Creative Ways to Use Your Trecking Poles

Eleven Creative Ways To Use Your Sticks

Besides helping you hike more comfortably and safely, trekking poles have other
backcountry uses. It takes a little imagination to fully realize the
possibilities, so here are some suggestions, all scientifically tested by a
crack team of BACKPACKER editors:

1. Rig a clothesline.
Plant two poles firmly in the ground and drape a damp sleeping bag or tent fly
across them. Or, tie nylon cord between the poles to dry your socks.

2. Carry someone else's pack.
If a member of your party is injured and can no longer shoulder his or her load,
the easiest way (if you have two able-bodied hikers) to get the pack back to the
trailhead is to thread two poles through the pack's harness and carry it like
you would an Egyptian pharaoh.

3. Make an instant shelter.
Don't have a tarp handy, but want to escape the rain during rest breaks? Plant
your poles and drape a poncho, ground cloth, or tent fly over them; stake out
the back of the cover with a rock or stick, and you've got a lean-to.

4. Probe for snakes.
When you're walking through tall grasses and hear that distinctive rattle,
there's no better friend than a long stick.

5. Lend a long hand.
Rather than using your hand, extending your trekking pole to a fellow hiker is a
much safer and more effective way to get folks up steep or slippery inclines.

6. Defend yourself.
Not that you'd ever actually want to inflict harm with it, but swinging a
trekking pole at something like a pack of snarling wild boars is an effective
means for chasing unwanted critters out of camp.

7. Shake off the snow.
To keep snow-laden branches from dumping on you when you walk underneath, give
them a tap with your pole.

8. Plant a pack stand.
Stick your poles in the dirt and lean your pack against them during rest breaks.

9. Pick out-of-reach fruit.
If you're hiking through an area with wild or abandoned fruit trees, people with
poles always get the choicest specimens.

10. Measure the mud.
Not sure you want to walk through a muddy stretch of trail? Gauge the depth of
the muck with a pole to determine if it will suck the boots off your feet.

11. Post a tripod.
Cross and plant your poles in an X in front of you and rest the camera's lens in
the V created on top. For full effect, lean the poles back and make your body
the third leg of the tripod.

Tip adapted from, March 1999; by Annette McGivney