Now that the sun is consistently warming the peaks, I would say it's time to begin moving from the hike planning phase to the get out and go phase. The snow continues to melt and the buds are breaking through. Get out into the back country early this year and consider this: The better your gear, the more comfortable your experience will be. This applies to hiking boots, backpacks and of course breathable clothing. But this season, consider adding a new element to your hiking package: Trekking poles. In my early twenties while hiking through Glacier National Park, I would quietly snicker at those using hiking poles. I simply didn't understand them. But I have since learned that when you hike with poles, you are distributing weight and shock over four limbs instead of two. People who use hiking poles discover an almost immediate benefit to their knees, especially on downhill terrain, according to Mats Lundkvist of thebackpacker.com Hiking poles or staffs help us to reduce weight on our feet and legs. The modern design of the hiking pole distributes the weight evenly on the whole body instead of legs. According to one estimate poles can reduce 15% of weight from your legs by spreading it on the arms and other parts of body. As they act like your legs so they also bear some of the weight. Especially when you are climbing on a steep hill, the poles bear much weight than in normal walking so the percentage of weight may rise even further. When you take the leap and get hiking poles, you are doing yourself a favor, not just for your knees but for your overall safety in the back country as you maneuver through early runoff, unstable scree or wildlife on the trail. It's good to be versatile. Here at KT Tape, we know the meaning of versatility. Kinesiology Therapeutic tape is used for a myriad of reasons in addition to drug free pain relief, including correcting body mechanics, creating biofeedback and increasing circulation & lymphatic drainage. When I hit the trail this weekend, I'm going to be outfitted with poles and using KT Tape...join me!