One of the first things I learnt in the mountains was the use of poles, I remember that I didn’t use them or only used one until I had a 14 day trek in the Cordillera Real of the Andes, I was not alone I was with another guide who has a lot of experience and who kindly taught me the benefits of the poles.

The 14 day trek in the Cordillera Real involves a lot of endurance and energy efficiency, even more if you are the guide it is important to remark that in this traverse there is almost no trails, only from day number 10 we walk on a trail, son under this circumstances the poles are your best friend indeed, and a phrase that I learned from that trip was:

“If you want to keep walking in the mountains when you are 60, use the walking poles”.

Here are some of the key benefits of hiking with trekking poles and why you should give them a try.

They Help Build Strength & Endurance

Hiking with trekking poles helps build strength and endurance. When you hike without them, you are only engaging your leg muscle muscles. When you hike with trekking poles, you are also using your arms, core, and upper body which builds overall body strength, distributes the work, and allows you to hike further without getting as tired.


They Improve Balance

If you are hiking in snow, on a slippery path, over rocks, or across a stream, having four points of contact helps maintain balance.

They Distribute Weight

When backpacking with a heavy pack, using hiking poles helps distribute that weight so you have better balance. They also help you stand more upright and avoid leaning forward as much under the weight of your pack.

They Reduce Pressure On Joints

Trekking poles help take the weight off your lower half, reducing the pressure on your knees and ankle joints. I especially notice the difference when hiking downhill which normally puts a lot of pressure on my knees and ankles – trekking poles alleviate that significantly.

They Can Increase Your Hiking Speed

Trekking poles can help you develop a consistent rhythm, which over time, can increase your average hiking speed. They also help to displace the effort required to climb upwards as you have the ability to utilize your arms to propel you forward.

They’re Versatile In A Pinch

Trekking poles can also be a great last-minute tent pole replacement if you are in a jam. Some tents, actually use a pole as part of their set-up, allowing you to save weight. Trekking poles also make for a great splint for medical emergencies, make you appear taller to wildlife, and can even protect you from snakes. Yes there are snakes in Bolivia.

And this is some of the benefits of using trekking poles I never forget mine before a trek no matter how short it is, maybe some people think it looks ridiculous but nothing further from the truth, since I use my trekking poles in the mountain, it became easier, as a guide I can’t be looking at the ground all the time, because I have to look at the route, the clouds, the mountain, the elevation and many more things.