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First time walkers, poles?

Mfed

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugal, starting in Porto in October of 2018
#1
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#2
walking poles, are they worth while?
Ah, you have struck a nerve. There will be many responses; and there are many previous threads on this topic (try the search function). That's because there are many different opinions.

For me, reasonably healthy but not an athlete, my poles (www.pacerpoles.com) have made all the difference. Especially on the hills (both up and down) where they have saved my knees. There will be people who argue that, since they don't need poles, then you don't either.

Some people can get through the morning without coffee; I'm not one of them. But frankly, everyone's body is different (see, for example, the wide variety of shoes on offer). Try poles (used properly) and see if they work for you.
 

Momonne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
#3
I always carry my poles, and use them, alway, although with very poor technique. But I have to admit that on the Central from Portoto Santiago I put them away after day 1... until, on spot on the Variante Espiritual where I would not have been able to climb up a ditch without them. Since I have them already, and they are super light, I really can't justify not taking them.

And they came in very handy when my meniscus tore one sad day on VDLP....
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#5
If you decide to walk with walking poles and have to buy some I would suggest that you investigate the benefits of pacerpoles. I liked them very much. I tried " normal style" poles before, but pacerpoles I liked more. Walking with them felt more natural to me. The difference lies in the handshaped handles. Much more information you will find in the internet. A disadvantage of these poles is that you can only buy them online from the UK; they are not cheap, about the same as for instance Lekipoles
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
#8
I am a bicigrino and the walking poles ar my biggest complaint...if you need walking poles then please use them...but remember to share the trail with other Pilgrims that want to pass at a faster pace.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#9
I am a bicigrino and the walking poles ar my biggest complaint...if you need walking poles then please use them...but remember to share the trail with other Pilgrims that want to pass at a faster pace.
No problem getting out of the way unless the bicigrinos fail to warn the walkers that they are zipping by at a fast pace, which unfortunately is the majority of the time from my experience. Using a bike bell or voice works wonders and is common courtesy.
 

Portach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#13
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
My husband and I are both over 60, reasonably fit, and walked our first Camino 500km last year. We are definite converts to poles, having used them for the first time in our prep for the camino; I found them especially reassuring on any downhill sections, as I have had a 'sensitive' knee in the past. They took a little getting used to. Could you borrow some to try them out?
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#14
They help on the trails when your ankle starts twisting.
They are beneficial in towns with uneven stone in the streets!
They helped us navigate snow and ice going up to Cruz de Ferro and helped up brake coming down from El Acebo.
They provided stability as well when we hit snow and then rain going up to OCebriero.
I never hike without them!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#15
I had never used poles before I walked my first Camino. I had never used a backpack before either! I chose Pacer Poles because, with their ergonomic handles, they seemed pretty "idiot proof". There was really no learning curve required. I felt that if I was going to walk 800+ km I wasn't going to let my arms slack off while my legs did all the work! Plus, the backpack changed my center of gravity.
Other benefits - the kept my hands from swelling, as they tend to do on long walks, especially when it's hot.
They kept my arms toned.
The kept me from face planting at least once!
 

REV

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2015 from Roncesvalles) Camino Portuguese (2015 from Tuí) Camino Inglés (2015 from Ferrol)
#17
I was 70 on my first Camino and walked alone. I emphatically agree with the PacerPole recommendations if you decide to use poles. Here is my recent posting about them. ====

After reading this forum extensively in 2014 before my three 2015 Caminos, I investigated PacerPoles The PP videos and instructions were useful, and the PP unique handle design makes it easy to learn how to use them and difficult to use them improperly. (Chris Bonnington's comments impressed me too.)

Perhaps some of the anti-pole commenters might alter their views if they actually tried PacerPoles.

Here is part of an earlier post of mine about Pacer Poles:

<<
http://www.pacerpole.com

They can be obtained online from Britain. There are also YouTube videos showing how to use them. Their handles are quite different from other poles, and they are very comfortable to use.

I used PacerPoles last year for nearly 1000 miles on the Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese and Camino Ingles. Before that, I used them on a difficult hike in the highlands of Bali. I am 70+ . These poles have been a major contribution to both my safety and my comfort.

Here is a review I just found online:

http://sectionhiker.com/pacer-poles-why-arent-all-trekking-poles-this-good/

It begins:

"British-made Pacerpoles are far superior to the trekking poles you can buy in the United States. I’ve been testing a pair for nearly 2 months and I am a convert. They help me carry a backpack with better posture, prevent muscle soreness in my legs, and are much more resistant to bending and snapping than my current trekking poles.

The main difference between conventional poles and Pacerpoles is in the hand grip. It’s kind of hard to explain so I’ve shot this video to show you. Instead of a vertical pole grip, the Pacerpoles have a horizontal pistol style grip, where your thumb is positioned at a 45 degree angle to the ground and the ball of your hand is on the top of the pole. These two changes give you a much better mechanical advantage to use the poles for propulsion and lift, rather than just lateral stabilization like conventional hiking and trekking poles."

I suggest reading the entire review, which also includes:

"If you decide to take the plunge, Pacerpoles has an unlimited 30 day return policy which may or may not give you enough time to decide whether you like the differences or not. Either way, you really need to commit to these poles to get any benefit out of them." AND

"Conclusion
I am very impressed with the aluminum pair of Pacer Poles that I tested in this review and I’m glad I finally tried them. Honestly, I will probably buy a pair of my own rather than continue using Black Diamond trekking poles for three season hiking. The Pacerpole hand grip makes such a difference in my posture, walking speed, and stability that I can’t imagine settling for anything less. If you climb a lot of mountains, you should give Pacerpoles a try. I would recommend sticking with the aluminum ones, only because they will be more resistant to breaking and they are likely to still be usable if you bend them. I’ve snapped way more carbon fiber poles than I ever want to and don’t trust them in very rocky terrain."

My own discovery of PacerPoles was through this Forum, which I explained in an earlier post:

"I do not think I would have completed the Caminos without them, because I had several long stretches with a problem with my left leg. Others in my family have also used them with similarly positive experiences. I tried them after reading a lengthy thread asking something like "Does anyone NOT like PacerPoles?" They are made in the UK, and there is a 30 day trial period. Learning to use them is relatively easy. The instructions and the videos are reasonably straight-forward. With their special, angled grips for the left and right hands it is difficult to use them improperly."
>>

Opinions differ about POLES or NO POLES, but if you do consider poles, spend a few minutes checking out PacerPoles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#19
Another yes to walking poles. I have a love/hate relationship with walking poles so I carry the folding type and leave them in the side pocket of my backpack until they are needed. I always use them in rain, up and down steep hills, and on rocky or uneven terrain. They are invaluable in keeping me on my feet in slippery mud. They do tend to make me walk faster so I sometimes get them out if it’s nearing the end of the walking day and my bed seems far away.
Buen camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 2016 April - Jun
Del Norte, Finesterre 2018 May - Jun
#20
And again...Yes. Used them every day, all day for 7 weeks and they proved invaluable. Stopped a few spills! Very steadying downhill and gives an extra push uphill. Also gives your arms a good workout, otherwise what would you do with them hanging down at your sides! Get some lessons on how to use them properly to get the absolute benefit out of them. My Austrian partner tutored me (an Aussie) and I love them even for training walks. I have Black Diamond carbon fibre poles which collapse down to 42cm to fit into my backpack for Cargo luggage.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#21
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
All things being equal the only true answer would be : "Maybe, it depends" ... :cool:

But I'd say that for those over 60, and for a relatively short Camino, yes they're necessary.

A pilgrim's staff is slightly superior because of its versatility of uses (though for the walking part of that, some people do get better usage out of a pair of poles), but only a Camino of about 1000 Km or more is long enough to get enough of a return from the investment of teaching yourself how to use one properly (learning how not to let using the single staff unbalance your gait is the biggie), and knowing how to choose the right one isn't self-evident either (length, weight, type of wood, thickness, etc), and also it's only after you reach the point where it feels like a part of your own body that you'll genuinely be able to make full use of the thing too.

For these reasons, poles are the better choice for most pilgrims.

There are many retired but sporty types of about your age around here who enjoy the multiple short mountain hiking trails -- and you never see any of these day hikers out and about without their poles. Some even use them on their ordinary day-to-day business.
 

ophelia

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Português Central - October 2017
Planning the Camino Português da Costa - May 2018!
#22
Well, I walked my first Camino at the age of 27 freshly done, and can honestly that that I would be able to walk it without the pole, but it would not have been the same thing!
I only took one but it made quite a difference. I walked the CP Central starting in Ponte de Lima and right there climbing some steep parts in Serra da Labruja it helped me wonderfully! I know they are not made to support your weight, but I found it helped at lot with balance when climbing and also descending.

My brother is 3 years younger than me, and I thought he was more athletic as he's fit and I am not, but after Caldas de Reis my boyfriend gave him his pole as he needed two to manage... And for me, two poles would be too much. Everyone's different, but I took them because I read here in the forum about it, and I thought, they are so lightweight and I was able to find poles at 5€ in Decathlon so I gave it a shot and I will be surely taking them with me in my next Camino. I think you have nothing to loose in taking them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#23
I took two poles but preferred to use only one and kept the other collapsed on the outside of my pack. I was constantly taking photos so it was just easier having one hand free to grab my phone/camera whenever I wanted without shuffling two poles. I definately felt I needed ONE for...mud, uphills, downhills, and big cobbles. My extra pole was ocassionally loaned to my adult son in a few precarious situations as he "thinks" he never needs them, but mama knows best! ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, Primitivo, Plata, Salvador Torres
#24
Poles? Yes, definitely! After years of using the lightest of the Lekipoles, last year I discovered, bought and used new ones from Leki which fold much smaller and hence are easy to stow inside any pack, even relatively small packs. Excellent decision!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#25
Yes, use poles. They help you to walk more efficiently.
They don't have to be the expensive ones, either.
You could literally cut two wooden broomsticks to length and use them just as well. Not very cool looking and they would be noisy and lack ergonomics on the grip, but they would still allow you to walk more efficiently and take strain off your knees.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
#26
I too did not use poles prior to CF
I swear by them now. My preference ? 2 pokes collapsible
used correctly they had benefit on up hill, minimizing the hand swelling I usually have if my arms are down with long hikes, to prevent ankle twists on uneven surfaces, to prevent slips on down hills, to keep an even stride when fatigued ( see a lot of side-ways wobbling packs when people are tired), and to offer propulsion forward on flats when tired
Carried extra pole tips to dampen sounds and put them away when in cities to avoid annoying anyone
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's SJ to Sahagun 2015, Sahagun to Santiago 2016, Le Puy Route, SJPDP to Santiago (2018)
#27
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
A heated and at times controversial topic. I'm 67 my hubby is 68. Would not even consider walking a Camino without them. Statics's be damned, Know your own body. Hubby has an inner ear problem, the poles have balanced him a couple of times now, me I'm just clutsy and my knees do not hurt (as much) after a day of downhill using the poles. Try some out, it has not much to do with age, lot young kids swear by them too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's SJ to Sahagun 2015, Sahagun to Santiago 2016, Le Puy Route, SJPDP to Santiago (2018)
#28
No problem getting out of the way unless the bicigrinos fail to warn the walkers that they are zipping by at a fast pace, which unfortunately is the majority of the time from my experience. Using a bike bell or voice works wonders and is common courtesy.
I know this is for a different forum but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE use your bells.
 

La Brique Jaune

Official member of la confradia del pinza del oro
Camino(s) past & future
2017: SJPDP to Finisterre
(201?): I hope and need to
#29
Hi Mfed
Last year i brought two collapsible poles, very useful for downhills sections. Sometimes it was only a few steps on rough terrain and it was very useful. If I can avoid a twisted ankle once a day i think it's worth it, it's a long walk after all.

For the carry-on problem i made a little bag for them and i checked them. And i'm sure villagers appreciate rubbers tips.
La Brique.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#31
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
Do you know anyone who has poles? Could you ask to borrow them? Then you would have your own answer.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#33
I prefer to walk without poles, they are just something's else to keep up with. I am 69 and walked two Caminos without poles. Please remember to purchase rubber tips for the poles. The click, click, clink will quickly become vet annoying to yourself and anyone walking with you
The rubber tips stay on my poles permanently.
 

Sailor

Donante Vitalicio
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Infinito
#34
The tale of two set of telescopic walking poles. At home, took both sets appart and packed them inside a box with a lot of material on the sides to keep them safe. Checked in for the flights, picked up at MAD, unpacked at the hostal in SJPP. The night before starting our walk I tried to put them together, one out of four poles could not be re-assembled, now we had three poles to to walk with. Another pole broke down by the time we arrived Espinal, now we had two left. Went to a small store at the end of the town in Biskarret and purchased two nice looking wooden poles for about 4-5 euros each, we gave the lady at the counter our surviving set of telescopic poles as a present. Our Biskarret Wooden Poles served us well all the way to SdC, were properly packed at MAD, checked in for the flights, and made it home all in one piece. I train daily with my "Biskarrett Wooden Pole" and never again will I spend a centimo in another pair of telescopic walking poles. And so end the tale of two set of telescopic walking poles. Good luck, y que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#35
I prefer to walk without poles, they are just something's else to keep up with. I am 69 and walked two Caminos without poles. Please remember to purchase rubber tips for the poles. The click, click, clink will quickly become vet annoying to yourself and anyone walking with you
Another no from me. I trained walking with poles before going and felt like an octopus with too many extra limbs. Tripped, lost pace, it was awful for weeks. So I left them at home and ended up walking two caminos without poles.

My husband uses them. He likes it and says it is great on downhills. But once the rubber tip of one of them ran off, it was an exercise of control not to break the thing in the middle - repetitive noises have a horrible effect on me.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#36
My husband uses them. He likes it and says it is great on downhills. But once the rubber tip of one of them ran off, it was an exercise of control not to break the thing in the middle - repetitive noises have a horrible effect on me.[/QUOTE]


I carry an extra pair of rubber tips! I put the tips on when walking on roads, cement and very hard ground with rocks mixed in. Sometimes a tip does come off. You do not want to be clicking down the streets without tips. Besides the noise the surfaces will ruin the tips of the poles, BTW not every pair of rubber tips fit other brands of poles. Some poles are thinner and other tips are too big for them. One size does not fit all!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#37
The rubber tips that came on the poles I purchased in SJPdP wore through in less than a week. I now purchase tips on Amazon that look like boots and have a heavy tread. They are made of extremely hard rubber. After 6 weeks the tread wears down a bit, but I've taken them twice before replacing them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#38
Ah the rubber tips to stop the clickerty clack. I did take a spare pair with me but alas my Lekki tips got me through the whole camino and more. Mind you it's no good having the rubber tips on all the time, you can't stab the rubbish with them on:D
 

Felicia V

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese 2017
Returning 2018
#42
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
Last year my sister and I ( 67&65 respectively) walked the Camino Portuguese from Porto to SdC. We found poles to be very helpful....we got cheap ones....no clicking, no aggravation.... we are returning... with poles this year
 
Camino(s) past & future
July/ Aug (2016): StJPdP to Viana
Apr (2017): Viana to Castrojeriz
Apr (2018): Castrojeriz to Leon
#43
When I started my training in Derbyshire (Mam Tor) without poles I thought I might as well cancel my Camino - no way was I going to get past that first day if I was knackered in Derbyshire. Poles made the difference. Even at a youthful 51 (as I was then) my rather generous proportions meant I needed to distribute my load, support my knees and save my ankles. I know the subject produces polarised opinion, but I am firmly in the poling camp; and if you can get really light ones then what's the issue?
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
#45
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
I am 74 and have used poles for years but I hike in mostly hilly in mountainous terrain.
Wouldn't be without them. Two recommendations: duct tape on some rubber tips to avoid click click and don't strap in.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 7, 2017
#46
Ah, you have struck a nerve. There will be many responses; and there are many previous threads on this topic (try the search function). That's because there are many different opinions.

For me, reasonably healthy but not an athlete, my poles (www.pacerpoles.com) have made all the difference. Especially on the hills (both up and down) where they have saved my knees. There will be people who argue that, since they don't need poles, then you don't either.

Some people can get through the morning without coffee; I'm not one of them. But frankly, everyone's body is different (see, for example, the wide variety of shoes on offer). Try poles (used properly) and see if they work for you.
57 y/o female walker, CF Fall 2017, pacerpoles fan here. I will always walk with them! I’ve heard of lots of ailments and pains from using poles and never one from using pacerpoles. They saved me on several occasions from nasty spills. I highly recommend them!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
#47
If my pack was on, I used my poles! They were great. Wish I had just bought them in SJPP. They were so much cheaper there. I was shocked.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#48
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
Yes, a thousand times yes.

My wife and use them 100% of the time. They make the going so much easier. Very useful when you hit wet, muddy areas. Also extremely helpful ascending and particularly decending hills. I can maintain a much more consistent and fast pace when using poles when I want to cover a lot of ground quickly as well.

Your knees will thank you every day.

A side benefit is your arms will be much more toned after your Camino.

We have moved to rubber tips, which are good on hard surfaces, but not as good on the dirt trails. Some people are sensitive to the clicking of the metal tips on hard surfaces, so we have switched as we don't want to intrude on others enjoyment. Some switch the tips back and forth depending on the terrain, but I found it too much bother.

Being an avid cross country skier and snowshoer in the winter, poles seem completely natural to me. Can't even imagine walking without poles.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#49
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
I have chosen to use trekking poles as it will take pressure off my body (depending on the report 20-40%) I have watched a number of videos on correct usage and got some poles to practice how to use them correctly. I am a total convert now and will buy a pair when I get to SJPdP as I don't want to be concerned about travelling to France with them.
 
#50
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
I would say YES, YES, YES!! This year I was also a first time pilgrim on the Camino Frances and I was a first time user of trekking poles. AND I am 75 and made it all the way without problems except for being exhausted from time to time! BUT please, please go to YouTube or to some other source and learn how to use them. Most people on the Camino are not using them well and would probably do better without them. If you use them correctly (including how to coordinate the use of the wrist strap) it is amazing. Like having four legs. And not so hard to learn it all. Take a day and get yourself coordinated with them and you will love it. And you will learn so much about the most powerful way to use your body. But you will not see many examples of good use on a daily basis. I guess people don´t investigate it before hand. And, of course, 2 poles!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2014)
Shvil Israel (2015/16)
Camino del Norte (2017)
Caminho Português (2018)
#51
I definitely agree with jospehmcclain! For years I was a sceptic and shunned sticks. Nowadays, I would start no tour with them. Everything has been said I guess, so this youtube tutorial is my sole contribution :) It sums it all up rather well and helped me a lot!

 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
#52
I wanted to love walking poles. Everyone raves about them and the guides use them in the mountains but in the end I found I was carrying them on my back more than anything else. I don't use them anymore. Now they are collecting dust in my cousin's apartment in Pamplona.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#53
Yes to poles - in my case one as two forces me to walk faster (cross country skiing when younger).
Yes to rubber tips and to spare ones too. In fact, with a little ingenuity you can turn a spare rubber tip into a camera pole converter!

camera head.JPG camera pole.JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
#54
I carried a walking stick last year and am glad I did.

Most of the time I did not need it at all but on rare occasions I suddenly needed it very much indeed, to avoid slipping sideways into a deep mud puddle or to provide stability when clambering over rough rocky ground.

Also, it made a handy Duct Tape dispenser. I had wrapped a Camino’s-worth supply of the tape around it. Whenever I got a hot spot on my foot, I could stop and quickly unroll some tape for my foot without needing to open up my pack and search for the tape.

A stick that is long enough can also be used as a camera mono-pod.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis Sept-Oct 2016
#55
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
I had never used poles before I started my Camino. I was 54 and in decent shape when I started my solo Camino. I hesitated if I needed them. I can only say, I don’t think I could have walked, my average 23 Miles a day without them. If you are planning to walk shorter distances, say 10-12 miles a day, perhaps you might not want them. But it was really helpful when you had rocky descents.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#56
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
Yes, if used properly.
If used as 'accoutrements' dangling off your wrists, as many do, leave them at home. They are just extra weight. ;)

We use ours every step of the way......
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#57
I definitely agree with jospehmcclain! For years I was a sceptic and shunned sticks. Nowadays, I would start no tour with them. Everything has been said I guess, so this youtube tutorial is my sole contribution :) It sums it all up rather well and helped me a lot!

That's a good video on Pole Technique. :)

The only thing I would add, is that sufficient downward pressure on the poles (via the straps) is required particularly on the flat and going uphill.

I demonstrated this to my wife by placing my hands over hers in the wrist loops, so that I was actually pushing down on her hands. She was very surprised at the amount I push down. I estimate it between 5-15 kg depending on terrain. More pressure going up hills.

Going downhill I would put at least 15 kgs of pressure on the poles if not much more........ I need to, to take the weight off my knees.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF June 2016
#59
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
The only time I did not use them on the Frances, I took a nasty tumble. Great for balance and stability.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF - April/May 2017
CP Central - Sep./2017
CP Coastal - Sep./2018
#60
Yes! I walked with mine most days but did without on some to see if there was a difference. They help with the obvious things like stability both up and down hills (even more on the down side). They also help you just walk farther and not notice it as much. For me, it feels like they take 15-20% of the weight off your knees and hips without even trying. The last benefit (and a big one), without the poles I tend to keep my eyes down, perhaps watching the trail, rocks, smooth paths, etc. After a while my neck seemed a bit stiff from looking down as I walked. With the poles, I tend to lift my head more and just enjoy the view in front of me. Subtly, the poles become a second set of eyes

I witnessed several people buying poles along the way. Didn't see anyone discarding them once they had them.

Buy poles with good removable rubber tips. It can be painful to listen to someone with metal tips clicking on pavement (click click click click), but metal works well on the hard dirt. Also, adjust the straps so your weight is carried in your wrist, not in the grip of your hand. There are some good YouTube videos on how to adjust and use poles to get the most benefit.
 

BoH

Never more than 7-8 kg on the back!
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2011, -13, Norte -15 and again sept -18.
#61
The difficulty is to get the poles attached to the hand-luggage. A bit more than 55 cm length, they can be tightened diagonal to the rucksac. At the check-in there is a testbox, and such a one can easily be made by cardboard with legal measures at home. Otherwise, buy a wooden one at arrival. Some are also left at the refugees!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#62
The difficulty is to get the poles attached to the hand-luggage. A bit more than 55 cm length, they can be tightened diagonal to the rucksac. At the check-in there is a testbox, and such a one can easily be made by cardboard with legal measures at home. Otherwise, buy a wooden one at arrival. Some are also left at the refugees!
I use a mailing tube for the poles and check it in. Means I can add liquids and other stuff too.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#64
@edandjoan. Do pole tips contribute to soil erosion any more than bikes or horses? However, I submit, that, indeed, walkers, runners, cyclists, and equestrians do contribute to soil erosion. Personally, I use the rubber tips most of the time so they minimize disturbing the soil.

Yes, there are videos that can assist one in the “correct” technique if there is only “one” correct way to use them. However, I am not using the poles for Nordic walking. I have been using poles in the Alps, Rockies, and trails in many countries for 30 years and I have found them extremely helpful without using someone else’s technique. I never put my hands through the loops and frequently do not use them to increase speed. I use them for support, and balance particularly on hills and uneven ground. I would seriously question the validity of “ a university study that concluded that a majority of people using walking poles do no use them correctly, so ANY benefit that could be attained is lost,” unless the study narrowly focused on increasing speed. Those “useless” poles have saved me from injury on numerous occasions!! Using poles may require a bit more energy, however they provide me more opportunity to take in the beauty while walking and simultaneously allowing me more surety of step and balance.:)
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#65
I am a bicigrino and the walking poles ar my biggest complaint...if you need walking poles then please use them...but remember to share the trail with other Pilgrims that want to pass at a faster pace.
and Kurt, I need bikers to use their bells as they come in armies of haste...!
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#66
..as to the hazard of being impaled by a walking pole, I consider the humble umbrella so much more dangerous to my eyes as I pass close to !
 
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hfbloomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances beginning May 14 ( 2018)
#67
Whoever said that the subject of poles elicits a variety of strongly-held opinions wasn't wrong! My comment is a plea not to experiment with cheap poles. Get good ones. Like Kanga, I use Black Diamond carbon fibre poles. They are very light and easily (very easily) break down into three segments which I strap to the outside of my pack. If I'm using my rain cover, they fit under the cover. Because the poles can so easily be stowed, I use them only when most needed, on rough terrain and hills. Not in town. I use the straps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#68
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
By all means yes, but learn how to use them. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there showing proper technique. Your knees will thank you profusely on the steep downhill stretches if you use walking poles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva ?
#69
First camino...no poles. Reasons...I had never used poles when hiking, it would be awkward, wanted my hands free, I didn't want to carry anything extra, thought for sure I would leave them somewhere. Conclusion...I was fine, I did not need poles.

Second camino...with poles. Reasons...So many advocates must be on to something. I actually took a class on how to use poles. It was awkward initially, I tried hands in straps but felt trapped so I adapted my own method, used them about half the time, and yes I did leave them behind and had to back track...twice! Conclusion...found poles to be very helpful especially while descending.

Benefits...They are numerous as mentioned above. Balance and stability, relieve pressure on hips and knees, helps tone arms and minimize "sausage fingers", less focus on terrain allows for more enjoyment of surroundings, also can be used to defend against dogs or wild boar!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (2017), plus more than 2000 Km/year of trekking, hiking and minor caminos since 2000.
#72
I'm in total favor of using poles. At every step, just giving the weight of your arm to them in succession, you unload 4 to 6 Kg from your spine and you give some relief to your spinal discs and your hip and knee joints.
Moreover, if you learn the nordic walking technique and use the appropriate sticks for it, at every step you can save up to 15% of effort from the muscles of your legs and lower back (especially hamstrings, gluteus maximus, erector spinae, and quadratus lomborum) and reduce stress to the Achilles tendon.
That 15% effort is taken by the muscles of the upper limbs (especially triceps, latissimus dorsi, deltoid, and trapezius).
Besides, although very much loved by "traditional" pilgrims, the single staff is, from the biomechanical point of view, a waste of energy and it causes a lot of stress in the forearm and an overall uneven use of the muscles of the body.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
#73
Simple suggestion to help cut through the conflict.

Buy a dirt cheap pair, look on You Tube for how to use them, give them a go on the flat, up and down hill, and if you can on rough terrain then make your own mind up. Make sure you use them for a reasonable period they may take a little getting used to. If you don't like them you won't have wasted much, if you do like them then keep them or buy something more expensive if you want.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
None
#74
My wife and I just finished the CF. She has terrible knee problems; I had developed painful golfers' elbow in the past after using regular poles and dreaded getting it again.

Here's my advice: buy yourself a set of Pacerpoles!! You will never regret it! Any set of poles can be a huge help -- but most peregrinos don't use them properly so they lost most of the benefit. Pacerpoles seem to automatically train everyone to use proper technique. Thus, because both my wife and I used Pacerpoles with every step, they enabled my wife (with her bad knee) to walk the entire CF; they saved me from sprained ankles three times and I never had a tinge of pain in my elbows!

I had used regular poles for 25 years, including trekking in Nepal. Twice, because I was using regular poles, I developed horrible golfers' elbow after my treks (caused by my improper use of the poles), which caused intense pain and required extensive physical therapy.

After reading the recommendations from CaminoForum users, I bought my wife and me two sets of Pacerpoles. We used them with every step. They are far more effective than regular poles at taking weight off your legs and into your arms -- without overburdening your arms or upper body. They not only promote stability and prevent falls, they promote proper posture (actually curing my 40-year old stooped posture).

Why? Because the hand grip is amazing!!!! Instead of a vertical pole grip, the Pacerpoles have a horizontal pistol style grip, where your thumb is positioned at a 45 degree angle to the ground and the ball of your hand is on the top of the pole, keeping your wrist at a 90 degree angle to the pole. These two changes give you a much better mechanical advantage to use the poles for propulsion and lift, rather than just lateral stabilization like conventional hiking and trekking poles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#75
Interesting, I had never heard of Pacer Poles. I walked the CF in March/April 2018 and both my husband and I used Poles which I am thankful as I did though because of overstretching on my strong side my one arm really started to feel the pain. My husband that used his poles properly had no problems what so ever though. I wonder if you can buy these poles in SJPdP as I only do carry on while I travel and wouldn't want to risk having to leave my poles behind.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#76
Interesting, I had never heard of Pacer Poles. I walked the CF in March/April 2018 and both my husband and I used Poles which I am thankful as I did though because of overstretching on my strong side my one arm really started to feel the pain. My husband that used his poles properly had no problems what so ever though. I wonder if you can buy these poles in SJPdP as I only do carry on while I travel and wouldn't want to risk having to leave my poles behind.
As far as I know you can only buy them from their website, or perhaps they have some retail outlets in the UK. I chose Pacer Poles because I had never used poles before my Camino - heck I had never used a backpack, other than a small school type backpack! I figured that the Pacer Poles were about as idiot proof as possible. :p
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes please!
#77
@Sharonih and @trecile - Pacerpoles are only sold from the website but you could ask Heather to post them out to your starting point and pick them up from there? I also like to travel with hand luggage only, but I always post my poles ahead to my first accommodation.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#78
My Pacer Poles arrived in time for the weekend and I'm just back from my 4th (short) walk with them.

I've been using a single, conventional, pole for nearly 20 years. Could never get on with two poles as I found they made me walk faster than I liked (a hangover from cross country skiing perhaps?) but after several testimonials I thought I'd give these a shot.

Awkward at first - my initial attempts were likend to a new born baby giraffe trying to find its feet - it was a few hundred metres of baby steps before I realised what I was doing wrong, then I started going too fast until finally settled down to a pace I was happy with.

It was on a woodland path which goes down steadily then steepens before rising sharply for the end, a section steep enough to usually make me start puffing. Guess what? No puffing, just steady breathing (the inventor insists you you walk to the mantra of "Shoulders D O W N and ease back slightly" which helps).

I'm completely sold on them even though it will mean checking my bag.

As @trecile says above, only available on the website but fast delivery (3 days inside the UK) and superb customer services - you might want to consider them.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#80
My wife and are both over 60. We are walking from Porto to Santiago in October of 2018. We are in pretty good physical shape, but are not experienced pilgrims. We are wondering about walking poles, are they worth while?
YES

For a 1000K+ pilgrimage I'd recommend staves rather than poles, but shorter than that, poles certainly.

A staff or poles mainly serve to balance your gait, which over 100s of Km of hiking is a necessary -- but a staff until you've learned how to use it, which is a fairly lengthy process, will imbalance your gait instead.

Poles also help to propel you along the way, as do staves if you're using them properly, though for pure weight support, an ash staff is always going to be better than a pair of modern hiking poles (certain costly sports ones being exceptions to that rule).

However, as you are "in pretty good physical shape", and given that it's a fairly short Camino project, I'd say poles -- just get yourself some cheap ones after you arrive in Portugal.
 

Portia1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
#81
Another very satisfied pacerpole user. I am in the 70+ group and swear by the extra stability. Downhills are especially treacherous for older walkers. We did Porto to Santiago and I used them daily. There are some rocky downhills on this route which I know I would have dreaded without poles. Do you have a friend who has a pair you could borrow to see for yourself?
 

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