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Trekking poles

Camino(s) past & future
Very soon
#1
Hi, am starting my walk from Biarritz on the 21st or 28th Nov 2108. Was wondering the benefits of trekking poles, any advice greatly appreciated
Michael
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis SJPP
April 2016, August 2017, May 2018
Camino PortuGUESE
May 2019
#2
Hi Maccarooni
( I'm 65yo)
My first CF Camino 2016, no poles got to 620 klms, & shin splints.....
2nd CF camino,2017 no poles got to 520 klms, twisted knee,
3rd CF Camino 2018, bought POLES €20 in Madrid, did 920 klms from SJPdP to Finisterre...,

So I'm convinced they took 20% of weight bearing pressure off my joints. They steadied me on the downhills, were a help going up...my arms gained muscles...and I've named them Arthur & Martha........
Love
 

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Rako

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#3
I'm a big proponent of using trekking poles. I used them all the way from SJPdP to Fisterra.

I found that trekking poles accelerated my pace very significantly on the uphill sections and moderately on the level sections. On the downhill sections they slowed me slightly, but protected my ankles and knees so significantly that it was definitely worth using them.
 

Adhemar78

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Via Francigena (Lucca to Rome) (2017)
Kumano Kodo (2018)
#5
I absolutely recommend taking trekking poles. I bought some for the Camino despite not being convinced I would use them, but ended up using them for about 95 per cent of my time on the Camino. I had problems with my knees on the Camino, and I suspect these would have been much worse if I hadn’t had the poles - I may not have got across Spain without them. I’ve subsequently used poles during treks in Peru, Nepal, Italy and Japan.

Robo makes a good point about learning to use them properly - another pilgrim I met after Roncesvalles kindly showed me how to use them in time with my steps. Very helpful advice indeed.
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Burgos, Camino Frances (2012 - 2018)
#6
Another vote for trekking poles. I prefer to use just one, but it has saved me from going base over apex more times than I can count, and is invaluable on slippery or stony surfaces. Just remember to put a rubber boot on it when walking on tarmac!
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#7
If you are young and healthy enough you do not need them. If you do not need them... just do not use them and be happy!

I would never even try a camino without poles... or I would look for replacement immediately if I would lose them. If you are not healthy enough... the poles can be the difference between almost pain-free and a lot of pain.

You can look on youtube for something like "trekking poles how to use".

You can find many threads on poles in this forum (search function).
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2016
Portugues April 2017
#8
I personally don't think they are necessary on easy hikes like the Camino where you are on well formed trails usually carrying minimal weight.

They are well worth it for tougher hikes that include challenges such as very steep ascents and descents, river crossings and rough terrain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#9
Here's my take on hiking poles, I'm convinced that without them I wouldn't have been able to complete my first camino. Now if your young fit and healthy there may be no need for these, I'm a three score and 10 man and trust me if you use them right they are a great help.
If you know someone that already uses them then ask to try them out, or buy the cheapest you can find and if they're not for you, you haven't wasted a lot of money.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte ( Irun to Luarca), Camino Primitivo-Fisterra: April-May 2018
Via de la Plata 2019
#10
FWIW, I did the Del Norte/Primitivo/fistera this spring. Just over 1100 km. I picked up a wooden hiking staff near Zauratz and used it all the rest of the way.
I saw many people with hiking poles, most did not know the proper technique for using them to optimal efficiency. I met one French gentleman older than me who really knew how to use his hiking poles.....he also was averaging over 35km a day..not bad for a man in his 70’s!
For me a single staff about 135cm is perfect
Oh, I was 68 this spring.
If you opt for poles, find a knowledgeable hiker to teach you proper technique to get your money’s worth out of the poles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#11
There is a Decathlon super-store (a huge sports department store) just outside Biarritz. I think you can get a bus or taxi there. I have shopped there myself.

My advice, as from many others here, is to use poles. It makes your walking so much easier. I know that the poles at Decathlon start at about €4.99 each for simple, adjustable aluminium poles. I see dozens of sets of them discarded at the Pilgrim Office every summer. There are so many of this particular style that I conclude that folks must be happy with them. They are the most seen style and color (turquoise).

Two points:

1. You cannot generally bring them into the cabin of a commercial airliner. So, either plan to transport them as checked luggage, or in your checked luggage. I take mine apart (sections can usually come apart) to make them even shorter, and put them in my checked backpack. Alternatively, spend as little as you can for suitable-to-purpose poles, as I mentioned, then donate them at the Pilgrim Office when you reach Santiago. Evidently, a lot of others do.

2. Go to You Tube and search for "how to use hiking poles." These videos will show you how to adjust and use the poles properly to get the best advantage from them.

Using poles reduces back and shoulder pain, transfers up to 25 % of the load from your back to your legs, provides added traction going up hills, braking coming down hills, and generally improves balance. I am top-heavy and clumsy. So I know all about these benefits.

They can also be used to fend off the very rare aggressive animal.

Depending on your lodging arrangements, an extended hiking pole also makes an effective clothes drying rack. I carry two large plastic hooks (2" wide to fit over curtain rods) and two very long rubber bands to allow me to suspend an extended hiking pole from almost anything I encounter along the way. I find that the long, white, trash can liner retainer bands from the supermarket work very well. It really does work very well.

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#12
Maccarooni, you are most welcome to the Forum. You have got lots of opinions already, which I have not read.(I am on a break from some serious house cleaning). I could not do without them. It all depends on your age, your knees, your ability to carry it off... having said that, let me say a little more. This summer, on a six day walk along by a canal and a river, I had plenty of time to really learn how to use my walking poles (leki, very basic). I did it! So, here is what I would say: watch a few YouTubes on how to use walking poles. Borrow a pair and visualise doing what the video tells you. Go on a walk, and try to do what your muscle memory tells you. Then decide on how much to spend, and off you go. but then you have to consider whether or not to pack them, or leave them at home, depending on where you live and whether the airline will let you take them.. .so I wish you the best of luck navigating all the rest of working out how to get walking poles in your hands once you are in Spain. I am very fortunate, I leave mine at home and borrow from friends who live in Spain... do let us know what you eventually decide to do! and Buen Camino.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#14
I would not have finished my Camino Frances in 2016 if I hadn't picked up hiking poles in Visna. My knees were that bad by then. So for my Camino, they were essential. In addition to protecting your knees on the descents, they help with the climbs and we found that are walking pace was generally faster after we got them.

I took them on the Camino Portugues this year and had no knee issues.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
#15
I'd add another vote for poles. I've tried the same trail (not a Camino) with and without poles and am convinced that they make a 20-30% difference in how far I can walk without discomfort (I'm 69 ).

You certainly don't need them on short flat stretches but when the going gets up and down (even for short distances) they come in handy and can prevent some nasty falls on the really bad downs.

I find that they help relieve the stress on knees and back and allow the arms to help with the "push" that you need on certain terrains. Can you walk with them, certainly. Should you, not in my view.

Go for the collapsible ones as well so that you can either use or put them in/on your pack as needed.
 

Ed Tweedy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future (oct 2017)
#16
Highly recommend good inexpensive poles with all purpose rubber tipped feet/pads as these types will NOT slip on concrete/hard surfaces. I used Pacer Poles as well and they collapsed into my carry on Osprey 48 lyrics pack. Bring an extra set or two of these rubber “feet”. Very important you learn how to use them before the Camino and how to hold/use the handle/wrist straps. My poles really helped my on la Plata last year. Good trekking and Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2016
Le Puy route April-May 2017
Camino Norte to Bilbao June 2017
#18
Ive used poles for the past fifteen years and wish that I had used them for the previous twenty. Then I would not be sitting outside a doctors surgery as I am now to talk about an MRI scan on my knees. They are the just about the most important piece of kit I have. Don’t skimp, get the best you can. I use Black Diamond Carbon Z. They are ultra lightweight, fold up to nothing, and I have never had any issues carrying them as hand luggage
 
Camino(s) past & future
Very soon
#20
Ok, so I believe the consensus is in favour of poles. I am 51, would consider myself fit, play golf 3 times a week and up until recently, cycled almost everywhere I went.
I have watched some videos explaining the use and purpose of poles and I have now purchased some.
Thank you all again for your input and insights.
Michael
 
Camino(s) past & future
Very soon
#24
hmm, did a 5 mile walk tonight and to be honest, felt like the poles slowed me down. it was mainly on flat terrain, i am planning an 8 mile coastal path on sat evening with plenty of climbing and descents. Will reserve final judgement til then.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#25
I will not find the video i saw that gave me this clue, so let me try to describe it: start with the pole in right hand about half way or just towards the back of your right foot. Left foot is forward. You push off, that is the trick. Excuse me, all the real experts. But that is actually what happened when I took the time on a flat walk.. and also, I used the straps on my poles to cradle my hands so that also helped to propel me forward. Maybe have a look at leki pole videos, that is most likely where I got the visual clues. It feels like skiiing, although I have never skiied! Don’t give up. It took me 12 years for the penny to drop! And also, although I felt like a dope, I began to go, one step, one pole. Before that I had been counting one, two. Nope, that doesn’t do it. Are you more confused? Sorry, serves me right for not being technical enough. Practise where nobody is watching!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#26
I'm one of those reluctant converts, and couldn't do without them - it's like having an extension of my arms - they get me up and down hills painlessly and they've saved me from several falls.
Experiment and see what technique suits you, understanding that a first they may feel weird. The cadence I landed on as comfortable is not exactly the same as my steps, but in sync with first one foot and then the opposite - so each pole-plant is (I think) in sync with every one and a half strides. This is what my arms naturally do, so it's easier and less tiring (also less noisy ;)). But see what works for you. That's what's right, whatever it is.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#27
I know that there are people who say that if you don't use them exactly the same way that they are using them, you get no benefit. That hasn't been my experience. I agree with VNwalking. What works for you is what's right. Sure, watch the videos and try what they suggest. It may take a bit of practice before it feels natural. But if it isn't working for you, try using them at a pace that does feel right and isn't detracting (and distracting) from your experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#28
I know that there are people who say that if you don't use them exactly the same way that they are using them, you get no benefit. That hasn't been my experience. I agree with VNwalking. What works for you is what's right. Sure, watch the videos and try what they suggest. It may take a bit of practice before it feels natural. But if it isn't working for you, try using them at a pace that does feel right and isn't detracting (and distracting) from your experience.
I quite agree, David. The key thing for me, and just for me, was relying on what I call muscle memory. That is something I developed during years of playing with clay in a recreational pottery class.
 

TatiLie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for first Camino (2019)
#29
I usually suffer from my hands getting swollen on long walks so I got a pair in Lidl for €18 on the way back from my usual 5km walk on Sundays to the local park. The first time I used it (one pole only) I finished the walk much more comfortable on lower back and feet. The second Sunday we increased the walk to 9km without any discomfort. Third time we made a walk 14km walk and I arrived home feeling fresh like I've never felt after a walk. I want to start using the second pole but so far I'm very happy with one, switching side every now and then.
 

SoyGalego

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primo/Fisterra 17
Ingles/Muxia/Fisterra 18.
Norte from Villaviciosa 19
#31
Another vote for poles here! I'm an ex para with 12 screws in the right hip and only 50% of movement in my right foot. To use any aid isn't in my nature, but when I started using the poles they made it easier. My first Camino was in 2017 in Feb on the Norte, I was carrying too much weight (17 to 18kgs, thought I was still in my 20's!) and with no training off I went. The only thing I did was look at youtube videos to see how to use the poles. Glad I did as I'd never used them before and they saved me a couple of times from falling over, gave me balance and a rhythm when walking. I'm a big fan now.

This year I did the Ingles to Muxia/Fisterra and started without them and "tabbed" on for a few Kms before I got them out again. Yes I think they slow you down a bit, but its a consistency and steady rhyme you get into, so in the long run it's a benefit. The longest stretch I did this year was 41kms using the poles. Only carrying 13kgs now!

Getting though security in the UK isn't a problem but you'll have to pack them abroad if flying. I use Black Diamond Trail Pro Trekking Poles, about £90, collapsible. I use the rubber tips even off "piste" and they last about 2 to 3 weeks on concrete by managing them i.e turning them around for even wear. Always take spares.

Its been pointed out already but you can fend off animals, use them for hanging clothes and prop up a basher (a tarp, if sleeping out). So many uses and they weigh next to nothing to carry anyway. Another benefit is that they'll give your upper body a work out as well, when your walking for miles day in and day out.

Hope it helps making your mind up and Buen Camino, Peregrino.
 

Sagiberg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
#32
I add my voice to those supporting the poles😉. My husband and I (53 and 60) started the Camino Le Puy (first section - till Conques) with it's many descents and ascents and would not have finished it without the poles . We bought the Leky Ti system and simply loved the covenience- lightweight and can be folded with ease .
We found that the relief to the knees and lower back was great and that our walking pace was faster with them. During the few first days it was hard for the arms muscles but then the pain left and the muscles became stronger.
Enjoy your camino. We can hardly wait for the next section
Sharon
 

JR9162

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (5/1/2018 - 1007 km in 39 days)
Camino France's (4/10/2019)
#33
Yes,
And use a pair. Walked the VdlP last spring. Wasn't keen about them but took one at the start because my cousin insisted I do so. Found using just one trekking pole was not good. Yes, it helped on slippery slopes, crossing streams, and in muddy areas. However, general use while walking caused my shoulder and back muscles on the off shoulder to cramp because I simply wasn't using the other arm. I bought a pair of poles, and when I used both arms/hands, the cramps went away. I found that little bit of exercise of both arms, shoulders, upper back muscles using two poles made the difference. I suppose it is a sort of ying and yang sort of thing, both sides of my upper body were being evenly exercised. So, yes. Use them, and use both. I would never recommend using just one.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#34
You can fence like D'Artagnan, herd loose sheep and cattle, prod the snorer in the next bunk, make like a Drum Major (pole extended), twirl like a Drum Majorette (collapsed), use as washing line, use as a sun compass, snow probe, selfie stick, camera monopod, limb splint, adapt a cheap golf club head and play 18 holes on the meseta . . . They're pretty useful as a walking aid too. It was only a couple of weeks ago when I started using twin poles that I realised I was throwing my weight more onto my left leg (subconsciously favouring an achy right knee?). They also stop fingers from puffing up.
Yes, thumbs up from me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#35
Hi, am starting my walk from Biarritz on the 21st or 28th Nov 2108. Was wondering the benefits of trekking poles, any advice greatly appreciated
Michael
We both used poles the whole way from SJPdP on, we learned how to use them properly before hand (YouTube was a great help) Up hills, down hill, flat sections, muddy sections you name it they helped. We met so many people of all ages and fitness levels that ended up getting them along the way and wished they had them earlier which may had saved them from injury. Yes you can do it without but why? If the answer is to save weight we are talking ounces here and you have heard the saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
 

4 Eyes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF from SJPP 14, VDLP from Seville 15, DN&P from Irun 16, Portuguese from Lisbon 17
#36
Poles are good. Some use them to propel themselves to add strength and speed. Some use them to steady themselves for balance. Some use them to decrease stress on there knees and ankles especially on the downhill. Some use them to train their arms. Some use them to burn more calories. (Yes, there has been studies to show you burn about 1/3 more calories using poles than if you don't) I use them for a mix of these reasons. Your purpose affects the manner in which you use them, so there is not just one correct way to use them. I met many injured people (knees and ankles) on the camino who did not use poles before their injuries but started using poles on advice of their physicians. So if you have a reason for using them, then yes use them. I met an injured young man on the camino. His knees were badly injured. On the advice of his doctor he began using poles to support his knees. He understood very well why he had to use poles. Yet whenever a young and attractive woman walked pass, he immediately switched to the speed mode of pole using. So, a young man has got to look good. May you know your reasons for using poles and may you have the courage to stick to them.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
Norte (July/August 2019)
#39
Will I be able to purchase an inexpensive set of poles in Irun? Summer 2019?
 

Val&Tom

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
#40
There is a Decathlon super-store (a huge sports department store) just outside Biarritz. I think you can get a bus or taxi there. I have shopped there myself.

My advice, as from many others here, is to use poles. It makes your walking so much easier. I know that the poles at Decathlon start at about €4.99 each for simple, adjustable aluminium poles. I see dozens of sets of them discarded at the Pilgrim Office every summer. There are so many of this particular style that I conclude that folks must be happy with them. They are the most seen style and color (turquoise).

Two points:

1. You cannot generally bring them into the cabin of a commercial airliner. So, either plan to transport them as checked luggage, or in your checked luggage. I take mine apart (sections can usually come apart) to make them even shorter, and put them in my checked backpack. Alternatively, spend as little as you can for suitable-to-purpose poles, as I mentioned, then donate them at the Pilgrim Office when you reach Santiago. Evidently, a lot of others do.

2. Go to You Tube and search for "how to use hiking poles." These videos will show you how to adjust and use the poles properly to get the best advantage from them.

Using poles reduces back and shoulder pain, transfers up to 25 % of the load from your back to your legs, provides added traction going up hills, braking coming down hills, and generally improves balance. I am top-heavy and clumsy. So I know all about these benefits.

They can also be used to fend off the very rare aggressive animal.

Depending on your lodging arrangements, an extended hiking pole also makes an effective clothes drying rack. I carry two large plastic hooks (2" wide to fit over curtain rods) and two very long rubber bands to allow me to suspend an extended hiking pole from almost anything I encounter along the way. I find that the long, white, trash can liner retainer bands from the supermarket work very well. It really does work very well.

Hope this helps.
Hi,
Thanks for all the useful information regarding poles. We’re walking our camino next May. We’ve been thinking about this for a while. Could you tell us if the “passport office” which you mention is in SJPdP or Santiago, or both?
We would rather get 2nd hand ones and donate to the camino, than buy new ones and leave them in Santiago. Recycling is a better option for many reasons.
Thanhs,
Tom&Val
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#41
There is a pilgrim office in SJPdP where you can get a credencial. It is not likely to have second hand trekking poles.

There is a pilgrim office in Santiago where you can obtain your compostela. I don't think they have a bin of discarded trekking poles anymore; it is now a very clean and organized place. However, you can find a bin of discarded poles at the PR Blanco down the hill from the Pilgrim Office.

Rúa das Galeras, 30, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
 
Camino(s) past & future
Very soon
#42
Well, I have to say I'm now well and truly convinced of the benefits of poles. I took an 8 mile trek yesterday over hills and rough ground with plenty of ups and downs. They helped my balance and posture and made easier work of the hills for me. Thank you all for your help and comments, greatly appreciated. Well final countdown is on now, I leave for Biarritz in 2days 😆😆
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#43
Well, I have to say I'm now well and truly convinced of the benefits of poles. I took an 8 mile trek yesterday over hills and rough ground with plenty of ups and downs. They helped my balance and posture and made easier work of the hills for me. Thank you all for your help and comments, greatly appreciated. Well final countdown is on now, I leave for Biarritz in 2days 😆😆
Buen camino, chico!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#44
If you learn to use them properly they will help. A lot.
For 80% of users they are just more weight to carry ;)
Your observation jibes with mine...only about one in five walkers use trekking poles in a manner that takes a load off the joints and provides added propulsion.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#45
There is a pilgrim office in SJPdP where you can get a credencial. It is not likely to have second hand trekking poles.

There is a pilgrim office in Santiago where you can obtain your compostela. I don't think they have a bin of discarded trekking poles anymore; it is now a very clean and organized place. However, you can find a bin of discarded poles at the PR Blanco down the hill from the Pilgrim Office.

Rúa das Galeras, 30, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
There's a pile of wooden staffs (staves?) outside in the garden which get cut up for firewood and I saw half a dozen alloy ones there too.
Pilgrim house had a bucket load back in May and I "rented" one for the CI.
Sadly it's at the wrong end of most people's Camino though I recall @t2andreo said something quite recently about recycling them.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#46
If you learn to use them properly they will help. A lot.
For 80% of users they are just more weight to carry ;)
An old boss of mine used to say 80% of statistics were made up on the spot ;);)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#47
If nothing else, poles help keep your arms toned during the month or so that you are walking the Camino. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not inclined to do pushups or any other kind of exercise at the end of the day while I'm on the Camino. I know that my legs are getting a work out, but I don't want my arms to turn into limp noodles!

Other benefits - keeping hands from swelling, keeping body from falling, keeping knees from screaming, and helping to counteract being out of balance while carrying a backpack.
 

jrenner

camino Frances SEPT 18
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Sept (2018)
#48
Just finished SJPDP to Santiago with poles. There are a number of sections that you will very much appreciate the stability that poles will offer when in rough, downhill sections.
We were regularly passed by 20somethings literally bouncing down the trails - but IF you are not in that generation - poles will greatly help to make your day much more enjoyable.
I used Leki with cork grips and was very happy. All 3 in our party agreed to the utility of the poles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#49
We were regularly passed by 20somethings literally bouncing down the trails - but IF you are not in that generation - poles will greatly help to make your day much more enjoyable.
For me, it wasn't so much those days as the subsequent ones. The first days (without poles) heading down into Zubiri, etc. I didn't notice what I was doing to my knees. I thought I was doing okay. It was only the next days that I realized what I had done to myself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2018
#51
Yes...I'm in the camp that used poles after watching videos on how to properly use them. Then, I practiced with them.
From SJPDP to Orisson they saved me to finish the Way over to Roncesvalles and in the subsequent days thru Navarra. On the Meseta, when I had back issues, they saved my Camino. Over the Atapuerca mountain, they were a godsend! On the rough trek down from O Cebreiro they saved my knees! In Galicia, they were again my best companion, helping me over and especially DOWN the hills. I recommend them highly. There were times I folded them and walked without. But, most of the time, they were a blessing!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Very soon
#52
So a final hike of 9 miles with full ruck sack (14.4 kg). They were undoubtedly a help with balance and up and down hills.
Well the day has finally come. I leave Cornwall today and embark on my adventure, once again thank you for all your helpful comment and suggestions.
Michael
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#53
Good to see your post now - I was following in my mind’s eye calendar. Do try to find time to give an idea of how it goes for you. Safe trip, and buen camino.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#54
So a final hike of 9 miles with full ruck sack (14.4 kg). They were undoubtedly a help with balance and up and down hills.
Well the day has finally come. I leave Cornwall today and embark on my adventure, once again thank you for all your helpful comment and suggestions.
Michael
Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#59
@Stivandrer @kirkie
Well, i did it. Got to Biarritz 6pm Tuesday and walked over the 3 days to arrive here in SJPDP. Met Chantal and Alain in the pilgrims office and they set me up with accommodation list and credential. I am staying in the municipal Albergue at no 55 tonight and I shall be heading to Santiago from tomorrow. 😀
Fair play, you walked from Biarritz. you started heading to Santiago a while ago! I know just what you mean. Thanks for taking the trouble to post, and it's ok, you can just post for everyone, because everyone is interested, of that I can be quite sure. I will need to put something into my calendar to keep me following you. Buen Camino, once more.
 

agu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#67
Hiking poles, good or bad?

For example, I can’t find my current place and directions using topographic map. But I will never say, these maps are useless. Sometimes I have seen, how small children, who are taking part in orienteering sports, during practising, are reading map to coaches/parents. Amazing!
Same with hiking poles.

I do not pretend to be expert, but here is some advice, how to use hiking poles and what type.

First of all, there are different usage of them:
  1. Fitness. I do not think, most Pilgrims will use hiking poles during Camino to get fit? So no more of this in current topic.
  2. To move faster. This is for young and fit people. First of all, learn how to grab them correctly. Then you have poles with straps, see for example picture in Jeff Crawley’s post. Next, make them with correct length. Lots of videos on the internet, how to make them in the correct length and how to walk with poles. My additional advice will be, then you finish the push with your hand, you must not be able to maintain the grip of the pole. At this moment you can flex your fingers. Then your hand moves forward, you will grab the pole again. Then it will not be so, you poles are too long or you are not pushing your hands in full swing. But your arms must be not completely straight. Takes some practising to get it right.
  3. To take off some weight from your feet. It is nearly the same, as to help move faster, only your poles will be little bit shorter and you will put the tip down just a little bit forward, then using poles to move faster. But never put the tip of the pole down ahead of the centre of the opposite leg. Then you finish the push with the hand, do as if you are using the poles to move faster.
  4. To help balancing your body going over slippery or similar places on flat road. Watch your step! First put the tips of both poles on the surface, make sure, they are steady and make the step. It’s a good idea not to use the straps, just grab the poles. It prevents injuries in case, you will fall.
  5. To help going uphill on even surface. For me, there is no difference, as to take off some weight from your feet.
  6. To help going uphill on uneven or rocky surface. Then it is really steep, the same, as to help balancing your body. Then it is rocky, don’t use the straps, just grab the poles. Prevents injuries, then the pole gets stuck.
  7. To help going downhill on even surface. For me works the method, then I keep my arms fixed near the belt. Just my hands are moving to put the tips of the poles ahead of me. Still only the tip of the pole of the opposite foot goes ahead. The other pole helps you to balance and takes some of your body weight.
  8. To help going downhill on uneven or rocky surface. Same, as to take off some weight from your feet.
  9. Going through cities. Attach them to your backpack!
  10. Going through small bushes on the flat surface. Don’t use poles. They will not help much, only might get stuck and cause injuries.
Which poles to use?

I advice to use poles, you can adjust the length. The rest is matter of the taste. But just one pole, you are using, must be able to take your full body plus backpack weight. You don’t want the pole to give up, while you are doing some mountain-climbing! For me was one quite scary moment, then going down the steep and rocky hill, my walking pole just collapsed. Not in the Camino.

Accessories:

Round form rubber tips, coming with poles, are not for walking. Just for protecting the sharp metal tips.
For asphalt use asphalt pads. Orientation should be on the right direction. For me Leki pads are the best choice. Good grip and they last long.
For rocky surface are special round form pads or no pads at all.
I use fitness gloves while walking.

Sorry, English is not my first language. Any feedback, positive or, especially, negative, welcome. Maybe I am doing somethings wrong or something needs improvement.
 

DonCamino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 CN
2015 + 2016 VdlP
2017 CF + CN
2018 CP from Lisbon
#68
I recommend poles! I use them on every camino. Uphills, downhills, ... . And to „rest“. Have a look at my avatar. Very comfortable. So - i use them almost „day and night“. Never without poles.

Greetings
DonCamino
 
Last edited:

PeteB

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Ingles 2013"
#70
Hi, am starting my walk from Biarritz on the 21st or 28th Nov 2108. Was wondering the benefits of trekking poles, any advice greatly appreciated
Michael
Hi, don’t leave without them! They are really helpful and take a load off the knees. I recommend Pacer Poles because of their ergonomic handle - much better than pole with straps. Look em up online.

We walk in the Lake District all the time and always use them - used on Camino Ingles and glad we did.

If it is hot weather it’s worth wearing thin cotton gloves to prevent chaffing.

Pete
 

Maccarooni

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Very soon
#71
Well they have been a god send, don't think I'd have got this far without them. In currently in the Albergue municipal at viana, this being my second night here due to an ankle problem, hopefully the rest will do it good and I will hopefully set off again tomorrow morning.
Michael
 
#73
Your observation jibes with mine...only about one in five walkers use trekking poles in a manner that takes a load off the joints and provides added propulsion.

Well, I will have to politely disagree. Even if the poles don’t take the weight off my joints, and even if they don’t provide added propulsion, I would never walk without them. At least once on every camino I have ever walked, my poles have prevented a stumble from turning into a face plant.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#74
Well they have been a god send, don't think I'd have got this far without them. In currently in the Albergue municipal at viana, this being my second night here due to an ankle problem, hopefully the rest will do it good and I will hopefully set off again tomorrow morning.
Michael
I thought I had replied but no. Take your time tomorrow and be sure to get the ankle checked out. So glad your poles are proving useful. Blessings on your camino.
 

Dandabika

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed GR65 (2016)
#75
Hi, am starting my walk from Biarritz on the 21st or 28th Nov 2108. Was wondering the benefits of trekking poles, any advice greatly appreciated
Michael
Absolutely necessary. I used Leki poles that fold in 3 pieces on the Camino, Compostelle and GR70 trails. Prior to that I used other brands but the Leki have the most comfortable grips and straps of them all. The 3 section poles will fit in your pack so you can keep them with you at nights; some gites/albergues don't allow you into the dorms with poles unless they are stashed in your bag. Go to Utube for some training sessions that will show you precisely how to use and adjust the poles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2014,Camino Frances, 2016 Frances
#76
Hi Maccarooni
( I'm 65yo)
My first CF Camino 2016, no poles got to 620 klms, & shin splints.....
2nd CF camino,2017 no poles got to 520 klms, twisted knee,
3rd CF Camino 2018, bought POLES €20 in Madrid, did 920 klms from SJPdP to Finisterre...,

So I'm convinced they took 20% of weight bearing pressure off my joints. They steadied me on the downhills, were a help going up...my arms gained muscles...and I've named them Arthur & Martha........
Love
Poles are a must for me. They do relieve stress, make the Way safer, and are great if you count to pace yourself uphill etc. You don’t need expensive poles, but get some poles.
 
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