Walking Poles and Sit Mats

Walking Poles

Some people swear by walking poles. These work by taking some of the load away from your poor feet, and transferring them to your lazy-ass hands and shoulders. If you have two of them they can reduce the load on your feet by up to 30%, which makes a huge difference over long distances. I last used them in a walk-for–24-hours non-stop bragging rights hike and they saved me from abject failure and name-calling. It did come at the cost of a stream of abuse about having lost my skis, and being an old man, but I didn’t care at that point.

But short of these very long distances, poles just tend to get in the way. Some are telescopic, so can be tucked away, but even with these they are a pain as soon as you start going downhill. You tend to tip over using sticks beyond a certain gradient, and steeper still, when you need to actually lean back or even bum it down, they’re flailing around like you’re a dying fly.

Also, many people walk with just one of these. It can make you look kind of wind-swept and interesting, but only when you stop walking. At that poinjt you can lean on them and stare at the horizon wistfully. When you’re walking though, they just make you look old and knackered. And get in the way.

Sit mats

These are neat little mats that fold out to a square of cushioning material when you want to put your bum on a rock. They’re quite comfortable, and can keep your bum dry, but I’d question whether you really need to take these. For a start you can always sit on your pack. You can also get jackets with tails long enough to keep your bum dry, or take your jacket off and sit on that.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with these, they just seem a bit pfaffy. Girls love them, though, so fair one.