I remember the first time I hunted with someone using trekking poles, I thought they’d lost their mind. I was in Alaska with a cousin whom I thought as a mountain man and western as it gets. I thought trekking poles were for the elderly, the granola type, or those that had some sort of injury. Not hard core wilderness cowboy hunters. I was wrong and I quickly learned a lesson that day. He must of seen the bewilderment in my eyes as I asked what those were for because he let me take them for a test run while looking for bears. It wasn’t long before I saw, and felt, the value of these hippie sticks.
Unfortunately hunters can be stubborn and refuse to use something because it makes them look weak or silly. I think trekking poles fall into this category. The hiker/backpacker community long ago embraced them realizing the benefits and they are finally catching on in the backpack hunting community.
The Trekking Pole Advantage
Trekking poles have several advantages. In our opinion those advantages become greater the more weight you have on your back.
Trekking poles improve your balance and stability. With four points of contact on the ground it’s kinda like having four legs. Ever tried tripping or pushing your dog over, it’s pretty hard to knock it off its feet. Kinda the same concept with the poles. I was surprised the amount of balance and stability the trekking poles gave me side-hilling, crossing boulder fields and and all the uneven terrain encountered hunting. I have no problem saying that the poles have kept me on my feet more often and more comfortably.
Hunting with trekking poles allows you to distribute your weight (including your pack) across your whole body instead of just your legs. Your joints and back will thank you at the end of each day! It also helps the pounding reverberation throughout your body with each step. Your muscles will join your joints at the end of the day in gratitude! Simply put trekking poles lead to less wear and tear on your body. Because the poles are keeping our bodies in better shape, less fatigued, and preventing us from face planting hunters can expect fewer injuries.
Trekking poles can be used for structure. With a little para-cord and some creativity you can provide tent stability where a tent pole is broken. Trekking poles can even be used as tent poles for ultra light backpacking shelters.
We use our poles all the time for stability underneath our binoculars when doing some quick glassing. They actually work quite well using them this way and it’s amazing what you can see with a little stability and no arm fatigue.
Use one pole or lash 2 poles together with the wrist straps real quick for an impromptu gun rest. Again we’ve tried this out and you can come up with a really stable rest.
One are we deer hunts there is a lot of young aspen regrowth. The poles can push debris and trees out of the way as you make your way through thicker vegetation.
Two or One
A question that’s been asked is whether to get two or one trekking pole, after all you can buy them together or in singles. Our answer is to fully take advantage and maximize the benefits you should use two. With this said one is definitely better than none.