If you’re just learning to use hiking poles, start by holding them at your sides with the tips pointing forward. As you walk, let the poles swing naturally and keep your hands close to your body. So, how high should hiking poles be?
The general rule of thumb is that the poles should be at hip height when you’re standing upright.
To adjust the height of your hiking poles, hold them in your hands and twist the shafts until they’re the correct length. Most hiking poles have built-in adjusters that make it easy to get the perfect fit and it’s worth it to buy hiking poles.
When you’re using your hiking poles, you may find that you need to adjust their height from time to time. For example, you might need to lower them when you’re going downhill or raise them when you’re climbing uphill.
Hiking poles can be a great addition to your hiking gear, but it’s important to use them correctly. Start by adjusting the poles to hip height and experiment with different techniques until you find a style that works for you.
When hiking on flat terrain, you can hold your poles at your sides or in front of you. If you’re holding them at your sides, let the tips swing naturally and keep your hands close to your body.
If you’re holding them in front of you, grip the handles lightly and keep your arms straight.
When hiking downhill, you’ll want to use your poles for stability. grip the handles tightly and plant the tips firmly into the ground. Lean your body weight into the poles and keep your stride short.
It may take some practice to get the hang of using your poles on downhill sections, but hiking poles are worth it.
When hiking uphill, you’ll want to use your hiking poles for support. grip the handles tightly and plant the tips firmly into the ground.
Use your arms to help push your body up the hill. You may find it helpful to keep your stride short and take small steps.
Types of Trekking Poles
There are a few different types of trekking poles to choose from. Here are some of the most popular options:
These poles are made with telescoping shafts that collapse for easy storage and transportation. They’re a good choice for hikers who need to save space in their packs.
These poles have non-adjustable shafts that are a specific length. They’re a good choice for hikers who know the perfect length for their height and don’t need to adjust the poles while hiking.
These poles have both fixed and collapsible sections. The fixed section is usually shorter than the collapsible section. These poles are a good choice for hikers who need the adjustability of collapsible poles but want the stability of fixed-length poles.
Now that you know how to choose the right hiking poles, it’s time to hit the trail! Poles can make hiking more enjoyable and help you reach your goals.
Trekking Pole Length
Properly sized poles are important for comfort and safety while hiking. Here’s how to choose the right length for your trekking poles:
- Stand up straight with your arms at your sides.
- Measure from the ground to your armpits.
- Add 5-10 inches (13-25 cm) to this number. This is the ideal length for your trekking poles.
Keep in mind that the length of your poles may vary depending on the type of terrain you’re hiking on. For example, you might need shorter poles for downhill sections and longer poles for uphill sections.
Trekking Pole Features
There are a few different features to consider when choosing trekking poles. Here are some of the most popular options:
Some poles have shock-absorbing systems that help reduce the impact of each step. This can be helpful for hikers who need extra support or who are hiking on rough terrain.
Some poles can be folded for easy storage and transportation. This is a good feature for hikers who need to save space in their packs.
Some poles come with interchangeable tips that can be swapped out for different terrain. This is a good feature for hikers who hike on a variety of terrain or who need to hike in different conditions.
Trekking Pole Shaft Materials
The shaft is the main body of the pole and it’s typically made from one of three materials: aluminum, carbon fiber, or fiberglass.
Aluminum is the most common material for trekking pole shafts. It’s strong and lightweight, making it a good choice for hikers who need a durable pole.
Carbon fiber is a strong and lightweight material that’s often used in high-end trekking poles. It’s more expensive than aluminum but it can provide a better balance of strength and weight.
Fiberglass is a less expensive alternative to carbon fiber. It’s not as strong as carbon fiber but it’s lighter than aluminum, a good choice for hikers who want a lightweight pole.
Tips for Using Trekking Poles
Fortunately, there’s a quick learning curve when it comes to using trekking poles. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Grip the poles correctly
The most important thing is to grip the poles correctly. You should hold the handles in your palms with your fingers wrapped around the straps. Your thumbs should be pointing up and your elbows should be at your sides.
Don’t grip the poles too tightly
You might be tempted to grip the poles tightly, but this can actually be counter-productive. If you grip the poles too tightly, you’ll fatigue your arms and shoulders quickly.
Instead, try to relax your grip and let the poles do the work.
Use your arms
In addition to your legs, your arms are an important part of the walking process. Use your arms to help power your strides and relieve some of the pressure on your legs.
Swing your arms
As you walk, swing your arms naturally at your sides. This will help you maintain a good rhythm and will help you cover more ground.
Poles are a great addition to any hiker’s arsenal, but they’re not a magic wand. Be sure to warm up before you hike and take breaks often. And, as always, be sure to hike safely and follow Leave No Trace principles.
With a little practice, you’ll be using your trekking poles like a pro in no time!
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