Author Options:

Nordic Walking Poles Answered

Commercial versions of these poles are quite hi-tech and expensive. They are usually made of aluminum or carbon fiber, but could cheaper versions for occasional use be made from bamboo or rattan perhaps? The shapes of the handles look quite complicated on some models.

Anyone like to have a go at designing and making some?

Paul W.


I Actually just put one together using EMT metal conduit available at the local hardware store for about $4 for a 10 ft piece. With the fittings to make it telescoping I spent a total of about 7 bucks and have enough material to make at least two if not three. Only draw back is it may be a little on the heavy side for some of the light weight hiker types.

a friend had me try hers a couple weeks ago, they were the 3 piece twist type, and they collapsed on me. i hike with poles all the time , and i need 3 piece so they fit next to rucksack. i obly buy the best available or the best on sale. i have had trekking poles collapse on me too manu times. IThe ones she got were from people trying to strasrt a business selling nordic poles and instruction on how to do it. There fore they were selling poles at a hufe markup.
i have to spend near 100 for a good pair, i must have 3 or 4 pairs of the ones that failed. i gave a pair to my father to use when it is icy, to prevent falling and breaking a hip, he wont use them. i will use mine in nyc if it is icy, same with something on my feet to prevent slippage.
I am past the age of falling and not getting hurt, and have a lot of climbing to the tops of the mountains north of here in winter. I know how many times the poles have saved mu butt, both way up on top and on a simple hiking trail, where a trip stick gets between my legs and causes a face plant. Even when they collapsed, my face was still a couple inches above the rocks i was on..
ZRG also makes great carbon poles for xc ski ing, also paddles

i should update this, since it didn't answer your question,
with bamboo you could use epoxy, and epoxy on screw type 3 or 2 piece.
a lot of the older ski poles were made with bamboo, i have seen the ferrule you need, so it is out there, a old school nordic shi ship may know where to get them

Put "walking stick" in the search box, many instructables on how to make your own. Good luck.

Hmm, I've never done nordic walking but looking at the pro commercially made poles, they look like adjustable ski poles. The ergonomic grip could be carved from wood/plastic, built up with epoxy putty or sugru. The wrist strap and wrist support could be made from leather or nylon web. You can even take some rubber bicycle handlebar grips to modify. If you use the poles like in cross country skiing to dig in and push off while walking, you could wrap nylon thread around the rattan or bamboo with epoxy to form a stress matrix for extra strength. Look for the instructables with the bamboo bike frame to get some ideas.

I am sorry Paul. I shouldn't have joked about on your forum about your serious question. I apologize.

So, if the poles, according to your link, are "like" ski poles, what makes them different ?
Without knowing that, it would be hard to design them.

actually ski poles that are sized correctly will prove far superior to the cheap/flimsy 2-piece and 3-piece twist-lock and flip-lock collapsible poles flooding the market and destined for the landfill in record time. Cheap/flimsy collapsible poles tend to rattle, vibrate, gradually collapse or collapse unexpectedly. for sizing it is ideal to have your elbow at about 90 degrees and forearm parallel to the ground when strapped in and standing tall. If you don't have the correct length ski poles to use look for SWIX and EXEL Nordic Walking Poles - quality one-piece poles that come in 16 different lengths at WWW.SKIWALKING.COM and the American Nordic Walking System. They also make the best ski racing poles - all in the same Euro factories. Quality poles with real Nordic Walking Straps patented by the Salomon Ski Company.

I use hiking poles all the time when walking in the countryside, despite all the "where's your skis" comments. For me, weight combined with strength is important, so I wouldn't really consider homemade ones.. I've tried poles that have a combined glove and wrist strap but don't find them comfortable and only use ones with a strap. Regarding the strap, I use the same way that ski poles are held. The hand goes up through the loop, and then is brought down so the the strap then passes through between the thumb and first finger. It's shown brilliantly here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Do-it-yourself-adjustable-Trekking-Poles-for-abou/step5/Notes/ I prefer how this lets me just sit into the loops, just like using a handrail to climb stair, but I've found on long walks it can run the web between your finger and thumb so I always wear cycling gloves, which solves the problem easily. This method also means you don't actually need to grip the pole hard at all, the force is being transmitted though the strap as it passes between the thump and finger. You move the poles back and too with just easy finger control and need hardly any grip at all, I just use a couple of fingers to direct them, it's all in the rhythm. I hope this is understandable!! Also, you can pare weight off even cheap (or especially cheap) poles. The trick is to know the maximum length you want the pole to ever be, then saw off the excess on each section, leaving the thinnest end section as long as possible. Cheap ones often have over heavy grips too, so they can be hacked away. I've made cheap poles weigh almost as little as my most expensive ones doing this. Also, if you want telescopics, unless you need the compactability of three part poles, choose two part. They usually weigh less, are cheaper and are more rigid.

The best Nordic Walking Poles are very much like durable one-piece downhill or cross country ski poles. Durable one-piece shafts are always much more user-friendly than cheap/flimsy twist-locks and flip-locks found on 2-piece and 3-piece poles. I would take an old pair of bamboo ski poles over the cheap collapsible poles flooding the market from China. REAL Nordic Walking Poles come equipped with special fingerless glove type straps - eliminating the need to squeeze the poles. The best straps are patented by the Salomon Ski Company and can be found on SWIX and EXEL Nordic Walking Poles. Similar straps were used by all of the Olympic Nordic skiers this past winter. The similarities between Nordic Walking and cross country skiing are many and the health benefits are HUGE!

Nordic Walking The Track.JPG

REAL Nordic Walking Poles are equipped with removable rubber Nordic Walking Tips/Asphalt Paws and are designed to work in the mall, on carpet, indoor/outdoor tracks, on the road and on other hard surfaces. Remove the rubber tips and the metal tip is exposed - ideal for trails, grass, the beach, snow and ice. Durable one-piece ski poles will work great on trails - especially if they are sized correctly. Cheap bamboo ski poles will often out perform cheap/flimsy 2-piece and 3-piece twist-lock and flip-lock poles. As we all know, telescoping/collapsible yard tools and tripods are far from indestructable. Real Nordic Walking Poles are also equipped with comfortable fingerless glove type straps - patented by the Salomon Ski Company. They are far superior the strapless, loop straps and velcro slings. At WWW.SKIWALKING.COM and the American Nordic Walking System we don't try to scam individuals into cheap/flimsy twist-lock and flip-lock poles. We offer 16 different lengths of durrable one-piece poles that prove to be safer, lighter and much more user-friendly than twist-lock and flip-lock poles that tend to rattle, vibrate and collapse unexpectedly. The perfect length poles help us to automatically walk with a super straight back - better walking posture is biomechanically a good thing. This improved walking posture when combined with the unique 4-Wheel-Drive type action of walking with poles radically reduces the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back. Nordic Walking is low impact and yet provides a highly effective workout - burning more calories and working more muscle groups than regular walking.

In the book, The Places in Between by Rory Stewart, he describes how he created his walking pole for when he trekked across Afghanistan. I think he put a piece of metal on the end of a piece of wood, and had it forged by a group of Afghans.