Not all the Caminos are the same, not all the pilgrims are the same, as a matter of fact not all the poles are the same.


Poles or staffs have been used by original pilgrims since the beginning of the Camino the Santiago. It was part of their pilgrimage equipment. . By the late middle ages, the small nature of their bag represented voluntary poverty, the staff was a representative of faith, to both lean upon for support and ward off evil in the form of dogs and thieves.  Formerly,  a pilgrim’s dress  consisted on a long cloak, broad hat, a staff and gourd, a pouch to hold alms and a scrip or satchel. The broad hats to protect them from the sun, the cloak to counter cold and rain, the satchel for food, the gourd for water and the staff for defence and support over rough ground. The scallop shell, which the pilgrims wore soon, became the symbol of the Jacobean pilgrimage. This was to identify them as pilgrims and not vagabonds.

Nowadays, pilgrim´s equipment has changed a lot in shape but not in its essence. So taking poles or not has become a controversial topic, which pilgrims often debate about.


If you have made your mind up to take ones, there are even different options to choose: walking poles, trekking poles or hiking sticks.

Whatever you choose you should notice:

The number one rule is to simply always aim at keeping a comfortable 90 degree arm angle in your elbow. So they should be adjustable in length.

They should be as light-weight as possible while meeting all your other needs.

The benefit of using poles comes from the reduced impact on hips, knees, and ankle. Besides, they help on conquering hard and rough terrain.

You can use just one or two, according to your fitness, preference or age.

If you want to use your hands very often while walking, take poles with wrist strips. Beware of  watching videos to know how to use them properly, or they will become useless and a nuisance.


You can read some piece of advice on the forums, such as:

“My advice – if you are going to take technical poles, learn to use them so that you can use them all day and every day. If you don’t think you will do that, buy a simple pilgrim staff at the start – you will be a bit more stable and won’t have wasted the money on a set of technical features you don’t have practice using, and will end up frustrating you.” by Dougfitz  on Camino de Santiago Forum

Buen Camino, amigos!

Anxo Saco

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