Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I should have bought poles from an outfitter

I have keep reminding myself that summer is coming. It seems to get farther away with every snowflake that fall. Getting ready to hit the great outdoors is warding off those winter blues. Summer is coming. Our churches are revving up for mission trips to Alaska, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Picking out walking poles didn’t go as well last year as I had planned. Instead of grabbing the first ones that I saw, it would have been better to visit Mast General Store downtown or another outfitter.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, an outfitter is a store or a person that specializes in outdoor equipment or clothing. If you need help or have questions about gear for outdoors, these are the people that you want to talk with. I found this out when buying a pair of hiking poles.

A lot of people make the same mistake. I walked into my favorite retailer and went to the sporting section to see what was available. They had a couple of different brands of walking poles. The basic premise of each was pretty straightforward. Pick a pair, adjust it for my height and hit the trail (or in my case, the pavement.) So, instead of making an informed decision, I chose poles that were in my favorite color. 

The error of my ways began to creep in after using them only a few times. They didn’t steady me well. The poorly fitting poles put more pressure on my back than was comfortable for me.  I simply didn’t know how to adjust the poles for my height, to lock my wrists, or to use them close to my body, instead of swinging them out front. It only took a few internet searches to steer me correctly.

An outfitter could have helped me select walking poles and adjust them for my height before leaving the store. 

I also needed to pick up t-shirts and clothes for the outdoors. Deals4Clothing is an online site where you can find promo codes and deals on clothing. A sidebar made it easy to search by brand. Although I didn’t find a jacket, the website was responsive and user friendly. Best of all the deals looked to be pretty good.

The walking pole experience has made me gun shy about buying equipment online. My next outdoor purchase may be a backpack, so I’ll probably see an outfitter. I’m going to leave the equipment to the pros and look online for clothing and other items. How about you?