“ Brand: Valeas / Type: Adjustable walking/hiking pole / Sports Genre: Outdoor Sports „
Poles are essential for any hiking or climbing, on the ascent its best to use your pole to pull you up the hill, dig it in and put some elbow grease into it and it will take the strain off of your legs. On the descent pole are great to dig in and take the strain off of the knees on the loose scree. Sometimes people dont use them properly and simply hold them lightly and sort odff drag them along the trail....I just think to myself. why the hell did you bother, in fact all you have done is just take more weight along !
So I have had may poles in my time Valeas are not a well known brand or an expensive brand either. This is illustrated best by the fact that you can get these poles in either Trak and Field (Sports Direct outdoor arm of their busines) and Trespass , which caters for the descerning trekker and has some cheap but low quality stuff, OK if you are simply hiking in the summer on easy tracks. You should be able to pick these poles up for £15 each or two for £22 and they are one of those products that are typically on offer all the time. They come in blue or black colours for those who care about such things.
Typically you should be able to get away with using one pole for ascending and descending on easy tracks and depending on your athletic ability, you just use the pole to steady yourself for extra balance and to take the sting out of descending on lose scree and therefore saves your knee caps ! Good stuff. This pole is very lightweight although more expensive poles such as Leki and Black Diamond specialists will show you how low the weight can go.
These poles are robust as you would expect, and they have a variable length mechanism starting at a mere 61 cm and goes all the way up to 135 cm. The cm`s are marked on the side of the pole clearly so that you can work out what height is best for you. There is also helpfully a pole marker that informs you when you get close to the end of the pole, as these poles dont go on forever obviously. The narker advises you to stop pulling the pole lest it detatch from the upper element and the spring mechanism fall out. This has happened to me with this pole by mistake but I found that the spring stayed in quite well and I could just shove the lower element in easily and hey presto- it worked just fine. You lossen and tighten the upper and lower elements of this pole by simply screwing the two elements together and you`ll feel them stick together or come apart. Apart from Black diamond walking poles, which have a plastic locking mechanism, all poles, including leki poles, use this system , so dont worry that it seems cheap and nasty, its perfectly normal. Dont worry about twisting too hard and breaking the lockng mechanism, it will not break vefore it tightens, it simply works with a rubber vacum.
The top of the pole has a neoprene handle, that provides some comfort and you can move your hand ergonomically over the top and around the shaft quite easily, you can decide for yourself what style suits you. Most poles dont have the traditionally shaped walking stick style, some do, with cork handle, and I had one of these but these were quite heavy compared to others. The traditional shape does not lend itself well to hiking and so I found that pole very uncomfortable to use. As well as the handle you get a woven wrist strap so that you dont lose the pole if dropped and this strap can be adjusted to fit different shapes and sizes etc. The woven strap is fairly robust but does fray alittle over time and I had a Leki pole which I used allot and the strap stayed perfect for ages, but that pole did cost about three times as much.
Overall, I think that this pole is a good starter pole for simple and easy trekking, one or two should do the trick. Your probably better off just getting two bearing in mind the extra cost. More expensive poles will not be any cheaper, so take advantage of this. My only issue is that the lower element comes apart from the upper element too easily when you are trying to adjust the height and this leads to the tightening/ loosening mechanism being a little less effecient over time.
Before I went on holiday this year I fell and broke my foot. Fortunately, after six and a half long weeks in plaster the cast came off, just a few days before we were due to fly to Vietnam. At this stage I was still a bit wobbly, as my muscles were quite weak and was using one crutch if I ever needed to walk anywhere too far (other than round the house/office). I didn't really want to take one of the crutches away with me for a fortnight, so my boyfriend nipped down to Lakeside to see what he could come up with.
He went into the outdoor store Trespass and spotted this Valeas walking pole, which I believe is made by Trespass, for £14.99. They had an offer on where they tried to sell him two for £20, but we didn't really need two, I just wanted one to assist me on uneven ground whilst I was away, as I did not want to compromise my enjoyment of my holiday by not being able to get about. As far as I know it was only available in blue.
The pole is extendable - starting at 61cm and going up to 135cm. Lengths are marked on the pole so that you can remember what length you needed after you have put it down. I did find the pole got a few marks around this area after a few weeks also. I found it easy to adjust with just a couple of twists, and it seemed secure - it didn't untwist itself and shrink back down if you twisted enough. It didn't really require any effort to adjust which I liked. The top of the stick had a neoprene rubberised handle, the rubber continues down the pole a little way so that you can hold the pole either from the shaped handle on the top, or part the way down, round the pole if you prefer. I held it round the handle part, which I found to be a slight disappointment - I initially wanted something more conventionally walking stick shaped to lean on - not curved, but a definite handle that stuck out at right angles, this handle isn't as long at that and is rounder at the top. However, despite my misgivings, I got used to the handle and found it quite comfortable to hold. There is also an adjustable woven strap to secure it round your wrist if you wish. This did start to fray slightly during the holiday, but after a few stray bits of fabric came off, it looked as good as new. The pole is lightweight and I don't think it would be a nuisance to carry if you weren't using it, although even at its retracted length it would still stick out of the top of your day-pack as 61cm is a bit long. This wasn't really an issue for me as I used it all the time, but for 'normal' walkers this may be a consideration.
Whilst I didn't actually climb a mountain or trek the Andes with this pole, I did find it a God-send on my holiday, as my foot swelled up to two-three times its usual size with the humidity. The rural terrain in Vietnam is very up and down, and even the paved city streets are uneven. With the help of this pole I was able to take better advantage of all the opportunities available to me - from country and city walks, to exploring caves. The pole is currently on loan to my step-dad following a fall on the ice and a broken rib. However, now the weather is starting to improve and I do a 'proper' full or half-day walk again, I would certainly consider taking this pole with me. I always thought that poles such as these were for the 'serious' walker, but I can see how they can be advantageous for anyone walking on uneven ground. As the price is also competitive (and available online) I would think it worth a try.