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Trekking Pole Suggestions

jgiesbrecht

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2020
I know everyone loves discussing trekking poles!! But seriously, I plan on walking from SJPDP hopefully all the way to Finisterre and Muxia this upcoming March/April. I am new to walking/hiking....but I do know I plan on using poles. Part of my reasoning is that when I walk more than about 5k my hands swell, so I want something to keep my hands moving. I bought a pretty cheap one online just for now while walking at home but I know it is actually a bit too long for me even in it's shortest position. I am 5'4 and live in Ontario. I am willing to order online if someone has a really good recommendation. I want to purchase them beforehand so I can get use to walking with them, and I have already purchased checked baggage for my flight, so that is not an issue.
Whether or not I want to use them is not up for debate, so please simply chime in with equipment recommendations!! Thanks guys!
 

Dave C.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santo Domingo (2017)
Santo Domingo to Fromista (2018)
SJPdP to Burgos (2019)
Once you find which ones you want, check Campmor.com . They give 20% off of one item. Not sure about shipping to Ontario.
Just an idea.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Like you, I had never used trekking poles before. After reading about them on the forum I ordered Pacer Poles, because someone said that it is impossible to use them the wrong way. Instead of being modified ski poles, they were designed for walking by a physiotherapist, and have an ergonomic grip. I love them, and use them 99% of the time on the Camino. Besides keeping my hands from swelling, they have kept me from a fall or two, they help relieve some of the strain on my knees when going down hill, give me a little push when going up hill, and help keep my arms toned while I'm on the Camino. They have to be ordered from England, and may seem a bit expensive, but I feel that they are worth it.

 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Are you in Wawa or Kapuskasking ... or are you close to an urban area with stores?

Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) have some. Adventure Guide in Waterloo have some. Even Winners occasionally have them.

I like having my one stick, one reason being it helps with the swelling - I alternate between hands every hour or so.
 

jgiesbrecht

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2020
Nope, down in Niagara. I have an outdoor oriented, so waterloo is about an hour and a half, and rei in Rochester NY is about an hour and a half.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Burlington has both a MEC (a couple km east of IKEA) and a Sail store (other side of the QEW) both are pretty good sized stores.
 

David from Freo

"These are the best years of our lives"
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago 2008; SJPP-Santiago 2014; Lisbon-Santiago-Muxia 2016; LePuy-Santiago 2018; SWCP 2019
I am a late convert to using walking poles, having in the past always simply picked up a sturdy tree branch by the side of the track to use for support when necessary. However, just prior to walking the South West Coast Path in the UK earlier this year I decided to try a walking pole as the trail was notorious for its steep ups and downs. After a lot of research here in Australia, I bought a Fizan Compact Liteweight single pole. I will now use it every walk! At 170 gms it's light enough to carry when necessary, but sturdy enough to have survived 700 kms of seemingly endless steep climbs and descents. The three sections twist into each other easily, avoiding external locking clips, saving space, keeping the pole light and short enough to slip into my backpack for plane flights as check-in. I bought mine from Kathmandu shops in Australia, but they are Italian-made and I saw several walkers using them in the UK. Not sure about north America however.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I suggest that you should use 2 poles - your post suggested that you might be using only one. I personally use folding Black Diamond ones and am very happy with them. I think you really just need to decide which of the following you want:
  1. Pacer Poles, which are unique, not foldable, must be ordered from the UK (I think) but I understand the company gives excellent customer service, and these poles have enthusiastic users.
  2. Regular collapsible but not foldable poles. These can be quite inexpensive.
  3. Lightweight foldable carbon fibre poles (e.g. Black Diamond) such as I use. These are the smallest and lightest, but also more expensive.
For Choice 1, you'll want to do some research and will need to find out how to order.
For Choice 2, you can go to any outdoors store. Compare weights and pick your preferred price point.
For Choice 3, you might need a specialty outdoors store (e.g. MEC) and pay the higher price.

I expect that any one of these choices will meet your needs nicely.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I won't even attempt a longer walk without my Pacerpoles. Like @trecile says, they help keep the arms going as well as being a rocket engine uphill and hand brakes - literally, because you can put your whole palm and weight behind them - on the downhills to make it easier on the knees and hips. I have the Dual Lock for quick extension and adjustment, but all of them work well. Alloys can bend without breaking if something happens, but carbon is lighter. And yes, the customer service is second to none!
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
I am a happy pacer poles user too. I bought Leki poles for my first camino, allthough they were good, I still had the feeling that the proper use did not feel natural. On the internet I read about the Pacer Poles and was immediately convinced that this might be a solution for me. When seeing the design it made me wonder why nobody else came up with the idea of the handshaped handles that makes them much more adapted to walking than using skipoles. I used them on 5 caminos and walking at home and I like them very much. The poles feel like an extension of my arm and the use of them comes naturally
 

steve 217

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances planning via del la plata
Poles have saved me on lots of occasions helpful up hill and a leg saver down hill
Get the lightest you can afford personal favourites mountain king made in England .
Buen camino
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
Via Francigena 2019
Times two for Black Diamond FLZ carbon Z poles. My constant companions for the Via Francigena, saved my bum many times.
 

JamesVT

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Like you, I had never used trekking poles before. After reading about them on the forum I ordered Pacer Poles, because someone said that it is impossible to use them the wrong way. Instead of being modified ski poles, they were designed for walking by a physiotherapist, and have an ergonomic grip. I love them, and use them 99% of the time on the Camino. Besides keeping my hands from swelling, they have kept me from a fall or two, they help relieve some of the strain on my knees when going down hill, give me a little push when going up hill, and help keep my arms toned while I'm on the Camino. They have to be ordered from England, and may seem a bit expensive, but I feel that they are worth it.

I’ll just add my two cents’ worth— Pacer Poles are great. I used them on my Camino trek, and they provide great support, are easy to use, and adjustable. They are a bit on the expensive side, but their hand grips allow you to use the poles with an easy, natural grasp that supports you without tiring your hands.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I have used poles for many years, so I have had plenty of experience using a standard, strap based hand grip, and prefer that over the pacer pole approach. If you didn't have time to learn how to use the poles, the one small advantage of pacer poles that I can find is that they are easy to use properly from the very outset. That is about it. Every one of all the other things I see being discussed here are equally applicable to all poles, including Nordic walking poles as well as normal trekking poles.

However, if you buy your poles soon, you will have several months of use in training to develop all your pole skills, including how to use the strap properly if you go down the path of handgrip with a strap. You should be able to find a set of these poles at a pretty reasonable price, although there is always an element of you pay for what you get. I have found that the more expensive poles like Leki, Black Diamond, Komperdell and the like have lasted considerably longer than any cheaper pole that I have bought.

It hasn't been said yet in this thread, but buy a couple of spare sets of the rubber tips. Or at least buy them before your camino. You don't need to be using them all the time, but it is good to be able to avoid having your bare metal tip striking the pavement when going through towns and villages.
 

dfox

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
CF (5/2021)
If I were to buy trekking poles, I would go to a store in person and testing them for their anti-shock, weight, length, etc..

Canadian Tires in Toronto has Woods' Folding Trekking Poles (Z folds) on sale till October 3 for C$60. The poles can be folded and put in a suitcase.

MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) has a variety of poles and provide advisory service.
 
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pitztop

Solvitur ambulando
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 2015, 2017 & 2019. Maybe Camino Levante in 2021?
Pacerpole users, do you use alloy or carbon fibre?
Mine are carbon fibre (the dual-lock model). I'm a recent convert to pacer-poles and I've fallen in love with them. I had a chance to really check them out earlier this year when I walked the Camino Portugués and the Camino Inglés. I also used them for a few days on one of the Jakobsweg trails in Germany. They performed flawlessly throughout. I've used conventional walking poles in the past and find using pacer-poles to be much more natural and ergonomic. I can really feel the difference. Yes, pacer-poles are a little more expensive but for me they are definitely worth the cost.
 

Bungkus

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Tours Route; Camino Frances; Santiago to Muxia (2014)
Camino Portugués (2017)
I worked as a tour leader in Asia for 12 years and used trekking poles most days as well as using them on three Caminos, and have used many brands and styles of trekking poles over the years. I recommend two poles (if you were thinking of just one). I prefer poles with a cork handle as I tend to get blisters on my hands from other materials. My latest favourites are the Black Diamond Z poles. They are a fixed height - so you need to buy the size that suites you and very lightweight and as others have mentions fold into a small neat size that fits into small backpacks. I have used adjustable height poles in the past, but rarely changed the height and the mechanisms make the poles heavier and can break. Whichever you end up buying, watch a few how-to videos and have a bit of a practice beforehand. They save your knees, and give your arms a bit of a workout too.
 

c0484

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
I know everyone loves discussing trekking poles!! But seriously, I plan on walking from SJPDP hopefully all the way to Finisterre and Muxia this upcoming March/April. I am new to walking/hiking....but I do know I plan on using poles. Part of my reasoning is that when I walk more than about 5k my hands swell, so I want something to keep my hands moving. I bought a pretty cheap one online just for now while walking at home but I know it is actually a bit too long for me even in it's shortest position. I am 5'4 and live in Ontario. I am willing to order online if someone has a really good recommendation. I want to purchase them beforehand so I can get use to walking with them, and I have already purchased checked baggage for my flight, so that is not an issue.
Whether or not I want to use them is not up for debate, so please simply chime in with equipment recommendations!! Thanks guys!
To use or not to use is up to the individual. I have used them on every Camino and will continue to do so. If you have been trained to use them properly they can save you a lot of energy and be very helpful. If you have not been trained in how to properly use them you will needlessly expend a lot of energy that you would other wise not expend. The key to proper use is that on level and uphill trails, the tips of the poles do not come any further forward than the heal of each foot. For downhill trails they stay in from of your foot mainly for stability.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues May 2019
PACER POLES ALL THE WAY- I am also a devote to the pacer poles. They are more expensive but sooooo worth it. I originally purchased the 2 piece alloy ones and loved them from day one. I then purchased the 3 piece carbon fiber ones to take on my Camino and used them every day. I still use them here at home when I do my walking. I know there are a lot of opinions about putting one's poles in carry on luggage. I put my carbon fiber poles in my carry on and cleared security in Sacramento, Chicago, Madrid (twice as I got lost) with out a single bit of problem. However, I was prepared to put them in a camera tripod case I had with me to check them if there was a problem. The only problem I have experienced with the pacer poles, is my own fault. ( a Camino diploma) I put some reflective tape on a upper portion of the lower pole section and got it jammed up inside the middle portion and I cannot separate them now. I just have to extend the middle portion to make up the height so the two poles match. The company has great customer service, they send a lot of written material about their poles and how to adjust them for your physique, and have youtube videos on how to use them correctly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Le Puy-en-Velay ('10-12) from Montgenevre '14-15) from Vezelay ('18), from Seville 2020
During my first Camino in 2010, I would wait at dawn at the exit of a village. When an old Spanish guy would approach me at a decent speed, I'd ask if I could join him. These guys invariably would have already walked several Caminos, and they knew everything I needed to learn. I recall two different men with whom I walked for several days. Somehow we communicated. One of them told me I must have poles. Since then I've followed his advice, and I'm happier for it. As others have said, you exercise your arms, aid in balance, save your knees on downhills, power yourself on uphills, and even have protection against the occasional mean dog. I am now using Black Diamond Z poles because they fold up and can be taken on the plane within my backpack.
 

Yoyo

➜ I'd rather be walking ➜
Camino(s) past & future
2017: CF 800 km
2019: CF 180 km
Pacer Poles are my choice, too.
I suffer from ostheoarthritis at the base of the thumbs (carpometacarpal ostheoarthristis).
The way you use Pacer Poles doesn't put any strain on hands or wrists but allows them to remain in a completely natural, relaxed and neutral position. I used my Pacer Poles every step of the way.
If your hands tend to sweat, just slip an old pair of cotton gloves socks over the plastic grips.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
What is the difference between the two?
Nordic walking poles typically have a 'demi-glove' that is attached to the top of the pole with some form of quick disconnect arrangement. You should be able to see this arrangement on a Leki Nordic walking pole here. There are some differences in the design of the hand grip, but I think most of the other construction details are similar to trekking poles and ski poles. The one I have linked has a fixed single piece shaft, but there are two and three section adjustable and collapsible nordic poles.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
The key to proper use is that on level and uphill trails, the tips of the poles do not come any further forward than the heal of each foot. For downhill trails they stay in from of your foot mainly for stability.
This is an excellent approach, but it is worth explaining why. Once the pole tip comes forward in front of the leading foot, there will be some braking action. This is because the pole is pointing slightly forward until your body moves forwards and the pole is pointing to the rear. Only then will the pole be helping you move forward. That braking action is what you want to avoid - it uses up energy if nothing else, but why would you want to do something that will slow you down?

When you are going downhill, that braking action is what adds to your stability, so you might not want to have the pole tip land in front of the foot until you are going down steeper slopes where you need extra stability. On most shallower downhill slopes, that won't be necessary. I can only think of a few places on the CF, CI and walking out to Muxia and Finisterre where I needed to do this. In contrast, on the Gudbrandsdalen St Olavs Way route, it was something I did often several times a day.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Pacerpole users, do you use alloy or carbon fibre?
Alloy - if you damage one of the lower two pieces you can swap them out with tubes from cheapo units. It's the grip that make the difference. It also makes them harder to pack ;)
 

Rod Murray

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016) Portuguese Coastal (Sept 2019)
I know everyone loves discussing trekking poles!! But seriously, I plan on walking from SJPDP hopefully all the way to Finisterre and Muxia this upcoming March/April. I am new to walking/hiking....but I do know I plan on using poles. Part of my reasoning is that when I walk more than about 5k my hands swell, so I want something to keep my hands moving. I bought a pretty cheap one online just for now while walking at home but I know it is actually a bit too long for me even in it's shortest position. I am 5'4 and live in Ontario. I am willing to order online if someone has a really good recommendation. I want to purchase them beforehand so I can get use to walking with them, and I have already purchased checked baggage for my flight, so that is not an issue.
Whether or not I want to use them is not up for debate, so please simply chime in with equipment recommendations!! Thanks guys!

I use Leki branded poles with cork handles that have anti-shock springs inside that help absorb the shock of each step. They are fully adjustable in height with markings. In another thread here in the forums I provided a number of links to scientific research that showed the benefits of using poles. Ontario stores like MEC, Sail, Hikers Haven and other respected retailers will have them as well as good information about what might best suit you. Just finished the Portuguese Coastal route and poles were handy numerous times, especially in cobblestone roads for safety.
My wife uses Black Diamond brand and likes them too. They have foam grips. Using poles does help hand circulation.
 

WalkingJane

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
I know everyone loves discussing trekking poles!! But seriously, I plan on walking from SJPDP hopefully all the way to Finisterre and Muxia this upcoming March/April. I am new to walking/hiking....but I do know I plan on using poles. Part of my reasoning is that when I walk more than about 5k my hands swell, so I want something to keep my hands moving. I bought a pretty cheap one online just for now while walking at home but I know it is actually a bit too long for me even in it's shortest position. I am 5'4 and live in Ontario. I am willing to order online if someone has a really good recommendation. I want to purchase them beforehand so I can get use to walking with them, and I have already purchased checked baggage for my flight, so that is not an issue.
Whether or not I want to use them is not up for debate, so please simply chime in with equipment recommendations!! Thanks guys!

I began Camino Frances without poles but soon discovered I needed help and bought one in SJPdP. Back home, I went to REI (our version of MEC) and the salesman spent a lot of time helping me understand how they needed to "fit", then having me try different ones, helping to find the ones that worked best for me. I followed the Portuguese last year, with poles. And as I walk now at home, I still use one. My balance is not so good as I get older and one or both poles really helps me get around. I've chosen to live without a car and using public transit works fine but does always involve some walking.
 

GailGwyn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
Like you, I had never used trekking poles before. After reading about them on the forum I ordered Pacer Poles, because someone said that it is impossible to use them the wrong way. Instead of being modified ski poles, they were designed for walking by a physiotherapist, and have an ergonomic grip. I love them, and use them 99% of the time on the Camino. Besides keeping my hands from swelling, they have kept me from a fall or two, they help relieve some of the strain on my knees when going down hill, give me a little push when going up hill, and help keep my arms toned while I'm on the Camino. They have to be ordered from England, and may seem a bit expensive, but I feel that they are worth it.

I agree. I bought Pacer Poles after reading recommendations on this forum. I'd never used Poles before either. I found them invaluable and they became almost a part of me. When I used to walk without Poles, my fingers often swelled. However, with Pacer Poles I never had swollen fingers. Highly recommend.
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
That braking action is what you want to avoid - it uses up energy if nothing else, but why would you want to do something that will slow you down?
One reason is stability. In winter walking (or any unstable terrain I suppose) having your poles out from you body a ways provides a wider, more stable base. When I was walking on icy surfaces I wasn’t concerned at all about speed or energy used, my only concern was not ending up on my butt!
 

GailGwyn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
Alloy - if you damage one of the lower two pieces you can swap them out with tubes from cheapo units. It's the grip that make the difference. It also makes them harder to pack ;)
Mine are carbon. Walked from SJPP to Santiago in May this year. I agree about them being harder to pack though. Going to walk the Camino Portuguese next year, from Porto. Any advice on packing and posting Poles on ahead please? Don't want to take checked luggage. Thanks.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
I checked online and can’t seem to buy / order pacer poles name brand in Canada??!! 👎
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@GailGwyn Where do you fly in from? I normally dismantle mine, put rubber bands either end to keep the bundle together and pack them in the narrow, sturdy plastic bag they were delivered in, or in a binliner I wrap around several times. Then print out address for my first night's accommodation and also my own for the return, and send them by post from the UK. Costs about £12 and takes about 5 working days. I keep the bag when I pick them up, and after my walk I wrap them back up and ask for new tape at the post office and attach my preprinted address label. Easy.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
One reason is stability. In winter walking (or any unstable terrain I suppose) having your poles out from you body a ways provides a wider, more stable base. When I was walking on icy surfaces I wasn’t concerned at all about speed or energy used, my only concern was not ending up on my butt!
You make a good point. My winter walking here in Australia doesn't provide this sort of challenge. I am planning to walk in England later in the year, and might find out first hand how important this is.
 

GailGwyn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
@GailGwyn Where do you fly in from? I normally dismantle mine, put rubber bands either end to keep the bundle together and pack them in the narrow, sturdy plastic bag they were delivered in, or in a binliner I wrap around several times. Then print out address for my first night's accommodation and also my own for the return, and send them by post from the UK. Costs about £12 and takes about 5 working days. I keep the bag when I pick them up, and after my walk I wrap them back up and ask for new tape at the post office and attach my preprinted address label. Easy.
Nidarosa, we fly from the UK too. Thanks for the info. I'll give that a try. Do you put any padding round the poles, to give more protection? Also, do you just send them via regular mail from the post office?
 

GailGwyn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
I checked online and can’t seem to buy / order pacer poles name brand in Canada??!! 👎
I don't think they are available from anywhere except the UK. I think it should be fairly straightforward to place an order. An American friend has just ordered some, on my recommendation. They are made on the Lake District, in England. Good luck!
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@GailGwyn No I don't put extra padding on because I'd have to put that somewhere while I walked, but a few sheets of bubble wrap might make a handy sitmat en route before shipping them back? Never had them get damaged so just keep doing what I do. I spend a few extra quid to make it registered or tracked mail though. Make sure you bundle them tightly so the package is less than 60 cms long and my Dual Locks will cost about £12 each way. Still cheaper than putting them in the hold.
 

GailGwyn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
@GailGwyn No I don't put extra padding on because I'd have to put that somewhere while I walked, but a few sheets of bubble wrap might make a handy sitmat en route before shipping them back? Never had them get damaged so just keep doing what I do. I spend a few extra quid to make it registered or tracked mail though. Make sure you bundle them tightly so the package is less than 60 cms long and my Dual Locks will cost about £12 each way. Still cheaper than putting them in the hold.
Thanks again. My husband has a pair too, so we'll bundle them together and post them via registered or tracked, as you suggest.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@GailGwyn Not sure if that would double the price, prob not, so pack them up and take them to the post office to see how much it would be so you can compare with shipping the bundle in the hold. For me it isn't worth it on a two leg flight so I always post them.
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
Pacerpole users, do you use alloy or carbon fibre?

With two Caminos under our belts now, it is Pacerpoles for us. Alloy. Carbon fibre wasn't available when we bought ours. Carbon fibre can break while the alloy is perhaps a little more robust to rough treatment but alloys are also heavier as well.

Whilst I can't comment on other poles because I've only every used Pacer poles, I think we made the right choice for us.

What I do love is that I can can transfer some of my body weight to through my arms onto to the pole handles which saves a bit of wear and tear on the old knees on the ascents.

Ours dismantle and we put them in our backpack for travelling as well as for alburgue stays.

Regardless of which type of pole you decide to buy, please use rubber tips - there is nothing worse than the clack clack of poles on the track. It scares the birds and wildlife away and it must annoy the heck out of anyone unlucky enough to own a house beside the Camino path.

If we didn't choose Pacer we would probably have chosen Helinox. Here is a link to their free online guide to walking with poles. Unless we are walking incorrectly, walking with Pacer Poles seems to be a different technique, but having never used traditional strap poles, I'm not 100% sure.

https://www.helinox.com.au/_assets/files/The Australian Bushwalker's Guide to Walking Poles.pdf

There is a suggested guide to pole length in the free online guide that may be of interest to you.

Buen Camino
 
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Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I know everyone loves discussing trekking poles!! But seriously, I plan on walking from SJPDP hopefully all the way to Finisterre and Muxia this upcoming March/April. I am new to walking/hiking....but I do know I plan on using poles. Part of my reasoning is that when I walk more than about 5k my hands swell, so I want something to keep my hands moving. I bought a pretty cheap one online just for now while walking at home but I know it is actually a bit too long for me even in it's shortest position.....
I have already purchased checked baggage for my flight, so that is not an issue.
Whether or not I want to use them is not up for debate, so please simply chime in with equipment recommendations!! Thanks guys!

Hola - I used to be anti walking poles, but as I aged I found I needed them more. I walked the Frances (from St Jean) back in May/June 2017 and I used Pacer Poles. These are height adjustable and have handles (at the top) that are more "ergonomic" in their fit of your hand. They are only available via the UK web site. Do a google search for the URL. I can truly recommend them.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Mine are carbon. Walked from SJPP to Santiago in May this year. I agree about them being harder to pack though. Going to walk the Camino Portuguese next year, from Porto. Any advice on packing and posting Poles on ahead please? Don't want to take checked luggage. Thanks.
I usually check a bag (free with my flight from the US) with my pre and post Camino clothes, as I usually do a bit of traveling before and/or after. On my most recent short Camino, which was the Portuguese route from Porto I didn't bring any extra clothes, but packed my Pacer Poles in an old duffel bag, which I gave away in Porto. On the way back, I put them in my backpack and checked it in. But, I did meet a couple that were boarding my flight that got through security in Porto with their poles in their packs. The husband had his in the side pocket, so they were very visible to security staff.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
I am also in Canada, and I have these. I got them from Amazon. I'm 5'6'' (with shorter legs than torso, I wear a 'short' pant not regular) and I use them at their 115 and 120 height, which is not their shortest by any means. They are very basic and I"m happy with them. I got them because they were recommended by a strong through-hiker who basically said 'if you can spend a lot of money on poles and get a high quality, lightweight, expensive pair - then great, do your research and get some. If you can't, then get these. They're the best 'cheaper' poles''

 

Oddyspapa

My soul is staying on the way, always.
Camino(s) past & future
Full CF (May/Jun of 2014, 2018 )
Full CF+Finisterre (2016 May/Jun)
Will go again 2020
Actually I used Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Pole for my 3 times Camino, and will bring it again next year. It is super light(about 10oz/pair) and can fold and put inside backpack. But I think it is no more available. The similar one is Black Diamond distance Z trekking pole. Not FLZ, it is much heavier than Z. Campmor.com sell it $99.95. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VdlP Spring 2021
Another Pacer Poles satisfied user.
Very satisfied.
Wouldn't use any other kind.
I too am a Pacer Pole VERY satisfied user. I found that about every two or three days on the Camino Frances both times, someone wanted to buy my Pacer Poles from me. Love them, and they are going with me to the Via de la Plata next spring!

Buen Camino,
--jim--
 

wcsjms

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) ; 1st Camino Frances September 2016-November 2016 ; Camino Frances August 2017-October 2017
I know everyone loves discussing trekking poles!! But seriously, I plan on walking from SJPDP hopefully all the way to Finisterre and Muxia this upcoming March/April. I am new to walking/hiking....but I do know I plan on using poles. Part of my reasoning is that when I walk more than about 5k my hands swell, so I want something to keep my hands moving. I bought a pretty cheap one online just for now while walking at home but I know it is actually a bit too long for me even in it's shortest position. I am 5'4 and live in Ontario. I am willing to order online if someone has a really good recommendation. I want to purchase them beforehand so I can get use to walking with them, and I have already purchased checked baggage for my flight, so that is not an issue.
Whether or not I want to use them is not up for debate, so please simply chime in with equipment recommendations!! Thanks guys!

Walmart, $20.00 fully adjustable and used on two Camino's so far and they work extremely well.
 

Yoyo

➜ I'd rather be walking ➜
Camino(s) past & future
2017: CF 800 km
2019: CF 180 km
I checked online and can’t seem to buy / order pacer poles name brand in Canada??!! 👎

I think they ship internationally without charging extra postage.
 

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 !!
I'll voice my opinion for Leki's Vario Mikro Ti .
They are foldable and only take up 38 cm, which means they can go in the rucksack and into the hull.
In my Kestrel they both go in either sidepocket lengthwise.
Black Diamond have a similar product and I'm told they are equally as good.
4 Camino trips in and training all year round, they are still perfect.
I brought mine JIC (just in case) and took them on as duck to water.
You are doing it right , when the foot you put forward, has the stick of the opposite hand coming down into the ground at the same time.
In this fashion you will become a four legged creature, being supported well in mud, on rocks and in water, at all times, especially if you are heavily packed.
Happy trails
 
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GailGwyn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
@GailGwyn Not sure if that would double the price, prob not, so pack them up and take them to the post office to see how much it would be so you can compare with shipping the bundle in the hold. For me it isn't worth it on a two leg flight so I always post them.
I'll do that. Thanks again.
 

Mobilemejen

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 7, 2017
I suggest that you should use 2 poles - your post suggested that you might be using only one. I personally use folding Black Diamond ones and am very happy with them. I think you really just need to decide which of the following you want:
  1. Pacer Poles, which are unique, not foldable, must be ordered from the UK (I think) but I understand the company gives excellent customer service, and these poles have enthusiastic users.
  2. Regular collapsible but not foldable poles. These can be quite inexpensive.
  3. Lightweight foldable carbon fibre poles (e.g. Black Diamond) such as I use. These are the smallest and lightest, but also more expensive.
For Choice 1, you'll want to do some research and will need to find out how to order.
For Choice 2, you can go to any outdoors store. Compare weights and pick your preferred price point.
For Choice 3, you might need a specialty outdoors store (e.g. MEC) and pay the higher price.

I expect that any one of these choices will meet your needs nicely.
For the record, PacerPoles do not fold but they collapse easily. They fit nicely in the side pocket of my backpack and in a tripod case that I ordered from Amazon—with the tripod case, I attach it to my backpack to go through security at airports (then it counts as a single piece of carry-in luggage) with the idea of if they don't clear, I can just check the poles in the bag as luggage. So far, I have carried my PacerPoles from the US to the Camino (DFW, JFK, SEA, ORY, CDG, MAD, etc.) 7 round-trip times through security and they have always passed.
 

John Salleras

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French way (2013)
I know everyone loves discussing trekking poles!! But seriously, I plan on walking from SJPDP hopefully all the way to Finisterre and Muxia this upcoming March/April. I am new to walking/hiking....but I do know I plan on using poles. Part of my reasoning is that when I walk more than about 5k my hands swell, so I want something to keep my hands moving. I bought a pretty cheap one online just for now while walking at home but I know it is actually a bit too long for me even in it's shortest position. I am 5'4 and live in Ontario. I am willing to order online if someone has a really good recommendation. I want to purchase them beforehand so I can get use to walking with them, and I have already purchased checked baggage for my flight, so that is not an issue.
Whether or not I want to use them is not up for debate, so please simply chime in with equipment recommendations!! Thanks guys!
 

Pilgrim9

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
I am completely satisfied with the Pacermaker Stix "Expedition Poles" that I used on the Camino Frances in 2017 and the Camino Portugués in 2018. They are very economical.


One can purchase replacement rubber tips. The rubber tips of my poles have not yet worn out but I carry a spare set "just in case".

I have no economic interests in this product.
 
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John Salleras

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French way (2013)
I know everyone loves discussing trekking poles!! But seriously, I plan on walking from SJPDP hopefully all the way to Finisterre and Muxia this upcoming March/April. I am new to walking/hiking....but I do know I plan on using poles. Part of my reasoning is that when I walk more than about 5k my hands swell, so I want something to keep my hands moving. I bought a pretty cheap one online just for now while walking at home but I know it is actually a bit too long for me even in it's shortest position. I am 5'4 and live in Ontario. I am willing to order online if someone has a really good recommendation. I want to purchase them beforehand so I can get use to walking with them, and I have already purchased checked baggage for my flight, so that is not an issue.
Whether or not I want to use them is not up for debate, so please simply chime in with equipment recommendations!! Thanks guys!
I have always used poles wherever I walk.
Poles aid your balance and they actually increase the distance I can walk in a day.
 

mikebet

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
I dunno. A pole is a pole is a pole. Early pilgrims used a stick. The only thing I look for is the ability to collapse or fold it (or them) sufficiently short to fit inside a pack.
 

tomjane40

Jane S
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2017
Camino Frances Sept 2020
Like you, I had never used trekking poles before. After reading about them on the forum I ordered Pacer Poles, because someone said that it is impossible to use them the wrong way. Instead of being modified ski poles, they were designed for walking by a physiotherapist, and have an ergonomic grip. I love them, and use them 99% of the time on the Camino. Besides keeping my hands from swelling, they have kept me from a fall or two, they help relieve some of the strain on my knees when going down hill, give me a little push when going up hill, and help keep my arms toned while I'm on the Camino. They have to be ordered from England, and may seem a bit expensive, but I feel that they are worth it.

I definitely second the vote for Pacer Poles!! I love them and they were great on my camino.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Carbon fibre
Alloy with screw fittings. As @trecile says above the important part of PPs is the ergonomic hand grip but if you damage one of the lower sections of a carbon fibre pole you have the choice of jettisoning the affected pole or carrying a "dead" pole the rest of the way so you can replace the damaged section when you get home. Do the same with an alloy pole you can hunt around and find a cheap and cheerful pole from the Chinese Bazaar that fits and swap out the damaged section. Try doing that with carbon fibre.
 

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