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Thread: Trekking Poles on the Tundra

  1. #1
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    Default Trekking Poles on the Tundra

    Good day.

    As my 1st trip to Alaska nears (bowhunt for caribou on the North Brooks Range), I'm finalizing my gear list...and looking for some advice on this particular item.

    Heard and read the stories about walking across the tundra. I've never used trekking poles or even a hiking stick in my life. Honestly, I can't envision myself using these for day hunts? Maybe I'll get up there and the tundra will change my mind? If I'm fortunate enough to get a caribou down....I could see them coming in handy for hauling loads.

    Just weighing the investment....your feedback is much appreciated.

    Paul

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    Member pacific-23's Avatar
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    I have only limited experience with trekking poles but I love them! I bought a set this last winter in preparation for a brooks trip and had a hard time getting used to the idea as well. After I had tried them however I realized how cool they are, it's like having four wheel drive. Yesterday i went for a walk with about 50 pounds on the back and I really missed having them with me as I had to work much harder to counterbalance the load with out the sticks to lean into. Coming down from the alpine trail I routinely hike they reduce the perceived effort tremendously, and my knees aren't sore the next day (this is true even with only my drinking water in the pack). Seems like $100 well spent to me.

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    If you're basing the question on the amount of "use", you'd do better to leave the bow home & just take the sticks.
    If you're carrying a pack & walking on tundra on your day hunts, the trecking poles will prove invaluable. Too bad you didn't post this a few months ago - carrying a 50 lb pack across a plowed (but not disked) frozen field would have given you a small taste of what packing across tundra is like.

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    I started using trekking poles a few years ago and now I never go hiking/hunting without them. Actually there are some hunts that I don't use them, but if I were going on a Brooks range caribou hunt I would definitely bring them.

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    walking on the tundra can be a miserable experience. extremely uneven (kinda like walking on basketballs), wet, and full of holes. make sure you have good waterproof footwear with good ankle support rolling an ankle is very easy on this stuff. black diamond makes some great lightweight trekking poles you might want to take a look at.

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    I had never used the poles before myself. Then one time I killed a big caribou bull way up high, and my buddy asked me if I wanted to try his. I was hesitant at first, but glad I did as I ended up putting plenty of weight on those poles to help keep my balance when packing that bull off the mountain. I still don't own any, but looking to get some for an up coming goat hunt.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    Bring them. You'll never regret it!

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    Thanks guys.

    Wasn't expecting such a consensus on this subject.

    I'm convinced.

    Appreciate your time and knowledge as always.

    Paul

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    Update:

    Just purchased a set of Black Diamond Trail Backs off Ebay for $56 with free shipping. They had several sets offered at that price if anyone else is interested.

    Again, I appreciate the feedback!

    Paul

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    I use them! Started last fall on the N slope. LOVE LOVE LOVE them.. aside from the obvious support walking.. two with straps hooked over each other make a great kneeling gun rest, 4 make 2 stands to put a spit over the fire.. or pin up a tarp for meat shelter.. they have many many uses

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    Trekking poles are freaking awesome. You have four points of contact on the ground and you save tons of energy not having to recover from being off balance. And, you can us them for splints, tent poles, sock dryers, meat hangers, stream crossers, emergency fishing poles, torch handles, and bats for playing pine cone baseball. Don't get seduced by the spendy ones either. I have had a $175.00 pair of Leki poles snap, but my cheapo pair from Cabela's are battle axes.

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    I hope you have read up on the techniques for bow hunting up there and are prepared to be busted by inexperienced hunters. What ever you do, don't try to follow the herd. They graze faster than you can walk. I've seen a lot of bow hunters that ended up packing their bou from beyond the 5 mile corridor because they shot one and followed it for miles before they could finish the job, or followed the biggest one that far before giving up on catching him and taking another one that was following them. Have fun and good luck.

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    I bought a very nice pair of Kovea duraluminum poles with cork composite grips and antishock springs at Costco. Price was the usual Costco bargain. I do not know where they are made, but they seem to be much like the Leki walking stick in quality, the one I bought in Atlanta when I broke a toe. These sticks compact down to 23 inches.

    I live in a mountain residential neighborhood in Japan. Sticks make it more pleasant walking around. I almost never bother when walking down to the train in the mornings, but if it is snowing they make a huge difference. Were I hunting or camping in Alaska, I'd definitely bring them.

    Quote Originally Posted by inarcher View Post
    Good day.

    As my 1st trip to Alaska nears (bowhunt for caribou on the North Brooks Range), I'm finalizing my gear list...and looking for some advice on this particular item.

    Heard and read the stories about walking across the tundra. I've never used trekking poles or even a hiking stick in my life. Honestly, I can't envision myself using these for day hunts? Maybe I'll get up there and the tundra will change my mind? If I'm fortunate enough to get a caribou down....I could see them coming in handy for hauling loads.

    Just weighing the investment....your feedback is much appreciated.

    Paul

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    Member AK DUX's Avatar
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    Until I saw Vince's post using them on the Slope, I would've thought no way up there. I use poles for sheep and any hunting/hiking across fairly solid terrain, and they're great. Especially with a heavy load.
    I would think if you put weight on those things and it slipped between tussocks (which I imagine they will do a percentage of the time, you'd do a faceplant in a hurry.
    "We're all here cuz we're not all there"

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK DUX View Post
    Until I saw Vince's post using them on the Slope, I would've thought no way up there. I use poles for sheep and any hunting/hiking across fairly solid terrain, and they're great. Especially with a heavy load.
    I would think if you put weight on those things and it slipped between tussocks (which I imagine they will do a percentage of the time, you'd do a faceplant in a hurry.
    Dux... with my neck surgery last month..i am also using them a lot out in the muck and swamp from break up around clear... on the rex.. etc..

    Some times it stabs in., and has to be pulled out..but even in the tussocks last year, full pack on..they is the ****zles wizzles..

    And when all else fails..they are sure handy to lean on for a breather..i more lay my hand in the strap and litely grip them..so the strap supports my arm weight..


    And absolutely where i find the best use for them..is stepping down off embankments, into holes, and uneven ground..espessally when loaded
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    I use a single walking stick,with an iron tipped end. I lke it especially if I have to Carry heavy loads over Tundra,and lean against to rest on insted of sitting down, as well as keep balance walking through the Tundra, pokeing at soft spots, sometimes useing the pole to mark a load witha small flagging, so I dont lose stuffon the tundra (easy!) As well as a rifle rest when Im takeing a shot......In Winter I poke at ice to see how think it is or make a fishing hole in the ice, and again, great for heavy loads apon ones back.

    Hint of the Year when walking on Tundra, place your feet low, BETWEEN the ******heads, and avoid bustiong an ankle or thereabouts

    (******head is the english version of Inupiaq Eskimo "Neega" when describing the clumps of grass that make up ythe Tundra, and after a few miles, youll agree with what they really are ~~LOL!!~~)
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    Take em on every outing and have used them as Vince says for many things outside of walking with.
    Great tool for the kit bag, and dont weigh anything..if you find yourself in some wet stuff..just strap em to the pack.
    I was just like 4merguide..never used them until a buddy ask me..still have his to this day.lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAcWest View Post
    I have had a $175.00 pair of Leki poles snap, but my cheapo pair from Cabela's are battle axes.
    Which ones where they...???
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Which ones where they...???
    Thermolite XL Antishock


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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Trekking poles are every bit as necessary on the Tundra as the high country, especially with a heavy pack.

    Those ankle-breaking tussocks will make you pay if you don't have them...
    Proud to be an American!

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