One decade ago, very few people considered using trekking poles in their hiking adventures. Today, even elderly people taking their daily walks use these aids to improve their balance and support part of their body weight. There are some good advantages to using trekking poles, so there’s no wonder they have become so popular. This is also the reason why manufacturers have launched various lines of products, featuring various characteristics to suit virtually all needs of their customers. You can buy trekking poles designed especially to last for a very long time; poles made from lightweight materials, poles with rubber, cork or aluminum handles, poles for all tastes and needs. All you have to do is to inform yourself on what’s available, and then choose what suits you best.
This buying process isn’t too complex. Trekking poles aren’t crazy expensive so that you can buy them after a few hours of research. You don’t need to spend months or years on comparing various options, as you don’t buy your poles for life anyway. The main reason people use them is that they offer better balance, thus helping them avoid getting injured by tripping over or sliding on mountain paths.
When comparing various models and brands, it’s a good idea to check out several user reviews before buying anything. This can help you avoid crappy experiences. You can be sure that a user who has had a bad experience with certain poles is going to write about that on many websites. The more negative reviews you find about a product, the more you should stay away from it. The opposite is also valid; a product that only has raving reviews may be too good to be true. You should take those reviews with a grain of salt. It’s also a good idea to try to find the poles in a store, and touch them to feel for yourself how good their grip is and how solid and reliable they seem.
Seasoned mountaineers may not need user reviews, as they might be the ones who try everything out before becoming mainstream. They are usually contacted by major trekking pole brands and get offered a pair, just to try them out and write about their experience. The most useful trekking pole reviews are the ones published by people like you, by the average users who needs these products to improve the balance and to support the body weight during the most difficult segments of their hikes. If this is also what you are looking for, you should trust this type of people rather than beginners who have no idea what a serious hike is or experienced hikers who aim for the top of the highest mountains they can reach.
These being said, reviews are useful, as they can guide you to make the perfect purchase. However, they only work if you find the ones that are relevant to your specific situation and hiker profile. You should assess your most important requirements, and then see what products comply. Also, you should pay attention to secondary features, as they can become crucial in some situations. For instance, if you choose telescopic poles, you may be very happy while using them, but miserable when you are going to need to carry them around without using them. If you know you hate to carry heavy weights; you might be better off with a pair of ultra-lightweight and compact poles, as they won’t bother you so much along the way. They are still going to help you maintain your balance, but they won’t become a pain when not in use. Choosing the right reviews is key to picking the best trekking poles.