Pacer Poles

Will Caught Out ...

Will Caught Out …

As a kid I used to dream of getting a length of bamboo and making my own walking stick. I had read of these walking sticks or poles that had secret apartments in them that stored things like matches, a compass, string and such like. As there was no bamboo in the village that I lived in, I had to make do with a length of teatree or perhaps I found a length of a suitable size when wandering down by the river. I did bring home a length of supplejack (a climbing vine) once with the intention of trying it out as a walking stick but instead it was used by my father. On me! After the crying and red welts had died down, I stole it back, broke it in half and threw it as far as I could into the neighbour’s orchard.

Just before the turn of the century, walking poles came on the market in various makes but all with a fairly straight handle. My mates and I wouldn’t be seen any where near one. Or a pair – now that would be worse.

I succumbed sometime later and bought a Leiki pole – just one. It seemed in the early days, that most New Zealanders preferred just the one pole. I found it quite good especially going downhill and crossing streams. However, I found that my wrist ached later in the day and sometimes my lower arm too. The wrist strap didn’t feel right although one was supposed to use it. Then friend Alan started using a pair of poles like a Leiki but were of fixed length. He looked like a preying mantis with the poles flaying about as he approached. One certainly kept out of his way! Maybe two were better than one. And then I happened to read a report on these new Pacerpoles in the UK magazine, TGO (The Great Outdoors). Later Karla brought a pair of these Pacer Poles for me from the UK. The pair of Pacerpoles weigh 680 grams compared to a pair of Leki Super Makalu which weigh 630 grams.

Pacerpole Grip

Pacerpole Grip

These walking poles are different to any I have seen here in NZ by way of the handle or grip. They certainly are in a more comfortable position for the hands, in fact the hand doesn’t need to actually grip the handle, – the pole just seems to follow and then one gives a gentle push down. The hand sits naturally in the grip, best described as the fingers closed naturally with your thumb resting on top of them. It just feels a more natural way of walking with the poles with the result that, my wrists don’t feel sore anymore. It might sound funny but once you have seen the poles, you will wonder, “Why didn’t they make them like that in the first place”. The poles have a bright orange security cord that can be slipped around the wrist in case one slips. I have found the bright orange colour a help in keeping tabs on the poles too.

My pair came with comprehensive instructions, a mesh storage bag, plus spare baskets they call them – the flange things that fit on the end of the poles. One of mine came off on one trip but I was able to purchase a spare. These seem to be an improved design but now I regularly check the flanges or baskets just to make sure they are on the pole firmly. One of the poles has a cap that can be fitted with an adapter that can hold a camera and there is a special fitting that can hold the two poles together as a support for certain tents too.


Do they help? I don’t use them on every trip but do find them useful on longer trips and especially useful when crossing streams, slippery ground and such. As I’m getting older my balance isn’t what it used to be and I get a little wonky as I get tired no doubt, so the poles certainly help in this regard. They will fit down the side of the pack but the shape of the handles just means they take a little longer than the straight handled ones to store this way. I have also used the poles to hold up my fly on occasions too. They come with good instructions on how to use them and one can even check their website at and watch videos to make sure you are using them to your best advantage.

Very good and I certainly won’t be going back to those straight handled poles anyway – but I still felt tired at the end of a long day!