Trekking poles

Here’s the scenario: You’re on an outdoor adventure that at some point requires a climb, traverse, or descent of a steep, snowy slope. A slip or fall could send you sliding dangerously downhill. It’s the type of terrain where an ice ax would be the optimal piece of gear to provide a firm point of…

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A pair of trekking poles can transform you into a sure-footed, four-legged hiking machine—or a brush-snagging, hand-encumbered trail beast. Here’s what to consider as you evaluate the options for trekking pole use, features, and functionality. POLES OR NO? IT DEPENDS Trekking poles are a boon in many hiking situations. By adding two additional points of…

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Extensive use of trekking poles on popular trails can tear up soft soil, damage trailside vegetation, and scar rocks. The good news is, you can reduce those damaging effects by following a few best practices. Be mindful of the potential environmental and visual impacts where you plant your poles. Don’t use trekking poles when you…

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Whether you’re on a snow-covered hiking trail or bushwhacking through the woods, at some point on a snowshoe trek, you’re bound to come to a stream without a bridge. Whether the water is frozen or not, even a small stream can pose a slippery challenge. And if there’s ice, will it support the weight of…

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Let’s face it: Outdoor equipment can be ridiculously expensive. Outfitting yourself from scratch for a backpacking trip can run you hundreds—even thousands—of dollars, especially if you invest in high-end gear. And if you’re gearing up an entire family? Ouch. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can get away…

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In the event of a backcountry emergency—such as a debilitating injury, unexpected night out, or severe weather event—a simple lightweight tarp can provide crucial protection from the elements, if you know how to use it. Covering the Basics Tarps come in a variety of dimensions. An 8-by-10 foot tarp can provide full coverage for up…

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I’ve covered a lot of ground on snowshoes, both in the snowy backcountry and in many an article over the years. Snow is falling even as I write this, conditions in New Hampshire and Maine are prime for some quality stomping, and further inspiration awaits on the National Weather Service’sin-depth snow information page for the…

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How many thousands of miles can your knees take? As the years go by and the miles pile up, it’s a question I’ve been thinking about with increasing regularity. Achy knees are one of the most common ailments hikers face, especially as time and adventures wear down these crucial joints. To maximize the longevity of…

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There’s only one meaningful difference between a trekking pole and a snowshoe pole—and it costs as little as $7 to upgrade your summer poles for snow-tromping fun. The key item you need? A snow basket that prevents your poles from piercing deeply (and uselessly) into the snowpack. Most trekking poles come with a small basket…

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Trekking poles offer a slew of advantages—increased hiking stability, reduced knee compression, easier river crossings, ultralight shelter support, and more—but if you aren’t using them correctly, you’re not taking full advantage of their strengths. One of the most common mistakes—and one of the simplest to correct—has to do with how you use the trekking pole…

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