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Walking poles or not

As a 72 year old who broke his arm walking about 10 years ago, I find use of 2 poles to be a great comfort and safety measure. Had I not pushed off with one of my poles I probably would have broken my ankle - a far worse fate for a walker.
Re the use of rubber tips: while on the camino the click click click of the carbide tip is at worst annoying, their use without a rubber tip on the stone floors of the many churches, chapels and even the stone blocks of the Roman roads is potentially damaging to structures in many cases over a thousand years old. They didn't last that long being assaulted by the equivalent of a hardened carbide drill bit. Please respect these treasures as you walk.
Buen camino, Long may it and all that stands for survive!
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I'm a bit mixed about poles. I've a pair of Black Diamond Z poles that like Craigmiller use in XC ski fashion. On occasion I've used them extensively in the mountains here in Montana. However a couple of seasons ago I had a very nasty fall, unheard-of for me. So I began to take stock of my use of poles, while I still believe in many of the benefits, I do believe that, for me, it's easy to be overly reliant on them for balance. I still take them from time to time on a hike and especially backpacking, the advantage they offer for an ascent is undeniable, but my latest routine is to not use them at the start of the hike, preferring to establish my own dynamic balance first.

It's still a toss up whether I'll take them next month.
I simply would not take an extended hike without them, primarily for stabilization. When it rains for days on end everything is slick, a Swedish walking partner fell even with them, very luckily he did not break his arm when he face planted next to a boulder.
Since you are from MT maybe you have heard the term " dew boy" when working in the back country. In essence the first person leaving camp on the trail soaks up all the water for those following. I found on some sections of the camino it is the same. Having poles pushed in front of you reduces the soaking.
The bad part of having them is walking thru the cities. Fold them up & put them away, you will poke people in the tight confines of mass people & tiny streets.
I am really interested on your take when you return.
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I bought 2 pacer poles today in tresspass for £22 in the 50% sale. Im not going out to the Camino until 2017 (haha!) but am training slowly and surely. They have cork handles, which means the handles wont go hot or cold, are adjustable and have ends for both road and rocky terrain. I think its personal preference whether you have one, two or any at all. But the reason i want them is because i have a very rare form of Arthritis in my hands and feet and i want the option of the support they offer tackling a hike this long (even if it is only minute) . But who's to say i won't ditch them after the first day? All in all, i don't suppose i will know until im doing it.
As said earlier by someone else....horses for courses....just finished my Camino..took pacer poles....Love them....used them every day....No blisters...No tendonitis....and no nasty injuries from falls ....as my poles prevented this from happening on a number of occassions...don't know if because legs tired but towards end of day was prone to tripping up small stones...:confused:
never used poles before...but found going up and downhill much easier...:D
my age is irrelevant....as saw many people from all age ranges using poles on Camino....No health problems....no joint problems....I took them through personal choice because I thought they might help me....which they did...if they hadn't would have given then away. ....I also shared my poles with others who were struggling at times.....particularly steep downhill sections over loose stones....and they were much appriciated....it's your camino ...and your choice....:rolleyes:
I don't walk for style points, I walk to get from point A to point B. That means two very old Black Diamond poles, they help me walk with a dodgy foot problem and distribute the weight of my backpack.
I slipped backwards on a large round stone going downhill and my poles helped me steady (save) myself from falling backwards. I will forever be thanking the "gods" of the Camino for not crashing my skull against some very large boulders behind me.
The Camino provides.
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

Sorry i have not read all 100 posts but. I just got back and ...
Carrying or not should not even be a questions... BUY AND BRING THEM ALONG . You will thank me later.
It provides you with a lot of support in the descends...especially on the rocky paths (when used correctly of course).
FORGET the large wooden sticks. Buy two lightweight poles.. you can even buy them in spain for about 10 euro each. It is a MUST...if you want to save your knees.
Hi - can I have thoughts on if walking/hiking poles would help with the walk? I was thinking of taking a pair of light weight adjustable poles. CJM
YES, definitely. Personally I find I walk too fast with two but one DOES help with the ups and down/practicing your golf swing/playing D'Artagnon/wringing out wet clothing - fold clothes in half over pole, hold the ends in one hand and twist the pole with the other - you'd be surprised how much water comes out. Funnily it's called a Spanish Windlass - make sure the pole is clean of course :eek:)
I am just recently back from two weeks on the Camino using my sticks all the time every day.
I went out for a walk with my husband yesterday and found it difficult walking up a steep hill. I wondered why. I was not carrying a rucksack, then I suddenly realised that I had not got my sticks with me. I have always maintained that I could not do the Camino without them, but yesterday gave me a deeper insight into how very much they they help me.

Moreover, twice during the two weeks I tripped and would have fallen if not for the sticks which enabled me to regain my balance.

On a different though related topic. My sticks originally cost me €6 in 2007. So you can understand that I was reluctant this year to pay aerlingus €35 twice to carry them in the hold as I have always done previously. So against all my own advice advice I took them apart and tied the 6 pieces together keeping each three pieces clearly distinct, and put them in a clear plastic bag, which I also labelled with my name and the words "Walking sticks needed for travelling over rough terrain"

I was quite prepared to have them confiscated and had marked all the sport shops in Pamplona on my map so that I could buy another cheap pair there. Amazingly not a word was said in Dublin.
A week later I had to return to Dublin from Bilbao with my granddaughter who was very very homesick for her mother. Not a word was said in Bilbao. I returned via Madrid next morning and again no problem. On my second return home via Bilbao |I had left my phone in my pocket and was frisked and my rucksack examined and I was asked what the package was, I explained and was let through.:)

As the bank advertisements say "Past performance is no guarantee of future results" !!!
We have all heard that no one but no one gets through with sticks in Santiago.:oops:
A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
We have all heard that no one but [B said:
no one[/B] gets through with sticks in Santiago.:oops:

Does that mean i can't bring my own walking poles with me and i have to buy them there! Sorry i don't quite understand?!
Does that mean i can't bring my own walking poles with me and i have to buy them there! Sorry i don't quite understand?!
No, getting them to the start appears less problematic, but it appears that one of life's certainties is that you will not be allowed to take them on as cabin baggage when departing from Santiago. I have always checked my pack and my poles with it, so I have never personally experienced this.
You can check-in the poles with your rucksack in the airport. In Santiago Airport it is not allowed to bring walking poles with you as cabin-luggage. Don't even try !! They already have a big room full of confiscated poles.
Another option is to send walking poles to a already booked hostal/hotel with your name on, where you will start the camino, and send the poles home from the postoffice in Santiago.
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They work well for those who like them and are just a nuisance for many others.

Including the "others' who are not using poles at all. By the time I got to SDC I was heartly sick of hearing poles being draged, the sound of poles with out rubber caps on the tared road or footpath and falling over them when they were left laying around. It was a pleasure to see a pilgrim with a wooden stick.
By SDC you are supposed to be enlightened enough to ignore all that! :):) Back you go for another one...

Not the CF for a while Falcon, the next one for us will be the Portuguse. See if I can convert pole users on that Camino into using rubber tips. It's the track damage that I also worry about. Every time an unprotected pole hits the ground it breaks the surface, then the next storm washes that soil away. I see it on Australian trails, the CF last year and the le Puy this year. It doesnt cost much to put a rubber tip on your poles, a lot cheaper than repairing tracks.
Be part of the Camino Cleanup team! Help us pick up litter from Ponferrada to Sarria.
Every time an unprotected pole hits the ground it breaks the surface
So do boot treads. And rubber tips break the surface as well. Bicycle tires are particularly hard on the path. Erosion is probably not high on the list of problems on caminos. Using it as a pretext is not really necessary; poles irritate you, and that is all right. You do not have to justify your irritation to us; we are all fine with it. ;)
I'm 59 and will be 60 in August! :shock:
Is that TRUE!? YIKES!

Anyway, first Camino I used a stick I got in SJPP.
Worked great.

Second Camino I used pacer poles.
Worked great but I worried about them being stolen or lost.

Third Camino - I haven't decided.
I'm leaning toward just buying a stick in SJPP because I'll be in Europe for 5 months, flying around from Spain to Amsterdam to Wales and back to Spain and don't want to have to mess with worrying about them. Joe reminds me they will collapse small enough to fit in my pack. We'll see... haven't decided.

I'd say if your budget is tight, just pick up a stick in SJPP for under 6 euros.
It will work fine.
If you can afford the cost, buy poles.
Thanks Annie. I've been debating the 'one pole or two' question & this has decided it for me. A simple staff at St Jean methinks.
I wouldn't normally shorten or lengthen my poles for the sort of slopes one might meet on roads and foot paths in urban areas, but for steeper gradients, doing so is worthwhile, and the Pacerpoles site suggests the same thing.

Its not clear to me what you mean by 'take the weight'. The only time I recall that term being used in a sporting context is the tug-of-war, and that is about pulling against a resistance, which doesn't make sense in the context of a walking pole. I know that when I am using poles, I am pushing down using the heel of my hand and wrist against the strap. This action can be maintained all day, unlike any action that requires a handle to be continually gripped.

In training, I keep my poles very slightly longer, and normally the point makes contact level with the opposite heel unless I a negotiating tricky ground, when the point is placed where it can best aid my stability.

The point on stepping short going uphill is just as good advice when going downhill. A shorter step in both circumstances keeps the angles through which the hip, knee and ankle joints have to travel smaller, and reduces the load on these joints.

Nordic skiing uses poles virtually all the time. They are longer poles (longer still for skate skiing). I have also used them regularly for snowshoeing. When hiking, longer poles do not need to be planted all the way up to the foot, and you can exercise your core just by pushing only behind you.
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Nordic skiing uses poles virtually all the time. They are longer poles (longer still for skate skiing). I have also used them regularly for snowshoeing. When hiking, longer poles do not need to be planted all the way up to the foot, and you can exercise your core just by pushing only behind you.
@3ball, that was a blast from the past!! I had to go back and see what else I had written in this thread it was that long ago. I did address the issue of the balance between the amount of thrust and lift that one gets from one's poles, with longer poles striking at shallower angles and getting greater forward thrust.

I don't consider using a pure nordic technique for the camino a viable option unless one is well practiced and fit enough to sustain the technique for several hours of walking. No doubt there might be some who can do that, but I suspect that most people will adapt the nordic technique. I see this locally where many 'nordic walkers' appear to have morphed to a more classic trekking style. They appear to be using their poles to get more lift than thrust when out bush-walking.

It also appears to me that the glove used by most nordic poles keeps the pole in the palm of the hand when it is released, albeit that most seem to have ways of being removed quickly. That doesn't appear to me to have the same flexibility as using a standard conventional pole. These fall away from the palm of the hand when released, leaving the hands free.

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