Pole manufacturers have worked hard to ensure they are able to create powerful walking poles that can take the proper amount of force off of your knees and legs, as well as withstand many of the elements. Over time they have evolved to have interesting features as well, including their own whistles and camera stands. But despite all of these changes, most walking poles come with fairly standard features that can be seen on essentially every walking pole.
Of course, ever walking pole has a shaft that makes up the majority of the pole. The shaft is most often made of either aluminum or carbon fiber. In general carbon fiber is a little better for most hiking trips. Aluminum poles have a tendency to bend and break, and they also conduct electricity better, so if you are walking in thunderstorms or areas where lightning is possible, the poles can represent a danger. Carbon fiber still conducts electricity, but not nearly as well.
Walking poles are designed with a good grip that makes it easy to hold onto the pole for a long period of time. This grip can be made of rubber, plastic, or something else that is easy to handle. It also may have a wrist strap connected to it to make sure that the pole doesn’t fall off your arm as you walk (also allowed more freedom of movement). Cork handles are considered the most comfortable, but plastic is generally less expensive.
The tips of hiking poles may be plastic, rubber, carbide, and aluminum. They also generally come in three different styles – rubber, single point, and chiseled. Most of these tips are ok for any purpose, but rubber is best on frictional/hard surfaces, chiseled works well across all conditions, and single point is designed more for icy travelling.
Hiking pole baskets are designed to ensure that the pole does not sink too much into the ground when you walk. Baskets are found on almost every pole, including those that are used in Nordic walking, despite the unlikelihood that the pole with sink into the concrete. Still, in the event where you need the pole for some type of outdoor activity, it is much better to have a basket than not have one. Baskets can often be replaced on poles depending on weather conditions.
5. Anti-Shock System
Most poles also come with their own installed anti-shock system. This takes some of the vibrations and pressure from the walk away in order to reduce arm tiredness and improve overall comfort with the pole. The anti-shock systems are one of the primary reasons that users of these poles enjoy these poles more than standard walking sticks.
The Basic System
Each of these parts can be found on basic walking and hiking poles. Many of these poles come with additional features, such as extendable/retractable shafts, as well as various weather baskets, etc., but on any walking pole you find in the store or marketplace, you will very likely find each of these parts to be present.