Using Trekking & Walking Poles

Follow the basic steps below for hassle free walking pole use. Our ‘How to use Trekking and Walking poles’ guide explains how to use trekking poles to get the most out of them. Walking with poles gives you a feeling of security, balance and confidence. Once you get used to using trekking poles on your adventures, you won’t want to walk without them.

1. Using Trekking Poles
2. One or two trekking poles

1) Using Trekking Poles

Walking poles are used to give both support and propulsion; using the pole strap and handle correctly and setting your pole to the right length, are the first steps to using trekking poles effectively. (Please note that walking poles and trekking poles are the same thing – people just use the name they prefer!)

Using the pole strap and handle correctly:

Open the strap and adjust the size of the loop so that you can just get your hand up through it. Pass your hand up through the loop, open your hand as shown in the image and then grip over the strap and handle together. In this way the strap and handle work together to provide the best combination of support and versatility. You can easily reach forward, say down a steep incline, or push back, for example when leaping a stream, and still remain in contact with the pole and supported by the strap.
Trekking pole handle and strap Using trekking pole handle and strap Gripping trekking pole handle and strap.

Setting the correct height of your trekking poles:

When your walking pole is set at the correct height for you and you are holding the handle of the pole with the tip on the ground, your elbow should be bent at about 90 degrees. Some people prefer a slightly longer pole, some prefer it shorter. Try different heights until you find a height that suits you for the majority of walking conditions you encounter. Most people set their poles between 115cm and 125cm.

Using your Trekking poles:

When walking over normal trekking terrain trekking poles can really add to your stride length and walking pace. The key is to plant your poles at an angle pointing behind you so that you are driving yourself forward with each step. It is important to flex and extend from your shoulder joint during this action and not just from your elbows.

Using trekking poles for support Using trekking poles for propulsion:

When negotiating very uneven or steep terrain, you are more likely to need support from your hiking poles rather than propulsion. Here the poles are best used in an upright position and used as a mobile handrail, allowing a safer and more rapid descent.

2) Should I use one walking pole or two?

Generally speaking, if you’re travelling easy terrain with no load, one pole may be sufficient. If, however, you’re travelling varied terrain or carrying a load, you’ll want the support and stability that two poles will provide you. When using a pair of poles you can take advantage of all of the benefits of using poles, including the increase in fitness that develops as a response to using your whole body to hike or run, as opposed to just your legs.


Related Links:

Benefits of Using Walking and Trekking Poles

How to Choose The Best Poles For You

Maintaining Your Walking & Trekking Poles