purchased a pair, simply because everyone kept telling me I “needed them” AND for at least the first 500 miles of our thru-hike, I had no idea how to even use them. My brain was too methodical about using them the “right way”, and I quickly noticed how non-dominant my (left) hand was. It was nice to have something in my hands, and to give my arms something to do all day. Although, It was pretty common to spot me holding my (left) trekking pole and just using my right one for the first few months.
Over time, I discovered that there isn’t any “right way” or “wrong way” to use trekking poles and now two thru-hikes later, they have become an extension of my body and my left hand has finally gotten the hang of it.
Here's the secret tho... you don't have to break the bank to get some good poles while you're just starting out. IT'S OKAY!
In my experience, trekking poles are kinda like cars. You can choose to drive a beater, or you can choose to drive a Tesla. Both options have the potential risk to get damaged or damage you, but both will definitely get you to work on time, as long as you leave on time. Right?
My FIRST pair of trekking poles
Eddie Bauer = $33*
My SECOND pair of trekking poles
Montem - Amazon = $70*
So after my AT thru-hike I retired my yellow poles (shown above) and was in the market for another pair to last me the whole PCT, right? After having such a great experience with my first cheap pair of trekking poles there was no way I was going to pay much more for my second, but I thought I’d treat myself a little. These had fold locks and fake cork, a significant upgrade! The fold locks meant I wasn’t the last one to pack away my poles when we were in town, and fake cork felt much nicer on my hands than grooved plastic. I also got them in white which made them look more like a “Tesla” (Black Diamonds).
Montem - Amazon
However, I think the word might have spread about these bad boys because I don’t remember paying more that $50 last year. These guys lasted me until Ashland, Oregon (PCT), then I threw them in a dumpster because I thought my whole hike was over, boy was I wrong about that. (Trail Tales – Coming Soon!)
My THIRD pair of trekking poles
Black Diamond Trail Back $80* - (Borrowed Pair)
These were trail magic trekking poles!! After the crazy fiasco with flying home for a week and then flying back out to trail towards the end of our PCT thru-hike, I found myself without trekking poles AGAIN. So this pair was actually loaned to me by the best trail angel ever *BEN* and was by far the biggest trekking pole upgrade yet. Black Diamonds (the Tesla) of trekking poles; at least my test drive anyway!
They did not disappoint and I definitely noticed a difference in the stability, and durability of their carbide tips.
Black Diamond Trail Back
So now, since my first trekking poles are retired, my second ones are in the garbage, and my third ones have been sent back to *BEN* I am once again without a pair of trekking poles.
I should mention that when I say “lasted a whole thru-hike” I am talking about the durability of the poles themselves, not the tips. I am a petite and around 145 lb with my pack weight, just to give more perspective on the wear that these trekking poles endured.