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Hiking Sticks: Hiking in Steep Terrain


New hikers often fail to see the importance of hiking poles (or trekking poles) but quickly realize that most experienced hikers carry hiking sticks for a reason. Hiking sticks come in a variety of types and price ranges from hiking sticks made from a knobby pine limb, to aluminum and resin hiking poles, costing upwards of $125, for top of the line hiking sticks.

As hikers progress from novice to avid hiking enthusiasts, they all eventually realize the importance of a good, reliable hiking stick, and find a way to purchase the very best they can possibly afford. After all, this simple piece of hiking equipment can mean the difference from being upright, and taking a nasty spill. Still, most begin with bottom-of-the-barrel poles, working under the logic that “sticks are sticks.”

Most hiking sticks a step above wooden ones are made of aluminum. The problem is that most of them don’t last long for a hiking enthusiast, and fall victim to the trail. The average life span is, on average, two months or approximately nine hundred miles. Certainly sufficient for a beginner who may or may not decide hiking is for them, once the beginner turns hiking enthusiast, he will eventually opt for a better quality hiking stick, and find in the process that a durable hiking stick that lasts longer and provides much more stable hiking, is well worth the extra money.

So, among other things a hiker is to learn is that hiking sticks are not just sticks. Any serious hiker who values his knees, hands, and the contents of his wallet (especially when you consider that they are likely to be buying hiking sticks more often, using more first aid supplies, and even landing in the local emergency room) should do his homework by reviewing hiking sticks of various types and buying the best they can possibly afford. It is also important to take your gear, shoes or boots, and hiking sticks on a test run before you undertake a long, arduous hike.

Hiking sticks keep hikers upright even when they are traversing steeply angled climbing trails. They are especially useful in shale-type foot beds or trails upon which leaves have fallen. These seemingly dry leaves can hide wet, decaying leaves underneath that are the perfect catalyst for a painful tumble down a steep trail. Hiking sticks provide a stable hand hold when the hiker jabs them into the ground, anchoring them into the solid ground beneath the surface material, and providing a stable base with which to pull himself to the next level.


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