Trekking poles are essential gear for hikers and backpackers. They provide support and stability on steep and uneven terrain, and can also be used to support a tent or shelter. However, many people wonder what the point of trekking poles is, and whether they are worth the investment. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits of trekking poles, from providing balance and stability to protecting your hands and knees, and help you decide if they are right for you. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, this guide will give you a new appreciation for the power of trekking poles.
Why Do You Need Trekking Poles?
Improved Stability and Balance
Trekking poles are not just for show; they serve a purpose in enhancing the stability and balance of a hiker. The poles help in preventing trips and slips and make it easier to navigate rough terrain. Here’s how:
Preventing Trips and Slips
Trekking poles act as a third leg, providing support and stability on uneven ground. The poles can be used to brace against the ground to prevent tripping or slipping, especially on steep inclines or declines. The poles can also be used to distribute weight more evenly, reducing the risk of slipping or falling.
Easier Negotiating Rough Terrain
Trekking poles help hikers maintain their balance and stability on rough terrain. The poles can be used to clear obstacles, such as rocks or branches, and provide a steady platform for hikers to step on. The poles can also be used to support the hiker as they climb over obstacles, reducing the risk of slipping or falling.
Overall, trekking poles improve stability and balance, reducing the risk of trips and slips, and making it easier to navigate rough terrain. They are essential tools for hikers who want to stay safe and comfortable on the trail.
Sharing the Load
- Trekking poles help distribute the weight of your backpack more evenly
- They can reduce stress on your joints and muscles, especially when carrying a heavy pack
- This can help prevent injuries and make your hike more comfortable
- By sharing the load, trekking poles allow you to carry more gear and supplies without feeling the burden
- This can be especially useful on long, multi-day hikes or when camping in remote areas where you need to carry everything on your back
- Trekking poles can also help you navigate rough terrain and uneven ground, providing added stability and support
- They can be especially helpful in steep, rocky, or snowy conditions, where the risk of falling or losing your footing is higher
- Overall, trekking poles can greatly enhance your hiking experience by making it easier to carry your gear and reducing the strain on your body
- By sharing the load, trekking poles allow you to focus on the beauty of the trail and the joy of the hike, rather than the weight of your pack.
When it comes to trekking and hiking, safety should always be a top priority. Trekking poles can help enhance your safety in a number of ways. Here are some of the key benefits:
Overcoming Fear of Heights
For some hikers, the fear of heights can be a major concern. Trekking poles can help you feel more secure and stable on steep terrain, making it easier to overcome your fear. By using the poles for support, you can distribute your weight more evenly and feel more confident on steep slopes.
Assisting with Steep Climbs
In addition to helping you overcome your fear of heights, trekking poles can also assist with steep climbs. When you’re ascending a steep incline, the poles can provide extra support and help you maintain your balance. This is especially useful when you’re carrying a heavy backpack, as the poles can help distribute the weight more evenly.
Furthermore, trekking poles can also be used to assist with descents. When you’re going down a steep slope, the poles can help you maintain your balance and prevent slips and falls. This is especially important when the terrain is rocky or uneven.
Overall, trekking poles can greatly enhance your safety while hiking or trekking. By providing extra support and stability, they can help you feel more confident and secure on steep terrain. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, investing in a good pair of trekking poles is a smart choice.
Types of Trekking Poles
Adjustable vs. Fixed Length
Adjustable Trekking Poles
Adjustable trekking poles are a popular choice among hikers and backpackers due to their versatility and convenience. These poles can be adjusted to different lengths, allowing the user to customize them to their specific needs. This feature is particularly useful when navigating varied terrain, as the poles can be extended or retracted as needed. Adjustable trekking poles are typically made of lightweight materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber, making them easy to carry and maneuver.
One of the primary benefits of adjustable trekking poles is their ability to provide support and stability on steep or uneven terrain. They can also be used to assist with ascending or descending slopes, making them a valuable tool for hikers and backpackers alike. Additionally, adjustable trekking poles can be adjusted to different heights, making them suitable for hikers of various heights and sizes.
Fixed Length Trekking Poles
Fixed length trekking poles, on the other hand, are designed to be a specific length and cannot be adjusted. These poles are typically made of more rigid materials such as steel or fiberglass, making them more durable and sturdy than adjustable poles. They are also typically heavier than adjustable poles, but this added weight can provide additional stability and support on challenging terrain.
Fixed length trekking poles are ideal for hikers who primarily traverse flat or slightly sloping terrain. They are also a good choice for those who prefer a more traditional hiking experience and do not require the versatility of adjustable poles. Additionally, fixed length poles are often less expensive than adjustable poles, making them a more budget-friendly option for hikers.
Overall, the choice between adjustable and fixed length trekking poles depends on the individual hiker’s needs and preferences. Both types of poles have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to consider factors such as terrain, personal height and size, and budget when making a decision.
Single vs. Multi-Section
Single-Section Trekking Poles
Single-section trekking poles are designed with a single, continuous piece of material that runs from the handle to the tip. These poles are lightweight and easy to use, making them a popular choice for hikers and backpackers. The lack of sections means that there are no locking mechanisms to worry about, and the poles can be easily extended and retracted with a simple push or pull. Additionally, single-section poles are typically more durable than multi-section poles, as there are fewer moving parts that can break or wear out over time.
Multi-Section Trekking Poles
Multi-section trekking poles are designed with multiple sections that can be locked and unlocked using a variety of locking mechanisms. These poles are more versatile than single-section poles, as they can be adjusted to different lengths to suit the terrain and user height. They are also more compact when folded, making them easier to pack and carry. However, multi-section poles are typically heavier than single-section poles, and the locking mechanisms can be more complex and prone to malfunctioning. Additionally, multi-section poles may not be as durable as single-section poles, as the sections can loosen or break over time with use.
Features to Consider
When it comes to trekking poles, the locking mechanism is a crucial feature to consider. It is what secures the pole in place and ensures that it remains stable during use. Here are some of the most common types of locking mechanisms used in trekking poles:
Twist locks are one of the most popular types of locking mechanisms used in trekking poles. They work by twisting the locking mechanism in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction to secure the pole in place. Twist locks are easy to use and provide a secure lock. They are also durable and can withstand the weight of a backpack.
Push-button locks are another popular type of locking mechanism used in trekking poles. They work by pressing a button to secure the pole in place. Push-button locks are easy to use and provide a secure lock. They are also durable and can withstand the weight of a backpack.
Lever locks are a less common type of locking mechanism used in trekking poles. They work by pulling a lever to secure the pole in place. Lever locks are easy to use and provide a secure lock. They are also durable and can withstand the weight of a backpack.
In conclusion, when choosing trekking poles, it is important to consider the locking mechanism. Twist locks, push-button locks, and lever locks are all popular options that provide a secure lock and are easy to use.
Rubber is a popular grip material for trekking poles due to its excellent grip and cushioning properties. It is commonly used in the construction of the handles of trekking poles, providing a comfortable grip even in wet or sweaty conditions. Additionally, rubber grips are often designed to be non-slip, preventing the poles from slipping out of your hands during use. The texture of the rubber grip can vary depending on the manufacturer, with some being more aggressive for added grip and others being smoother for a more comfortable grip.
Foam is another popular grip material used in trekking poles. It is often used in conjunction with other materials, such as rubber, to provide a more comfortable grip. Foam grips are typically lightweight and provide good shock absorption, making them a popular choice for trekking poles. They are also easy to clean and maintain, making them a practical choice for those who spend a lot of time in the outdoors.
Cork is a natural grip material that is gaining popularity in trekking poles. It is a durable and lightweight material that provides excellent grip, even in wet conditions. Cork grips are also highly breathable, making them a great choice for those who spend a lot of time in hot and humid environments. In addition, cork is a sustainable material that is renewable and biodegradable, making it an eco-friendly choice for those who are environmentally conscious. Cork grips are typically finished with a layer of clear coat to protect the grip and improve its durability.
When it comes to trekking poles, durability is a crucial factor to consider. These poles are designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor activities, so they need to be able to stand up to wear and tear. Here are some aspects to keep in mind when evaluating the durability of trekking poles:
The materials used in the construction of trekking poles play a significant role in determining their durability. Look for poles made from high-quality materials that can withstand the elements. Some of the most common materials used in trekking poles include:
- Aluminum: This is a lightweight and durable material that is resistant to corrosion.
- Carbon fiber: This material is extremely strong and lightweight, making it ideal for trekking poles.
- Fiberglass: This material is relatively inexpensive and offers good durability, but it is heavier than aluminum or carbon fiber.
The construction of trekking poles is also an important consideration when it comes to durability. Look for poles that have been constructed with attention to detail and reinforced where necessary. Some of the features to look for in well-constructed trekking poles include:
- Double-welded or taper-locked joints: These joints are stronger and more durable than single-welded joints.
- Carabiners or other locking mechanisms: These allow you to adjust the length of the poles and provide added durability.
- Flexible or adjustable tips: These allow you to adapt to different terrain and can help prevent slipping or sinking.
By considering these factors, you can choose trekking poles that will stand up to the wear and tear of outdoor activities and provide you with years of reliable use.
Choosing the Right Trekking Poles
Determining Your Needs
When selecting the appropriate trekking poles for your next adventure, it is crucial to consider several factors. By determining your specific needs, you can choose the most suitable poles that will enhance your experience and provide the necessary support during your hike. Here are some factors to consider when determining your needs:
The type of trail you will be hiking plays a significant role in determining the right trekking poles for you. If you plan to hike on a well-maintained and established trail, you may not require poles with a lot of features. However, if you plan to tackle rough and rugged terrain, it is essential to invest in poles with features such as shock-absorption, stability, and durability.
For example, if you plan to hike in the mountains, poles with a built-in snow basket and a carbide tip will provide the necessary support and traction on snowy and icy terrain. Similarly, if you plan to hike in a densely wooded area, poles with a long handle and a large basket will help you maintain balance and prevent slips and falls.
In addition to the trail type, your personal preferences also play a role in determining the right trekking poles for you. Some hikers prefer poles with a cork or foam handle for a comfortable grip, while others prefer a more basic design.
Furthermore, some hikers may require poles with adjustable length for different terrain, while others may prefer fixed-length poles for simplicity. Additionally, if you are planning to carry a heavy backpack, you may prefer poles that are lightweight and easy to pack.
Ultimately, it is essential to choose trekking poles that suit your specific needs and preferences. By taking the time to consider the factors mentioned above, you can ensure that you choose the right poles that will enhance your hiking experience and provide the necessary support during your adventure.
Assessing Your Skill Level
When it comes to choosing the right trekking poles, one of the most important factors to consider is your skill level. Here’s a breakdown of the different levels of trekking poles and what they’re best suited for:
If you’re new to trekking or backpacking, you’ll want to start with beginner trekking poles. These poles are typically made from lightweight materials and have simple, easy-to-use locking mechanisms. They’re designed to provide basic support and stability on even terrain, and are ideal for short hikes and day trips.
Intermediate trekking poles are a step up from beginner poles, and are designed for more experienced hikers and backpackers. These poles typically have more advanced locking mechanisms and may also include additional features such as adjustable height and built-in compasses. They’re suitable for a wider range of terrain and can handle longer trips, but may be a bit heavier than beginner poles.
Advanced trekking poles are designed for experienced hikers and backpackers who regularly tackle challenging terrain and long distances. These poles are typically made from more durable materials and have more complex locking mechanisms, as well as additional features such as shock-absorption systems and built-in GPS devices. They’re designed to provide maximum support and stability, even in difficult conditions.
It’s important to assess your skill level and choose trekking poles that are appropriate for your experience and the type of terrain you’ll be hiking. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced hiker, having the right trekking poles can make a big difference in your comfort and safety on the trail.
Considering Your Budget
When it comes to trekking poles, there is a wide range of options available, each with their own unique features and price points. It’s important to consider your budget when choosing the right trekking poles for you.
For those on a tight budget, entry-level trekking poles are a great option. These poles are typically made from aluminum or other lightweight materials, and offer basic features such as adjustable height and a simple locking mechanism. While they may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-end models, entry-level trekking poles are still durable and effective for most hiking and backpacking trips.
For those who are looking for a bit more functionality and durability, mid-range trekking poles are a good option. These poles are typically made from a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber, and offer features such as adjustable length, a secure locking mechanism, and a comfortable grip. Mid-range trekking poles are a great choice for those who want a reliable and versatile option that won’t break the bank.
For those who are looking for the ultimate in performance and durability, high-end trekking poles are the way to go. These poles are typically made from carbon fiber or other high-end materials, and offer features such as adjustable length, a secure locking mechanism, a comfortable grip, and additional features such as a built-in compass or GPS. High-end trekking poles are designed for serious hikers and backpackers who demand the best, and are willing to pay a premium for the performance and durability they provide.
Caring for Your Trekking Poles
Cleaning and Maintenance
Proper maintenance of your trekking poles is crucial to ensure their longevity and functionality. Here are some essential steps to keep your trekking poles in top condition:
Removing Dirt and Debris
After each use, inspect your trekking poles for any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove any visible dirt, and wipe down the poles with a damp cloth. Pay particular attention to the tips, which may have become clogged with dirt or mud.
Lubricating the joints of your trekking poles can help to reduce friction and prevent wear and tear. Use a silicone-based lubricant, such as bike grease or a similar product, to apply a thin layer to the joints. Avoid using oil-based lubricants, as they can attract dirt and cause damage to the poles.
Checking for Wear and Tear
Regularly inspect your trekking poles for any signs of wear and tear. Check the tips for any signs of damage or wear, and ensure that the poles are still straight and not bent or warped. If you notice any signs of damage, it may be time to replace your trekking poles to ensure your safety while hiking.
Overall, regular cleaning and maintenance of your trekking poles can help to extend their lifespan and ensure that they continue to function properly during your hikes.
When it comes to storing your trekking poles, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure they remain in good condition and ready for your next adventure.
When stacking your trekking poles, it’s important to make sure they are aligned properly and that the tips are pointing in the same direction. This will help prevent damage to the poles and ensure they remain sturdy and stable when in use.
Sunlight can cause the materials used to make your trekking poles to degrade over time, so it’s important to store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. This will help prolong the life of your poles and keep them in good condition for longer.
Protecting from Insects
Insects can cause damage to your trekking poles, so it’s important to store them in a place where they will be protected from pests. This could be as simple as storing them in a sealed bag or container, or it could involve using insect repellent or other protective measures to keep them safe.
Overall, proper storage is essential for ensuring that your trekking poles remain in good condition and ready for use whenever you need them. By following these simple tips, you can help extend the life of your poles and get the most out of them on your future adventures.
Common Trekking Pole Misconceptions
Myth: Trekking Poles are Only for Experienced Hikers
- Despite popular belief, trekking poles are not exclusive to seasoned hikers or backpackers. They can be beneficial for hikers of all skill levels, including beginners.
- The misconception that trekking poles are only for experienced hikers may stem from the fact that they are often associated with more challenging terrain or long-distance treks.
- However, trekking poles can provide stability and support on any hiking trail, regardless of difficulty level.
- In fact, beginners may especially benefit from using trekking poles, as they can help to alleviate some of the physical strain associated with hiking and improve overall safety.
- Additionally, trekking poles can be especially helpful for individuals who are not as physically fit or have mobility issues, as they can provide added support and stability on uneven terrain.
- Contrary to the myth, trekking poles are not only for experienced hikers, and can be a valuable addition to any hiking gear arsenal, regardless of skill level.
Myth: Trekking Poles are Only Necessary for Long Hikes
While it is true that trekking poles are commonly used on long hikes, they can also be beneficial on shorter hikes and even on day-to-day walks. Many people assume that trekking poles are only necessary for rough terrain or challenging hikes, but this is not necessarily the case. Even on relatively flat and smooth trails, trekking poles can provide support and stability, helping to reduce fatigue and improve balance. Additionally, trekking poles can be especially helpful in inclement weather, as they can help to keep hikers upright on slippery or muddy trails. In summary, while trekking poles are certainly useful on long hikes, they can also provide benefits on shorter hikes and in everyday walking situations.
Myth: Trekking Poles are Uncomfortable to Use
Many hikers believe that trekking poles are uncomfortable to use, causing discomfort and pain in the hands, wrists, and arms. This misconception may arise from a lack of understanding of the proper use and fit of trekking poles, or from personal experiences with ill-fitting or poorly designed poles. However, when trekking poles are used correctly and fitted properly, they can actually increase comfort and reduce pain during long hikes.
Incorrect use of trekking poles can lead to discomfort and pain. Improper grip, incorrect arm positioning, and excessive pressure on the poles can all cause discomfort. It is important to ensure that the poles are the correct length for the individual and that the handles are comfortable and secure.
Correct use of trekking poles can improve comfort and reduce pain. The poles can help distribute weight and pressure more evenly, reducing strain on the hands, wrists, and arms. The poles can also provide stability and support, reducing the risk of slips and falls.
Proper fitting and adjustment of trekking poles is key to ensuring comfort. Poles should be adjusted to the correct length for the individual, and the handles should be comfortable and secure. It is also important to ensure that the poles are properly secured to the backpack when not in use.
In conclusion, while trekking poles may be uncomfortable to use if used incorrectly or if they are ill-fitted, they can actually increase comfort and reduce pain during long hikes when used correctly and fitted properly. Proper use, fitting, and adjustment of trekking poles can help hikers to enjoy their hike without discomfort and pain.
Myth: Trekking Poles are Expensive
When it comes to trekking poles, one of the most common misconceptions is that they are expensive. While it is true that some high-end models can be pricey, the reality is that there are many affordable options available for those who want to try out trekking poles without breaking the bank.
In fact, many outdoor retailers offer budget-friendly trekking poles that are designed to provide the same level of support and stability as their more expensive counterparts. Additionally, many experienced hikers and backpackers swear by their trusty trekking poles, which they have used for years without ever needing to replace them.
Of course, it’s important to note that the cost of trekking poles can vary depending on the brand, materials, and features. For example, poles with adjustable heights, anti-shock systems, and carbon fiber construction will generally be more expensive than basic models. However, even the most basic trekking poles can provide significant benefits for hikers and backpackers, such as reducing stress on joints, improving balance, and providing an extra layer of support on steep or uneven terrain.
So, if you’re on a budget or just starting out with trekking poles, don’t let the myth that they are expensive deter you from giving them a try. With a little research and shopping around, you can find affordable options that will help you stay safe and comfortable on your next hike or backpacking trip.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Trekking Poles
When it comes to trekking poles, choosing the right ones is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Not all trekking poles are created equal, and it’s important to consider a few key factors before making a purchase. Here are some important things to keep in mind when selecting your trekking poles:
- Material: Trekking poles come in a variety of materials, including aluminum, carbon fiber, and steel. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks, such as weight, durability, and cost. Consider your needs and budget when choosing a material.
- Length: The length of your trekking poles is important, as it will affect how you use them on the trail. Poles that are too short may not provide enough support, while poles that are too long may be difficult to manage. Choose poles that are the appropriate length for your height and the terrain you’ll be hiking on.
- Flexibility: Some trekking poles are designed to be stiff, while others are more flexible. Stiffer poles may provide more support and stability, but they may also be less comfortable to use. Flexible poles may be more comfortable, but they may not provide as much support on rough terrain. Consider your personal preferences and the type of terrain you’ll be hiking on when choosing the flexibility of your poles.
- Additional Features: Some trekking poles come with additional features, such as carabiners, snow baskets, or built-in compasses. These features can be useful in certain situations, but they may also add weight and cost to your poles. Consider whether or not you need these additional features, and weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase.
Overall, choosing the right trekking poles is crucial for a safe and enjoyable hiking experience. Consider the material, length, flexibility, and additional features to find the perfect poles for your needs.
Tips for Happy Hiking
When it comes to trekking poles, there are several misconceptions that people have. Some people believe that trekking poles are only necessary for experienced hikers or for those who plan to tackle difficult terrain. Others may think that trekking poles are cumbersome and difficult to use. However, these are just myths, and trekking poles can be beneficial for hikers of all skill levels and abilities.
To help you make the most of your trekking poles, here are some tips for happy hiking:
- Adjust your poles to your height: Before you start hiking, make sure to adjust the length of your trekking poles to your height. This will ensure that you get the maximum benefit from them, and it will also help to prevent any discomfort or pain in your shoulders or arms.
- Use them for balance and stability: Trekking poles can help to improve your balance and stability on uneven terrain. Use them to steady yourself on steep inclines or slippery surfaces, and to help you maintain your footing when crossing streams or other obstacles.
- Use them to help you move faster: Contrary to popular belief, trekking poles can actually help you move faster on the trail. They can help to reduce the impact on your knees and legs, which means that you can cover more ground in less time.
- Use them to support your pack: If you’re carrying a heavy pack, trekking poles can help to distribute the weight more evenly. Use them to support your pack when you’re climbing steep inclines or descending steep drops, and to help you maintain your balance when crossing streams or other obstacles.
- Use them to mark your trail: If you’re hiking in a group, trekking poles can be a great way to mark your trail. You can use them to mark the route, or to indicate where it’s safe to cross a stream or other obstacle.
- Use them to take in the view: Finally, trekking poles can be a great way to take in the view. Use them to help you balance on steep inclines or slippery surfaces, and to steady yourself when taking a break to admire the scenery.
By following these tips, you can make the most of your trekking poles and enjoy a happy and comfortable hike.
The Bottom Line: Trekking Poles Are Worth the Investment
- Myth: Trekking poles are only useful for long, strenuous hikes
- Reality: Trekking poles can benefit any hiker, regardless of the length or difficulty of the hike
- Myth: Trekking poles are unnecessary and add extra weight to your pack
- Reality: While they do add some weight, the benefits they provide can outweigh the extra ounces
- Myth: Trekking poles are only helpful for crossing streams and other water sources
- Reality: Trekking poles offer numerous benefits beyond just crossing water sources, such as providing stability and support on steep or uneven terrain, and helping to prevent injuries and fatigue
- Myth: Trekking poles are expensive and not worth the investment
- Reality: While high-end trekking poles can be expensive, there are many affordable options available that still offer a wide range of benefits
- Myth: Trekking poles are only useful for experienced hikers
- Reality: Trekking poles can be beneficial for hikers of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced backpackers
- Myth: Trekking poles are difficult to use and require special training
- Reality: Trekking poles are easy to use and require no special training, although it may take some time to get used to them
- Myth: Trekking poles are not necessary in developed campgrounds or trails
- Reality: While developed campgrounds and trails may have fewer hazards, trekking poles can still provide added support and stability, especially when navigating steep or uneven terrain
- Myth: Trekking poles are only beneficial for downhill hiking
- Reality: Trekking poles can actually be more beneficial for uphill hiking, as they provide added support and stability, and can help prevent knee and leg injuries
- Myth: Trekking poles are not necessary in good weather conditions
- Reality: While good weather conditions may make trekking poles less necessary, they can still provide added support and stability, especially when navigating steep or uneven terrain, and can help prevent injuries and fatigue.
1. What are trekking poles used for?
Trekking poles are used to provide support and stability while hiking or trekking. They help distribute weight more evenly and reduce the strain on your knees, hips, and back. They can also be used to aid in ascent and descent of steep terrain, as well as to provide a sense of security in rugged or uneven terrain.
2. Are trekking poles necessary for hiking?
Trekking poles are not necessary for all hikes, but they can be very beneficial for certain types of terrain or hikes. They are particularly useful for long distance hikes, hikes with a lot of elevation changes, and hikes in rugged or uneven terrain. They can also be helpful for people with joint or back problems, as they can help reduce the strain on these areas.
3. How do I choose the right trekking poles for me?
When choosing trekking poles, it’s important to consider your own height and the type of terrain you’ll be hiking in. The poles should be adjustable so that you can adjust them to your height. It’s also important to consider the material of the poles, as well as any additional features such as a basket at the top for storing items. It’s a good idea to read reviews and talk to other hikers to get a sense of which poles are the most durable and reliable.
4. How do I use trekking poles?
Using trekking poles is simple. You can use them to help support yourself as you hike, by planting them in the ground ahead of you and using them to pull yourself along. They can also be used to aid in ascent and descent of steep terrain, by using them to brace yourself as you climb or descend. It’s important to keep the poles close to your body as you hike, as this will help provide the most support and stability.
5. Can trekking poles be used for other activities besides hiking?
Yes, trekking poles can be used for other activities besides hiking. They can be useful for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even camping. They can be used to support yourself as you walk in deep snow or cross uneven terrain, and they can also be used to support your tent or provide extra stability while camping.