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One walking stick vs two

wendywohns

New Member
I like to walk with one walking stick but I've been told that walking for 500 miles with one stick would not be a good idea. Thoughts?
 
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OnePerfectStep

New Member
I consulted my physiotherapist on that very issue, she was adamant, that I should use 2. But perhaps if you change hands regularly you could do with one. But on steep slopes 2 might be better...
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
A pair of Black Diamond trek poles and should you want to try only one, the other will telescope into the loops of your backpack and off you go.
 

lettinggo

Active Member
Hola

For me, one walking staff has worked out perfectly.
There are plenty of wooden staffs in nature to become ones companion, as well as most albergeus have an impressive collection of staffs, forgotten by pervious pilgrims.
Ask politely if you can take one, and they will probably be happy to assist you.

Buen Camino
Lettinggo
 
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Tony Jansen

Member
Past OR future Camino
Aug/Sep (2014)
Two: unbalanced muscle building in both shoulders and back might get you into trouble. If not during your travels, then probably later on.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I like to walk with one walking stick but I've been told that walking for 500 miles with one stick would not be a good idea. Thoughts?
I'm not sure why it would be a bad idea. Did the person who told you that explain why?

Certainly there are greater benefits from using two sticks if you use them correctly, but it seems to be a personal choice. People who walk with a wooden pole or staff don't often walk with two, and don't often appear to switch hands. That was considered pretty normal before technical poles became commonplace. I walked with a single thumb-stick for many years before using poles, and my experience is there are no issues with that.
 

xin loi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
I used one, but generally twirled it around in the air rather than use it as a staff. Vast majority of hikers we saw in May & June 2014 did not use any poles at all. About half of the two pole people kept their poles tied to pack--we had a theory that such people were using those poles as radio antennas to keep in contact with their Mother ship. You will soon see that the two pole people are a different breed. Lot of single wood poles end up being burnt as offerings to the Sun God at Finesterre--did not see anyone offering aluminum poles there.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
I think that this post should be under" equipment" and not under Camino Frances, as it's a general enquiry!

Two sticks or one? I prefer two!
Anne
 

rickster

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012), LePuy (2013), Coastal Portuguese( 2013), Norte (Fall 2014)
Using one vs two vs none is a personal preference. Whatever works for you. I can share with you that I started my first camino without sticks and after three days, decided to purchase a pair in Pamplona, it made a huge difference. I walked using the pair for 2 1/2 weeks and lost one of my sticks in a stream as I was photographing a sunrise. I made an effort to retrieve it, but then I remembered the scene from "The Way" and my better judgement kicked in. I walked the rest of the way with one stick and really didn't find it made a difference. So I have accidentally run a personal "trial" to see what works best for me and
have decided that I prefer to carry two sticks and this year will be trying the Pacer Poles for the first time.
 
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Phillypilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
Did not train with any, bought one inexpensive pole in Pamplona and loved it. My personal preference is one. Like to have a free hand!
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
I prefer 2 - for the Camino and just general hiking. Sometimes I only use 1 and have the other strapped to my pack. For uphill and downhill trails, I find having 2 poles to be a invaluable.
 

nalod

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2011, Finnesterre 2011,Le Puy to SJPDP 2011& 2012,Via de la Plata,Sambrasa 2012, Mozarabe 2013, Portugees 2013.PartNorde 2011, VDPL 2014,St-Guilhem 2014.Espalion-Roncesvalles 2014.Levante2015
Walked my first camino 800km with one, was crippled with pain. Still walked second in France with one (different boots) less pain. Now use two all of the time on advice of physio, no problems.

In the Alps a few weeks ago I walked too close to the edge of a very steep high path at about 2500 meters (snow forced me to the edge), path broke I went sliding down the mountain. The poles saved me, I was using the straps on my wrist. Another reason to use two poles. This was a totally different type of route to a camino route, but shows the uses of poles.

Two gives great balance and support to the body, when you start using two you wont go back to one.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Two and they ought to be Pacerpoles ;-)
 

Sue M

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-Burgos(2012)Leon-Santiago(2013)Sarria- Santiago(Sept 2013),Frances (coach,2013),Le Puy-Conques(May 2014), parish pilgrimage organised for June 2015.
I walked the first 180 miles with one and had awful sciatica. Then I walked with two and my problems were solved!
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Two and they ought to be Pacerpoles ;-)
There are many other suitable brands of walking pole that cost less. The one clear advantage of this brand appears to be that they cannot be used incorrectly by novices. Brands with straps require some understanding of the mechanics of the pole design to use correctly. It is a substantial premium to pay if you really don't need to.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Leki carbon poles are $200 a pair. Pacer Poles, carbon, are only $146. The price is quite competitive with other quality brands. Yes, cheaper poles are available and might serve just as well.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Leki carbon poles are $200 a pair. Pacer Poles, carbon, are only $146. The price is quite competitive with other quality brands. Yes, cheaper poles are available and might serve just as well.
There are plenty of good quality poles on the Australian market under USD100. Equivalent Pacer poles appear to me to be at about a 40% premium. If you don't have a better use for your money, Pacer poles are a great option.
 

Alyssa

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2014)
Norte, Finisterre, Salvador, Primitivo (2015)
Although I have hiked my entire life without poles, because of advice on this forum and from backpacking friends, upon arriving in SJPdP, I went directly to the athletic equipment store and purchased two poles (no idea what the brand was) at 40E each. The woman who worked there gave me a fantastic lesson on using them properly (I never would have done it correctly on my own).

I used them and loved them for the entire trip, with the exception of the two days between León and Astorga when I inadvertently left them at a café in León. I loved them so much that I tracked down the cell number of a pilgrim I had met the night before whom I knew was leaving León later that morning, called him, and was so grateful that he was willing to go to the café, find the sticks, then carry them with him to Hospital de Orbigo where he handed them off to another Camino friend who brought them to me in Astorga.

They returned to California with me on July 30 and will accompany me on long-distance hikes with a heavy backpack. I love my poles. ;)
 
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Doodles

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May 2013)
Portuguese (May 2014)
If you have really bad knees then two poles can help on the downhills; otherwise, I would use one or none. People have been using a single pole or staff for hundreds of years so I don't know why they are now a bad idea. I have trekking poles but have become less and less of a fan using only one most of the time. My hunch, and that's all it really is, is that they become a crutch and prevent you from developing better balance and overall strength. I've also read several places that they increase energy expenditure when going up hills and interfere with proper body position when carrying a backpack.
 
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xin loi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
When did the two poles become common? I hiked for years without seeing any one use them. Not sure but I think I've only seen them being carried for less than ten years.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
When did the two poles become common? I hiked for years without seeing any one use them. Not sure but I think I've only seen them being carried for less than ten years.

I've used two sticks since my first Camino 14 years ago. Bad knees, poor eyesight, no depth perception = 2 sticks. In fact I still remember Rebekah Scott telling me to get some covers for the tips to stop the racket on cobblestones.
 

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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
If you have really bad knees then two poles can help on the downhills; otherwise, I would use one or none. People have been using a single pole or staff for hundreds of years so I don't know why they are now a bad idea. I have trekking poles but have become less and less of a fan using only one most of the time. My hunch, and that's all it really is, is that they become a crutch and prevent you from developing better balance and overall strength. I've also read several places that they increase energy expenditure when going up hills and interfere with proper body position when carrying a backpack.
You are right to be concerned about balance, where continual walking pole use can affect one's ability to maintain balance in some circumstances. Your concern about increased energy expenditure doesn't appear to be supported by the research. Most research papers suggest that for trekking, there is no increased energy use (noting here that for Nordic walking, energy use is increased). One of the more interesting sets of guidelines is at this link.
 

kmrice

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
You are right to be concerned about balance, where continual walking pole use can affect one's ability to maintain balance in some circumstances.
I thought about this, and decided to train for my Caminos without the poles, except on the few hikes I did on rough terrain. Trekking poles seem to work a lot like cross county ski poles, and I used to train for cross country skiing without poles, to improve my balance. I'd gotten the hang of using the trekking poles a while back (seemed pretty intuitive, having cross country skied) so I didn't need to practice with them. This worked very well for me.

I'd never do a Camino without them.

Karl
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Some, and with luck, some more.
I like to walk with one walking stick but I've been told that walking for 500 miles with one stick would not be a good idea. Thoughts?

Hi Wendy,
I honestly don't know if using one or two poles is good or not so good.
All I can say is that two worked for me and without two I would probably have struggled in some places.
Hope you make the correct decision for you.
Buen Camino.
 
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Leaningforward

Active Member
Two.

Because I carried my pack on IcelandAir and could not transport poles -- and for various scheduling reasons could not purchase poles in Paris, Bayonne, of SJPdP -- I bought an inexpensive pair (about 30 Euros) at a shop between SJPdP and Valcarlos (in the cluster of shops and supermarkets in the valley).

Each pole had a spring-based shock absorber, twist-lock length adjustable sections, cork handle and strap, and combo carbide tip/rubber tip. They got me (over 6 feet, under 200 pounds) with one repair using duct tape (a pole, not me) to Astorga (where I bought a pair of forearm crutches to make it to Santiago).

Not as sophisticated or elegant as Pacer or other brand name poles, but perfectly adequate.
 

vgen5122

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (August 19-sept 30,2013) (8/2017)
I like to walk with one walking stick but I've been told that walking for 500 miles with one stick would not be a good idea. Thoughts?
I agree that it depends on your preference. I took two sticks. My use of them was 50/50. I would rather have two poles for deep inclines or declines.
 

Annie Little

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
When I did the Milford track in NZ one year ..it was suggested to have two poles on a day where I climbed a very high peak with a very long walk down again.... I thought I didn't need any poles ..... wow was I ever wrong ...... the going downhill is the worst it really affects the legs and knees... the poles help to soften the load .. two poles for me ever since then ... the light ones which fold up are awesome ...
 

Alyssa

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2014)
Norte, Finisterre, Salvador, Primitivo (2015)
You are right to be concerned about balance, where continual walking pole use can affect one's ability to maintain balance in some circumstances. Your concern about increased energy expenditure doesn't appear to be supported by the research. Most research papers suggest that for trekking, there is no increased energy use (noting here that for Nordic walking, energy use is increased). One of the more interesting sets of guidelines is at this link.
Thanks for this link. It has given me cause to rethink using the poles on hikes in my area without a heavy backpack. And reinforced my intention to use them when I do have a heavy backpack.
 

cherrys

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
I had never used poles before, but on the advice of many on here bought two and loved them. Coming down the flowing-with-water trail from Acebo into Molinaseca they were a Godsend. Several of us also interestingly noticed that those using poles did not have swollen hands, while others without complained about their hands. I've noticed that now that I'm home and feel foolish walking around town with them, my hand feel swollen if I'm out for a couple of hours.
 
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fernandezr

Member
Past OR future Camino
2013
Leki carbon poles are $200 a pair. Pacer Poles, carbon, are only $146. The price is quite competitive with other quality brands. Yes, cheaper poles are available and might serve just as well.


I bought one in Pamplona for 10 Euros last September.
 

Patch

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
St Jean to Santiago and Porto to Santiago
Only thing I have ever found walking sticks useful for was to keep animals at bay, gave up using them years ago as yet another item to loose. But can understand the need for them if you have a medical problem.
 

Leaningforward

Active Member
Poles have multiple uses:

-- lashed to my bunk and connected by a length of parachute cord they helped from a drying line for my clothes in Palais de Rei and Arzua

-- clapped together they deterred mangy dogs outside Zubriri and in Galicia

-- with straps looped together they formed a sling to elevate a leg on the hill past Castrojeriz

-- leaned against a tree they held my pack off wet and snow covered ground

-- with metal tips on they picked up trash along the camino

-- after weeks of use they helped build and tone muscle in arms and shoulders

... oh, and they prevented more slips and falls than I care to remember.

Never trek or hike without 'em.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
It is definitely a personal preference. I don't think there is any right or wrong answer, just what works for you - same with boots/shoes, sleeping bags, socks, and everything else.
 

Patch

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
St Jean to Santiago and Porto to Santiago
Exactly right its all a matter of choice. Having done the walk this year I found that I had absolutely no need for any walking sticks. But what I have found in previous walks id that to rely on them for balance can put you in dangerous situations - to say nothing of tripping over them. But as they say do your own thing.
 
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I consulted my physiotherapist on that very issue, she was adamant, that I should use 2. But perhaps if you change hands regularly you could do with one. But on steep slopes 2 might be better...



I am a Massage therapist...mountain biker, hiker, walker and I tend to agree . We have two hips...legs..( Knees) we are trying to help on the journey...why would you use one cane...it would be like using ONE CRUTCH...balance and fluidity and knee relief is the key!
 

craigmiller

Senior Walker
Past OR future Camino
2012: Astorga to Palas de Rei
2013: SJPP to Burgos
2014: Burgos to Astorga/Palas to Santiago
2015: Camino Aragones
2016: Muxia/Finisterra
I like to walk with one walking stick but I've been told that walking for 500 miles with one stick would not be a good idea. Thoughts?
One is good for discouraging unfriendly animals and bandits. Use 2 if your aim is to improve walking efficiency.
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Past OR future Camino
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
Unable to bring my walking pole with Ryanair, I bought one in a "Chinese" bazaar on the camino for €6-50. It was perfect. As I was returning by Ryanair, I left it with the 'natural' poles at the Pilgrim Office.
One pole or two? Either are useful - it's a personal choice. The method of walking differs. Two poles is a more rapid arm movement. I prefer just the one.
And one pole is perfect for sorting out unchained dogs ;)
Buen camino!
 

Robyn Scott

Robyn
Past OR future Camino
May 2017 September (2019)
Unable to bring my walking pole with Ryanair, I bought one in a "Chinese" bazaar on the camino for €6-50. It was perfect. As I was returning by Ryanair, I left it with the 'natural' poles at the Pilgrim Office.
One pole or two? Either are useful - it's a personal choice. The method of walking differs. Two poles is a more rapid arm movement. I prefer just the one.
And one pole is perfect for sorting out unchained dogs ;)
Buen camino!
Hi, I am planning on bringing a wooden walking pole from South Africa and at some point will be using Ryanair. This pole was made by my brother as a
gift for me. It has sentimental value. I would hate to lose it. Should I leave it at home? This will be my first Camino starting from SjPDP on 12 May 2017
 
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Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
Past OR future Camino
Frances,(Sarria to Santiago) 2016, 2017 April, SJPdP TO Logrono, Sept.-Oct. Logrono to Sarria
whatever you use, two, one, whichever brand, PLEASE, buy the rubber tips made the poles of choice and install them, will make a lot of pilgrims very happy
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
Via Francigena 2019
This pole was made by my brother as a
gift for me. It has sentimental value. I would hate to lose it. Should I leave it at home? This will be my first Camino starting from SjPDP on 12 May 2017

It may help to check biosecurity measures for entry to Spain and subsequent re entry to SA .
We have very strict controls in Australia and even if a timber object originates from here it is often impractical if not impossible to have it accepted for re admission once it has been overseas .
 

AbbyDee

Court Jester
Past OR future Camino
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of my 25th year, I will begin my Camino in September 2017
I like to walk with one walking stick but I've been told that walking for 500 miles with one stick would not be a good idea. Thoughts?

Personally, I like two poles because I like the stability they give me on uneven surfaces, particularly down hill. I have read accounts where people like only a single staff, and others that start with one, and later change to trekking poles.
YMMV.

Buen Camino, Happy Trails. Ultriea, Excelsior!
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Past OR future Camino
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
Hi, I am planning on bringing a wooden walking pole from South Africa and at some point will be using Ryanair. This pole was made by my brother as a
gift for me. It has sentimental value. I would hate to lose it. Should I leave it at home? This will be my first Camino starting from SjPDP on 12 May 2017
Hi Robyn!
Leave it at home.
I've tried several times, and had them confiscated - unless you carry a doctor's letter stating that you cannot walk without it.
Have a lovely camino ... I shall also be in Spain while you're on camino, but visiting friends on the east coast.
 
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