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Trekking Poles (yes I know....but I'm torn on which)

jgiesbrecht

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2020
This is a question for any of you who have walked hiked with poles....

What have you used?

I am definitely going to bring a pair to use because I get swollen hands when I walk much, and I know they will def. help on the ups and downs in spots too. I currently have this pair from Canadian Tire and they are working well for me, though I had hoped to get (and didnt lol) pacerpoles for Christmas.. I am willing to take the CT ones now, but I just worry about them lasting for a trip of this extent. The pp link may not be the exact ones I want, it's just for an idea. I know I don't need the fanciest most expensive ones, but obviously I want ones that are going to work and last. If anyone has experience/feedback please feel free to leave it! I've already overspent what I had planned (imagine that), but I do want to have good equipment (weight of it is important) and a better chance to complete this walk, which is my first.


 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I have taken my Pacerpoles, but worried because in at least two albergues I was not allowed to take them inside and was told to stash them with others - which I refused and went to other places. But it just seemed they were more responsibility than I wanted.

I've used regular trekking poles also that I picked up in SJPP.

Honestly, my favorite is just to get one wooden pole in SJPP. That way if I lose it or leave it somewhere, I'm out €10 and just pick up another.

The truth is that except for one or two places, like walking DOWN into Zubiri or DOWN off Perdon, I don't even use them. I end up carrying them.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I bought my first walking poles in 2017 - Leki poles with three sections, external lever locks, and cork grips. They’ve served me well for over 3,000km with one change of tips. From a comfort and durability perspectiv, I’m delighted with them. My use of the poles was haphazard at first but I watched experienced walkers and got some advice. These days I find myself adapting my grip and technique to the situation and I’m sure that the poles are reducing stress on my knees, and improving my stability. People who use Pacer Poles say that the shape of the grip naturally gets them to adopt a good technique and posture. That sounds like a good thing to me. I see too many people who don’t use their poles effectively (as far as I can see).

I can’t remember the price I paid. I do recall that it was comparable with the price of some hiking footwear, which surprised me, but I guessed that the Leki poles would be more robust than cheaper brands. I have never hesitated to store them with other people’s poles at the entrance of an albergue. I’m not aware of a widespread pole theft issue. I guess if my poles were taken it would be a shame, but they’re replaceable.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Full disclosure: I love pacerpoles (and when I’m told I can’t take them inside, I fold them up and put them in my pack)
BUT
if you have already found something that works for you, why not just stick with it?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues May 2019
I am absolutely sold on pacer poles. I first bought the 2 section alloy pair and did my training walks with them. I find the unique grip prevented any wrist stress that I experienced with the other kinds of poles especially on downhill sections where your wrists can take a real strain. Walking with them is a breeze and I can really feel the assist they give me as well as an upper body workout. I purchased the 3 section carbon fiber pacer poles for my Portugues camino as I was able to break them down and put them in my carry on pack when I traveled from the US to Spain then onto Portugal and back. I know there are a lot of opinions about being able (or not) to take poles in carry on luggage, but I had absolutely no problems sending them through security in my pack. I did carry a small camera tripod case just in case I did have to check them. I continue to use them on my daily walks here at home.
 

K Turner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August-October 2019 CF
I have a few sets here in the USA, as I do product reviews so various companies have sent samples. I've tested super cheap ones, really expensive ones, and some in between. I didn't bring any of them because I didn't want to lose them on Camino. Honestly, the inexpensive ones I bought in SJPP did the job just fine.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Full disclosure: I love pacerpoles (and when I’m told I can’t take them inside, I fold them up and put them in my pack)
Me too.
I bought Pacer Poles because I had never used poles before my first Camino, and it seemed like Pacer Poles, with their ergonomic grip were as close to idiot proof as I could get. I use them almost all the time on the Camino, except when I'm in a busy city or town. The rubber tips that come with Pacer Poles last me at least 1500 km per pair.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I borrowed poles for my first camino. No idea of cost, but they would have been from a cheaper range than the poles I subsequently bought, Leki. Those cost me €50.00. I still have them. So, now I have told you what I have used. My second comment is this: watch some videos of how to use poles (I learned from Leki videos), and when you are walking, visualise till you get the rhythm naturally. I corrected myself that way, learning to swing with each step instead of every second step. There is a lot of information tucked away on threads in this forum to help you. My final comment: you have poles. Practise, and then decide if you really need to splash out more cash or plastic. Whatever you decide, buen camino!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Wife had used cheap poles bought in Spain/France Decathlons twice - both times they were as good as new after each camino despite daily use.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I use my poles every step of the way. Mostly for surefootedness and knee support. I fold the poles up,...and take them with me...if there is an issue with having to leave them in a rack.
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
I have taken my Pacerpoles, but worried because in at least two albergues I was not allowed to take them inside and was told to stash them with others - which I refused and went to other places. But it just seemed they were more responsibility than I wanted.

I've used regular trekking poles also that I picked up in SJPP.

Honestly, my favorite is just to get one wooden pole in SJPP. That way if I lose it or leave it somewhere, I'm out €10 and just pick up another.

The truth is that except for one or two places, like walking DOWN into Zubiri or DOWN off Perdon, I don't even use them. I end up carrying them.

If you collapse your pacer poles and put them in your ruck I don't see why there should be a problem. In all my years I have never seen anyone take full length poles into an Albergue in the first place:) Things change and as I seldom use Albergues perhaps a new problem has arisen! Big stores like Ingles Cortes etc do a good range of poles which whilst not being up to pacer pole standards will serve the purpose. I have never been a fan of single poles as physically they cause me more problems than they are worth. With arthritis, hip muscle problems, Meniere's disease etc. etc. I need all the help I can get. :) Mind you , not being a dog worshipper either, I can see the advantage of a large, long heavy wooden pole in certain occasions:)


The Malingerer.
 

Phoenix

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
Two schools of thought, which have both been expressed in this thread. If you want to invest in trekking poles that will last for years on just about any adventure you're willing to undertake, you'll likely need to invest between $100-$200 USD. If you go this route, you will need to care for/keep track/accommodate for them while traveling as with any other good/relatively expensive gear. I the use Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork trekking poles ($130), which have been up/down mountains, desert hikes, three Caminos, and on hundreds of local hikes over the past 8 yrs. The cork handles don't promote blisters and, over time, seem to have molded to the shape of my hands. The ergonomically correct lean of the grips help keep wrists in a natural position.

On my most recent Camino, I bought a pr of trekking poles at a shop in Tui for €20 (after walking from Porto w/o using poles). Similar poles can be found in shops at most Camino starting points and in some towns/cities along the way. They worked just fine (and I was hard on them). I didn't have to care for them like other expensive gear, and gave them away to an 8-time pilgrim outside the pilgrims office in SdC (still in proper working order). In the future, I will buy inexpensive trekking poles once I reach my starting point and pass them on when finished ... Partly because the BD poles have gained significant sentimental value over the years (I'd like to pass them on the my granddaughter), but more so because it's one less thing I need to account for while traveling.

I wish you the best in making your decision. Buen Camino!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
This is a question for any of you who have walked hiked with poles....

What have you used?

I am definitely going to bring a pair to use because I get swollen hands when I walk much, and I know they will def. help on the ups and downs in spots too. I currently have this pair from Canadian Tire and they are working well for me, though I had hoped to get (and didnt lol) pacerpoles for Christmas.. I am willing to take the CT ones now, but I just worry about them lasting for a trip of this extent. The pp link may not be the exact ones I want, it's just for an idea. I know I don't need the fanciest most expensive ones, but obviously I want ones that are going to work and last. If anyone has experience/feedback please feel free to leave it! I've already overspent what I had planned (imagine that), but I do want to have good equipment (weight of it is important) and a better chance to complete this walk, which is my first.


The only thing I have against the CT ones is that they appear to be two sections so that, even collapsed they will be quite long. You might find it more convenient to buy 3 section ones in Europe and recycle them when you leave unless you really get attached to them - I saw a Japanese pilgrim stop and bow goodbye to his when he left them at the Pilgrim Office.

PacerPoles are devine, helped my correct my posture (leaning to the left) and regain my balance after mini-stroke. On the downside cost plus hiking pole envy - I witnessed a pilgrim being left with cheapo Decathlon poles when her expensive carbon-fibre ones (Leki not PP) went walkies.

Having said that even Decathlon's cheapest versions aren't too bad - you can pick up a spare pare of rubber tips for C$6 at the same time
 

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 purchased and then used on the Camino Frances in 2017 and the Camino Portugués in 2018. They are very economical.

-----

Expedition Poles
These classic trekking poles telescope from 27 - 54 inches, using patented flip-lock, fail safe, locking technology, so that they will accommodate people of all sizes. As is the case with all PaceMaker Expedition Poles, only the best materials are used, including superior 7075 "aircraft grade"...

-----

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 whatsoever in this or any other Camino-related products or services.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
If you collapse your pacer poles and put them in your ruck I don't see why there should be a problem. In all my years I have never seen anyone take full length poles into an Albergue in the first place:) Things change and as I seldom use Albergues perhaps a new problem has arisen! Big stores like Ingles Cortes etc do a good range of poles which whilst not being up to pacer pole standards will serve the purpose. I have never been a fan of single poles as physically they cause me more problems than they are worth. With arthritis, hip muscle problems, Meniere's disease etc. etc. I need all the help I can get. :) Mind you , not being a dog worshipper either, I can see the advantage of a large, long heavy wooden pole in certain occasions:)


The Malingerer.
Well, I didn't see a problem either, but we were not allowed to collapse our poles and put them in our rucksack. We were ordered to put them in a barrel in both places, including Sto. Domingo del Calzada's albergue.
 

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 have used Leki Ti Vario Micro, Alu and titanium version for all my four Camino trips ..
Rubber tips come off on soft surfaces and rocks, will be put on on tarmac and concrete / pavement.
My tips last forever, it seems. Folds down to 38 cm and fits in my sidepockets of my Osprey, and which goes signed into the luggage below...


identcal product will be the Black Diamond ZZ poles whick are also practical and durable
This product has 4 different sizes so foldable lenghts will vary:



Models will have a choice of Carbon version...
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
A point that was not mentioned is transferability. Some airlines do not care if you walk your poles on board and off. In Europe, that changes and to keep the poles, they need to be packable or they have to b checked. Do not get me started on checking stuff and getting it back after the flight.

Now, to address this, start by checking the packable length inside your backpack. Now, here is the good news. CT has a collapsible set of poles that break down to 21 inches.


This may be possible, and a lot less than the Pacerpoles. Looking at price, just for a moment, PP's are going to be over C$165.00.

Another option is to pick up some low cost poles, which are already comfortable, upon arrival and leave them when done. There are places in SdC that accept unwanted gear.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Wife had used cheap poles bought in Spain/France Decathlons twice - both times they were as good as new after each camino despite daily use.
For my first Camino I bought very cheap poles from Lidl. They’re still going strong all these years later and I have even lent them to people who were off on their first camino 😁
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
For my first camino in 2014 I bought Leki Poles. In itself they were fine, other people told me that i did not use
them with the right technique. In the internet I read about the pacerpoles. I decided to buy them and liked them a lot more. They are really idiot proof, the right use seams to come natural to me. The main (or perhaps the only) cause for this are the handshaped grips. You don't "hang in" them, but you lean on them.
 

222koala

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (2019)
Completed Camino del Norte in October, Irun to SdC... Walked the entire distance using PacerPoles everyday... they do exactly what is on the label "pacer and pole".

Pace... walking pace is always a bit of an issue and the use of these particular poles assisted me in establishing and maintaining a walking pace that was comfortable and rewarding without having to fret or worry about time and distance calculations.

Would never do another trail or trek wthout them.

Buen Camino
Bill
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (12, 15 & 18) San Salvador (18), Portuguese (19)
Save your money and use regular poles. The first trip I took cheap poles from Canada. The problem was that they had to be checked and I had to pay for something to put them in. The next trip I bought cheap poles in Spain and found that while they were only €10 they were more like $100 poles in Canada. Buying poles in Europe was cheaper than taking my poles.

I use poles on weekly walks with a group of women. We have been walking for years and I have never seen poles wear out or break.
 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan on walking the Camino April 2018.
I bought a cheap pair of poles (about 40 euros) in SJPDP and left them behind in santiago because I didn't want the hassle of transporting them around Europe and then back home to Australia. They would have lasted many more kms.
 

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 use poles on weekly walks with a group of women. We have been walking for years and I have never seen poles wear out or break.
I would like this to be my experience, but it isn't.

I have used a variety of different brands over the years, on everything from my daily exercise walks to crossing Spain, Norway, Sweden and in Britain on longer pilgrimage walks. They have been used on tarmac, concrete and gravel roads and footpaths, dirt paths, recently ploughed fields and somewhat infrequently in snow. Here are the sorts of things one gets from long term hard use:
  1. Rubber pole tips are a high wear item. Of course, if you fairy tap your poles and apply little or no downward pressure, this won't be much of an issue, but you won't be getting much, if any value, from using them. The same can be said for poles that are carried in one's pack.
  2. The metal tip at the end of the pole. There are a couple of ways these wear or fail. Good ones are made with a concave shape that gives the tip an edge to grip on otherwise slippery surfaces. Regular use of the bare tip will see that worn away into a concave shape that is much less likely to get traction on slippery surfaces. This metal tip is set in a plastic shaft, and I have had two of these tips work loose. One fell out before I understood what was happening, but I was able to make some expedient repairs the next time it happened. The whole assembly can be replaced, but you would have to be carrying a spare, or find a outdoors retailer who stocks them.
  3. Internal twist locks. The worst are just not very robust, and the threads in the expanding plastic lug will eventually get stripped. It should be possible to replace these, but they are not the sort of item I ever see stocked as repair parts for poles.
  4. If you adjust the length of poles with internal twist locks and internal springs, they can get a fine coating of dust inside the tube, which acts as a lubricant and stops the locking mechanism holding. This dust can be rinsed out with plain (not soapy) water along with rinsing off the dust from the plastic lock surfaces. Once the parts are all dry, reassemble the pole. DO NOT use oil or other lubricant on the tubes and locks.
  5. Sprung poles generally have a metal spring in the middle section of the pole. With regular hard use, these springs lose their tension, and collapse. The pole can continue to used, but you might want to do something to stop it flopping in and out, which it will do. Better quality poles take longer for their springs to collapse. I have had cheap poles collapse in less than 100 km of use, while more expensive poles have taken several thousand km before this has happened.
  6. External flick locks. These can have the same issues as internal twist locks if the inside of the larger diameter tube gets a bit dusty, and the fix is the same. Otherwise, they can slowly lose their adjustment, when the locking mechanism needs to be tightened. You may need a screwdriver for this, although more poles these days appear to have a knurled knob to make this adjustment easy to do.
  7. Soft padding on handgrips. Hard plastic and cork handgrips are the only types that don't eventually show signs of the material being worn away with use. Eventually the material will wear through and expose the hard plastic underneath. When this has happened I have used some tape to keep the remaining padding in place, and continued to use the poles. They are one of my favourites.
  8. Pole straps. I am close to having a set of pole straps wear through, on a set of poles I have used regularly for bush walking and long walks for six or seven years. This may be the end of their useful life!
I take spare rubber pole tips with me on longer walks, but I think it unlikely that you will see some of the other issues just on one Camino. But they are issues you will see with long term hard pole use.
 
Last edited:

Mike Blackard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF -Sept.-Oct 2018 , CF Aug- Oct 2019
(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
First camino in 2018 I brought poles from REI in my checked backpack. You tube videos showed me how to use properly (shared this info with several pilgrims enroute). Poles "stolen" in O'Cebreiro but recovered at pilgrim statue on the way down the hill.
"Thief" had mistakenly taken mine from front of cafe and left his. I ended up taking a pair that nobody claimed ownership of in the cafe. "Thief" was glad to see me at statue- his were black diamond, angled grips, multi color and way more expensive than mine, but I liked mine better. Everybody happy & photos taken of 2 old men exchanging poles.
2nd Camino in 2019 I bought €46 poles in St. Jean because I wanted to just bring Osprey backpack as carry on.
Norwegian Air said no carry on poles, but CHEAP fare from Seattle to Gatwick made it ok.
These poles worked fine also. Until...stolen from under my bed in Albergue in Astorga! I could not believe it. Hospitalero told me about small pilgrim supply store in front of Gaudi Palace. Very nice lady had just what I needed for €25! And directions to the best cafe for churos and hot chocolate in Astorga ( this city is famous for it's chocolate factories & the beverage is too thick to drink- you just dip the churos and eat! So now I'm not feeling so bad about the stolen poles. Walking through town, I come to a modern looking church with mosaic tiles covering the front. I stop to stare, a car comes up, a man gets out and asks me if I would like to see inside. Si, por favor! Bueno, but first we have to cross the street to a large shop where he shows me the granite and marble slabs which get cut into fingernail size pieces of different colors to make up the mosaics. Big work tables with works in progress over paper with color designs. Then we go over to the church, which he unlocks at about 10:00 AM and proceeds to spend over an hour of sharing all about everything! At some point it Dawn's on me that he is the parish priest, it's Sunday morning, and I'm sure he needs to prepare for Mass, but he won't let me leave until he stamps my credential with his unique sello. Next, with my new poles in hand I make it to just outside of Astorga to a tiny little chapel which is open with a little old lady standing at the door. She tells me it was built in the 1700s. After I leave I manage to zig when I should have tagged and end up in an industrial park, clearly not on the camino, and being Sunday, no one in sight. Out of the blue comes a car, which I flag down and he offers to drive me back to the camino. On the short drive he tells me the legend of the tiny church. There used to be a deep well there, a women drops her baby in while trying to get water, but baby is down too far for her to reach. THEN the water level of the well rises so she can reach her baby. In thanks she builds a chapel on the site. This whole morning was made possible by someone taking my poles! THE CAMINO PROVIDES.
 

wildrover

thewildrover
Camino(s) past & future
2015 april c/f. vdlp feb 2016. Norte / primitivo Sep 2016. C/f 12/16. Vdlp 12/17. 12/18. Lana 02/19.
This is a question for any of you who have walked hiked with poles....

What have you used?

I am definitely going to bring a pair to use because I get swollen hands when I walk much, and I know they will def. help on the ups and downs in spots too. I currently have this pair from Canadian Tire and they are working well for me, though I had hoped to get (and didnt lol) pacerpoles for Christmas.. I am willing to take the CT ones now, but I just worry about them lasting for a trip of this extent. The pp link may not be the exact ones I want, it's just for an idea. I know I don't need the fanciest most expensive ones, but obviously I want ones that are going to work and last. If anyone has experience/feedback please feel free to leave it! I've already overspent what I had planned (imagine that), but I do want to have good equipment (weight of it is important) and a better chance to complete this walk, which is my first.


Hi, going with what you've got won't hinder your Camino, one iota. My first ever poles were from the bargain bucket at my local camping store.£5 per pair. That set a pattern for me, regarding all poles. You'll be inundated, with expert advice on this forum. lots of personal preference! Learning through your own tried and tested methods, is what counts! Gain your own experience, you'll be far more able, in the long run! Enjoy your Camino. Wild
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018 (across Pyrenees, then Sarria to SdC), CF 2019 (SJPdP to Finisterra & Muxia), CI 2019
I tried using standard poles, but couldn't stand the way they tweaked my wrists. Bought Pacer Poles and used them on the 2nd & 3rd Caminos. Won't hike without them. Now, my entire family is requesting them (and my eldest spawn got a pair for Christmas - she's using them to hike Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail).
 

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