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Trekking Poles???

Darren John

Member
Hi everyone!

I will be walking the Camino France at the end of August and was looking into which trekking poles would more suit? I'm a 6ft 4 bloke who will need strong poles but do worry bout the weight. Any advice please?

Regards

Darren
 
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Mysticl

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances May (2015) - pending
I use Pacer Poles ... you have to buy them online from pacerpole.com but they are FAR superior to any other poles I have ever tried. The grip is right/left hand specific an designed for easy use, comfort and stability. They arrived from the UK to BC Canada in about a week with free shipping and the customer service is very good. I ended up getting a pair for my husband and daughter as well and they are just as big a fan as I am ... I will never use another pole. They are just that good. There is no learning curve and they are pretty much impossible to use wrong ... I like em ssssooo much I am taking extra steps to protect them on the Camino ... no leaving in pole barrels by the alburge door for MY poles ... I'm smuggling them into the alburges hidden in my pack or I am staying elsewhere. You'll probably find other pacer pole users on here as well just as enthusiastic ... it's where I first learned about them and I am glad I did. The one thing I did to to make them even better however was to abandon the little rubber tip they supply and ordered a much more rugged rubber tip from PaceMaker.com ... note the different name ... an excellent addition if you ask me ... with the new tips my poles are never at risk of getting caught in boardwalk gaps ... they are silent ... and the larger tip provides excellent grip on all sides not just the bottom (better gripping on uneven surfaces like rocks). You can order the tips online from the pace poles website but shipping is dear ... I ordered 10 to cut the shipping cost and shared with the others in my family ... I am taking one pair on the poles and one pair as a spare. Oh ... you can get carbon fiber or an aluminum alloy poles ... the carbon fiber are lighter but I went for the alloy ... if alloy bends you can usually bend it back to at least use it to finish the day but when carbon fiber breaks ... it is unusable ... they are both strong ... the alluminum alloy a little stronger tho maybe?
 
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CarlaH

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to Santiago 2014
SJPdP to Santiago 2015
Via Francigena (Italy: Aosta - Rome)2016
Camino Portuguese from Porto 2016
I use the Pacerpoles too... took 2 months to get to me in Cape Town, South Africa (our postal system, or lack thereof) ... as I'm just on 6ft, the owner of Pacerpoles recommended I go for the alloy poles as they are stronger and less likely to snap thank the carbon poles (which are perfect for average height persons) the alloy pole weight is 620grams per pair - I've just ordered my 2nd pair... love love these poles
 

fiona99

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finnisterre and Muxia April/June 2015.
Camino Portuguese. Porto - ?? 2017.
I use the Pacerpoles too... took 2 months to get to me in Cape Town, South Africa (our postal system, or lack thereof) ... as I'm just on 6ft, the owner of Pacerpoles recommended I go for the alloy poles as they are stronger and less likely to snap thank the carbon poles (which are perfect for average height persons) the alloy pole weight is 620grams per pair - I've just ordered my 2nd pair... love love these poles
Pacerpoles fan also.....i find the hand grip very comfortable.....have not used any others but sticking to these now.
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
I use LEKI brand poles and love them and I use mine on daily hikes, wilderness backpacking and plan to use them on our upcoming Camino (2016) as well as while hiking along Hadrian's Wall next month. My wife and daughter also use similar LEKI poles.

I've never heard anything but good about PacerPoles but have yet to have an opportunity to try them. I have posted most of this before but since you asked . . .

LEKI poles have a 7-degree grip angle. PacerPoles have something like a 45+degree grip angle. I believe all other poles have a straight vertical grip.

If you are really concerned about strength and holding your weight then get 1 piece aluminum poles. If you want collapsable poles then please pay close attention to quality. Many of the discount poles have section locks that do not hold much weight. I've seen poles in discount stores that I would simply not trust to hold me if I started to fall and needed to rely on the poles to support my weight.

If you hike/walk on hard surfaces (roadways) then consider "anti-shock" poles. Different manufacturers have different methods of achieving the anti-shock, but basically there is some sort of spring in the pole to absorb some of the shock. I happen to have arthritis in my wrists and swear by the anti-shock systems. Most of the benefit of anti-shock systems will be found on harder surfaces like roadways, even hardpack clay or gravel roadways. There is little/no benefit to these systems in fields, sand, soft earth, etc.

All of our LEKI poles the slightly higher priced Anti-Shock poles, average cost was just about US $110 per set. Bought all from Amazon.com. I bought my poles first, then later my wife wanted poles, I purchased LEKI for her only because there would be "parts commonality" between the poles should we ever need replacement parts. That is the same reason my daughter uses LEKI poles, but I am not necessarily advocating that brand, it is what I am most familiar with. I will say that KOMPERDELL poles are also very nice poles. With both of those brands I know that I can get replacement parts pretty much anywhere in the world. BLACK DIAMOND poles are also a premium pole, not sure about parts in the UK/EU.

First off I would stay away from rubber or foam grips. They are not as comfortable in all the varied weather conditions as you might think, can become slippery, can freeze, etc. Look for CORK or CORK COMPOSITE grips.

Look for grips that have at least a slight angle to them, not straight vertical in line with the pole shaft. LEKI claims that a 7-degree cant to the grip angle is ideal. I don't have a clue if that is true or not, but I will say, as someone with rheumatoid arthrits (diagnosed when I was 24) that at least a slight grip angle is a wonderful thing. Again, as mentioned earlier the PacerPoles have a far more radical grip angle, probably 45+ degrees.

Look for grips with a large rounded top so you can "palm" them during descents, they give you stability.

Look for a 'quick adjust' strap that can be adjusted 'on the fly' so you will always maintain a proper grip. My poles have a 'camming' lock that flips up to loosen the strap and then snaps back down to lock the strap back into place. Some other brands have similar systems, some do NOT and are a pain in the neck to adjust. You will want the strap to be LONGER when you are walking up a long ascent, and then you will want to return it to its normal setting for reasonable flat walking.

The TWIST style locks can be really cheap and not hold your weight, or they can be really good and when they are good quality they are stronger than the "FLIP" style locks. Here is one area where you pay for quality. FLIP locks are faster to use, a bit more convenient, but not as strong as the good TWIST locks. But a good quality FLIP lock will hold your body weight. Realize that you want your poles to be able to take your entire body weight without collapsing, they are there to help prevent falls, if they cannot take your body weight then they may actually cause you injury. My poles actually have BOTH styles. The shock absorber portion uses the TWIST lock and the other portion uses a FLIP lock.

Look for poles that are NUMBERED along the shaft. It is important that you fit your poles for walking on reasonably flat ground. You will want to lengthen them for long downhill descents. You will want to shorten them for long uphill ascents. So having some sort of numbering system on the shaft allows you to return your poles to their proper length for each type of terrain.

Here are mine, these are about 2 years old. You will notice they have rubber road tips on them, that prevents the "click click click" sound which can get annoying. Cheap rubber road caps will wear through in a few miles, look for 'vulcanized' rubber tips that slip over the carbide tip.
image_zpsd8faea9f.jpg



Here you can see the grips have a slight angle to them, according to LEKI they are canted forward 7 degrees. I never measured it, but I did try poles that had straight vertical grips and they were NOT as comfortable. There are now some on the market that have a radical cant to them, people say those are also very comfortable too.
image_zpsff4266fc.jpg



Here you can see the FLIP style lock and on one of the poles you can also see part of the numbering system that is on the shaft that allows for quick reference to length so they can be adjusted quickly for UPHILL, DOWNHILL and reaonable LEVEL terrain.
image_zps95a29771.jpg



This photo shows the TWIST LOCK mechanism, which is also where the ANTI-SHOCK system is located on my poles. This feature added a bit to the cost. While the LEKI brand uses an anti-shock shock absorber between the lower and the middle parts of the shaft, the KOMPERDELL system was (may still be) located just below the grip. Both systems work well.
image_zps174e24b9.jpg



One of my poles has an OPTIONAL camera mount added to the top. It is removed when walking. You leave this little adapter screwed into you camera's tripod hole and when you want to use the pole as a mono-pole to hold the camera steady you flip a little cap that is on the grip and you screw it into the grip. Here it is installed.
image_zpsea139d78.jpg



Here it is removed:
image_zps573ee858.jpg


FINALLY, I am NOT advocating any particular brand. Clearly I have a brand that I have a few years of experince with, but I did look at KOMPERDELL as well, it also appears to have excellent designs. I think the key is to understand that if you are spending nearly $100 for a set of pole you should be looking for proper ergonomic design features that will help you walk.

Hope this helps.
 
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lendog

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP-SdC Sep/Oct 2015
I use Pacer Poles ... you have to buy them online from pacerpole.com but they are FAR superior to any other poles I have ever tried. The grip is right/left hand specific an designed for easy use, comfort and stability. They arrived from the UK to BC Canada in about a week with free shipping and the customer service is very good. I ended up getting a pair for my husband and daughter as well and they are just as big a fan as I am ... I will never use another pole. They are just that good. There is no learning curve and they are pretty much impossible to use wrong ... I like em ssssooo much I am taking extra steps to protect them on the Camino ... no leaving in pole barrels by the alburge door for MY poles ... I'm smuggling them into the alburges hidden in my pack or I am staying elsewhere. You'll probably find other pacer pole users on here as well just as enthusiastic ... it's where I first learned about them and I am glad I did. The one thing I did to to make them even better however was to abandon the little rubber tip they supply and ordered a much more rugged rubber tip from PaceMaker.com ... note the different name ... an excellent addition if you ask me ... with the new tips my poles are never at risk of getting caught in boardwalk gaps ... they are silent ... and the larger tip provides excellent grip on all sides not just the bottom (better gripping on uneven surfaces like rocks). You can order the tips online from the pace poles website but shipping is dear ... I ordered 10 to cut the shipping cost and shared with the others in my family ... I am taking one pair on the poles and one pair as a spare. Oh ... you can get carbon fiber or an aluminum alloy poles ... the carbon fiber are lighter but I went for the alloy ... if alloy bends you can usually bend it back to at least use it to finish the day but when carbon fiber breaks ... it is unusable ... they are both strong ... the alluminum alloy a little stronger tho maybe?

Mysticl, is this the link to the replacement rubber feet you're referring to? http://www.pacemakerstix.com/collections/pole-accessories/products/asphalt-paws
 

Mysticl

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances May (2015) - pending
Yep :) That's them. Where I live many of our trails have boardwalks and my old tips used to get caught frequently ... never happens with these and they last forever! Well maybe not forever ... I am on my second pair but they do last a very long time ... I probably don't need to carry spares but I will "just in case" lol and I thought I had no "just in case" items in my pack ... oh well at least they don't weigh a metric ton ...
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Hello, I now use Pacer poles too and they're excellent! But... For my 2 caminos (frances) I used poles from Lidl (!) and they're also very good, my husband has them too and they're still going strong. They have cork handles and are very cheap but good quality.
You can also get a wooden stick in StJean pdeport, I've never used one but they look very cool.
 

Introibo

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances ( March 2015 )
Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
Well I wasn't convinced on the use of poles and just brought one to maybe use on steep downhill sections.

However, after a lot of back pain from carrying s full pack, I was persuaded to use two poles

I used a cheap €10 pole to complement my swish left handed Black Diamond pole and never looked back.

Walking with the poles made me strong. Strong like bull.

If you're not convinced by two cheap ones and give them a go. One of the few instances where even s cheapo pair will encourage rather than discourage you
 

Sirage

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2005), Porto to Santiago (2007), Vezelay for 200 kms (2009), From Seville, May (2015), Le Puy to Sangüesa (2016), Norte-Primitivo (Sep-Oct 2016)
Another Pacer pole enthusiast. And don't include the weight of your poles in your pack list, as they help carry you of course rather than being a burden on your back. Good poles help take the weight and make it easier on your feet.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I have used Leki, Black Diamond, Quecha, Fizan, Komperdell and a couple of house brand poles over the years. You get what you pay for. The strength of the basic pole has never been an issue, but springs and pole tips vary greatly in life and durability. The springs on one house brand pole collapsed after about 400 km of use, and the springs on the no name replacement I found in a $2 shop lasted a couple of days. Of the major brands, Fizan springs were the least durable, Komperdell and Black Diamond the most durable.

Pacer poles would appear to offer just one single advantage, and that is that it is difficult not to use them correctly. You will pay a little for the advantage of not having to spend five minutes learning how to put your wrist through the straps properly on other poles! Otherwise, all the advantages claimed of Pacer Poles will still be gained using a normal pole, and without the heightened concerns Pacer Pole users seem to have that they will be stolen.

I don't find any great advantage in having a sprung pole compared to one that isn't. I currently use both, and it's not clear to me that I would pay much more for a sprung pole. None of the unsprung poles that I have had have ever broken. Other than the current pair of sprung poles, every other pair of sprung poles I have had has eventually had the spring collapse - its just that some brands take longer than others. Komperdell have been the best so far.

That said, if you suffer from arthritis or a similar condition, using a sprung pole may give some relief from jarring when the pole is being used on hard surfaces.

As far as buying poles with angled handles, I wouldn't choose a pole for that reason alone. It might be an advantage if you are not using the straps correctly, but like Pacer Poles, I don't see that the cost is justified compared to learning to use straps correctly.
 

lendog

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP-SdC Sep/Oct 2015
I have Pacer Poles but find I don't care for the feel of the grip in my bare hand and have been using cheap garden gloves when using them. Do many of you use gloves or fingerless gloves with your poles?
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
I have Pacer Poles but find I don't care for the feel of the grip in my bare hand and have been using cheap garden gloves when using them. Do many of you use gloves or fingerless gloves with your poles?
I use gloves only when my hands are cold.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I have Pacer Poles but find I don't care for the feel of the grip in my bare hand and have been using cheap garden gloves when using them. Do many of you use gloves or fingerless gloves with your poles?
I use a pair of fishing mitts that have a chamois base, stretch fabric on the back and rubber-like protection on high wear areas.
 
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