How to Use Trekking Poles
You don’t need to be a genius to know how to use trekking poles – you just plant them in the ground for support as you walk along.
That being said, if you want to get the most out of them there are times when you’ll want to adjust their size or turn off the anti-shock system (depending on the terrain you’re encountering).
Here’s how to use trekking poles to their maximum potential:
Adjusting the Size of Your Trekking Poles
Most trekking poles are adjustable, and will be able to adjust in size from around 24 inches to 55 inches long.
Trekking poles are often made up of various sections, and they’re designed in such a way that the sections can easily be adjusted and then locked back into place.
When adjusting your trekking pole’s length, it’s a good idea to make sure all the sections are roughly the same length as each other. By having one section of the pole significantly longer than the others, you’ll be placing extra stress on that part of the pole and ultimately limiting its lifespan.
How to use trekking poles based on the terrain:
- On Level Terrain – Place the tip of your pole into the ground and home onto the grip at the top. Your forearm should be parallel to the ground. If it is not, adjust the length of your pole to make it so.
- When Going Uphill – On uphill sections it’s a good idea to shorten your trekking pole(s) by a few inches (how much to shorten depends on how steep the terrain is), as the distance to the ground is shorter in front of you.
- When Going Downhill – On downhill sections it’s a good idea to increase the length of your pole(s) by a few inches. Again, just how much longer to make them depends on how steep the terrain is, but try to lengthen them enough so that your forearm points straight out in front of you (so that it would be parallel with the ground if the ground was flat).
Using the Anti-shock System
Lots of trekking poles now come with a built-in anti-shock system that’s designed to absorb the stress and impact when you’re walking downhill.
Because this system is designed primarily for walking downhill, it should be turned off when walking uphill or on level terrain.
How do you turn the anti-shock system off? On most models, you simply need to push down the spring inside (so that it’s compressed), then turn a part of the pole to lock it in place. If you’re confused, check out the owner’s manual for more details.
Using the Wrist Straps Properly
A lot of people who use trekking poles don’t use the straps properly. The proper way to wear the wrist strap is to put your hand UP through it (instead of DOWN through it).
When done correctly, your weight will be balanced out evenly along your wrist and hands, instead of just on the grip itself.
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