What Size of Hiking Stick Do I Need?

what size hiking stick do i need

For many hikers, walkers, backpackers, trekkers, and snowshoers, trekking poles and hiking staff are a must-have. The reasons for this are straightforward: They increase your balance and offer assistance on any surface type. Follow these guidelines to get the most out of trekking poles:

Single or double? You must first choose whether you want a pair of trekking poles or single hiking staff.

  1. Find the right length: When pole tips contact the ground, you should be able to achieve a 90-degree bend at your elbow.
  2. Choose features: You must evaluate the characteristics of each option before making a selection. Adjustability, folding,  weight, shock absorption, and locking mechanisms are just a few of the features and choices that will assist you in your purchase.
  3. Learn tips for using the poles: Following a few simple hints, such as how to overcome obstacles on the trail with poles, will get you going.

How To Set Your Trekking Poles And Walking Poles Height

what size hiking stick do I need

Trekking poles are a must-have for many hikers, trekkers, tree finders, and snowshoers. The reasons for this are straightforward: They increase your balance and offer assistance on all types of terrain. This is fantastic, but many users aren’t aware of how to change the height of their trekking poles. The optimum height for walking poles varies with users, and it is frequently a question of personal choice. Always make sure you adjust the pole height to your needs! Regardless if you are the same height, everyone is different!

Correct Height For Downhill And Uphill Trekking

  • Uphill: If you are trying to maximize the amount of weight that can be carried, shorten it by 5-10 centimeters depending on steepness and inclination. If they are too long, you may inadvertently overstretch them when trying to plant them.
  • Downhill: Depending on the steepness and inclination, your tent may be 5-10 cm longer when set up. When you are not stretching out too much while setting up the poles, they will assist with balance by keeping your knees from getting crushed. Your knees will take some of the strain off when traveling downhill.
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A tent pole can easily detach from a guyline in high winds, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Always buy two poles, one for each arm, as a reminder. Make sure your poles are not fully extended when walking on flat ground. You want some length remaining so that you may extend the poles for greater reach on the downs. On level/undulating terrain, make a point of resting somewhere in the middle.

Keep in mind that the heights of your trekking poles will differ from person to person (even if you are the same height) and from terrain to terrain.

Types Of Trekking Poles

person on top of mountain during daytime
what size hiking stick do I need

Trekking Poles: Trekking poles enhance your stability while hiking and backpacking by reducing force on your knees and absorbing shock. Most are adjustable in length, and some have internal springs that absorb impact to further decrease strain.

Hiking Staff: A single pole that is often referred to as a walking staff or a traveling staff, this is a one-pole device that works best on flat ground with little or no weight on your back. Hiking staves are adjustable and some have shock-absorbing properties. They may also include an integrated camera mount under the handle so you can use the staff as a monopod.

Adjusting Pole Length

If you have adjustable trekking poles, it is critical to understand what height to set them at. Trekking pole adjustments that are incorrect can cause discomfort in your arms, shoulders, back, and neck.

For general hiking: Adjust the length until your arm makes a 90-degree bend at the elbow when you hold the pole with the tip on the ground near your foot. This will be suitable for most of your trekking. If you have three-section poles, aim to set the top adjustment somewhere in the middle of the adjustment range, then set the bottom adjustment to the length that puts your arm at the proper angle. Then, if you need to make adjustments while hiking, only utilize the top adjuster to fine-tune the length.

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For long uphill sections: It’s possible to reduce each pole by around 5–10cm for more leverage and secure plants. The steeper the slope, the shorter your poles need to be. The trekking poles should help you in the ascending hills without causing strain or tiredness to your shoulders, and your shoulders should never feel like being pushed up into your backpack straps. If this is the case, reduce the length of your poles even more.

For long downhill sections: To improve your balance, consider lengthening each pole by 5–10cm from the length you specified for general trekking. Doing so will help you maintain a more upright posture and improve your balance.

If you are on a long traversing section: To enhance comfort and stability, you may shorten the pole on the uphill side and extend it on the downhill side as needed.

Trekking Pole Locking Mechanisms

All trekking poles have locking features to keep them from sliding in length while in use, whether they are adjustable or not. The mechanisms lock and unlock non-adjustable poles, allowing you to extend them fully and collapse them for storage. Adjustable poles function similarly, with the exception that their locking devices enable you to adjust the length of two or three interlocking sections as well. This adaptability (which usually ranges from 24 to 55 inches) allows you to modify the poles to your height and terrain.

The majority of poles possess one of these four locking mechanisms:

External lever lock: Even when wearing gloves, a lever-based, clamplike mechanism allows you to swiftly and simply change the length of your pole, even in the deep woods.

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Push-button lock: This locking mechanism consists of two poles that lock with a single tug. The lock may be released and the poles collapsed with a press of the button. Some of these poles are not expandable in length.

Twist lock: The most common type of rebounder uses an expandable screw assembly that is dependably robust.

Combination lock: Some poles employ a mix of the other locking mechanisms to achieve a balance of strength, lightweight, and simplicity of use. A pole may, for example, feature an external lever lock on the upper shaft and a twist lock on the lower shaft.

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