We all know Trekking poles are great for hiking, they help you keep your balance, reduce stress on your joints and enhance the muscle-building and aerobic benefits of hiking. We also know that one should avoid carrying anything with on a hike that only has one purpose, so if you ever doubted the multi-purpose usefulness of a trekking pole read on!
Here’s a list of alternative uses for the humble trekking pole:
1. Emergency splint, stretcher or crutches
Set a hiker’s arm or leg using a trekking pole together with rope, backpacker’s straps or whatever you have handy to prevent further injury. I would advise you do a first aid course or consult a manual on how to do this properly. You can also put together a make shift stretcher using two poles, ropes or similar and a sleeping bag.
When you’re out of earshot or there are strong winds, trekking pole are very useful for signalling each other. Signals could include holding up two poles in an ‘x’ for stopping, horizontally in front of you of ‘okay’ or go ahead, and straight above your head or waving around to indicate a problem.
3. Fishing Pole
Add fishing line and hooks to your emergency kit, it’s not the most sophisticated setup but could bring in dinner.
Use with a poncho to create a basic shelter in a pinch. There are also various tarp shelters or tents that are compatible with trekking poles available to purchase.
5. Depth gauge
At some stage during most hikes you will have to make your way over or through water, snow or mud of some sort. Use your trekking pole to measure the depth and help keep your balance while crossing.
When there’s nothing else to tie your washing line to your trekking pole might come in handy. Also, folding a sock in half around a trekking pole and twisting while holding the ends to wring out the water dramatically reduce the drying time!
7. Spiderweb and animal deterrent
This is probably the one alternative use of of a trekking pole I use most often – clearing the path ahead of you of spiderwebs, or useing them to push away vegetation and branches with thorns overhanging the path. Waving them over your head could also help scare off bears and other animals.
8. Selfie Stick!
For that extra bit of reach, many action cameras such as the GoPro has mounts that can be attached to a trekking pole. Otherwise there are camera mounts made specially for trekking poles to fit various camera models, that could also convert you trekking pole into a nifty mono-pod.
To be sure this is only the start of a very long list – what is your most creative and useful application of a trekking pole? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!