I’ll be honest … I freaking hate trekking poles. The only reason I carry one — and my husband carries its mate — is so we can put up our Zpacks Triplex tent.
Having my hands free on trail is super important to me. If I want to scramble over a boulder or fallen tree, or I have to climb up or down something, I want to be able to use both my hands.
With trekking poles, there’s always that awkward problem of like, what the F to do with them when I need my opposable thumbs? I tend to just slip the strap around my wrist and let them flop around behind me as I do the thing. And it sucks. They have whacked me more times than I can count, they have gotten stuck in a crevice, and they have even whacked my husband.
Maybe I should take a tip from Taylor Swift, “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me”... But I really don’t think it’s me. I think it’s trekking poles.
Don’t get me wrong, my trekking pole has literally saved my life on the side of a mountain on slippery snow. I definitely see the value of having them. Using trekking poles while hiking can offer many benefits, including:
- Reducing impact on joints, by absorbing shock and reducing impact on your knees, ankles, and hips, particularly when going downhill. This can help prevent injury and reduce joint pain.
- Increasing stability, by providing additional points of contact with the ground, improving your balance and stability on uneven terrain, stream crossings, and slippery surfaces.
- Enhancing endurance. By using your upper body muscles, trekking poles can help distribute the workload, reducing fatigue and allowing you to hike longer and farther.
- Improving posture, because holding trekking poles can help you maintain a more upright posture, which can reduce strain on your back and neck.
- Supporting injuries, perhaps if you become injured on trail or have weakness in your legs, trekking poles can help take some of the weight off, allowing you to get to a trailhead, or continue hiking with less pain.
- Additionally, trekking poles can be used for other purposes, such as setting up a shelter, probing the depth of water or snow, and clearing spider webs.
But, hiking and backpacking can be really hard activities. My body and brain get tired and I can really struggle to be the confident, whole, put-together person I am at home. I become whiny and cranky at times. I don’t want the hard stuff to be any harder. And sometimes carrying my dumb trekking pole makes my life harder.
So, imagine my surprise at Stick Stashers. Why in the heck didn’t I think of something like this? They are little attachable magnets for your poles. All you do is slide one magnet onto your pole, and the other onto a backpack strap or tie, and voila! A strong magnet holds your poles temporarily on your pack, as you hop over something or stop for a drink! My husband will no longer have to hold my poles when I take a water break.
Installing Stick Stashers is really easy. I imagine it could even be done by someone with severe backpacking-brainfog. All you need is a little screwdriver, like the one that comes equipped on a Leatherman Micra. You slip one half of the magnet over your pole, and tighten with your screwdriver. Then you take the other half of the magnet and attach it to a strap on your backpack, and tighten with your screwdriver. Done!
Being able to quickly store my trekking poles, without needing to stop, or ask a friend to stow them for me, is kind of a game changer. It makes it easier for me to take a photo of the surrounding beauty, grab my water bottle, check my map, etc.
And, when I do stop for a break, it eliminates the possibility of leaving them behind, propped against a tree — not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.
It seems like a really simple thing, but it has a huge impact. Being out in nature doesn’t mean you’re only allowed to use crude tools and basic skills. Technology doesn’t just affect the world of computers and medical equipment. Stick Stashers are a supreme example of HikerTech — a term I just made up for this particular review. They are a tool to make the already complicated life of a hiker a little more manageable.
I took these Stick Stashers and two trekking poles on a hike outside McCloud, California, right after a snowstorm. It was a nice, sunny day, and it was super important to have my poles with me to be able to check the depth of the snow and test the surface as I went. However, I didn’t need them the whole time, so I stashed them on my pack, and was so stoked on how easy it was, and how much of a difference it made, just to have my hands free for a moment.
Walking with the Stick Stashers setup was pretty smooth. My poles didn't swing around too much or poke me in the armpit. I liked how they sort of just hung there without causing me any problems or distress.
As far as where to put these on my pack, I had an interesting time. I use a minimal pack, the Pa'Lante V2, which doesn't have a whole lot of bells and whistles. So I put my pack on and reached behind me to see where everything was situated. It seemed like the bottom of my shoulder straps were in a good place, so that's where I connected the pack-side magnet. After connecting my sticks, and moving around, I liked the way it felt. They rested up against me, but I didn't knock them off as I hiked and scrambled.
Now, with all that said I do want to mention that these work a little better with lighter poles. The first set of trekking poles I used them on were a little heavy, and when I jumped over a snowy log, one of my poles fell off. So I switched the Stick Stashers to my carbon poles by Gossamer Gear, and had no problems at all.
Also, for many collapsible trekking poles, the section that has the 16mm (the size one needs to connect to) might be the middle or lower section of their pole. This can impede their ability to fully collapse.
- Fits any trekking pole with a 16mm shaft
- Really easy to install, a very simple design
- Really easy to stash poles
- Strong magnet means my poles aren’t falling off
- Work best with lighter poles
- Work only with 16mm poles
- May only connect to lower sections of poles, impeding ability to fully collapse (really not a con, more a good to know)
- Weight: 1.7oz
- Price: $29.99
Overall, I’m really impressed with Stick Stashers. They solve a problem that I didn’t really even know I had, and they do it in an efficient and effective way. They are a small investment that makes a big difference in the quality of my hiking experience. I would highly recommend them to any hiker or backpacker looking to streamline their gear and make their time on trail a little bit easier.
Ace Curtis is a plus-sized outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys hiking in Northern California and taking photos of many tree-covered hillsides. She was born and raised in Mt Shasta, CA at the base of a 14,163’ mountain. She is currently working with her husband on creating an off-grid lifestyle on 2.5 acres just a few miles from where she started life, 36 years ago.
I wonder if Eric would have given the same incredibly condescending comment to a man 🙄
I apologize on his behalf.
Darlin’, if’n ya ain’t usin’ TWO hiking poles ya just never XC skied before and have no clue how to use them BOTH the best way(s).
There is a right aand left hand pole based on pole strap orientation and the is a specific way to put your hand in those straps AND also a general range of how thigh those straps should be.
Go ye forth and LEARN.
OK, I need a pair of these. What a great review!