Can You Use Ski Poles For Hiking?

Hiking poles or trekking poles are a piece of gear that takes a little load off your knees especially when hiking downhill. Hiking poles make it much easier to hike on uneven terrains like rocks, roots, or crossing streams. They also help with balance and some tents require trekking poles to set up. Ski poles, on the other hand, are very similar to hiking poles. They also allow telescoping adjustment like trekking poles and they are also made of aluminum or fiberglass.

Technically, you can use any pole or piece of stick for both skiing and hiking. However, adjustability can be a problem. Specialized poles designed for outdoor sports allow you to adjust the pole according to your needs. They also provide useful features like foam grips, baskets, and wrist straps. These poles are also designed to be lightweight and they pack small for stowing in a backpack. Another useful feature of these poles is the shock-absorbing properties. They take a little more stress off your knees and wrists on a long descent.

Keep in mind that poles (whether ski or hiking) provide a different set of baskets for different types of terrain. Ski poles feature a specific set of snow baskets that are useful to use with skis when skiing. These types of baskets are known as powder baskets. They are a circular piece of plastic (or sometimes aluminum) that attaches to the bottom of the pole. They prevent your pole from sinking too deeply into the snow.

Hiking poles, on the other hand, feature a variety of baskets for trekking different types of terrain such as mud, grass, loose soil, etc. These baskets provide terrain-specific features giving you added support. For example, a set of mud baskets allows your poles to float above the soft ground. Without them, your poles could dig deep into the mud, which ultimately slows you down.