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2019 Camino Guides

Trekking Poles in November 2018

Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#1
We will be walking from A Guarda to Santiago in about a month starting on Nov. 22. We are trying to decide whether or not to take our poles. We do not want to check our packs if we do not have to. I have looked at the elevation profiles on Gronze and while there seems to be some ups and downs between Redondela and Ponteveda, and long uphill to Santiago de Comopostela this route seems to be relatively level following the coast. I have to use poles here at home due to sharp ups and downs on gravel shoulders, but not on the flat areas. I am concerned that I may need them if the weather is very wet. Sometimes my toes just seem to find the one crack, and I am face down on the road.
 

mikebet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
#2
I saw those standard extendable aluminum poles on sale at various shops for as little as 6 to 8 Euro just last week on the French route. Wooden walking sticks are probably even cheaper. You may not need them on your route (I only know the Portuguese Camino from Baiona to Santiago) but I find them very helpful on uphill sections, not for balance so much but for propulsion when used as you would in cross-country skiing where you push yourself along. It really helps me to take some of the load off my quads, since I feel stronger in the upper body than the lower. Maybe it's just me....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#3
I put my poles and other sharp objects in a shipping tube and checked that in 2015. This worked out fine. I just pitched the shipping tube once I arrived in Paris. The post office in Santiago sold shipping tubes, so I was able to do the same on the return leg.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#4
Tom, thanks for your great idea for checking our poles on the way over. Since we will be visiting the Madrid and Sevilla Christmas markets, I suspect I will have to purchase a bag to check on the way home so there will be room for them. ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ingles, VdP, San Salvador, Aragonese, sections of Northern, Portuguese, Mozarabic.
#5
My brother bought poles really cheaply, just a few Euros, at those Chinese bazaar shops which are everywhere. They worked really well for his two weeks, and then he left them in an albergue for someone else to use. It saved him travel hassles, and spending massive amounts of money before leaving.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ingles, VdP, San Salvador, Aragonese, sections of Northern, Portuguese, Mozarabic.
#7
... but please don't use them when they're not needed. They're really noisy and other people may want a bit of peace. Walking with 5 people ahead on flat smooth paths, all clanking away, is a bit annoying.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes please!
#8
@witsendwv If you normally use them and find them helpful, take them. I wouldn't be without mine on uphills, downhills or slippy surfaces.
@Pierre Julian The solution to the clacking problem isn't for people not to use poles, but for people to buy decent rubber tips and USE THEM. Far too many either don't have tips on or have worn through them so the metal tip is poking through and keeps clacking. Decent ones, like Leki spares, have a metal ring inside the rubber stopping the tip from coming through.
 

Paul J W

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2002/3 and 2004/5)
Camino Ingles. (2008)
Camino Portuguese. (2009)
Camino del Norte (2008 and 2014)
Ruta de la Plata (2004)
Camino Primitivo. (2015)
Camino Mozarabe (2007)
"Tunnel" route (2016)
Camino del Salvador (projected: 2017)
#9
I always carry a pole (or two) - as a septuagenarian a pole provides reassurance, aids balance and, crucially, invaluable when faced with a loose dog! As a walking aid rarely a problem to take on flights with cabin baggage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#12
I use poles regardless of elevation. My hands tend to swell uncomfortably if left dangling by my sides and the poles give my arms a bit of exercise as well.
You are right. I forgot about the swelling as I use them all the time at home. After just a few hours my fingers look like sausages. Just as I'm about to leave them I'm reminded that I need them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#13
I always carry a pole (or two) - as a septuagenarian a pole provides reassurance, aids balance and, crucially, invaluable when faced with a loose dog! As a walking aid rarely a problem to take on flights with cabin baggage.
As a sexagenarian I also know this is true. Back to leaning towards taking my poles. Thanks for the reminder that maybe I'm not as spry as I like to think. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ingles, VdP, San Salvador, Aragonese, sections of Northern, Portuguese, Mozarabic.
#14
... I wonder if rubber tip reminder signs could be placed at exits of big departure points?! Especially for the last 100km traffic jam into Santiago! ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#15
he solution to the clacking problem isn't for people not to use poles, but for people to buy decent rubber tips and USE THEM
I agree. The rubber tips that came with my Pacer Poles are still going strong after 2 Caminos.

I use poles regardless of elevation. My hands tend to swell uncomfortably if left dangling by my sides and the poles give my arms a bit of exercise as well.
Yes, I don't want my arms just dangling there, using poles helps to keep them toned.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#16
Poles are probably the reason that I remained injury free for the 500 mile CF. I used them for almost every step, flat, up or down. Used correctly, they help distribute the load, develop your core muscels, keep your fingers from swelling and help with stability. IMHO, not using them is the single biggest contributor to pilgrims injuries and quitting. If the tapping becomes metalic, replace your tips. I went through 4 sets. Not expensive and well worth it.
 

TSchulen

A Work in Progress
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Santiago (Sep/Oct 2018)
#17
I had never used poles before my recent Camino. Now, I would never consider hiking without them. They helped with balance, rhythm, and load balancing - especially on the up hills where I could transfer more weight to my upper body. They saved me from face planting on numerous occasions, even on flat roads. That being said, one pet peeve that I was never able to get past, was the pilgrims who didn't use rubber tips. The sound of metal tips clacking against sidewalks and roads in town, or worse, being dragged on the streets or trails, drove me crazy. It seemed like the poles were more of a fashion accessory than a tool. Why don't they post etiquette guides in albergues?
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#18
I had never used poles before my recent Camino. Now, I would never consider hiking without them. They helped with balance, rhythm, and load balancing - especially on the up hills where I could transfer more weight to my upper body. They saved me from face planting on numerous occasions, even on flat roads. That being said, one pet peeve that I was never able to get past, was the pilgrims who didn't use rubber tips. The sound of metal tips clacking against sidewalks and roads in town, or worse, being dragged on the streets or trails, drove me crazy. It seemed like the poles were more of a fashion accessory than a tool. Why don't they post etiquette guides in albergues?
As one who has face planted in Barcelona and NYC on sidewalks I have decided to take my poles. We found a decades old carry-on size suitcase to check our poles and liquids and it does not matter if it makes it back with us. Also carrying extra rubber tips. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#19
@witsendwv The solution to the clacking problem isn't for people not to use poles, but for people to buy decent rubber tips and USE THEM. Far too many either don't have tips on or have worn through them so the metal tip is poking through and keeps clacking. Decent ones, like Leki spares, have a metal ring inside the rubber stopping the tip from coming through.
My experience on the Camino Frances was that the hole in the middle of that metal ring inside the rubber didn't stop the tip coming through. It just came through the centre of the ring. I had to by more than one replacement set on my Camino (and I didn't start using the poles until after Viana).

For my Camino Portugues I was flying "carry on only" and had to pick up poles in Porto at the Decathlon. I also picked up the wide, rounded plastic tips with the rubber spot in the centre. Those lasted and didn't wear through.

I tried shipping those poles home from the Correos in Santiago so I could continue using them and their nice tips. I even got a tracking number so I could track progress. According to their tracking system, the shipment was classified in their Logistics Centre the day I sent it (October 15) and hasn't moved an inch since then. I'm not sure what I can do about it from here, though.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes please!
#20
@David Tallan I have Pacerpoles, which come with rubber 'street feet' which look practically unused still - and I have done a lot of walking with them. Still I bought a pair of Leki tips to carry as spares, and changed to them to compare, did a lot more walking, and they also hardly look worn. I suppose there is a difference in the quality of the rubber? Before my Pacers I had normal poles supplied with tips, but they wore down very quickly and felt more like plastic than rubber. I can definitely recommend the Leki tips, they are widely available, cost £7-8 in the UK and will last a good long while.
 


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