Anyway, I bet you're an advocate of hiking poles. They really can help you take a lot of impact away from your legs and knees. Plus, they're just great all-around for helping with balance and maintaining a good hiking rhythm. I don't use poles all the time, but I'd say that on 80 percent of my day hikes, overnighters, and climbing trips I now carry a pair.
For you, I'd definitely say that lighter is better. The Leki Ultralites ($100 per pair) use very thin shafts and high-tech alloys to cut their weight to 14 ounces a pair, about five to six ounces less than most other poles. Not a huge amount, to be sure, but one that could become significant on a long walk such as a Grand Canyon trip.
As for losing the shock absorption of your Kompressor's, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Most of the benefits of the shocks go to your elbows and shoulders, not your knees. So you're not going to be hurting them any by using a shock-less pole. In any event, I'm skeptical about whether a shock-equipped pole really does that much. I think it's mostly a marketing ploy.
I'd also do what I could to add cushioning to your boots. Take out the stock insoles and add some gel-based inserts such as Sof Sole Gel Inserts ($10) or Spenco Polysorb Gel Heel Cushions (also $10). They'll help cut down the pounding that your feet and legs are apt to take on the canyon descent.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.Contribute to Outside →