A trekking pole is a hiking gear or accessory which adds some rhythm to their walking pace and support. It allows your arms to help push you forward and upward. Trekking poles are mostly necessary for rough and steep trails, it is not really necessary for smooth trails.
Trekking poles can increase your speed and stability; it is even helpful for reducing knee pain. These are also used as a measurement tool while climbing rocks or boulders, or to measure the depth of mud, water and facilitate a crossing.
You will find both heights adjustable and fixed trekking poles in the market. The correct height adjustment depends on hiker’s height and the type of the trail. Many hikers do not know trekking pole height adjustment techniques.
Adjusting Trekking Pole Right Way
You need to know how to adjust your trekking pole and you will have to start lengthening the sections out until you get to a point where you adjust them to be snug and then stand and see if they fit.
Adjust according to the height
Hold your pole with its tip touching the ground to find the optimum length for your trekking pole. When you are done adjusting the height as necessary, your lower arm will be parallel with the ground with your upper arm at a 90-degree angle.
If you are taller than about 6 feet, choose a trekking pole that has a maximum length of at least 51 inches. If your height is less than 6 feet, you will be able to shorten most adjustable trekking poles enough to make them work for you. Make sure, it doesn’t conflict with your hiking hat or other head or neck items.
Here is a height adjustment chart which you may find useful while adjusting your trekking pole’s height:
- 4’8″ – 100 cm
- 4’10” – 100 cm
- 5’0″ – 105 cm
- 5’2″ – 110 cm
- 5’4″ – 115 cm
- 5’6″ – 115 cm
- 5’8″ – 120 cm
- 5’10” – 125 cm
- 6’0″ – 125 cm
- 6’2″ – 130 cm
- 6’4″ – 135 cm
Adjust according to trail
For use on flat ground and slightly varying trail, a properly adjusted trekking pole will have your elbow at a fairly, right angle to your body. Check to see if your elbow is relatively at a right angle.
- If the height of the pole is too low;
- If it is angled down then you will need to lengthen the pole some more.
- Also, if your hand is angled upwards and beyond the right angle;
Then you will have to shorten the length a little bit in order to fix the height. Also, your hand should reach out and be able to grasp the pole comfortably. If you adjust your pole a little bit lower than a 90-degree angle then you can actually get more force generation through your arm.
When you are going downhill you will have to lengthen the poles from the length you set it at for general hiking. When you are going on a sloppy descent you would want them longer, more like of chest height.
The steeper or uphill the slope is, the more you will be shortening your poles. Your trekking poles should assist you in moving uphill without causing strain or fatigue to your shoulders.
Your shoulders should never feel as if they are in an unnatural, lifted position or as if they are being pushed up into your backpack straps. If you feel something like that then you need to shorten your poles even more.
Adjusting Trekking Pole: Tips
Another important feature about adjusting trekking poles is the rubber tips. These tips are removable and after removing you will see a screw head.
Rubber tips work really well for flat grounds and slick rocks.
The screw tips work well when you are in screen or an on a loose soil ground where you need to dig down through the surface to get some stability.
Trekking Pole Locking Mechanisms
To hold the adjusted lengths, all trekking poles come with locking mechanisms. For nonadjustable trekking poles, locking mechanisms help to make the poles short for packing. These locking mechanisms also let you adjust the length of the between interlocking sections.
This adjustability lets you adapt the poles according to your height and the trail. There are four types of locking mechanisms used for the trekking poles. They are:
External lever locks:
A locking mechanism like clamps which is quick and easy to adjust. You can adjust this even you are wearing gloves.
This type of locking mechanism works like buttons which you can operate with a single click. You just need to push button to release the lock and collapse the poles. This locking mechanism is mainly used for nonadjustable trekking poles.
If you are backpacking hiking, then you should check out if the process doesn’t create problems with the straps of the bag. Also, watch the pant pockets.
This locking mechanism is time-consuming than the other ones. You need an extra screwdriver or something like that to fix the lock.
This style of the mechanism is stronger and durable than the other ones.
When a pole has two different locks that are called the combination locking mechanism.
This mechanism is light-weighted in comparison to other locks. It also strengthens the balance and is very easy to use.
A pole might have an external lever lock on the upper shaft and a twist lock on the lower shaft.
Some trekking poles are not nonadjustable. These fixed-length poles tend to be lighter weight than adjustable poles because they function with fewer parts.
These types of poles are popular among the ultra-light crowd. If the hiking trail is of one height and you know it before ahead then these non-adjustable poles are great for activities. If you are wearing proper hiking clothes, then it will be a lot easier task. If not, it can create a problem.
Most trekking poles come with a series of graduated markings. This allows you to figure out which adjustment is going to be right for you so every time you adjust your poles you can go right to that measurement and be certain that it will be properly adjusted to fit you.
For holding the pole properly, put your hand down through the strap and move the tail out of the way and grasp the handle. This way, when the strap is weighted it will cradle your hand and you can still grab onto the pole.
Most of the trekking poles come with extreme adjustable lengths. If you are on the very tall or very short end of the height spectrum then you may want to double check on the poles length before you buy it to make sure it is of a length that suits your body type.
How to Use Trekking Pole? Tips
Trekking poles are like extra two legs you can have during the hike if you use it properly.
With adjusting its length properly, you need to know how to get the best out of them during your backpacking hiking trips. Here are a few tips you can follow to use them properly.
- One of the major questions you will find over the internet about the trekking pole is how to use trekking pole wrist straps. Well, the wrist strap with pulling the tension block and tighten it properly to prevent the aching hands. Also, this process can overcome the sprained wrist during the hiking trip.
- Keep the trekking pole close to your body, rather sideways. It shouldn’t be in front of the leading foot while you are walking uphill. For downhill walking the pole should be a little.
- Move your pole forward with the opposite foot. This pattern comes naturally and is a safer pattern for climbing the mountains. Don’t try to do the opposite. But when you are stepping up, you need to take both poles forward and then move.