Walking sticks or hiking poles seem to be popular these days but I have always avoided them due to the fact that in my eyes they always seemed a bit of a nerdy peice of kit. You know what I mean? I imagine people who use them to be typical of the type who good out for a afternoon with a rucksack full of the latest shiney gear and yet whose longest hike is a bimble of a couple of miles on a route the guide books would rate as easy to moderate!!
Well, proving your never to old to learn, I've had my opinion of these items completely changed over the last week or so due to my own need to use them.
Need - yes need, you see due to a old knee injury I suffered as a soldier resurfacing I decide that I'd take sticks with me to the Brecon Beacons rather than risk making the knee worse and it was the best decision I could have made for not only did the sticks save me a lot of agony from my knee I also found that they allowed me to walk longer and further with less fatigue at the end of the day. Most impressive.
Additional I found that the poles made excellent probes for the several river fordings we made, were equally efficient at probing the bogs we crossed allowing me to choose routes on the firmer ground. For ascents and descents they made stability devices not to mention excellent additional shelter poles when we used a buckshee poncho as a windbreak come roof for our communal area on windy rainy evenings.
So you will never find me in the hills without my poles .......... I doubt I'll use em for bushcrafting as my packs never that heavy and the distances covered never that long - but when I'm hiking they will always be with me from now on!!