For my September top-up camino this year I will be taking Pacerpoles! Not the alloys, but a pair of carbons, very kindly supplied by Heather at Pacerpole.com for me to try out and compare to the alloys. The reduced weight of the actual carbon pole means the centre or point of gravity is slightly different to the alloys, and so far it seems this subtle change suits me great. I have sent the poles ahead to Ivar’s storage in Santiago and will pick them up there before I get the bus to my starting point. I have been taking short walks (<5km) with my alloys lately and although it still feels slightly unfamiliar having them there, it also feels very good. I know I am straightening my back and keeping a better posture, breathing better, feeling better, and I don’t get the swollen hands anymore even on long walks on hot days.
An odd thing I have noticed in the last couple of years is that I get a sore back when I walk for any decent length without a pack! it’s like the harness works as a brace and supports me – now I think I have found a different and better solution: Pacerpoles. My GP even commented that I sit up straight on the chair now instead of instinctively leaning back and slumping against the back rest. So the effect seems to last, it’s not only when I am actually walking with them. Hopefully walking with them even for shorter walks will make a real difference rather than just getting them out when I have the time and inclination to go walking all day.
I am planning on making a few other changes to my camino regime and kit this time, but the Pacerpoles will be by far the biggest. They do weigh more than ultralight conventional poles but are meant to be used and not carried, so as long as I am walking with them the weight is not an issue. My Osprey Tempest 30L pack has a so called Stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment, a bungee system which allows me to stow the poles away while still walking and keep them out of the way. I am hoping that I won’t use it much but it is really handy for stops, as any poles are prone to falling over if you lean them up against a wall – also people have walked off and forgot about them (I can’t see that happening but am taking no chances).
The only problem with the poles right now is that I automatically power walk with them (YMMV) and I am working on slowing down. I am getting pretty good at going up and down hill and pavements though, I decided today that I felt kinda like a four wheel drive, but I suppose I should say a four legged rocket!
If you want to see Heather herself in action pacerpoling and explaining how to correctly adjust the poles, or Pacerpole users reviewing them, have a look at YouTube.