Hiking is a great way to stay active and can function as anything from an intense endurance workout to an active recovery day, depending on the trail you choose to take. I love taking on a mountain because it enables me to get outside and enjoy some fresh air with peaceful scenery (it’s not just good for your body)! At the same time, I get to gently workout my legs (except for the steep heels). Plus, literally conquering a mountain is a great way to build mental strength and feel an amazing sense of accomplishment. Can you relate?
If you’re reading this, you like it for many of the same reasons, but if you don’t, maybe you’ve come here to find a way to make it easier and more enjoyable. Those same reasons are why I asked my friends at ProSource to send me some of their Trekking Poles to try out – and they were super supportive in helping me step up my hiking game.
If you’re in the same boat, not sure if you should use walking poles or which hiking poles to buy, then you’ve come to the right place to find some answers. Here’s what you can expect in this blog:
-A review of a basic, affordable set of poles from ProSourceFit.com
-A list of benefits of using trekking poles
-Simple steps for how to use your new poles
ProSource Trekking Poles Review
Let’s start by going over the features and functions of the ProSource Anti-Shock Trekking Poles.
- Shock-Absorbing: The springs inside of the poles help to absorb some of the shock you’ll inevitably feel in your joints while trekking over rocks and up and down hills. This means the overall experience will feel less jolting to your body.
- Adjustable Size: 3-section pole extendable from 26″-53″. The poles can be set to various heights via two sections by simply twisting two knobs. It took me about 30 seconds to adjust these to my height and get them into a comfortable position (more on proper adjustments below). How to adjust them isn’t necessarily intuitive, but they do include assembly instructions that helped me make sense of it.
- Easy to Carry: Due to the adjustable nature, when they are fully shortened, you can stick them inside of your backpack for when you don’t need them, such as the early stages of a hike before it gets too steep or tricky. Many people will also use them as tent poles if you’re backpacking which saves space.
- Built for Various Terrain: the base of the poles have 3 options.
- You can leave protective covers on, ideal for streets or soft terrain hiking.
- Take off the covers for a wear-resistant carbide tip that will dig into the ground for better traction.
- Snow discs are included that can be screwed on easily, which help prevent your sticks from sinking into the snow when hiking in cold weather.
- I used all three options on my last hike which was mostly snow, but some dry land. The discs were truly helpful, although one of them did come off and we had to backtrack a few steps to retrieve it. Make sure you screw them on tightly and keep an eye on them so you don’t lose them permanently.
- Mini-Compass: Each pole has a tiny compass on top, making it easy to check your direction when the trail isn’t so clear. Being that getting lost is a serious danger in hiking, it’s definitely a useful tool to have and one less thing to carry. Truth be told, each compass was showing the direction slightly differently at a glance, so I wouldn’t depend solely on these.
- Lightweight Aluminum: The design of the poles is lightweight and easy to carry. Each weighs just over 1/2 pound. I walked with these for over four hours and only my biceps started to feel a tad tired in the last mile from being in a bent position almost the whole time. You won’t have to worry about tiring our your arms.
- Wrist Straps: Thank God for these! Each pole comes with an attached wrist strap, which prevent losing the pole. Of course there will be times when you need to grab some water or a snack, or let go of the pole to pull yourself up on a rock or brace yourself on a steep downhill. In these moments, if I had to keep putting down my poles or try to hold them while doing other things, I would have been super annoyed and probably given up on them. Absolutely use the wrist straps which will also prevent you from death-gripping the handles and spare your energy.
- Hand Grips: The hand grips are pretty basic. A notch for one finger makes them somewhat ergonomic, but the plastic design are these poles least impressive feature. If you’re using these for short hikes, they’re fine, but if you plan to use them at length, the lack of cushion and better grip could start to irritate your hands if you don’t have gloves on.
- Price: ProSource trekking poles are definitely a great price at $19.99. They’ll do the job without it feeling like a huge sacrifice or major investment. Plus, if you use code HOLLY10 at checkout, you can get them 10% off!
Review Conclusion: Overall, I would recommend these poles for any beginner hiker, or anyone who’s not doing super technical hikes. Plus, it’s a small investment that will really improve the quality of your hikes.
What are the Benefits of Hiking Poles?
Truth be told, I didn’t understand the need for trekking poles or walking sticks unless it was for someone older who needed the stability or for the really hard core hikers going days at a time. I’m big on building strong legs and most of the time my husband and I prefer to run trails rather than walk. So I was skeptical of using poles since my legs and hands, when needed, seemed to work just fine. I never want to “cheat” a good, hard effort. However, after using them I learned how was wrong I was! Turns out, hiking poles, trekking poles, hiking sticks, walking poles are awesome whatever name they go by! Here are some of the reasons why you might want to use trekking poles.
1.Reduced Strain on Your Joints
If your knees, hips or ankles hurt when hiking or walking hills, then you’ll want to give poles a try. Many people find that using poles helps to take some of the load off of their lower body, resulting in reduced impact on joints and pain in places like the knees and hips. This is because there is a change in weight distribution as you use your upper body to help you up a trail. While studies are varied on this and there is not conclusive evidence that they actually reduce knee strain, hiking pole studies suggest that at least when going downhill, poles can reduce temporary muscle and cartilage damage. What it really comes down to is that, if it feels better for you, then that’s all that matters! For those of you who like long hikes, this will mean that you’ll likely be able to enjoy the beauty of the mountains for even longer, and reach higher points with less discomfort.
2.Provides Stability and Balance
Walking poles are like an extension of your limbs, making you able to move more like those four-legged creatures you’re hoping to avoid on the path. This provides drastically more stability and balance. When walking uphill, you can stick them into the ground to help gain thrust and momentum. Going downhill, placing them out in front of you can do a lot to prevent falls, especially with loose rocks and dirt. When you’re walking along a skinny path that is essentially a cliff on one side, having a pole on that side can help push you up toward the mountain to keep you safe and stable. The are a huge help when crossing streams and other uneven or slippery terrain to plant into the ground for great traction. The same applies to cold, snowy conditions where the ground can be slippery and snow can be deep to help you navigate where to step.
When you have the extra stability mentioned above, it enables you to move much quicker because of the confidence gained. Additionally, the poles help to propel you up mountain sides much quicker. Using your arms in conjunction with your legs will get you moving faster and able to finish your hike quicker.
4.Improved Upper Body Strength & Circulation
By involving your arms in the process, it helps you build upper body strength. You will use chest, back, shoulder, bicep and triceps muscles while using poles. This also improves circulation because your arms stay near your heart the entire time. You may experience less swelling in your hands because your arms are not hanging down by your sides the whole time.
5.Increases Calorie Burn
If one of your main goals with walking or hiking is to improve your fitness, then trekking poles will definitely help! Several studies have shown that using trekking poles increased energy expenditure and oxygen consumption by about 20%, compared to walking or hiking without poles. What’s even better is that the perceived rate of exertion did not increase, meaning you can burn more calories without feeling like you’re putting in extra effort! On the other hand, the downside to this is that if you’re trying to conserve energy for a long-distance trek or already find hiking to be strenuous or exhausting, this could actually be a hindrance. In this case you can take poles along to support your balance and help you up and down hills, but rely on your legs a bit more be aware of moving too quickly.
Poles can be super handy when a branch or bush is in the way, or anything else hindering your pathway. Obviously you don’t want to touch something like poison oak, so having a tool to push them out of your way is a big benefit.
How to Use Trekking Poles
- Set the Correct Height – when the pole is touching the ground, adjust the height so arms are bent at approximately 90 degrees with elbows by your sides when holding the handle. Going downhill, you may find it more comfortable to shorten them a bit more.
- Stay Relaxed – if your poles are set at the right height, then you should be able to keep your arms by your sides when walking. Check in with your posture frequently, making sure to keep your shoulders down and relaxed away from your ears. If your poles are too high or you stay tense, you’ll end up with some very tight trapezius and shoulder muscles and likely an aching neck or headache.
- Straps & Grips – put your hand through the strap and secure it around your wrist. Be careful not to tighten it too much so that if you fall it won’t pull on your thumb or fingers, causing a strain or break. Hold the grips with fingers aligned with the ergonomic design and hold loosely – no death grips!
- Use the Correct Tip – The rubber tip that comes with poles should be used on paved surfaces or light dirt. When you’re on dirt or mud, you can remove them for better stability with the metal, pointed tip. If you’re in the snow, be sure to use the snow caps to prevent your sticks from sinking.
- Proper Movement Pattern – In most cases, you want to walk like a four-legged animal where your opposite arm and leg move together. So, as you step with your right leg, your left arm/pole should go forward at the same time. Beware of putting your pole way forward when walking, which can be a natural tendency. Instead, you want it right by your side so that as you step, it goes behind you. Use your arms to push and propel you forward. If the pole is too far in front, you’ll have to do more work to pull yourself up, whereas behind you it should feel fairly effortless and boost your speed. When going up stepper hills, over rocks or downhill it is most helpful to put both poles down at the same time.
What Do You Think?
Now that you know the many benefits of trekking poles and have gotten a full review, will you try them? If so, let me know how it goes, as well as what you think of the ProSource trekking poles. Thanks for reading – now go have fun on those mountains! And don’t forget to use code HOLLY10 at checkout to get 10% off your purchase off your poles or any other fitness equipment you purchase from ProSource!
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