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  1. #1
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Can I use "nordic walking" poles for hiking?

    This is a long-shot question. But I couldn't find a "nordic walking" forum, so...

    I was recently diagnosed with knee problems. So running is out for me. Biking is even more in. I went hiking this weekend. My knees hurt. My buddy had a pair of nice "Leki" hiking poles. I wanted to get some, so I got online at Leki's website.

    So I see a category of poles for "nordic walking." It's for people who walk down the street as if they are skiing. This is meant to take impact off of the knees. So now I'm interested in nordic walking poles.

    Here is the thing: the poles are ****ing expensive. So I just want to buy one pair. Has anyone ever handled nordic walking poles? Is there any reason I cannot take these hiking?

    I realize that the hand grips are different, but I figure that I can just switch them out. I also realize that the walking poles aren't angled, but I figure that's not a big deal.

    Like I said, this is probably a long shot, but BF gets a lot of traffic so I figured what the hell. If anyone out there has an answer for me it would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Hiking with bad knees or bad back is not a good thing.
    I made may own poles for walking.
    They didn't take any weight off the knees or back.

    Stick with bike riding.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    Before you spend lots of money, go to a thrift store and find some snow ski poles. They may not be as adjustable, but you can save loads of cash.

  4. #4
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I'll look around and see if I can find the cane/walking pole a former coworker had. It had a cane-style handle (although high-techie looking), and a little shock absorber springy bottom. This may be like the poles you are talking about. He has a bad back and he gets around pretty well with that pole as a cane; he swears by it.

    EDIT: Here is what he has. It looks like you're on the right track. It looks like there are several styles to choose from.
    Last edited by Doohickie; 01-25-10 at 09:29 AM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhchdh View Post
    Before you spend lots of money, go to a thrift store and find some snow ski poles. They may not be as adjustable, but you can save loads of cash.
    Ski poles for hiking in the mountains? Would that work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    I'll look around and see if I can find the cane/walking pole a former coworker had... He has a bad back and he gets around pretty well with that pole as a cane; he swears by it.
    I'd love to see it. But I (thank God) don't need a cane yet. Just a little something to take the pressure off the knees when hiking up and down mountains. Perhaps I should just try the ski pole method a couple times. If that works, I'll buy the more expensive nordic walking poles as a multi-purpose toy.

  6. #6
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    I'm a member here too, usually in the Trailhead forum, nice people here who will answer your questions.

    http://www.backpacker.com/cgi-bin/forums/ikonboard.cgi?

  7. #7
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    If I had to take a guess, I say Leki is trying to upsell people on fancier, lighter carbon shafts. Like the ones they use on their high-end xc ski poles. When I lived near mountains, I would sometimes use the cheapest, most beaten up xc poles I could find to help with ascents.

    Your choice depends a bit on terrain. Walking poles have rubber tips that are designed to grip (somewhat) on a smooth flat surface. I'd be worried bringing carbon ones into a rocky or technical environment.

    Trekking poles have points, are usually a bit more rugged (aluminum) but often come with the old-school hand strap. That's probably because they don't want them to be right or left handed as some people hike with only one. I think the new strap systems are ideal for any poling application, walking, trekking, or skiing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryroth View Post
    Ski poles for hiking in the mountains? Would that work?
    Yes. My 70 year old father uses them on the AT. They are not good for the real technical sections, but he swears by them.

    Also check out:http://www.whiteblaze.net/index.php
    Last edited by bhchdh; 01-25-10 at 09:37 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhchdh View Post
    Yes. My 70 year old father uses them on the AT. They are not good for the real technical sections, but he swears by them.
    If that is the case, then the nordic walking poles should be fine - with the correct hand strap and all. Thanks.

  10. #10
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Not a long shot at all. I use "nordic trekking" poles for hiking all the time. It reduces the stresses on my knees by distributing the load over four limbs rather than two. They also improve stability when travelling over uneven terrain. I find it helps with hand numbness on longer hikes as well.

    That said, if you are having knee issues, working them might not be the best idea. You should ask the doctor who diagnosed you what he/she thinks of this activity.

    In terms of expense, just look for a sale. I think I paid about $45 for my Komperdell poles. You can save even more money by skipping the "anti-shock" poles, which are a luxury you might want on descents.

  11. #11
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    If it were my knees hurting, I'd examine my shoes before hurrying off and buying hiking sticks. I do see AT trail hikers using those poles, so there must be some reason for them (other than them doubling as lightweight tent poles). If I'm going up and down a lot while backpacking, I'll take my hiking staff - which can also be used to impale charging bears to great effect.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  12. #12
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Yeah, if it were up to the doctors I would just go ahead and fade off into the sunset at my ripe old age of 32. All they can really tell me is that as people age, joints can become worn. No ****? It's not their fault. The medical community is still in the stone ages when it comes to osteopathic remedies. I'll summarize:

    The doctor that specializes in lateral releases recommends a lateral release.
    The doctor that offers in hyaluronic acid injections recommends hyaluronic acid injections
    My physical therapist recommends some more exercises, and to limit my running to 15 miles a week (well is it bad for me or not?)
    I'm sure that if I went to a car salesman about my knee, he would recommend a nice Audi A6. If I went to a dentist, he would recommend a root canal.

    As one person told me, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." The doctors do not give a **** about letting me know what I can and cannot do. They just want to know if I'm interested in what they are selling. I realized a couple years ago that it's up to me to learn about my condition and what I can and can't do on a day-to-day basis. One day I'll decide on a surgery and hire a doctor to perform it, until then I'm going to keep trying out new activities. I recommend the same to anyone else out there with body aches.

    Quote Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post
    Not a long shot at all. I use "nordic trekking" poles for hiking all the time. It reduces the stresses on my knees by distributing the load over four limbs rather than two. They also improve stability when travelling over uneven terrain. I find it helps with hand numbness on longer hikes as well.

    That said, if you are having knee issues, working them might not be the best idea. You should ask the doctor who diagnosed you what he/she thinks of this activity.

    In terms of expense, just look for a sale. I think I paid about $45 for my Komperdell poles. You can save even more money by skipping the "anti-shock" poles, which are a luxury you might want on descents.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Be a revolutionary. Go out in the woods and cut your own sticks. Or would that make you a reactionary?
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  14. #14
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Have you tried a supplement with chondritin? I have found them to be effective in alleviating aching knees.

    Quote Originally Posted by bryroth View Post
    Yeah, if it were up to the doctors I would just go ahead and fade off into the sunset at my ripe old age of 32. All they can really tell me is that as people age, joints can become worn. No ****? It's not their fault. The medical community is still in the stone ages when it comes to osteopathic remedies. I'll summarize:

    The doctor that specializes in lateral releases recommends a lateral release.
    The doctor that offers in hyaluronic acid injections recommends hyaluronic acid injections
    My physical therapist recommends some more exercises, and to limit my running to 15 miles a week (well is it bad for me or not?)
    I'm sure that if I went to a car salesman about my knee, he would recommend a nice Audi A6. If I went to a dentist, he would recommend a root canal.

    As one person told me, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." The doctors do not give a **** about letting me know what I can and cannot do. They just want to know if I'm interested in what they are selling. I realized a couple years ago that it's up to me to learn about my condition and what I can and can't do on a day-to-day basis. One day I'll decide on a surgery and hire a doctor to perform it, until then I'm going to keep trying out new activities. I recommend the same to anyone else out there with body aches.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  15. #15
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Originally Nordic Walking poles were introduced to get some upper body workout when walking. Not for balance or support, although they help there too. What would be the correct pole length for workout on even surface/pavement can be a bit long for difficult uneven terrain with sharp up/downhills. Adjustable poles have one more moving part that can break in the middle of nowhere, that's something to keep in mind. I'd suggest you post the question in the forum mentioned above. I'm sure there are people with experience on the type of trekking you plan to do.

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  16. #16
    BF Risk Manager
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    I have a pair of Leki aluminum adjustable poles that I swear by. I got them with my REI dividend many years ago. By adjusting the heights, swapping out the tips between rubber and a carbide spike, and using snow baskets or not (all these parts are available from Leki) I can use the poles for hiking and snowshoeing in the Pacific Northwest. I continue to use dedicated XC poles for my XC skiing.

    They do take some weight off for descents, especially, but I primarily use them for balance. When negotiating some of the steep, wet and rocky trails around here, going from a biped to a triped or quadraped with the poles can be very helpful. When I am hiking along flat level terrain, I usually have the poles strapped to my pack.
    Regards, MillCreek
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  17. #17
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryroth View Post
    Yeah, if it were up to the doctors I would just go ahead and fade off into the sunset at my ripe old age of 32.
    ouch. sorry to hear this. I truly hope that you can get some relief to this.

    In the meantime, I did post something that was at least 2/3 useful. Do you really think I deserved to be ranted on for this?



    p.s. I'm not kidding about wishing you well.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    No I totally appreciate your response. Unfortunately you triggered a favorite topic of mine - hating healthcare - and that overrode all other sensibility for a few minutes. It is kind of like road rage.

    Quote Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post
    ouch. sorry to hear this. I truly hope that you can get some relief to this.

    In the meantime, I did post something that was at least 2/3 useful. Do you really think I deserved to be ranted on for this?



    p.s. I'm not kidding about wishing you well.

  19. #19
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I use trekking poles when hiking, or snowshoeing. They're great for both balance and whole body workout.



    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  20. #20
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    I used cheap nordic walking poles when I climbed Mt Meru in Tanzania. They worked perfectly and didn't miss a beat.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
    I used cheap nordic walking poles when I climbed Mt Meru in Tanzania. They worked perfectly and didn't miss a beat.
    Sweet! That's what I was hoping to hear. Thanks.

  22. #22
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryroth View Post
    No I totally appreciate your response. Unfortunately you triggered a favorite topic of mine - hating healthcare - and that overrode all other sensibility for a few minutes. It is kind of like road rage.
    Yeah, it was pretty obvious. No worries, I have my own complaints.

    The cheapest set I have seen were under $15 each at walmart or target (similar to this). But I think an entry-level set of Komperdell (link1)( link2) or Leki aluminum poles would be a much better investment at only a few dollars more.
    Last edited by StupidlyBrave; 01-25-10 at 04:47 PM.

  23. #23
    Lost Again gitarzan's Avatar
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post
    The cheapest set I have seen were under $15 each at walmart or target (similar to this). But I think an entry-level set of Komperdell (link1)( link2) or Leki aluminum poles would be a much better investment at only a few dollars more.
    I use a single hiking pole that looks about the same. Got it at WalMart for $8 and it seems to me to be pretty equivalent to the much more expensive ones at REI and elsewhere, but might well weigh a few grams more. Came with both rubber and carbide tips and has the three telescoping sections so you can adjust the length and collapse it down when it's not in use. I use it mainly for the downhill sections of longer hikes when it helps me take some of the impact off my knees.

  25. #25
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    Yep, I use nordic poles for nordic walking, snow shoeing and just hiking. They work well for all.

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