I'm a walking stick person. Meaning, I like making walking sticks. It's a craft that requires no skill and no tools more complicated than a Swiss Army knife. As for actually using walking sticks on hiking trails? 100 percent of my creations have ended up in campfires.
So when Swedish outdoors company BungyPump sent Portland Monthly some walking sticks this winter, I didn't know if I was ready to make the leap from stick appreciator to stick user.
BungyPump's poles looks pretty much like a standard aluminum ski pole with rubber grips, except slightly taller to compensate for the 20 centimeters of suspension that collapses into the ground as you walk. Depending on the pole you choose, the suspension gives you 4 to 10 kilos (or about 9 to 22 lbs) of resistance every time you compress the stick. A leisurely stroll becomes an upper body workout.
According to BungyPump's press materials, that resistance can boost calorie burning by up to 77 percent. I couldn't verify those numbers, but it's definitely a workout to use these poles for any length of time. One downside: they don't offer much stability for serious uphill climbs but BungyPump also has locking mechanisms and standard, non-compressing poles. The ideal BungyPump exercise trail is a probably flat path in Forest Park or one with only a slight incline.
So if you want to kickstart a new outdoors trend—or if you're a European tourist and lost your luggage—BungyPump training poles start at $79 and can be purchased from their US online retailer.