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Trekking Poles

misspenn2519

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May/June 2024
Hi there! I was on the fence about poles bc I've never used them and as mentioned previously, brand new to hiking. But because I'm in treatment for breast cancer and as such have a decent amount of joint pain and body ache, I figure they're probably a good idea. I read on here that many of you like the Black Diamond ones but Foxelli had amazing reviews on amazon for a third of the price, then I found a Cascade Mountain pair at Costco for $34.99 - obviously skeptical but asked my uncle who is an avid hiker and he says they're great poles? Any thoughts on pros/cons of these brands? Also, apart from possibly an extra set of the bottom rubber tips, do I need to bring any of the other attachments (some rounded foot looking things, some round things and some bigger round things I bellieve are for snow?) considering I'll be starting May 20 and taking 4-6 weeks? Many thanks in advance
 
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Hi misspenn! The larger round attachments are probably the snow baskets. You wont need those. The smaller rubber tips are good for pavement but quickly get worn down to nothing. They do stop the clicking sound from the tips which is nice.
I find that trekking poles are also good for setting a walking pace and keeping my hands from swelling up in hot weather. Without them my hands swing at my sides and eventually swell up.
Hope this info has been helpful!
 
Often they are sold in pairs but I only ever use one. For me, the additional utility of one pole is worth the extra weight, extra thing to carry around with me that is an awkward shape and might get left behind.

The second pole does add utility but, for me, not enough extra utility to cancel out the extra hassle of having two awkwardly shaped things to carry around and be responsible for.

I always buy cheap, no brand poles and they serve me well. Other people have different preferences.

My best advice on poles is to buy some cheap ones and use them on uneven ground in a hiking environment before you leave home so that you get used to them. This will then give you a background of personal knowledge that you can use to assess if you want the additional utility promised by more expensive, brand name poles.

My second piece of advice is to learn how to use and hold them correctly.

I see many people grasping the handles tightly and even cutting off the straps.

When used correctly your weight should be on the strap(s) not on the handle(s).
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Thank you all so much! Ok so it sounds like if I bring one or two poles without the circular disc things but with an extra set or two of the bottom rubber pieces that go over the metal tips that this should be good? I am creating a spreadsheet with all my needs and weight and struggling to keep beneath 12lbs (10% of my body weight) so anything I can cut the better!
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Also, since i'm doing the route Frances from SJPdP, will I need the sand/mud tips, or the "boot" downhill tips at all?
 
The Costco poles are fine. You will need to bring or buy some new rubber tips, as the tips that they come with are not very robust and will wear out quickly. When you are in Europe if you are near a Decathlon store (they are in all major cities) check out these rubber tips. They get very good reviews.

decathlon pole tips.jpg

 
The Costco poles are fine. You will need to bring or buy some new rubber tips, as the tips that they come with are not very robust and will wear out quickly. When you are in Europe if you are near a Decathlon store (they are in all major cities) check out these rubber tips. They get very good reviews.

View attachment 167835

Yes, I use these tips. I bought two pairs, cost here in Germany at Decathlon is five euros. Not sure how many kilometers I did with the first pair, probably something like 700, I only swapped them out because I couldn't be bothered caring the spares any longer!

I also just use the cheapest Decathlon poles - to date my current pair has done over a thousand kms. (I simply left the first pair in Santiago rather than ship them home because the shipping cost was more than the cost of the poles).

As above used properly they work extremely well. The key as others have already stated is learning to use them properly and training with them. Buy yourself a cheap pair locally, train with them and if you're not checking in your bags leave them at home for subsequent walks, then just buy a new pair upon arrival.

Rather than go on more I strongly suggest you read the current thread :

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/poles-or-no-poles.86102/

If you want a good training video recommendation send me a pm and I'll send you a video link. (Click on my Avatar and just press 'start conversation')

Buen Camino!
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Hi misspenn!

I will get my poles in SJPP when i arrive and donate when i finish; my Portuguese pair cost 12 Euros did the job and donated when i finished.
I wouldn't invest in an expensive pair in case you cant get on with them!

Defo use poles easy to use (used correctly); if i hadn't used poles i would have been unable to finish my Caminos they were a life saver literally especially if you have a visual impairment!
I will never walk the path without poles!

I still don't know your visual limitations; but knowledge is power; even if for you it's not relevant it might help someone else!!

On the Portuguese Coastal and Variant ; i still went down hard 6 times and had a hundred near misses a day!
Similar scenario on the Frances but only went down twice.

Used properly they will defo give you extra confidence on the trail!!!!

Apart from my main visual loss I also have no depth perception or dark adaption; so in many parts of the walk in the woods , dark shade or up/down rocky paths, as i said above they were a life saver!

Instead of using them to aid forward motion; in the woods/ shade/low light i flick the poles forward and plant left and right before i move with each step it is a bit slower and i still can't see my feet (that's nothing to do with my beer belly🤣) but safer.

Have more vids of when i fell this one is the only one expletive free (lots of them)🤣
 

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Watching this post with interest. I'm practicing with a cheap set from Macpac. They make a vibrating noise when they strike the ground, so I guess would be good to test for this when buying a new pair. I like the functionality however. Yesterday I went on an undulating trail hike with slippery mud and some loose rocks. I would usually roll an ankle somewhere along the way. Had 3 very minor stumbles and the poles caught me each time. I will be staying my first night in Bayonne. There is a store called Intersport. Hoping to get some poles there. The only thing I don't like about the poles is I don't have any free hands. I guess the compromise is one pole?
 
The only thing I don't like about the poles is I don't have any free hands. I guess the compromise is one pole?
Sarah, the only difficulty with that is that while one pole will give you more stability you miss out on the other benefits of using them. It's such an individual thing, there is no right or wrong - but I would strongly encourage you to use two, at least for the first couple of hundred kilometers. As always your call.

I know it's not long until you leave. Exciting!
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Sarah, the only difficulty with that is that while one pole will give you more stability you miss out on the other benefits of using them. It's such an individual thing, there is no right or wrong - but I would strongly encourage you to use two, at least for the first couple of hundred kilometers. As always your call.

I know it's not long until you leave. Exciting!
Yes very exciting, on the countdown! I have a pile on the living room floor. For some reason I am procrastinating with the weigh in - that number is kinda important!

Now that I've practiced with "cheap" poles, I think I will buy the lightest ones I can afford in Bayonne and use them on gradients, but not the flat. I think the poles exacerbate my shoulder RSI, but again, compromise.
 
The only thing I don't like about the poles is I don't have any free hands. I guess the compromise is one pole?
It's not the same as having completely free hands, but I can perform most tasks, such as taking photos, with the poles dangling from their straps on my wrists.
 
Hi misspenn!

I will get my poles in SJPP when i arrive and donate when i finish; my Portuguese pair cost 12 Euros did the job and donated when i finished.
I wouldn't invest in an expensive pair in case you cant get on with them!

Defo use poles easy to use (used correctly); if i hadn't used poles i would have been unable to finish my Caminos they were a life saver literally especially if you have a visual impairment!
I will never walk the path without poles!

I still don't know your visual limitations; but knowledge is power; even if for you it's not relevant it might help someone else!!

On the Portuguese Coastal and Variant ; i still went down hard 6 times and had a hundred near misses a day!
Similar scenario on the Frances but only went down twice.

Used properly they will defo give you extra confidence on the trail!!!!

Apart from my main visual loss I also have no depth perception or dark adaption; so in many parts of the walk in the woods , dark shade or up/down rocky paths, as i said above they were a life saver!

Instead of using them to aid forward motion; in the woods/ shade/low light i flick the poles forward and plant left and right before i move with each step it is a bit slower and i still can't see my feet (that's nothing to do with my beer belly🤣) but safer.

Have more vids of when i fell this one is the only one expletive free (lots of them)🤣
Hi Woody, any idea what the price of purchasing in SJPDP would be? I was going to check my poles for the flight from US. If the cost isnt to high, I may just purchase a pair when I arrive in SJPDP next week and keep my current pair for when I hike on my return home. Thanks!
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
Hi there! I was on the fence about poles bc I've never used them and as mentioned previously, brand new to hiking. But because I'm in treatment for breast cancer and as such have a decent amount of joint pain and body ache, I figure they're probably a good idea. I read on here that many of you like the Black Diamond ones but Foxelli had amazing reviews on amazon for a third of the price, then I found a Cascade Mountain pair at Costco for $34.99 - obviously skeptical but asked my uncle who is an avid hiker and he says they're great poles? Any thoughts on pros/cons of these brands? Also, apart from possibly an extra set of the bottom rubber tips, do I need to bring any of the other attachments (some rounded foot looking things, some round things and some bigger round things I bellieve are for snow?) considering I'll be starting May 20 and taking 4-6 weeks? Many thanks in advance
I tweaked my knee on the second day and luckily I was able to find a pair after I found a makeshift pole from a stick that I found on the ground that later broke. I bought a pair of Altus on about day 5 that can be made very small and fit in my luggage on the way home. Between some ice and poles I got thru with no more problems. They had the rubber tips. I would never do the Camino again without a pair and wished I had them on that first day. Good for support also going down rocky paths.
 
Hi Woody, any idea what the price of purchasing in SJPDP would be? I was going to check my poles for the flight from US. If the cost isnt to high, I may just purchase a pair when I arrive in SJPDP next week and keep my current pair for when I hike on my return home. Thanks!
If you are just taking your backpack I would strongly suggest that you bring your pack on the plane with you. I have a 45L pack and never have a problem taking it onboard. Then you can check your poles for free. Of course these are all assumptions. I think on most airlines you get one free bag on overseas flights. Also I am assuming you don't carry your backpack. Lots of assumptions and in case I am wrong all around, never mind ;)
Personally I love to get off the plane, get to customs and out of the airport. I always spend at least 1 night sometimes 2 in the city I fly into so I can rest and adjust. I look up independent outdoor shops to buy a cheap pair of poles. I can usually still find some for about 20E. Then I give them to Pilgrim House in Santiago at the end of my camino.
 
Maybe wait to buy them in Spain. Otherwise you will need to check your bag to ship.them from the US. I don't know know where you are starting from, but they are easy to buy
Hi there! I was on the fence about poles bc I've never used them and as mentioned previously, brand new to hiking. But because I'm in treatment for breast cancer and as such have a decent amount of joint pain and body ache, I figure they're probably a good idea. I read on here that many of you like the Black Diamond ones but Foxelli had amazing reviews on amazon for a third of the price, then I found a Cascade Mountain pair at Costco for $34.99 - obviously skeptical but asked my uncle who is an avid hiker and he says they're great poles? Any thoughts on pros/cons of these brands? Also, apart from possibly an extra set of the bottom rubber tips, do I need to bring any of the other attachments (some rounded foot looking things, some round things and some bigger round things I bellieve are for snow?) considering I'll be starting May 20 and taking 4-6 weeks? Many thanks in advance
Poles? Definitely! I have completed two Caminos and my poles shared every step. It's a matter of stability and weight distribution and taking some load off your joints. As far as choosing poles, I am a fan of cork handles and recommend a good locking mechanism for the sections. It seems the lighter the poles, the more $$, and Black Diamind are great but you must plan to check them or US or Spanish TSA will keep them. Not a big deal, keep the box they came in for way over, and find a box or tube for the way back .You can get some fairly cheap ones on Amazon for your pre-Camino training walks. Yes, you need to get used to some mileage, with or without poles. Do use the rubber feet, it is a courtesy to put them on when walking through villages so you are not click clacking on the pavement.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Thank you all so much! Ok so it sounds like if I bring one or two poles without the circular disc things but with an extra set or two of the bottom rubber pieces that go over the metal tips that this should be good? I am creating a spreadsheet with all my needs and weight and struggling to keep beneath 12lbs (10% of my body weight) so anything I can cut the better!
Hi MissPenn, after two caminis with 42L Packs we are downsizing. My wife has the Osprey Tempest 24 and has managed to get to 12lbs with 1.5L of water. Happy to share gear list, if helpful.
 
Poles all the way and not one but two! They help take weight off the hips and knees, make for a more efficient stride and greater speed and your fingers won't swell.

Going both uphill and downhill they are a great help, especially downhill (place in front off you to help break a fall). Mine are cheap Decathlon poles which I even took to Nepal hiking in the Himalayas. No need to sprend a lot of money.
 
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Hi there! I was on the fence about poles bc I've never used them and as mentioned previously, brand new to hiking. But because I'm in treatment for breast cancer and as such have a decent amount of joint pain and body ache, I figure they're probably a good idea. I read on here that many of you like the Black Diamond ones but Foxelli had amazing reviews on amazon for a third of the price, then I found a Cascade Mountain pair at Costco for $34.99 - obviously skeptical but asked my uncle who is an avid hiker and he says they're great poles? Any thoughts on pros/cons of these brands? Also, apart from possibly an extra set of the bottom rubber tips, do I need to bring any of the other attachments (some rounded foot looking things, some round things and some bigger round things I bellieve are for snow?) considering I'll be starting May 20 and taking 4-6 weeks? Many thanks in advance
This is an eternal discussion. It never ends. This said, given what you wrote, I recommend getting a pair of length-adjustable hiking poles.

You do not need to spend top price for Black Diamond or other branded carbon fibre poles. There are plenty of excellent aluminium alloy poles out there. Probably the biggest European name in poles is Leki.

Once you use them to walk a Camino, you will never do so without them again. They reduce the effort on your entire frame and lighten the apparent load from your rucksack by up to 25%.

Shop using the weight per pair as a guide. The optimal height / length setting is so your arms are bend at 90 degrees at the elbow.

Also, the poles can be used for any number of clever alternative uses along a Camino. My three favorite, "field-expedient" uses are to hang clothes to dry if I have a private room, to fend off aggressive dogs if they get too close for comfort, and to help air-dry a soaked pair of hiking shoes or boots. There are many other uses. But, these are the three most common.

Don't forget to include at least one pair of rubber pole tips. The "click-clack" sound that the hard, tungsten steel pole tips make on paved surfaces is very jarring to some, and rude to people in the many small villages who are trying to sleep.

If lost, you can replace them along the way. I usually carry two pair, as the "mud god" demands at least one tup in tribute on each Camino.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hi there! I was on the fence about poles bc I've never used them and as mentioned previously, brand new to hiking. But because I'm in treatment for breast cancer and as such have a decent amount of joint pain and body ache, I figure they're probably a good idea. I read on here that many of you like the Black Diamond ones but Foxelli had amazing reviews on amazon for a third of the price, then I found a Cascade Mountain pair at Costco for $34.99 - obviously skeptical but asked my uncle who is an avid hiker and he says they're great poles? Any thoughts on pros/cons of these brands? Also, apart from possibly an extra set of the bottom rubber tips, do I need to bring any of the other attachments (some rounded foot looking things, some round things and some bigger round things I bellieve are for snow?) considering I'll be starting May 20 and taking 4-6 weeks? Many thanks in advance
I found poles very useful . Stops my hands from swelling. I wouldn't be without them. I got mine ,cheap and cheerful, from Amazon.
 
Hi MissPenn, after two caminis with 42L Packs we are downsizing. My wife has the Osprey Tempest 24 and has managed to get to 12lbs with 1.5L of water. Happy to share gear list, if helpful.
Would love to see it, thank you! I feel I'm almost there but don't know what I don't know, for example emergency needs. I have seven packs wiht me here now at home to choose from - Osprey Tempest 30 and 40; Osprey Sirrus 34and 36; Deuter Futura pro 34), ,and Gregory Jade 38. Trying to keep total weight including pack under 12lbs.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Watching this post with interest. I'm practicing with a cheap set from Macpac. They make a vibrating noise when they strike the ground, so I guess would be good to test for this when buying a new pair. I like the functionality however. Yesterday I went on an undulating trail hike with slippery mud and some loose rocks. I would usually roll an ankle somewhere along the way. Had 3 very minor stumbles and the poles caught me each time. I will be staying my first night in Bayonne. There is a store called Intersport. Hoping to get some poles there. The only thing I don't like about the poles is I don't have any free hands. I guess the compromise is one pole?
I would stick with the two, but that's showing my personal preference. My hands are available when I need them. I just let the poles dangle from the straps. If you are using the straps properly, that's very easy to do.
 
Hi there! I was on the fence about poles bc I've never used them and as mentioned previously, brand new to hiking. But because I'm in treatment for breast cancer and as such have a decent amount of joint pain and body ache, I figure they're probably a good idea. I read on here that many of you like the Black Diamond ones but Foxelli had amazing reviews on amazon for a third of the price, then I found a Cascade Mountain pair at Costco for $34.99 - obviously skeptical but asked my uncle who is an avid hiker and he says they're great poles? Any thoughts on pros/cons of these brands? Also, apart from possibly an extra set of the bottom rubber tips, do I need to bring any of the other attachments (some rounded foot looking things, some round things and some bigger round things I bellieve are for snow?) considering I'll be starting May 20 and taking 4-6 weeks? Many thanks in advance
I will add my voice to those recommending that you walk with two poles, especially if you have joint issues. On my 2016 Camino I really resisted getting poles (they didn't fit with my mental image of a "pilgrim") but they were what saved my Camino when I developed knee issues and I've used them ever since and never had knee issues again. I wouldn't worry about getting nice expensive poles. I've used the cheap ones on my Camino and they work just fine. I've also had success with at least three different kinds of rubber/plastic tips at the bottom (including round ones, narrow ones and "foot" ones), so I wouldn't stress about the tips either, except to say that some sort of rubber to replace the steel where the pole touches the road is good. You can buy them before you leave or, like I did on my last couple of Caminos, buy them from Decathlon or some such sporting goods or hiking goods store in Spain (or SJPP or Portugal) before you set out.
 
Hi there! I was on the fence about poles bc I've never used them and as mentioned previously, brand new to hiking. But because I'm in treatment for breast cancer and as such have a decent amount of joint pain and body ache, I figure they're probably a good idea. I read on here that many of you like the Black Diamond ones but Foxelli had amazing reviews on amazon for a third of the price, then I found a Cascade Mountain pair at Costco for $34.99 - obviously skeptical but asked my uncle who is an avid hiker and he says they're great poles? Any thoughts on pros/cons of these brands? Also, apart from possibly an extra set of the bottom rubber tips, do I need to bring any of the other attachments (some rounded foot looking things, some round things and some bigger round things I bellieve are for snow?) considering I'll be starting May 20 and taking 4-6 weeks? Many thanks in advance
Good advice in this post, but definitely buy a cheap adjustable PAIR now and practice with the various walking styles you can learn on YouTube and from others. Practice on varied terrain with your loaded pack. You need to do this NOW because it could take some time to get the hang of it, and some poles’ straps are downright irritating. Later you can decide to check the poles in luggage, risk carry on or just buy another pair in Spain. You may decide (as I did) that a fixed length is fine for up/down/level and buy an expensive pair weighing 1/2 as much as the cheapees.
 
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I only use rubber tips when I want to stop the clacking noise when I am in towns or on footpaths. Experienced hikers discover that using the metal tips provides much better grip on earth, rocks, or rocky paths.

The most important thing is to learn how to use poles properly. You should be ‘pushing’ yourself up hill with the poles - not putting the poles in front and ‘pulling’ yourself up.

I also saw many people with their poles set too high (at chest level!).

Lots of people just sort of vaguely waved their poles around as they walked and weren’t getting any benefit from them.
 
Yes very exciting, on the countdown! I have a pile on the living room floor. For some reason I am procrastinating with the weigh in - that number is kinda important!

Now that I've practiced with "cheap" poles, I think I will buy the lightest ones I can afford in Bayonne and use them on gradients, but not the flat. I think the poles exacerbate my shoulder RSI, but again, compromise.
When I use my poles, my elbow and triceps are the joint/muscles most often used not my shoulders - sort of like doing a ‘tricep kick back’ with a dumbell at the gym - the shoulder stays stable and it’s the elbow and forearm that move. I use fabulous Pacerpoles that have a handgrip designed by a physio - but the principle should work with any poles.
 

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