If you’ve been following our snowshoe series you may have noticed that we haven’t discussed snowshoe poles yet! I have mixed feelings about snowshoe poles so we’re going to spend a few weeks talking about them.
Today we’re asking the question: “Do I really need them?”
First, a little description of snowshoe poles. Snowshoe poles differ from regular old ski poles in that they have a telescoping shaft which allows the snowshoer to adjust the length of the pole. Think trekking pole only with a basket. The components are as follows: grips with straps, telescoping shaft, baskets which allow the pole to float on top of the snow and tips.
- The snow is really deep.
- I have a baby or toddler on my back.
- On icy terrain.
- On a technical trail when balance is an issue.
I prefer not to use poles when:
- I’m snowshoeing with a toddler who is also snowshoeing and needs a hand to hold onto (more on snowshoeing with kids later).
- I have a baby in a front baby carrier.
- I’m pulling a child on a sled.
- I just want my hands to be free.
Honestly most of the time I don’t use snowshoe poles but just an old pair of cross-country ski poles that have a permanent home in the back of my SUV.
There are a few things to think about when you’re purchasing a pair of snowshoe poles.
1) Look for a pair that is also a trekking pole so you can get the most use out of them just by adding a basket.
2) Make sure that they have a comfortable handle with adjustable straps.
3) Read some reviews and buy a pair that doesn’t suck. Al and I both have cheaper snowshoe/trekking poles that collapse when we put a lot of weight on them. It is very annoying. It’s worth it to spend the money on a good pair of poles.
Do you use poles when you snowshoe? If so can you recommend a good brand/model for our readers? Or…do you prefer not to use poles?
Be sure to check back next Wednesday, we’ll be talking about how to size a pair of poles and the correct way to put on a pair of poles.
For more in our snowshoe series check out these posts
- Introduction to Snowshoeing
- History of Snowshoeing
- 5 Reasons to Snowshoe
- How to Choose a Pair of snowshoes
- Where to Buy Snowshoes
- Essential Clothing & Gear for Snowshoeing
- What to Pack for a Day of Snowshoeing
- To Hike or Snowshoe
- How to Plan a Snowshoe Hike
- Etiquette on the Snowshoe Trails
- How to Put on Snowshoes
- How to Snowshoe
* Bonus Content: Should Snowshoeing be an Olympic Sport?