Trekking poles are a not so secret weapon for hikers. Not only do they help your speed and cadence when hiking on more or less level to moderately up hill terrain, more importantly, they are a game changer when hiking down hill. Having a second pair of legs essentially makes you capable of taking big steps off of obstacles without jolting your knee joint as the sole receptor of your entire body weight and the added weight of your pack. When there is a trekking pole
extended before you bracing each and every step down a steep hill, your knees are taking a substantially less brutal beating. Trekking poles may seem like an awkward addition at first, but before too long you won't know what to do with your hands with out them and they rest of your body will be thanking you for the extra help!