Q:Tim - trekking poles - yes or no?
That, is the question, is it not!? I happen to be on the fence about trekking poles myself as it where… I have never used a pair (or as some prefer, just the one) but I have been ever intrigued by their use and fondness by so many others. I know of their usefulness in these few capacities:
• Ascending: They allow you to utilize your upper body, especially on sharp ascents much like a handrail on a flight of stairs.
• Descending: allow you to utilize your upper body again, to come to the ground softer and take some of the weight off of your ankles (which wreaks havoc on mine personally)
• They offer more stability on precarious terrain, such as a river or stream crossing or loose rock.
• They can make A frame tent poles for ultra-lighters…
In addition to what might be their best use, it’s also important to know how to use them best. A properly sized/height adjusted trekking pole should keep your arm at a 90° angle in the straight or rested position and the strap should rest on the top of your wrist…
Backpacker magazine’s gear pro Kim Hostetter has a thing or two to add here.
In closing, I would say, maybe borrow some from a bud if they are available and give em a test drive. At this point in my outdoor pursuits, I have to say “no”… but with a “meh” sidecar. I think that they are probably in my future? But to date, I have done just fine without them.
I hope this pushed you to one side of the line :) Good luck with your decision!