Lots of you are off travelling, both in this country and abroad and many of you are taking your poles with you, so here’s a few things to consider if you’re planning on Nordic walking whilst away.

Which poles?
If you’re going by car then it’s easy to take your fixed length or adjustable poles.  Otherwise travel poles are your best option.  I reviewed the 2017 range of travel poles earlier this year (click here to read it again).  In brief:

  • Gabel aluminium travel poles are currently the cheapest at £59.95. 
  • Exel travel poles extend the furthest - to 135 cm.
  • The Leki traveller carbon travel poles have the best adjustment mechanism.  This clip-lock feature is very quick and easy and is more reliable than the twist-lock system still used my most other manufacturers, if less aesthetically pleasing.
  • The folding trail poles fold down super small and are very light, but their design means that they twist in use which you may find disconcerting.  They don’t come with removable paws.

The weight of the pole may be relevant if you’re on a hiking holiday and want to carry your poles in your pack some of the time.  The folding trail poles are apparently the lightest.  None of the other manufacturers give the weight but carbon poles are generally lighter than their aluminium counterparts.

As well as collapsing poles down you can also separate the shaft sections completely.  You just pull them apart.  The benefit is that they are more compact to carry.  You might need to fiddle with the expansion widget at the top of the removable sections when you put them back together.

Flying with travel poles
Tightened airport security means that you may have your poles confiscated if you attempt to take them in your hand luggage unless you rely on them as a walking aid.  I now only take my poles if I’m putting them in the hold. Call the airline if you're unsure on their particular rules. 

Conditions under foot
Due to the amount of rain we have conditions underfoot in this country are generally fair-to-soft.  The exceptions are if you’re walking on purpose made tracks or tarmac.  Other countries have far less rain than us and in the summer months the ground is often baked hard, so consider the type of shoe you’ll be wearing and the level of cushioning at your heel.  Also remember to stretch your leg muscles, especially your shins afterwards as this muscle can often get sore when walking for long periods on hard ground.   click here to view a short video clip of how.

Blister prevention
Friction, heat and moisture can all precipitate blisters.  They can be really painful and can spoil your whole walk, or even the entire holiday if it's a walking holiday. So it’s well worth giving a little time and thought to reduce your chances of getting one.  Here’s a few pointers:

  • Make sure your walking boots/shoes fit you properly and that you’ve worn them in well beforehand.
  • Wear good socks - ones without rough seams and which wick the moisture away.  There’s some useful information on socks and sock liners in one of my earlier blogs: Which sock is best for Nordic walking?.
  • If you’re prone to blisters, tape the worry areas with surgical tape beforehand.  It works wonders and those who have used tape absolutely swear by it.
  • Take your boots off and/or change your socks half way through a long walk.  It allows your feet to cool down and changing your socks will make your feet feel all springy and fresh (trust me). 
  • Whilst prevention is better than cure, if you feel the onset of a blister (a ‘hot spot’) you should deal with it immediately.  I’ve always used Compeed which has worked every time.  However opinion differs on how best to deal with a developing blister or one that’s actually formed.  Wikihow’s How to Treat a Foot Blister is pretty useful if you want to read up on this sort of thing before you head off.

We love to hear about your travels and walks so please send us a photo and we’ll pop it on our Facebook page.

Happy holidays.

Vicky

 

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