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Luggage Transfer Correos

Walking Poles on the Primitivo. Yes or No.

2020 Camino Guides

Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Where are you walking from, Eswee?

Like you, I don't train with poles. I did the Frances and Portugues without poles, and only recently used poles on the uphills of the Lebaniego. I admit I thought they were useful on the uphills, but - for this little pilgrim here - completely irrelevant on flat or downhills.

I have not walked the Primitivo yet, but I know there are some ups and downs. If you usually don't use them, and you are starting next week, i don't see the point of carrying extra weight. Getting acquainted with the equipment on the go may not be a good choice.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
I am with @Anamya on this. Poles can be tremendously useful, but that are not essential. More, if you don't walk with them now, and don't have time to learn to use them properly before you start, you are unlikely to get all the benefits from them that you might. You risk them being just another thing that you are carrying, and you don't need that on any camino.

If you think you can learn to use them on the road, it would be another matter. I just doubt that there are all that many people who can do that effectively.
 

Levi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
VDLP 2016
Portuguese March 2017
Sanabres September 2017
Madrid September 2018
I'm setting off on the Primitivo on 9 September too :). I'll definitely be taking and using my poles - especially for the steep ascents and descents where I would find it difficult to manage without them. So for me they are essential. But if you haven't used them before the advice from Dougfitz is good. Maybe see you on the way. Buen Camino!
 

Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
I'm setting off on the Primitivo on 9 September too :). I'll definitely be taking and using my poles - especially for the steep ascents and descents where I would find it difficult to manage without them. So for me they are essential. But if you haven't used them before the advice from Dougfitz is good. Maybe see you on the way. Buen Camino!
Hope to see you as well. Buen Camino
 

Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
Where are you walking from, Eswee?

Like you, I don't train with poles. I did the Frances and Portugues without poles, and only recently used poles on the uphills of the Lebaniego. I admit I thought they were useful on the uphills, but - for this little pilgrim here - completely irrelevant on flat or downhills.

I have not walked the Primitivo yet, but I know there are some ups and downs. If you usually don't use them, and you are starting next week, i don't see the point of carrying extra weight. Getting acquainted with the equipment on the go may not be a good choice.
Thank you for the advice Anamaya. I am starting from Oviedo.
 

Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
I am with @Anamya on this. Poles can be tremendously useful, but that are not essential. More, if you don't walk with them now, and don't have time to learn to use them properly before you start, you are unlikely to get all the benefits from them that you might. You risk them being just another thing that you are carrying, and you don't need that on any camino.

If you think you can learn to use them on the road, it would be another matter. I just doubt that there are all that many people who can do that effectively.
Thank you for the advice Dougfitz.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
I walked the Camino Primitivo without poles. There were only two days on which I considered them useful: Walking down to the lake before Grandas de Salimé and the steep climb before A Lastra on the stage A Fonsagrada-O Cadavo. I got me a stick from the woods (found it on the ground in the forest) then and disposed of it when I no longer needed it.
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
I have not walked in Primitivo, but according my information the use of walking sticks means that you will consume more energy. Not only for carrying them but for using them too. From the other hand using poles means less stress for your knees and back- some say 30% less, no matter terrain.
Since you can replace consumed energy with food/resting, but you can not replace wounded knees/ back my suggestion is to use poles. Do not worry about experiece, you will be a master in using them after 1000 m.
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Where are you walking from, Eswee?

I admit I thought they were useful on the uphills, but - for this little pilgrim here - completely irrelevant on flat or downhills.
My son would disagree.
Last summer we visited Saint Anna Skiti (*) in Athos. We climbed 2560 steps with poles and stayed there for the night. None of us had problem. Next morning we went down to the sea level and leaved for Saint Gregory monastery. My son insisted to give me his wooden stick, because he thought I would need both for stepping down, unlike him .
I tried to change his mind, but without success .
Finally ather we arrived in Saint Gregory monastery, he had to use topical analgesic on his legs.
In my experience downhills is much more demading then uphills and, more important , much more dangerous.

(*) I do not know the translation. Skiti is not a monastery, but a group of small houses/ cabins for monks and belongs to a monastery , administratively.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
I have not walked in Primitivo, but according my information the use of walking sticks means that you will consume more energy. Not only for carrying them but for using them too. From the other hand using poles means less stress for your knees and back- some say 30% less, no matter terrain.
What is your source for this level of stress relief? I know that numbers like this get bandied around, but I have never seen anything like that claimed by reputable sources for regular pole use.
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
I did Primitivo aged 66. Took 2 poles, cos have found them good on steep mountain hikes & trekking.I found 2 werent really neccessary, Primitivo is hilly but not that rugged. Why not buy one cheapo pole at Oviedo Decathalon, which you will pass, and give it away when youre down from the hills, or fed up with it.? Also handy as confidence booster when passing guard dogs ?. Definitely agree about steep downhills being more injurous.
 

david46

Should be old enough to know better...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Portugese, St. Jaume, Del Sur, Primitivo, Vadiniense. Salvador
Where are you walking from, Eswee?

Like you, I don't train with poles. I did the Frances and Portugues without poles, and only recently used poles on the uphills of the Lebaniego. I admit I thought they were useful on the uphills, but - for this little pilgrim here - completely irrelevant on flat or downhills.

I have not walked the Primitivo yet, but I know there are some ups and downs. If you usually don't use them, and you are starting next week, i don't see the point of carrying extra weight. Getting acquainted with the equipment on the go may not be a good choice.
Anayma. You say you find poles completely irrelevant on downhills. Have you tried lengthening the poles to give you the support you often need when on steep/rocky downhill sections? Re. on the flat I totally agree. I hate hearing someone clack-clacking behind me when there is absolutely no need for poles. Put the damn things on your pack!
 

david46

Should be old enough to know better...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Portugese, St. Jaume, Del Sur, Primitivo, Vadiniense. Salvador
...and on the same topic, many walkers use the wrist strap to keep the poles attached to their arms. I find it best to slip my hands into the loop from below and then use the grips so that they act as a firm basis for upward pushes on the poles. I notice that photos in Decathlon show them being used incorrectly.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
What is your source for this level of stress relief? I know that numbers like this get bandied around, but I have never seen anything like that claimed by reputable sources for regular pole use.
Repeated studies of the benefits of using hiking poles (a pair) revealed that the effect was an approximate 25% reduction in weight distributed to the lower body (hips, legs, knees, ankles, etc.). Using poles, correctly, can transfer up to that amount of weight to your upper body (arms and shoulders IIRC).

I believe this is the basis for the statement above. However, I have never heard a percentage of "weight transfer benefit" of greater than 255 stated anywhere.

You might Google "benefits of using hiking poles..."

Hope this helps the dialogue.
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
What is your source for this level of stress relief? I know that numbers like this get bandied around, but I have never seen anything like that claimed by reputable sources for regular pole use.
Internet and experience.
 

Kym G.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF ('13, '15)
SJPP to Logroño ('18)
Logroño to Castrojeriz ('19)
Salvador, Primitivo ('19)
Here is a study from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and another one here from Sports Medicine Int'l Open, and then here from Harvard. There does appear to be evidence that poles help.

By the same token, it seems to me that the decision to use poles or not is akin to talking about the best hiking shoes. Most of it comes down to personal preference.

I use poles on every surface, and I feel it really helps stability, speed, and stamina. My wife carries poles but hardly ever uses them--occasionally on steep descents. She did use them, though, most of the time this summer on the Salvador and Primitivo.
 

Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
I did Primitivo aged 66. Took 2 poles, cos have found them good on steep mountain hikes & trekking.I found 2 werent really neccessary, Primitivo is hilly but not that rugged. Why not buy one cheapo pole at Oviedo Decathalon, which you will pass, and give it away when youre down from the hills, or fed up with it.? Also handy as confidence booster when passing guard dogs ?. Definitely agree about steep downhills being more injurous.
Thanks Mr Magoo. It sounds like good advice. I think I will do as you suggested. :)
 

Margery Leroux

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Primitivo May 2019
Camino Norte Sept 2019
I walked the Primitivo in June and was very happy I brought my poles. They made a huge difference on the rocky downhill stretch from Hospitales and into Grandas de Salime. They also helped stabilize me both up and downhill. Another benefit is that using them keeps my hands from swelling. I feel stronger and can walk further when I walk with poles. I was hesitant at first but I’m a complete believer now!
 

John Coleman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2017
Hi, I’m just finished the Primitivo and did Portuguese last year.

The Primitivo has a lot more climbs with steep gradients and I definitely recommend poles. If you’re not used to them, I’d suggest protecting your hands with plasters where you grip the poles to avoid blisters.

You have super walk ahead of you!

Regards,

John

I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Also handy as confidence booster when passing guard dogs ?.
On Pyrenees mountain one could meet the Pyrenees race of dogs . These are guards and stick will not scare them. I found a photo in inernet to give you an idea. Best option is stay away, especialy from group of guard dogs of any race.
 

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Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
Hi, I’m just finished the Primitivo and did Portuguese last year.

The Primitivo has a lot more climbs with steep gradients and I definitely recommend poles. If you’re not used to them, I’d suggest protecting your hands with plasters where you grip the poles to avoid blisters.

You have super walk ahead of you!

Regards,

John
Thanks John. If I will walk with poles, I will put on some plasters.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Repeated studies of the benefits of using hiking poles (a pair) revealed that the effect was an approximate 25% reduction in weight distributed to the lower body (hips, legs, knees, ankles, etc.). Using poles, correctly, can transfer up to that amount of weight to your upper body (arms and shoulders IIRC).

I believe this is the basis for the statement above. However, I have never heard a percentage of "weight transfer benefit" of greater than 255 stated anywhere.

You might Google "benefits of using hiking poles..."

Hope this helps the dialogue.
The largest transfer I have seen claimed in a published scientific paper is 12-25% going down a 25% slope, which is in a paper @Kym G. referred to earlier. My experience is that going downhill is when I get the most weight transfer. I didn't directly measure the weight reduction at the time but did observe that I regularly fully compressed the pole springs going downhill. When I measured that full compression point afterwards, it equates to about a 15% load reduction.

It is clearly possible I applied more force after that full compression was achieved, and equally clearly have no way of knowing exactly what that reduction was. I have achieved a reduction of about 25% in a static test measured on domestic appliances, but I don't realistically think this will be achieved in normal walking. I think claims of a 30% load reduction are misleading when they don't explain the quite limited circumstances that would apply.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I am a fairly recent convert. I used to use a single pole or stick and resisted the idea of two poles for a long time - a couple of early experiments not being particularly successful. However a couple of Caminos ended very painfully and in one case prematurely with what was then diagnosed as osteoarthritis of the knee. Faced with the very real possibility that my long-distance walking was about to end for good I made a concerted effort to learn to use two poles effectively and consistently. Since then I have walked several thousand km trouble-free despite my osteoarthritis - quite a lot of that being on more difficult terrain and while carrying far heavier weights than I have found on any Camino including the Primitivo. I would not walk any serious distance now without them.
 

Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
I am a fairly recent convert. I used to use a single pole or stick and resisted the idea of two poles for a long time - a couple of early experiments not being particularly successful. However a couple of Caminos ended very painfully and in one case prematurely with what was then diagnosed as osteoarthritis of the knee. Faced with the very real possibility that my long-distance walking was about to end for good I made a concerted effort to learn to use two poles effectively and consistently. Since then I have walked several thousand km trouble-free despite my osteoarthritis - quite a lot of that being on more difficult terrain and while carrying far heavier weights than I have found on any Camino including the Primitivo. I would not walk any serious distance now without them.
Now that is another can of worms. One pole or two poles. :)
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Now that is another can of worms. One pole or two poles. :)
For me , two light aluminium telescopic poles if my main concern is joint protection.
One longer , stronger and heavier wooden stick if there is a possibility :
a) to lose suddenly my balance and throw my weight on it , as if I slip on loose stones while walking downhills
b) to use my stick as an instrument of defence.
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
I think claims of a 30% load reduction are misleading when they don't explain the quite limited circumstances that would apply.
Ok. I confess.
Guilty for reproduction of misleading information . The reduction is not 30 %. The reduction (we agree there is a reduction , don`t we?) is less.
:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
You're an experienced fit walker who has managed so far without poles?

No, they’re not necessary.

I’m only a few years younger than you. I’m an experienced fit(ish) walker and I wouldn't consider the walk without poles.

To some extent that’s habit.

I’m accustomed to poles, I think they help me now and I think they’ll extend my walking lifetime by a few years also. (Opinion folks, I’m allowed to have one without a pile of peer-reviewed papers).

You could give them a try - it’s not a life changing investment. Otherwise, carry on.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
In my experience downhills is much more demading then uphills and, more important , much more dangerous.
You say you find poles completely irrelevant on downhills. Have you tried lengthening the poles to give you the support you often need when on steep/rocky downhill sections?
Hehe, I always get these questions regarding poles. I totally understand they work for most people, and if Eswee had been training with them, I would have probably recommended it, for all terrains.
I told him not too because he is not used to it and it could be 1)extra weight and 2) risky if he learns the wrong technique on the way.

In my case, and that is completely personal, I have tried and trained with poles this entire year, and indeed took them to the Camino Lebaniego. I am quite young (38) and since my childhood, have been hiking and trekking with a 'parkour' style of walking, where I can actually go quite quick downhill kinda 'bouncing' around. As bizarre as it looks, I have very good grip and balance doing that. I do exercise to keep my knees and hips healthy.
Because of that style of walking downhill, the poles actually become a hazard to me, because they add weight, lenght and change the stability of my body.

So, yes. I have tried the pole in many different ways. Even wrote a post for advice earlier in the year. Found out they were really good to help me uphill, but even with the right movements, correct straps, etc etc, they were not working downhill. My husband loves them and says they are totally crucial for his downhill walks, while for me, well, nope.

Hence why it is so important to test gear before you go, and to do on the camino what really works for you. To all those who like poles, yup, they should surely use them :)
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
The largest transfer I have seen claimed in a published scientific paper is 12-25% going down a 25% slope, which is in a paper @Kym G. referred to earlier. My experience is that going downhill is when I get the most weight transfer. I didn't directly measure the weight reduction at the time but did observe that I regularly fully compressed the pole springs going downhill. When I measured that full compression point afterwards, it equates to about a 15% load reduction.

It is clearly possible I applied more force after that full compression was achieved, and equally clearly have no way of knowing exactly what that reduction was. I have achieved a reduction of about 25% in a static test measured on domestic appliances, but I don't realistically think this will be achieved in normal walking. I think claims of a 30% load reduction are misleading when they don't explain the quite limited circumstances that would apply.
It is my understanding, from what I have read, because I surely do not understand the biomechanics of this, but if you apply downward force using tour firearms and shoulders as you walk in level or up angled surfaces, the geometry of the sticks and your upper body transfers some of the overall weight / load. The figure I have seen most often quoted is “as much as” or “up to 25%.”

In theory, I suppose this is similar to a cantilever truss or a cable suspension bridge. Like I said, I understand the theoretical principles but do not fully get the biomechanics.

For me, the issue is more about joint protection (knees, ankles & hips), and balance control. Plus, being somewhat “pear-shaped,” I can be top heavy with a loaded rucksack. Viewed in this context, the hiking poles are like outriggers on a sailboat. They keep me right side up.

Hope this helps the dialog.
 
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Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
Save your knee and hip joints for later years. Use poles.
 

Peligro

I walk between cafe breaks
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to SdC the slow way (Aug'15, Aug'17, Jan'18, Aug'18, Jan'19, Jul'19) Finisterre (TBD)
In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the answer was 42.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
Your question is: are walking poles essential? No. Can they be useful? Yes. Do you live near other walkers who do have poles? You still have a day or so maybe before you set sail. You might think of paying a visit to a friend with poles and trying them out. It has been stated, and i know from experience, that there are good and correct ways to hold/use poles. Among others, Leki have useful videos on YouTube to demonstrate that. I finally got it, by walking on the flat and visualising what i had seen on the video. If you do get poles, make sure they have adjustable wrist straps. That helps you to use the poles correctly and not to grip hard on the handles. It won’t be too long till we hear whether or not, and I wish you buen camino!
 

Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
Your question is: are walking poles essential? No. Can they be useful? Yes. Do you live near other walkers who do have poles? You still have a day or so maybe before you set sail. You might think of paying a visit to a friend with poles and trying them out. It has been stated, and i know from experience, that there are good and correct ways to hold/use poles. Among others, Leki have useful videos on YouTube to demonstrate that. I finally got it, by walking on the flat and visualising what i had seen on the video. If you do get poles, make sure they have adjustable wrist straps. That helps you to use the poles correctly and not to grip hard on the handles. It won’t be too long till we hear whether or not, and I wish you buen camino!
Hi Kirkie. Unfortunately I am flying tomorrow afternoon. No more time for training. It is now me and the Primitivo. I think I am going to follow Mr Magoo's advice. Buy me one pole in Oviedo. Try it out for the first day (or three). If I do get use to it, I will carry on with it. Otherwise I will just give it away to a fellow peregrino.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
It is my understanding, from what I have read, because I surely do not understand the biomechanics of this, but if you apply downward force using tour firearms and shoulders as you walk in level or up angled surfaces, the geometry of the sticks and your upper body transfers some of the overall weight / load. The figure I have seen most often quoted is “as much as” or “up to 25%.”

In theory, I suppose this is similar to a cantilever truss or a cable suspension bridge. Like I said, I understand the theoretical principles but do not fully get the biomechanics.

For me, the issue is more about joint protection (knees, ankles & hips), and balance control. Plus, being somewhat “pear-shaped,” I can be top heavy with a loaded rucksack. Viewed in this context, the hiking poles are like outriggers on a sailboat. They keep me right side up.

Hope this helps the dialog.
I have a similar understanding of the mechanics of how the weight transfer occurs. And I agree that this weight transfer will occur on the flat as well as up and down hill. My own observation is that one achieves greater force on the pole going down steeper hills, where one is working the poles far more to ensure one doesn't go too fast and lose control of the descent.

Given the evidence that these maximum weight transfers were achieved on a 25% down slope, one might ask how often these occur. I did a quick review of a range of Spanish camino routes using the elevation profiler in Google Earth, and only the Camino Primitivo has a small section of about 3 km of descent around Trasmonte that is shown as a 28% down slope. I haven't walked this route, so I don't know how difficult this is. There are some other routes with around 20% maximum slopes, but on the CF, the maximum down slope appears to be about 15%.

So can one expect to routinely achieve a weight transfer of 25-30%? I am suggesting not. Further, I view using that figure without some explanation of the circumstances under which it was achieved as bordering on misleading.
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
Blimey, I see what you mean !
On Pyrenees mountain one could meet the Pyrenees race of dogs . These are guards and stick will not scare them. I found a photo in inernet to give you an idea. Best option is stay away, especialy from group of guard dogs of any race.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
Are walking poles essential? Absolutely not. Are they useful? Some people find them so, although far more just seem to use them as some kind of talisman, going tic-tac along the road because they haven't used rubber tips on their poles and are just tapping the ground as they walk along, infuriating everyone else with the noise.

I've seen all all sorts of claims about weight transfer, however I have not seen good evidence that that translates to the real world. Very few people walk at the speed where supposed proper technique comes into play; Nordic Walking was designed for very fast aerobic exercise, not for regular walking.

I've never found any evidence at all that using poles reduces injuries, if anyone has any I'd be interested to see it.

I find poles useful occasionally when walking on very rough ground (not just a gravel track but real rough stuff) because they give an extra point of balance. On a very steep ascent (rarely encountered on roads) they can give a bit of a boost. I use a pole when crossing a river more than a few inches deep. Other than that I don't find any particular benefit.

I would advise ayone preparing for the camino to go to the gym and do some leg-strengthening exercises and get some walking miles in for the same reason, because in my opinion most people are using poles to try to compensate for weak muscles.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I did not do the actual studies, so I cannot speak to methodology. However, the bottom line for me, personally, is that they DO help:
  • propel me forward with less apparent or felt strain on everything below the waist,
  • keep me vertical by supporting my balance issues, as well as,
  • provide a braking effect on downhill segments.
Plus, in addition to the obvious uses above, they DO support any number of clever apres-walking uses, including:
  • clothes hanging, with the long rubber bands, assorted hooks and nylon cord I always carry;
  • clothes drying, see above;
  • field-expedient, poncho tarp, shelter support pole, also see above;
  • privacy divider support, using the same hardware as above;
  • aggressive animal fend off pole; and
  • nasty human fend-off pole and all-purpose stabbing weapon (in extremis).
So, I will always take my poles with me... they MORE than meet the "...at least two uses to bring along" test. To me, uses to which a hiking pole, or pair of poles can be put are limited only by my imagination and ingenuity. I am VERY clever...

Others can do as THEY wish... Everyone walks their own camino.

Hope this helps.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
Save your knee and hip joints for later years. Use poles.
Do you have evidence to suppor that? Because interestingly research shows that things like running do not damage knees at all, the incidence of knee problems is no different amongst older runners than amongst non-runners.
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Do you have evidence to suppor that? Because interestingly research shows that things like running do not damage knees at all, the incidence of knee problems is no different amongst older runners than amongst non-runners.
Intresting. I remember the night my knee was wounded from running, 9 years ago and oblized me to stop running. I suppose I' ll have to ask recearchers if that could be happened while reading newspaper.
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
[QUOTE="t2andreo, post: 782082, member: 25553"However, the bottom line for me, personally, is that they DO help:

  • [
Plus, in addition to the obvious uses above, they DO support any number of clever apres-walking uses, including:

  • [....]
  • aggressive animal fend off pole; and
  • nasty human fend-off pole and all-purpose stabbing weapon (in extremis).

    [/QUOTE]




  • Basque walking stick. Makhila.
    Do not take it in plains and trains.
    It is too valuable to be confiscated.
 
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Eswee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Coastal (2017)
Are walking poles essential? Absolutely not. Are they useful? Some people find them so, although far more just seem to use them as some kind of talisman, going tic-tac along the road because they haven't used rubber tips on their poles and are just tapping the ground as they walk along, infuriating everyone else with the noise.

I've seen all all sorts of claims about weight transfer, however I have not seen good evidence that that translates to the real world. Very few people walk at the speed where supposed proper technique comes into play; Nordic Walking was designed for very fast aerobic exercise, not for regular walking.

I've never found any evidence at all that using poles reduces injuries, if anyone has any I'd be interested to see it.

I find poles useful occasionally when walking on very rough ground (not just a gravel track but real rough stuff) because they give an extra point of balance. On a very steep ascent (rarely encountered on roads) they can give a bit of a boost. I use a pole when crossing a river more than a few inches deep. Other than that I don't find any particular benefit.

I would advise ayone preparing for the camino to go to the gym and do some leg-strengthening exercises and get some walking miles in for the same reason, because in my opinion most people are using poles to try to compensate for weak muscles.
Hi Moorwalker. I did a fair amount of hills in my training for the Primitivo. All without poles. I am also a racewalker, doing ultra distances. I hope therefor that my leg muscles will be strong enough. But only time will tell on the camino.:)
 

El Cascayal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2019)
I’m with the Pro Poles Peregrinos! Did Primitivo in May. Poles added stability in hairy rain and sleet conditions of Hospitales descent, overall muddy trails, and steep ups and downs. Especially helpful arriving into Fonsagrada, steep uphill in the freezing rain. YES for poles!
 

MollySpears

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First timer
I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
Hello
I am starting my Camino Primitivo on Monday, 9 Sept. Is walking poles essential, or will I be able to walk it without poles. I did the Portuguese Camino two years ago without poles. I did not train with poles at all. So I do not know how it is to walk with poles. I am a reasonable fit 61 years old male.
Hello Eswee..
I do recommend the poles. I’m on day 13 of the Camino Primitivo and didn’t train with poles before arriving. I’ve used them everyday. The inclines are steep especially in Asturias and the declines as well. Depending on your pack, I was able to stow my collapsible hand poles along my Osprey pack and didn’t even know they were there. They are helpful... Salas is steep & Pola De Allande is steep as well... good luck & buen camino!
Ann
 

Helen Avoca

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPP to Santiago (2015)
Chemin de Puy: Le Puy to Moissac (2016)
Primitivo: (2018)
I found my pokes useful on the Primitivo May 2018, to measure the depth of the water I was about to step into, on many occasions. This was post the ‘Beast from the East’ extreme weather event. It is a beautiful walk. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
 

Felizald

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo
Definitely take walking poles if you are doing the Hospitales route of the Camino Primitivo. They'll be useful. I lent mine and could've used them then. Other than that, I never really felt the need for poles. Just came back end of August.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Lots of slippery mud when I did the Primitivo, so yes, I would recommend them on that basis alone.
 

Rod Murray

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016) Portuguese Coastal (Sept 2019)
This webpage links to a number of scientific studies on the effect of walking poles.
https://www.cooperinstitute.org/2011/02/do-trekking-poles-make-a-difference/

I searched the last of the referenced studies and the abstract is clear that there is significant reduction in impact on joints and muscles. I recall reading Backpacker Magazine some years ago that, depending on body mass, the poles absorbed the equivalent of 5kg per step. I know that on long day hikes, I almost always require my poles to ease the pain, especially if a descent is involved.

I will be bringing mine on the Portuguese Coastal route starting next week.
 

Felizald

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo
Poles are very useful especially if you are doing the Hospitales route. I lent mine early on and when I got to Hospitales I wished I still had them (very steep descent on a rocky path). Also, if it's muddy and slippery in general (depending on the season, it wasn't my case second half of August this year) you may find them useful. Myself, unless it's a steep descent or lots of loose rocks I don't benefit from poles and find them very uncomfortable to walk with.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
I passed a group of fellow English pilgrims while they were going up a small slope on Friday - overhead one of them proudly saying how wonderful his poles were - since I never use poles, I made sure that I overtook them at an even quicker pace than normal
 

Peter Elliott

Primitivo '18
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 18
VDLP - October 19
I walked the Primitivo last Spring. Regardless of how fit you are or how you train it takes about 5 minutes to get used to walking with poles. They can take a bit of the burden off of your knees, especially coming downhill and some sections are quite slippery - providing extra stability.
The only blisters I got on the whole trip were on my hands though!
 

sjdaotearoa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2018)
I did the Primitivo last August. I didn't train with poles but did buy a 'staff' from one of the souvenir shops around the cathedral for about 7euro. It was fantastic. It was especially useful for rocky and boggy patches. I practised some baton twirling in some bored moments and it was great for stretching out my shoulders. When I got to the camino office in SdC, I left it there with lots of other poles that were going to become part of an art installation somewhere around SdC. I'll be doing the same again next year when I do the Norte. Buen Camino :)
 

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