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Published on Dec 17, 2018
This podcast is about trekking poles.
Trekking poles are a surprisingly contentious piece of gear in the UL world. Their utility and usefulness is endlessly debated, and the science that backs up manufacturer claims is all over the map. It’s a murky world, but Andrew and Ryan jump in with both feet (and two poles each) to help you make some sense of it.
The guys kick things off by interviewing Rob Shaul, founder and owner of the Mountain Tactical Institute. Rob makes a living training mountain athletes and military service members deployed in mountains regions, so he knows his stuff. MTI has conducted a few studies that measure the effectiveness of trekking poles on athletes under load. The interview covers those studies: how they were constructed and what they ultimately prove (or don’t prove).
In the second interview, Ryan and Andrew chat with James Marco, a longtime Backpacking Light member and experienced UL backpacker. James provides some context to some of the most well trod trekking pole questions and shares his tips for MYOG poles.
After the interviews, Ryan shares several scientific studies in an attempt to shed light on the big trekking pole questions: do poles make you faster? Improve your balance? Save energy? Reduce strain and impact?
Next, the guys chat about the most contentious trekking pole statements the internet has to offer. If you’ve ever been in a forum fight about trekking poles, chances are you’ve heard a few of the things they cover in this section.
This episode’s Gear section is a brief overview of BPL’s recent Trekking Pole Gear Guide. Ryan shares a few of his favorite poles, including a few that surprised him!
In the Hiker Hack’s segment Ryan talks trekking pole field repair, and Andrew has a question for listeners concerning a common thru-hiker trekking pole breakdown.
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