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Trekking poles

I was wondering, would it be acceptable and useful to use trekking poles in a urban setting? I would put rubbery tips on them to avoid damaging the historic cobblestones. I mostly do fine with walking, but going steeply downhill on slippery rocks is an issue.

Posted by
21049 posts

I have seen some people using trekking poles in cities/towns. I think it may have been in spots near pilgrimage routes or major hiking destinations, but I see no reason why you couldn't use them in other places. You might have to leave them in your hotel if headed to a museum, unless the museum has lockers and the poles are collapsible.

Posted by
5617 posts

This was 20 years ago, but at his surgeon’s recommendation, my husband used shock-absorbing, collapsible trekking poles 3 months after knee surgery on our trip that included cities Avignon and Nice, France, and Venice, Italy. They were used, too, going up and back down on the long steps to dinner at the restaurant above Vernazza, Italy.

This was 3 months before the 9/11 attacks, and he took them through airport security with no problems, explaining the knee surgery he’d had recently. Boarding the plane, flight attendants put them in storage in the cabin, and handed them back as he got to the exit door after landing. Subsequent trips where we brought poles for hiking, we needed to check a bag that was long enough to hold the collapsed poles, which some of our suitcases couldn’t. And the poles won’t fit in any carry-on luggage, even if they’d been allowed to take onboard, which we never even considered doing, and I can’t imagine are permitted anymore. Do you have poles that fit in a bag that you’d be taking and checking?

Posted by
1687 posts

Thanks for the responses! I haven’t gotten the poles yet, and you’ve given me things to think about when selecting them.

Posted by
336 posts

I used a collapsible pole in Athens a couple of years ago and quickly noticed I was one of many using poles. Mine was very light and was about 16 inches long when collapsed so even fits into carry-on suitcase, though poles do have to be checked.

Posted by
1687 posts

Cool! More details on my end - I signed up for Paris and the Heart of France, and am the most concerned about descending Mont St. Michel, particularly if it rains. I think some form of support would would help, more psychologically than physically.

Posted by
1301 posts

I have taken my collapsible, checked trekking poles on all my RS tours the last few years. I don't use them in cities, though I often carry at least one in my daybag just in case.

Posted by
1277 posts

Totally random response, but I have a Post Polio friend who carries a real cross country ski pole every where in our iowa winters which last about 5 months it seems. She calls it her Out Rigger and has noticed several folks in her church and other friends starting to do that as well.

Posted by
2133 posts

I walk with a stick/cane/pole for hip support and back issues so it sounds like our situations are little different. However, I looked into lots of options before I chose my assistance device and I settled on a single stick, not trekking poles. I use a super-light, collapsible walking stick. It does not need to be checked and it collapses down small enough that I just slip it into a hand grip on my suitcase and it’s basically attached to the side of the luggage when I don’t need it. It’s nice to lean on and it helps in precarious walk situations. I just used to to walk up and down the super tricky steps at Chichen Itza.

I use this: https://www.amazon.com/LEKI-Wanderfreund-High-Fives-Walking.

Posted by
8984 posts

Lots of people use trekking poles in cities for a variety of reasons. As long as you use the rubber tips nobody, including indoor museums, will hassle you. In fact I've come across a few that offer them complimentary to senior citizens during their visit. The only place in my travels that wouldn't allow them was the casino in Monaco for some reason.

Posted by
843 posts

I always used a staff or ski pole when hiking and backpacking. The thing had many uses besides stability and confidence so, yes, I understand trekking poles. Two questions: Do you need two or will one suffice? Can you arrange for or otherwise know you can obtain them on the other side instead of packing them?

A pair of shock absorbing and collapsible trekkers is a handy accessory but two can be clumsy to deploy and furl, weird to keep track of if they don't fit in your daypack, and even dangerous to use in crowds. A single trekker or carved wooden staff might do the job. If you can purchase, rent, or borrow locally, you can avoid checking your bag and carry it onboard.

Posted by
6627 posts

I've often taken collapsible walking stick on trips abroad and at home, even on neighborhood walks. They are handy and not obtrusive. Nobody cares. I even bought the one I have In Varenna because of the hills, so its not like its unknown there. I dont see two as necessary. Where I found it most helpful was to lean on in situations where you have to stand for a long time, as in waiting lines, or listening to a guide's long explanation. So certainly it has an urban use.

Posted by
1687 posts

Thanks - I’m glad we got into the one-versus-two pole issue. I’m considering having two, but only using one of them in certain situations.

Posted by
1774 posts

As far as checking them on the airlines, we use a sports duffle. It then squashes down into our regular luggage while on the tour or can be used to carry things we buy. Dirty clothes go in it on the way home. If you do it that way, you might throw in some bubble wrap to protect wine or breakables.

Posted by
1068 posts

I travel with one Hunger Hiker carbon fiber collapsible trekking pole. I do carry on only. I use the trekking pole like a cane in the airport security line (and limp a little). Put it on the x-ray conveyor. No problem.

If I was going to take both poles, I would check a bag.

Posted by
68 posts

I use walking poles at home for brisk walking morning exercise. I have a collapsible set, York Nordic Walking poles, which are adjustable lengthwise and good quality. They collapse enough to carry in a carryon. Don't know if the airlines would permit them in a carryon or not. Mine have the nordic grip. They come in two size ranges depending on your height; each is adjustable within that range. I love them!

https://www.yorknordic.com/york-nordic-travel-folding-walking-hiking-poles-15-5-in-with-rubber-feet-baskets-and-bag-yn-trvl-parent.html

Posted by
1687 posts

Good to know, Rainy Day! I actually ordered the York Nordic poles (for short folks; hiking grip). They should be arriving today.