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Get in Gear: Shock-Absorbing Hiking Poles

I went hiking this weekend up a trail named Hell's Brook. I learned the name after arriving at the trail head. If I had had that knowledge ahead of time, I would have known to bring along my hiking poles.

I'm liking these from REI called Traverse Shock Trekking Poles. They're only $79 for the pair, when others can run you almost $200 for just one.

What makes these poles so different? To find out

These are spring-loaded, so when you're trekking down a steep trail, they bounce a little as you put weight on them, which absorbs shock. This means your hands and wrists won't have that repeated jarring vibration you get with regular rigid poles, which helps prevent thumb and general hand pain.

When you're going up hill, these poles have a locking mechanism to make them rigid (without the bounce), for more stable climbing. You can also choose the length you want, so you can make them shorter on the way up and longer on the way down. The maximum length is 57", but these poles can compact to 27" for easy storage. Another great thing about these poles is that they're made of aluminum, so they're durable and lightweight - only 19.7 oz for the pair.

Hiking is such an awesome activity to do in the fall, and hiking poles will make your experience so much safer and easier on your knees and lower back. Plus they spread the workout around so your upper body gets into the action, not just your legs. Poles also enable you to conquer tougher and steeper trails. Upward, ho!

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