Walking Stick: Which is the best in 2021?
Today we are going to talk about sports equipment that may seem simple, but it is extremely useful and multifunctional: the walking stick.
The hiking stick is a general accessory for advanced walking, such as mountaineering and trekking. If its primary function is to be an extra support point for our body, its usefulness meets practical, sporting, safety and even health issues.
Its versatility is the result of years of product development, and a huge variety of models. You will know all of them in this Guide, as well as their advantages, disadvantages, in addition to the market favorites. It is so much information that you will finish this text knowing how to choose the right stick for you and for your walk.
First, the most important
- There are several attributes to be noticed in an ideal walking stick model: its weight, its material, its rod, its grip, among others.
- As good as your model is, it may not be the most practical to transport, especially on airplanes. It is worth checking the modal used for your destination, and its rules, of course.
- The pole is useful for virtually all types of walking that exist: trekking, mountaineering, cross-country, freestyle.
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Although it is very useful and multifaceted, the cultural success of the walking stick is closely linked to its constitution, a light and resistant material, which, in doubt, brings more benefits than harm to those who carry it.
Commercial success, on the other hand, is due to its versatility, in the sense that it can be used for different types of terrain. For this, there are different accessories and configurations within a single product. We will see all these variations in this Buying Guide, which also brings the advantages and disadvantages of its use.
The hiking stick can be used from waterfalls to deserts, and without being a big burden – or an uncertainty – for those who carry it.
What is the walking stick?
The walking stick is basically a cylindrical rod, with a tip for contact with the ground at one end; in another, a cable to be handled. Until then, however, we could be talking about a common cane.
What makes the product suitable for the outdoor adventure niche are its technologies, which in this case are practical adaptations seeking, at the same time, lightness, resistance, and safe and comfortable use.
The handle is called a grip, usually made of rubber, with creases to accommodate the fingers, and comes with a dragonfly, a tie, to “tie” the model to the wrist.
The rod is retractable and of adjustable height, between half a meter and approximately one and a half meters; the beak is divided between a rosette, a device that limits the penetration of the rod into the ground, and the tip, which has actual contact with the ground.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the walking stick?
The composition of the walking stick is not random. It obeys the basic functionality designed for the product, being, at the same time, an extension of the user’s arm and an extra support point, dividing the body weight with the legs.
The result is a very advantageous sporting article. One of its advantages is the lower muscular effort of the legs, which have the load divided by the various muscles of the upper limbs.
This causes joint injuries to be drastically reduced, which is another advantage. Rigid and resistant, the baton is also a general aid for outdoor activity, which can be a crutch, a tent stick, even an object of self-defense.
Finally, there is the sporting advantage of aid to walking cadence, especially useful in competitive modalities such as cross country and regular trekking.
Many of the advantages of the walking stick come from the weight distribution and muscular effort it provides
There are, however, disadvantages in its use. One of them is the fact that it is, after all, a volume and an additional weight to be carried, something counter intuitive in an activity that naturally requires compact luggage.
Another problem may be injuries due to misuse of the product, either in an accident or in a continuous misuse, damaging the knees, arms and other joints.
In another spectrum of the problem, there is the possibility of developing a “dependence” on the trail stick. Finally, and especially if the model is not retractable, the stick can be a small headache to be transported to the activity site.
- Divided muscle effort
- Reduction of joint injuries
- General assistance
- Volume and additional weight
- Misuse injury
- Practical transport
Standard, shockproof or retractable walking stick?
More than models, the walking stick has a great variety in the details and specifications of its sections, such as its rod, grip, tip, etc. However, there are some sets of characteristics that end up serving to differentiate some of the product types.
One is the standard stick . It is the simplest, the lightest and the cheapest model. It saves on the rod adjustment system and the tip finish. It is the most suitable for short and medium length stretches and little hilly terrain.
Another set is the anti-shock , which has springs and shock absorbers, most of the time concentrated in the region of the rosette / tip, and which in many models can be “deactivated” in favor of a more agile use.
The most popular type is the retractable one , as it is the most practical. Most models divide the rod into two or three sectors, which can be easily adjusted, both to adjust the rod to the type and size of the terrain (up, down, stable, unstable, etc.) and to reduce its size as much as possible, aiming at its transport.
Single or double stick?
One issue that you will surely encounter in your search for the ideal walking stick is the difficult choice between the single stick and the pair of sticks, also known as the double stick.
Sandy terrains are complicated, and “ask” for the greatest efficiency from a pair of poles. (Source: Vi Nowak / Pexels)
Ultimately, the use of the single stick will depend on how much you need a free hand, as in the case of very closed woods or poorly marked trails and paths, in which you may have to move rocks and other obstacles.
The double stick, on the other hand, will be chosen based on the stability you need on the ground, as in very rough terrain or in modalities that require a higher cadence.
Due to the number of variables within a single model, with its material, its rod adjustment system, adaptations for greater safety, comfort, etc., the price variation of the walking stick is quite large.
The simplest models can be found from R $ 40, while the professionals, carbon fiber and with additional accessories, such as a compass or internal rope, reach up to R $ 850.
Where to buy?
In large networks of sporting goods, and adventure / outdoor, you will find a good variety of prices, models, as well as specialized sellers.
However, for an even greater variety of models and prices, apart from the comfort of being able to buy straight from the sofa in your living room, it is worth opting for online stores Amazon.
Purchasing criteria: how to choose the ideal walking stick
We handpicked some elements and characteristics of the walking stick (and its use) to assemble a list of points to be observed at the time of purchase, selection criteria, in other words.
- Rod adjustment
We will then show these items one by one, so that your choice is as informed as possible.
Two issues related to use should influence your choice: terrain and modality. The more rugged the terrain, the more resistant your stick will need to be.
The modality will indicate how equipped the model needs to be. Free walks, for example, can be done with standard poles, while mountaineering is best done with anti-shock models.
The weight of the trekking stick should guide your choice. Opt for the lightest model among those with the features you want. It will be easier to use and transport as well.
The need for terrain and modality will dictate the set of characteristics of your model.
Remember that a heavy stick can have the opposite effect to the desired one, becoming a real nuisance.
Preferably the models with duralumin, titanium or carbon fiber on the rods; rubber, foam or cork on the handles; nylon on dragonflies; steel or tungsten in the tips.
These materials are lighter, offer more comfort and long durability. Everything a person wants when looking for a quality hiking stick.
In this regard, look for the model with the fastest / most practical adjustment, which will not only make the use easier, but will make it more durable, “proof” of possible misuse of the adjustments, common in the rods adjustable by threads , for example.
Still in relation to the adjustment, check the minimum and maximum measure that the walking stick can reach.