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Telescopic Hiking Staffs


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I was poking around REI and Sportsmen's Warehouse and came across these metal telesopic hiking staffs. They are incredibly light and seem quite strong. They have various types of grips. Some have shock absorbers built in. Some also have removable 'feet' that expose metal 'spikes' to get a better bite in the ground. They go for anywhere from about $40 for a pair up to over $100 for 1, depending on features and materials.

 

Anyone ever use these and have any opinion about them? How do they compare to using a wood staff? Besides stabilizing my own walking I've used wooden staffs to help others across obstacles, hold back brush, etc. How are these for multipurpose use? Being metal and pretty slender they may be pretty good for probing into places I don't really want to put my hands! :(

 

Any opinions would be appreciated.

 

Thanks.

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I use either from time to time. Usually at home I use a traditional wooden staff. I feel that it might actually be stronger in the long run. One thing I worry about with the metal staff is that it might break at the joint with a twisting fall. The nice things about the metal ones are that they are lightweight and mine will pack in my suitcase for road trips. I generally don't actually use a staff, but they are invaluable in rocky terrain or when crossing streams. It is also nice to hear the "thunk" sound when you tap an ammo box or tupperware container covered up with leaves. :(

 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot... the metal ones usually have a ball on the top that will come off. The screw mount on the top doubles as a camera mount. All you have to do is lean it against something or jab it into the ground and you can take self portraits or get into a group shot yourself. Many of my self portrait shots are done that way.

Edited by mtn-man
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The advantage of telescoping poles is you can adust the length for the terrain. And you can completely collapse them down and carry them on/in your pack when not needed. They are a bit fragile for putting any weight or force on them except normal walking or scrambling. They are not suitable for pushing/prying large limbs, logs, or rocks like a wooden stick.

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mtn-man gave an excellent summary. I use a sheepherders staff and trust it's strength over any of the collapsible poles. However there is something to be said for portability. The one draw back, and maybe this is just on the cheap ones is that you can get them to a pont where you can't open them and need to put them in a vice to open them up. My son's has that problem right now.

 

The rubber foot and metal tip have different purposes. They each have a place and so I'd be sure to get one with the dual tip. You get a feel for what tip you will need for what terrain soon enough.

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Yes, Mtn-Man gave a very good summary. I have 2 of these. They both have the camera connector, one has shock absorbing, one is longer for better eye level for photos, One has a tungsten metal spike/rubber cap at bottom. They are portable, handy to have when you are poking around where you do not want to put your hand....

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I can't see my self hiking without them now. I started using them for snowshoeing and when the snow melted I was so used to them I continued hiking with them and have been using them for several years now. They are great for rocky stream crossings and very useful on steep downhills. They also take some pressure off the legs.

 

The big advantage they have over a wooden hiking pole is that they collapse and fit in you pack when you don't need them, or in your suitcase when you travel.

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Yes, I have a pair of Trek'r collapsible trekking poles. I use them all the time--indispensible for geocaching.

 

Just yesterday I did a cache where I used the pole to help me balance as I crossed a mudhole on a log bridge, and later used the pole to help me extricate the cache from its hiding place. Gotta have 'em.

 

Here's a tip, though--if you use DEET bug repellent, be sure to get poles that do not have plastic grips.

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We were hiking on a rocky trail a few months back, when my shoe caught on one of the "texas holey rocks". These rocks are sharp and painful when falling on them. I was mid-stride with the hiking stick forward, and all my weight went on it. It did bend (I don't know what it was made of), but saved me from falling. When I tried to straighten it out, it broke. It didn't break at the joint, but in the middle of the tube.

 

We left it by the side of the trail to pick it up later, rather than carrying it with us. On the way back, we saw a family with a little girl (probaby 6 or so?) that had picked it up and discarded the broken part. It was the perfect size for her!

 

We trashed out the broken part, of course. I still love the telescoping ones since I can adjust them easier to what I want at that time. I don't normally put that kind of force on them, just use them as a stabilizer when crossing streams or rocky areas.

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mtn-man gave an excellent summary. I use a sheepherders staff and trust it's strength over any of the collapsible poles. However there is something to be said for portability. The one draw back, and maybe this is just on the cheap ones is that you can get them to a pont where you can't open them and need to put them in a vice to open them up. My son's has that problem right now.

 

Some of the telescoping poles are designed to open by turning the pole shaft rather than the part that holds the shafts together. Another thing to watch for is any sand/dirt or any other substance that may be on the surface of the poles, this cause a problem, I check mine before I closed them up. Last week my poles picked op some sticky glue like residue while looking for a cache, I just cleaned them with some mineral spirits before I put them away.

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Mntn Man has a good point about a well-made wood hiking stick being stronger. I still prefer my $19.95 aluminum collapsible hiking stick from Target.

 

It has served me well so far and is light enough to toss in the backseat of my car without doing damage.

 

:(

 

Tab beat me to it - I got mine at Tarjay too - easy to pack.

 

Made one for my wife and it has saved her many times.

 

I walk with a cane and use it most of the time - use the stick when I need a change on longer hikes and my arm gets tired.

 

fits in the backpack and is easy to use. Like the idea of the camera mount - have to check to see if mine has one - either way you can brace your camera against it. These new digitals will take a photo darn near anywhere and it does not take much hand shake to mess up the shot.

 

cc\

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I too have a staff that fits in my pack, ready to use when I want it. I find it most useful when crossing streams or traversing steep terrain, and the camera mount is a great feature. Lately I've used it to poke around when there is poison oak or other bothersome stuff in the area of the cache, and others have previously noted it is best to stick a stick under a rock to check for snakes. It can also be used as a tent-type pole with a space blanket if you need to wait out a sudden downpour. It's also great to whirl around your head while racing others to a FTF. :(

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I too have been using the $10 telescoping hiking stick from Wal-Mart for the past 6 months. It has worked just fine so far. I've had no issues with it sticking when trying to collapse it or any other problems. I think the light weight, adjustability to varying terrain and compactness of the telescoping hiking stick easily beats the strength and feel of a wooden staff (just my humble opinion).

 

I will likely upgrade to some better quality Leki sticks in the future, but these Wal-Mart cheapies are a good way to start out to be sure that you like this type of hiking stick.

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Staffs that have anti-shock springs in them make a clicky sound at every step. Couldn't stand it when I tried them in the store. Trying stuff out at REI answered a lot of questions very quickly, and we ended up buying our favorites of the varieties we tried, which were Leki titanium poles with foam grips. They're great. They're so lightweight that it's never any bother to bring them, and they really help going up and down hills and poking in bushes and crossing creeks and such. I don't expect it to be as strong as a solid wooden staff, but for every practical purpose I've encountered it's done just fine. A non-collapsible pole wouldn't come along on vacation, and a heavier pole would sometimes stay in the car (to my inevitable regret -- every time you decide you won't need a stick, you end up needing a stick).

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Just a quick comment:

 

When poking around in poison oak or poison ivy, remember that anything the plant oils can get on (such as your hiking stick), those oils can then transfer to you, also, from your hiking stick.

That's why I get my kids to poke around in the poison plants...then just get them to wash up before touching me!! Much easier and I've yet to contract poison ivy since using this method.

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I bought a Wally World $10 pole. Been using it for 18 months with no problem.

Got the same one just to have for a spare. Works great. It has a shock absorber, compass (that's pretty accurate) & is surprisingly strong. Now it's the only one I use.

 

A rubber tip for my old one cost $5 so I figured I couldn't go wrong.

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WOW! Great responses! Thanks for all the valuable info.

 

It just so happens we saw some of those Wally World $10 specials (Swiss Gear) so I grabbed a pair of them. 1 of them was missing the protective rubber tip (tho it still had the big rubber walking tip) so the guy in sporting goods gave me 10% off both of them! Couldn't pass that up!

 

These don't have the camera mount, but the have a contoured rubber grip, carbide tip, rubber cover tip, basket, shock absorption, adjustable wrist strap, a compass in the handle top, and are, of course, telescopic aluminum alloy.

 

So I'll take these caching and see how they do. If it turns out I really like using them then I'll go to SPortsman's Warehouse or REI and get a nicer set.

Edited by Semper Questio
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Ok, I thought this was about trekking poles used by hikers on long hikes. I use mine to brake my momentum on steep descents. They ride in my pack on the uphill portions though. The carbide tips are great, they will grab and hold a wet rock at an odd angle, the bite of these never fails to amaze me.

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Ok, I thought this was about trekking poles used by hikers on long hikes.  I use mine to brake my momentum on steep descents.  They ride in my pack on the uphill portions though.  The carbide tips are great, they will grab and hold a wet rock at an odd angle, the bite of these never fails to amaze me.

Well, I'm sure that's what they're designed for, but my long hike days eded when I left the Marine Corps! :D I'm more interested in things to steady myself and the family over uneven terrain, up/down slopes, etc. Oh, and to poke into places and rather not blindly stick my hands when a good stick is not readily available! :D

Edited by Semper Questio
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We use the Tracks Sherlock Walking staff. The end finally came off of mine this weekend but is replaceable for 8.00. They are tough tough tough. Mine keeps my 300 pounds upright in the worst conditions, prys up rocks to check for snakes, clears a way through the sharpest thorns, etc. etc. They are great poles and hold up through anything. We highly recommend them for about 50 dollars at REI.

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I'm currently using my second telescoping trek pole. The first one I lost, probably leaning against a tree somewhere. :ph34r:

 

My favorite thing about them is also my least favorite. They are too light to be used for self-defense. Twice now I've come face to face with less than friendly dogs and found myself wishing I had my trusty wooden staff instead of this lightweight aluminum pole. Luckily both situations ended peacefully. If I could find a way to make a wooden staff collapsible without compromising it I'd pitch the pole.

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I also use the Tracks Sherlock Walking Staff. The AT in our section of PA is quite rocky and I find the staff invaluable when traversing a particularly rocky section. I also like it on the steep climbs and descents. Not to mention how useful it is when poking around those dark holes under roots and rocks.

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I use a fiberglass rake/shovel handle from lowes. I had to shorten it a little bit, but someone taller(I'm about 5'7") shouldn't have to. They also sell shorter ones that might woork for shorter people. I then put a rubber foot from a walker on the bottem and a pieace of heavy string for a hand strap. It is a bit heavy and looks funny but it works great. I have wedged it between rocks and logs and have literally hung my full weight from it many times to get up a really steep hill, and It also floats. Like I said it's a little heavy and it doesn't colapse but I don't have to worry about it ever breaking on me.

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I used to use an old ski pole and got along fine with it. Last Fathers Day I got a collapsible hiking pole from Eddie Bauer. To be honest, I can't tell much of a difference from the old ski pole. I guess it's nice that it collapses but I usually just toss it in the trunk fully expanded. Looks nice!

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I bought a Wally World $10 pole. Been using it for 18 months with no problem.

My experience with the Wal-Mart trekking pole: It looked cheap, felt cheap and ended up breaking the third mile of a 50-mile backpacking trip. I packed it out the last 47 miles. Glad it's worked out for some people, though.

Edited by cache-n-dash
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I bought a Wally World $10 pole. Been using it for 18 months with no problem.

My experience with the Wal-Mart trekking pole: It looked cheap, felt cheap and ended up breaking the third mile of a 50-mile backpacking trip. I packed it out the last 47 miles. Glad it's worked out for some people, though.

I think that's what turned me off to metal poles. I bought a cheap wally world pole and broke it. I am used to the familiar heft of my wooden pole now. Maybe I'll have to try a higher quality metal pole.

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We've been using collapseable hiking staffs for several years. Bought them a REI for a bit more than Wal-Mart knock offs. They're REI knock offs of another brand. The price was $50 each. The carbide tips aren't showing any wear. The paint is scratched in a few places. They do a couple of things for you. One of the first things I noticed when I started using it was that I could travel a bit faster. Second less wear and tear on the knees. Third, my arms and shoulders were sore the next day, but legs were a bit less sore.

 

I did go on one hike where we had to put them away. They went into our daypacks without much trouble. Now a wooden stick long enough for staff would have to been carried in the hands. We were hiking over loose lava. The tip kept getting stuck between rocks, more work to extract from the rocks than saving. Which is another point for collapseable staffs.

 

Byron

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I have bad knees and use a cane normally so I got a telescoping pole from REI for hiking. The only bad experience I had with it was when I was stepping off a bank onto a sandy beach and when I put my weight on the pole it buried itself about 18" into the sand pitching me onto my face. That probably wouldn't have happened with a wooden staff however I don' think I'd use a wooden staff nearly as often.

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Ok, I thought this was about trekking poles used by hikers on long hikes.  I use mine to brake my momentum on steep descents.  They ride in my pack on the uphill portions though.  The carbide tips are great, they will grab and hold a wet rock at an odd angle, the bite of these never fails to amaze me.

Well, I'm sure that's what they're designed for, but my long hike days eded when I left the Marine Corps! :D I'm more interested in things to steady myself and the family over uneven terrain, up/down slopes, etc. Oh, and to poke into places and rather not blindly stick my hands when a good stick is not readily available! :ph34r:

I just use that wooden stick you made fun of the last time you were here. :lol:

 

And you do to take long hikes these days. We walked up to the Tunnel of Light. Course, any walk over .2 miles qualifies as a hike in my opinion. :lol:

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I just use that wooden stick you made fun of the last time you were here.  :ph34r:

 

And you do to take long hikes these days. We walked up to the Tunnel of Light. Course, any walk over .2 miles qualifies as a hike in my opinion.  :D

I don't recall making fun of your stick. Making a smart-a** comment or 2, sure, but NEVER make fun of it! :lol:

 

And just to be clear, the Tunnel hike was the exception - certianly not the rule! :) Although I enjoy going after caches (especially multi's) on a 1-2 mile loop from time to time.

 

Now if I can just get back out there to go after something! Heck, at this point I'd be happy with another run-of-the-mill lamppost micro! Sheesh! :lol:

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We've been using collapseable hiking staffs for several years.  Bought them a REI for a bit more than Wal-Mart knock offs. They're REI knock offs of another brand.  The price was $50 each.  The carbide tips aren't showing any wear. The paint is scratched in a few places.

 

The tip kept getting stuck between rocks, more work to extract from the rocks than saving. Which is another point for collapseable staffs. 

 

I had two of these from REI. One lasted a year; The other one lasted two years. I just picked up the $10 Wally World ones. They don't seem much different, just brighter.

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