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Searching for the perfect hiking pole

Year of past OR future Camino
Frances & Ingles 14
Portugues 15
Primitivo / Finist 16
Invierno 18
VdlP 19
S.Sal 19
Madrid 20
Having fruitlessly spent what seems to be an age on the web, I thought I’d ask fellow pilgrims whether they had ever seen for sale hiking poles that are:
  • Foldable (so I can fit them in my rucksack)
  • Shock absorbing, i.e. have a little spring in there somewhere (so I can give my knees a bit of help)
  • Extend to 135cm (I’m a bit tall).
I thought I’d found the answer with Leki only to find that their otherwise great sticks only extend to a maximum of 130cm.

Can anyone help?
Many thanks :)
 
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Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
What is mister Google saying on this...

 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I love my PacerPoles

 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
  • Foldable (so I can fit them in my rucksack)
  • Shock absorbing, i.e. have a little spring in there somewhere (so I can give my knees a bit of help)
  • Extend to 135cm (I’m a bit tall).
If you have to compromise on one of your criteria, I think it should be "foldable" or "shock absorbing." The length absolutely has to be matched to your height. Badly matched poles will have you walking badly and causing more problems for yourself. I think you should also consider the build quality. Low quality collapsible poles have a lot of unwanted wobble...

If you prefer shock absorbing poles, I won't attempt to dissuade you. I like them myself. In terms of offering relief to your knees, however, I think all poles will do that. I think that the shock of each strike is transferred from the poles through your arms to your body (it doesn't go through the knees), so shock absorbing poles might reduce strain on your arms but they aren't better for your knees. (That said, if shock absorbing poles make it easier for you to use the poles better for longer ... then I guess your knees may benefit). My theory is that poles help my knees mostly by giving me added stability and reducing torsion and sheer stress in the joints.

Now ... For tall poles that fold up small, Black Diamond makes poles that go to 140cm at least. As far as I can see, shock absorption is only available on telescoping poles - e.g. Trail pro shock. For the smallest package to fit in your backpack, you would need to go for a Z-style folding design. But I don't think that you have the option of shock absorption on those.

BD make poles with carbon fiber (lightest) or aluminium (cheaper). Perhaps one of those materials is bouncier than the other?
 
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MisterH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018 neither successful
On my most recent camino trip, the airline "lost" my poles. So I had to buy new ones in Saint Jean. I found a pair that go to 135cm. They don't have the shock absorbing feature, but they to collapse into them selves. I bought them from a barrel and each cost 22 euros. They are made by "elementerre". They work quite nicely. (My poles got home before I did!)
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I love my PacerPoles

Me too. After more than 10 years of "trial and much error" I bought Pacer Poles for my 2017 Camino Frances walk. They saved me on the first two days. I particularly like the "natural" hand/wrist position. Cheers
 

P Rat

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino VDLP/Sanábres April 2019
Camino Mozárabe when we can again...(2021?)
Can recommend Helinox. Light, collapsible, and currently come in different styles and lengths.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Year of past OR future Camino
"Portuguese Camino"
"Slow Camino"
"The First Pilgrim"
All on Amazon
Hiking poles are a Western appoach.
"More power Scotty" / Star Trek!
They will increase your cardio and respiration.
Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you do not make.
The most energy expended per hour in Olympic competitors are by Nordic skiers - using both arms and legs.
The Eastern approach is to conserve energy.

The Inuit were said to be lazy because they walked slowy and methodically acrosss the frozen landscape.
They did this so they would not sweat - getting wet is death in the cold.
They were Chi Walking.
It is not about more power, but correct alignment and balance.
Imagine a needle in cotton - the center is aligned and the extremities are as light as cotton.
Chi walkers glide - getting pulled along by their core energy - they do not push.
You can not have light extremities if they are pushing with poles.
Poles push you from side to side a bit - less balance and less alignment.

I recommend the poles you leave at home.
 

filly

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
For the ultimate experience... I have a friend who had ‘bespoke’ Leki made to her required height. Saves time on all the adjusting. She paid about Euros 200.
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
Hi Have a look at this one, the video claims it can extend to 135cm, and reduce upto 55cm for going in most backpacks over 40ltr. They usually sell out of stock but also regularly refill as well.

 
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longwayhome

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
Can recommend Helinox. Light, collapsible, and currently come in different styles and lengths.
Agree.I used ultralight foldable Helinox on the Frances and they were perfect and folded down into my front packs. At home I use a telescopic heavier duty Helinox for rough bushwalking and find them strong and virtually indestructible. So well worth the money!
 

linkster

¡Nunca dejes de creer!
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
@Nick MJ you may want to checkout this comparison.


I personally sport a pair of BD Carbon Z Distance. They are foldable, fixed length, but are not shock absorbing. They are very light, and not meant for heavy loads (~AT thru hike). They do have some flex.
 

evanscl

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Oct 2016
Pacer poles took us along the camino and the VF, (and Ranulph Fiennes to the Pole i think), highly recommended. If you contact them they maybe could advise if they do extra long ones. They dont fold down but do telescope into themselves so end up quite short.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF St Jean - Santiago (2015)
St Jean - Ronsenvalles (2016)
St Jean - Santiago (aug 2018)
Me too. After more than 10 years of "trial and much error" I bought Pacer Poles for my 2017 Camino Frances walk. They saved me on the first two days. I particularly like the "natural" hand/wrist position. Cheers
By contrast I used pacers on my first camino but found myself with numb hands each night and sore wrists- no doubt from needing ( incorrectly) to rely on them for stability and support on uneven terrain. The leki folding micro variable with shock absorbers and Nordic rubber tips have been with me ever since- sadly I note they are not quite long enough for the op. I’d go the black diamond and add the Nordic tips for partial shock absorbers if I was taller.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Hiking poles are a Western appoach.
"More power Scotty" / Star Trek!
They will increase your cardio and respiration.
Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you do not make.
The most energy expended per hour in Olympic competitors are by Nordic skiers - using both arms and legs.
The Eastern approach is to conserve energy.

The Inuit were said to be lazy because they walked slowy and methodically acrosss the frozen landscape.
They did this so they would not sweat - getting wet is death in the cold.
They were Chi Walking.
It is not about more power, but correct alignment and balance.
Imagine a needle in cotton - the center is aligned and the extremities are as light as cotton.
Chi walkers glide - getting pulled along by their core energy - they do not push.
You can not have light extremities if they are pushing with poles.
Poles push you from side to side a bit - less balance and less alignment.

I recommend the poles you leave at home.
Certainly some people may use poles to achieve more power and use more energy. Others may use them for different reasons, such as reducing the load and stress on knees. I think you may be overgeneralizing.

Not pushing but gliding where the way is open to receive you applies to more than just walking. ;-)
 

Guy Strachan

Alba Guido
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances ('13/'14), Portugues ('15), Finisterre ('16/'19); Ingles ('17); Sanabres ('18); Invierno '20
Having fruitlessly spent what seems to be an age on the web, I thought I’d ask fellow pilgrims whether they had ever seen for sale hiking poles that are:
  • Foldable (so I can fit them in my rucksack)
  • Shock absorbing, i.e. have a little spring in there somewhere (so I can give my knees a bit of help)
  • Extend to 135cm (I’m a bit tall).
I thought I’d found the answer with Leki only to find that their otherwise great sticks only extend to a maximum of 130cm.

Can anyone help?
Many thanks :)
Hi Tom - I swear by Leki's (only use one though!).
If you check again, they do offer 145cm 3 part telescopic poles even at their entry level.
For example, check out Leki Voyagers which in the UK are c £50
https://www.leki.co.uk/trekking-poles-c192/leki-voyager-pair-p7209
Good luck y Buen Camino
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Part of the success of the Pacer Pole design is the technique: the pole hits the ground before the foot. This means the shock is absorbed through the pole-arm-shoulder, rather than the foot-ankle-knee. They also disassemble to fit into the pack for transit. I've used mine for ten years now (same set), and refused a name-any-price offer to sell them mid-pilgrimage one year.
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
Hiking poles are a Western appoach.
"More power Scotty" / Star Trek!
They will increase your cardio and respiration.
Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you do not make.
The most energy expended per hour in Olympic competitors are by Nordic skiers - using both arms and legs.
The Eastern approach is to conserve energy.

The Inuit were said to be lazy because they walked slowy and methodically acrosss the frozen landscape.
They did this so they would not sweat - getting wet is death in the cold.
They were Chi Walking.
It is not about more power, but correct alignment and balance.
Imagine a needle in cotton - the center is aligned and the extremities are as light as cotton.
Chi walkers glide - getting pulled along by their core energy - they do not push.
You can not have light extremities if they are pushing with poles.
Poles push you from side to side a bit - less balance and less alignment.

I recommend the poles you leave at home.
Hmmmmm...not my experience.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I have walked with and without poles. I only use them on the uphill and downhill. I have spent about $60 dollars for poles over the 3 caminos I have used them. I like the ones that give a little when you press down on them. This time I am not buying poles at all if I don't have to. I will be on the VDLP. I figure I probably will not really need them until I get to Galicia. By then I should be able to find some poles that have been left in albergues by pilgrims before me. If not I guess I will hit the Decathalon in Salamanca.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Pacer poles took us along the camino and the VF, (and Ranulph Fiennes to the Pole i think), highly recommended. If you contact them they maybe could advise if they do extra long ones. They dont fold down but do telescope into themselves so end up quite short.
Because of the way that they are used, PacerPoles don't need to be as long as traditional poles.
Some might wonder whether walking with the unique handle arrangement of the Pacer Pole hypnotises the user into responding automatically to any thread that mentions walking poles - regardless of relevance to the OP's missive...
Yes, I knew when I posted that PacerPoles didn't meet several of the OP's criteria, but I was compelled to do so. 😅
But I did back it up with an article detailing the ways in which they are superior.
 

Linda Fantillo

RiverWalker
Year of past OR future Camino
September/October 14, May 17, September 18, MAY 2020
Absolutely LOVE my PacerPoles. Wouldn't use anything else. It is a whole different way of using poles, and my back and neck problems do not trouble me when I am reminding myself of the mantra while using them - shoulders down and gently back. I bought them after one of my Black Diamond poles died on me on my first Camino and had to be duck-taped together.
 

MisterH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018 neither successful
I only use poles in these situations:
1. Going downhill
2. When special problems occur

I used them going up hill from Orisson once when there was a quite strong wind from my left hand side.

There are some situations where I feel unsteady such as wet rocks, etc. Then it is nice to have "three feet on the trail".
 
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GailGwyn

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
Me too. After more than 10 years of "trial and much error" I bought Pacer Poles for my 2017 Camino Frances walk. They saved me on the first two days. I particularly like the "natural" hand/wrist position. Cheers
Another vote for Pacerpoles
 

SolarPanelPhil

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2011
Having fruitlessly spent what seems to be an age on the web, I thought I’d ask fellow pilgrims whether they had ever seen for sale hiking poles that are:
  • Foldable (so I can fit them in my rucksack)
  • Shock absorbing, i.e. have a little spring in there somewhere (so I can give my knees a bit of help)
  • Extend to 135cm (I’m a bit tall).
I thought I’d found the answer with Leki only to find that their otherwise great sticks only extend to a maximum of 130cm.

Can anyone help?
Many thanks :)
Have you looked at Pacerpoles?
 

David61

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
Hiking poles are a Western appoach.
"More power Scotty" / Star Trek!
They will increase your cardio and respiration.
Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you do not make.
The most energy expended per hour in Olympic competitors are by Nordic skiers - using both arms and legs.
The Eastern approach is to conserve energy.

The Inuit were said to be lazy because they walked slowy and methodically acrosss the frozen landscape.
They did this so they would not sweat - getting wet is death in the cold.
They were Chi Walking.
It is not about more power, but correct alignment and balance.
Imagine a needle in cotton - the center is aligned and the extremities are as light as cotton.
Chi walkers glide - getting pulled along by their core energy - they do not push.
You can not have light extremities if they are pushing with poles.
Poles push you from side to side a bit - less balance and less alignment.

I recommend the poles you leave at home.
Thank you! I am now Chi walking, not just slow!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Having fruitlessly spent what seems to be an age on the web, I thought I’d ask fellow pilgrims whether they had ever seen for sale hiking poles that are:
  • Foldable (so I can fit them in my rucksack)
  • Shock absorbing, i.e. have a little spring in there somewhere (so I can give my knees a bit of help)
  • Extend to 135cm (I’m a bit tall).
I thought I’d found the answer with Leki only to find that their otherwise great sticks only extend to a maximum of 130cm.

Can anyone help?
Many thanks :)
I bought "Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Hiking Poles" a few weeks back and the Amazon listing has an option for 115-135cms.I spent a number of hours looking for best reviewed set as have a strict budget. These are (in addition to many other features) are a great price $50CAD. Lekis simply too rich for me :) I see you are from UK so there they are 50 pounds.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
To my surprise, my favourite Leki Micro Vario only extends to 130 cm ! It compresses to a mere 38 cm...

However, Leki Tour Carbon 3 has a 70 to 150 cm range.....
Leki's are great hiking poles, but prefer to not bring them on the Camino. I now opt for cheapie Decathlon poles after I arrive.
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I work on the principle that - when walking - one pole is constantly on the ground, so I don’t stress about the weight. I have some BD z-poles, but tend to leave them at home and travel with a set of el-cheapos. They are less ‘at risk’ if left in a communal basket in an albergue.

I fit a set of new rubber tips before departing secured with some two-part adhesive, wrap several bands of red and white reflective tape round each (I walk early spring and late autumn) and a length of gaffer-tape onto one.

The only critical dimension for me is that they must compress sufficiently to fit in my (checked in) sack.
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Hiking poles are a Western appoach.
"More power Scotty" / Star Trek!
They will increase your cardio and respiration.
Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you do not make.
The most energy expended per hour in Olympic competitors are by Nordic skiers - using both arms and legs.
The Eastern approach is to conserve energy.

The Inuit were said to be lazy because they walked slowy and methodically acrosss the frozen landscape.
They did this so they would not sweat - getting wet is death in the cold.
They were Chi Walking.
It is not about more power, but correct alignment and balance.
Imagine a needle in cotton - the center is aligned and the extremities are as light as cotton.
Chi walkers glide - getting pulled along by their core energy - they do not push.
You can not have light extremities if they are pushing with poles.
Poles push you from side to side a bit - less balance and less alignment.

I recommend the poles you leave at home.
I used to spend some time in the Alps and was converted to poles by various tremendously fit guides who were convinced that using poles would extend their personal working life by several years. You don’t have the option to go slow on alpine ascents.

I am aware that the Camino is not comparable, but I think the principle is transferable.
 

Sanman

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis, Portuguese Camino (Cluny, Le Puys), Hadrian's Wall, West Highland Way
Having fruitlessly spent what seems to be an age on the web, I thought I’d ask fellow pilgrims whether they had ever seen for sale hiking poles that are:
  • Foldable (so I can fit them in my rucksack)
  • Shock absorbing, i.e. have a little spring in there somewhere (so I can give my knees a bit of help)
  • Extend to 135cm (I’m a bit tall).
I thought I’d found the answer with Leki only to find that their otherwise great sticks only extend to a maximum of 130cm.

Can anyone help?
Many thanks

Having fruitlessly spent what seems to be an age on the web, I thought I’d ask fellow pilgrims whether they had ever seen for sale hiking poles that are:
  • Foldable (so I can fit them in my rucksack)
  • Shock absorbing, i.e. have a little spring in there somewhere (so I can give my knees a bit of help)
  • Extend to 135cm (I’m a bit tall).
I thought I’d found the answer with Leki only to find that their otherwise great sticks only extend to a maximum of 130cm.

Can anyone help?
Many thanks :)
Hi Nick - not sure if this will help but here's a video i did yesterday on hiking poles...maybe some ideas
Cheers,
Sandy
 
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topazy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014
Mountain King Trail Blaze Trekking Pole (110cm, 115grams) - SS20
I used this for a thruhike of the tahoe rim trail almost Two ago and have loved them ever since. They are the lightest collapsable pole i have found, they fold up smaller than any 3-section pole, and they are Very sturdy. AND they deploy faster and collapse than the Black Diamond distance carbon Z Poles i had liked so well prior. Bonus, theyre not super crazy expensive either.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
The only critical dimension for me is that they must compress sufficiently to fit in my (checked in) sack.
I have been able to squeeze hiking poles in my carry on size backpack...one time they were allowed through the scanner, one time they were removed, so I left them behind. I no longer am willing to take the risk as it often seems to depend on the mood of the security people who are working on that particular day.
 

MtnSue

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Having fruitlessly spent what seems to be an age on the web, I thought I’d ask fellow pilgrims whether they had ever seen for sale hiking poles that are:
  • Foldable (so I can fit them in my rucksack)
  • Shock absorbing, i.e. have a little spring in there somewhere (so I can give my knees a bit of help)
  • Extend to 135cm (I’m a bit tall).
I thought I’d found the answer with Leki only to find that their otherwise great sticks only extend to a maximum of 130cm.

Can anyone help?
Many thanks :)
I have REI-branded poles that ho to 145cm—-fine gor my husband at 6‘3“—-REI is Great for all needs, from sock liners on.....
 

BlackRocker57

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy route 2014; Le Puy route continuation 2016; Le Puy route 2017; Le Puy route 2019 [incl. Célé]
Can recommend Helinox. Light, collapsible, and currently come in different styles and lengths.
Helinox are wonderful! Super lightweight, strong, collapsible or foldable ...
 

BlackRocker57

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy route 2014; Le Puy route continuation 2016; Le Puy route 2017; Le Puy route 2019 [incl. Célé]
Agree.I used ultralight foldable Helinox on the Frances and they were perfect and folded down into my front packs. At home I use a telescopic heavier duty Helinox for rough bushwalking and find them strong and virtually indestructible. So well worth the money!
Vive le Helinox‼️ Excellent quality, durable and strong😍
 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Year of past OR future Camino
"Portuguese Camino"
"Slow Camino"
"The First Pilgrim"
All on Amazon
Thank you! I am now Chi walking, not just slow!
Actually since you are conserving energy by Chi Walking - I found I could take less recovery breaks.
And walk more than two hours with no breaks.

Thus while you may be walking slower - you make good time with fewer recovery stops/
The breathing for me became deeper--- slower and more regular - leading to a walking meditation.
The nun who wrote "Walk in a Relaxed Manner" Joyce Rupp seems to have taken this more Eastern--- less agressive approach. I always scratch my head when somone talks about how fast they completed the Camino or how many km/hour they averaged.
 

BlackRocker57

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy route 2014; Le Puy route continuation 2016; Le Puy route 2017; Le Puy route 2019 [incl. Célé]
Actually since you are conserving energy by Chi Walking - I found I could take less recovery breaks.
And walk more than two hours with no breaks.

Thus while you may be walking slower - you make good time with fewer recovery stops/
The breathing for me became deeper--- slower and more regular - leading to a walking meditation.
The nun who wrote "Walk in a Relaxed Manner" Joyce Rupp seems to have taken this more Eastern--- less agressive approach. I always scratch my head when somone talks about how fast they completed the Camino or how many km/hour they averaged.
absolutely agree with that ... I too scratch my head ...
 

OZAJ

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Mozarabe/VdlP/Sanabres (2008) Norte (2009) Vezelay/Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2010) etc.
Most of my Caminos I carried one pole, purely for balance.

In 2016 I bought Pacer poles for the Levante. My knees rejoiced!!

I cannot say that they are superior to other poles, as I have not used other poles.

The most important thing is to use them correctly. Pacer have videos illustrating correct technique.

Too many people do not use poles correctly, though I have noticed that they have become fewer of late. However there are still orchestral conductors to be seen.
 

Anna&Michael

Not all those who wander are lost!
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
Can recommend Helinox. Light, collapsible, and currently come in different styles and lengths.
I also use and highly recommend Helinox. No springs but I don't find this a disadvantage. Being alloy (not carbon fiber) they are less prone to snapping and have a bit of flex built in. I'm 6 2 and use thier Passport TL 130. You'll need the next size up Ridgeline 135, they'll be slightly heavier but given the leverage you'll be placing on them the additional strength will be useful.

Whatever poles you get, buy an additional set of rubber tips as you're bound to lose one. Also get into the habit of putting them with your pack when you stop, plenty of poles have been left behind.
 

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