Recently on a trip to Sedona, AZ, I found myself struggling a bit on uneven terrain. My backpack was loaded to the brim with photography gear and the extra weight on my back occasionally made me feel unbalanced and unsteady, especially when climbing over rocks or up/down steep paths.

One of my friends noticed I was having a hard time and offered to let me use one of her trekking poles. I hesitated at first … it was one more thing to carry, but she insisted. 

Trekking poles are a game changer

Trekking poles makes photographing on Sedona hikes much easier

I headed down the trail with my “walking stick.” As the path became increasingly rutted and rocky I found myself relying more and more on the trekking pole. It provided an extra point of contact with the ground and a surprising amount of stability.

Farther down the path … or rather lack of path, I found myself traversing fair sized rocks and massive tree roots. The trekking pole gave me something to hold on to, to keep my balance. Without it, a) I wouldn’t have gone nearly as far, and b) would have likely ended up on my a** and injured.

I was truly surprised at the level of confidence that additional point of contact with the ground gave me. 

Additional benefits of trekking poles

treking poles helped me get this black and white photo in Sedona

In addition to the added stability, the trekking pole also proved useful at pushing aside branches and could easily have knocked down spiderwebs, if necessary. You can also use a pole as a probe to check if a rock is stable or even how deep the water is, if you’re considering crossing a stream.

Adding trekking poles to your gear collection

Shortly after I returned from my trip, I started shopping for a set of my own trekking poles. The prices can range from around $30 to more than $150. I settled on this midpriced set from Amazon. When collapsed they take up very little space, and even come with a small carry bag. 

If you’re planning to head out on the trails, I highly recommend taking a set of trekking poles. You’ll be surprised at how great they are and wonder why you didn’t get them sooner!