Trekking poles

Do you think using poles is just for a show? Not really! A well-chosen model means greater safety, as well as excellent support for joints and muscles during the walk. And if you can do something to improve the quality of your hike, why not take advantage of it?

• stabilization of posture

• relieving the spine and legs

• increasing speed on the approach

• greater safety at descents

• activation of the arm muscles

• support for the back at a standstill

In the production of trekking poles, good quality aluminum alloys are used, which, depending on the model, have a different degree of hardness. The AL6000 is perfect for easy climbs and leisurely hikes, so it is designed for lighter users. If you intend to go on a demanding route, it is worth choosing poles with AL7000 hardness.

The choice of the shape of the handle depends on individual preferences. Some people will find straight and rather hard handles more comfortable, while others will choose contoured models. Most models, regardless of shape, are made of soft foam that absorbs not only shocks, but also excess moisture from the surface of the hand. There are also handles lined with cork – soft, yet grippy and stable.

There are 2-section or 3-section poles on the market. Each of these models has its pros and cons. Fewer segments automatically means greater stability; the larger number allows the poles to be folded down to a smaller size, so that they can be easily attached to a backpack or put in luggage.

Take the pole to be checked, stand on a flat surface and bend your elbow so that the tip touches the ground perpendicularly. A correctly selected pole will create an angle of 90 degrees to the forearm. Of course, you do not always have the option to adjust the product on site, especially in the era of online shopping, so you can use example length settings adjusted to your height:

• for height up to about 150 cm – maximum pole length 100 cm
• for height from 151 to approx. 170 cm – maximum pole length 110 cm
• for height from 171 to approx. 180 cm – the maximum length of a pole is 120 cm
• for height up to approx. 180 cm – maximum pole length 130 cm

When buying, pay attention to the quick and relatively comfortable adjustment system, so that you can easily change its length during the mountain trek. For ascents , it is a good idea to slightly shorten the length of the pole, and for descents , its longer version will be more comfortable.

When adjusting the poles, also remember about the wrist loop. Put your hand through it from the bottom and tighten your fingers comfortably on the handle. While walking, the wrist should rest partially against the loop, which makes you feel much more comfortable and relieves the joint.

Do not use excessive force – although the construction of trekking poles takes into account a lot of loads and will withstand many shocks, violently attaching to the adjustment mechanism may end up damaging one of the elements. The most problematic of this type is models with an expansion (twisted) adjustment system – this solution is very popular in the budget segment, but it is relatively the least convenient to use.

Before adjusting the poles, take off the gloves and wipe your hands dry; a firm grip will reduce the risk of the equipment accidentally slipping out of your hands. If the mechanism resists, it is worth asking another person who has more strength in his hands for help. But be careful with lubricants and other preparations that make parts slip – if the sticks have plastic parts, alcohol-based agents can damage them.

After leaving the trail and returning to the quarters, do not throw the sticks in the corner; even when fatigue is taking its toll on you, it is worth spending a few moments on them for further safe hikes.

Remove the bottom plates or shoes, and if you have a multi-sectional model, unfold each one. Then thoroughly clean the entire surface of the equipment from mud, sand and other dirt, using a damp cloth or sponge.

Pay particular attention to the area of ​​the cave, where the greatest amount of pollution is collected. Also check the poles adjustment and locking elements – if you see greasy or matte residue on their surface, remove it with mild soap and water. It is also worth treating the foam handles with a mild, diluted detergent, as they absorb a lot of moisture evaporated from the gloves.

The next step is to dry the sticks thoroughly. Do not wait for the moisture to evaporate by itself – carefully wipe the equipment with an absorbent microfiber cloth, and in emergency situations, for example with a paper towel. This action will help you to fully protect the poles against corrosion and pitting.

If you are planning a longer break with mountain hiking, leave the poles unfolded, with unlocked clasps and hooks for adjustment. Thanks to this, you will avoid “stagnation” of mechanisms and you will not have to unnecessarily struggle with them before using the equipment again.

Now all you have to do is put the sticks in a special cover, or wrap it with foil or a textile material, and store it in a dry place, protected against external factors. The sticks prepared in this way will be ready to go whenever you feel the longing for a tramp in the bosom of nature!

Thermoactive underwear

“There is no bad weather, there is only bad clothing” – say the Norwegians, and we follow their advice and present a guide on choosing thermoactive underwear – the first layer of clothing, without which it is impossible to imagine white madness!

Both terms are often synonyms, but their meaning is not entirely the same. To paraphrase the rule about the diamond and the square: all thermoactive underwear is thermal underwear, but not every thermal model has thermoactive properties.

In a nutshell: thermal underwear is primarily designed to protect the wearer from frost and keep the body warm for as long as possible. It works best in temperatures around zero or lower, with moderate physical activity – during winter walks, garden snowball fights or even in the city.

The main function of thermoactive underwear is to regulate body temperature through the constant removal of moisture from the skin and its rapid evaporation. In this way, the user feels fresh and comfortable even during intense effort, eg during sports or trekking – the knitted fabric “gets rid” of excess sweat on an ongoing basis, so that wet clothes do not stick to the skin unpleasantly and do not cool the body.

The condition for the proper functioning of thermoactive underwear is its correct fit; the material will activate its properties only when it comes into contact with the skin, so it is important that it adheres to it with as much surface as possible. As you can easily guess, the chosen model cannot be too big; the second disadvantage here would be the fact that oversized sleeves and legs may roll up and up under the outer layers of the garment. which restricts movement and is simply annoying.

Choosing too small a size is also a mistake. During sports or recreational activity, the most important thing is freedom of movement – and thermo-active fabrics, although very elastic, also have their stretch limits. Too tight underwear will pull unpleasantly and stick into the skin, the material tightened to the limit – persistently “climb” up, and instead of focusing on driving or walking, you will constantly wonder if the T-shirt or leggings will break at the least expected moment.

So how do you make sure that the chosen size of underwear will meet your needs? Start research already at the purchase stage: look at the size chart from the manufacturer and compare its data with the dimensions of your own figure. Do not rely solely on the traditional numbering – it often happens that the same size in different brands has completely different dimensions.

After receiving the package, put on your underwear and make a few moves in it – walk around, crouch, raise your arms high above your head. If the fabric fits over your body like a “second skin”, the waist belt does not stick out and you do not feel any movement restrictions – congratulations, you’ve found your perfect size!

Thermoactive underwear materials often contain an admixture of synthetic fibers with a tubular structure that allow the transport of moisture. Knitted fabrics made of artificial yarns often arouse distrust, but there is nothing to fear here – only by using them can the desired effect be achieved. Modern polyesters have up to 15 times better absorbency than natural cotton, and at the same time they are pleasant to the touch and do not cause irritation.

When it comes to natural thermoactive underwear materials, merino wool – Australian merino sheep – is the leader among them. Manufacturers and users willingly choose it because of its absorbency – these fibers can bind water in an amount of up to 30% of its own weight – as well as antibacterial properties: even after several intensive days on the slope or trail, merino underwear does not emit an unpleasant odor, which especially during winter trips can save a life.