Trekking Poles Etiquette: Tips for not stabbing your buddies
Some people shun pole users. Why? I’ve heard people say they get stabbed or impaled on the trail. Such an experience would sour anyone. I teach pole etiquette as part of my seminars. Here are some tips:
- Keep a safe distance between hikers.
- If someone is crowding you, step aside and let them pass.
- On steep uphill, poles can slip. Hikers too close could lose an eye.
- On steep downhill, allow extra space both in front and in back.
- If someone is reaching forward (not good technique) a pole tip could jab your Achilles tendon. This is a nasty injury. Just step aside and the unaware pole user pass.
- People carrying (not using) poles should know where their tips are. Usually they can turn their tips forward to avoid stabbing someone.
- People walking with pole tips behind them can stop suddenly. The hiker behind can walk into the sharp tips.
- People who lay their poles on the ground in the middle of the trail do not realize their poles can be stepped on and broken.
- If you stop to adjust your poles on the trail, try not to have your tips facing the middle of the trail.
- When taking poles apart, point tips down – not at your buddies or car windows.
- Carry your rubber tips with you at all times. If you encounter pavement, using rubber tips will save your trail tips and be way less noisy. Noisy poles can be very annoying.
- If you hike with poles and are stabbing the ground, this noise can also annoy people.
- At lunch stops, prop your poles out of the way.
- Do not lay your poles in the dirt. If the straps get dirty, that dirt can chafe your hands.
Bottom line: I can choose who I hike with and avoid unsafe behavior.
- Pole users: please be aware and considerate!
- Victims of bad etiquette on the trail: Rather than shunning all pole users, let’s educate people – send them a link to this post :). Maybe if people knew how close they come to injuring their buddies, they would modify their form?
Let’s enjoy, let’s protect & let’s share our precious planetary resource with the future. Any ideas on how to communicate pole etiquette concerns so that we’re all able to enjoy the glorious outdoors – with and without poles?