FAQs – Should I use a hiking stick?

It depends entirely on you. Many hikers enjoy using a stick, or walking staff, even though they are in great physical condition and have a good sense of balance. Others wouldn’t dream of it. If you are fording streams or hiking at high altitude for the first time, take a stick for added stability. Some hikers use an adjustable walking stick or ski pole (or sometimes two) for stability on challenging terrain. Ski poles are not only helpful for stability on an ascent, they also help take some of the strain off of your knees on the way down.

The height of your stick is a matter of personal preference. Most fixed-length sticks are shoulder height or higher. Adjustable poles offer the added versatility of telescoping down to a short length. If you encounter a really steep climb or just don’t want to use your pole(s) for a while, you can strap them on the back of your pack.

Some adjustable poles have a special camera mount on the top of the handle that turns your walking stick into a monopod for slow exposure photography.

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