How to Use Trekking Poles: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Use Trekking Poles: A Comprehensive Guide

Embarking on a trekking expedition demands careful consideration of essential gear, and among them, selecting the right trekking poles is paramount. To ensure an enjoyable and comfortable hiking experience, enthusiasts must weigh three critical factors: finding the right length, selecting the ideal features, and assessing the weight of the trekking poles. Each of these components plays a pivotal role in enhancing stability, minimizing impact, and optimizing overall performance during outdoor adventures.

2. Finding Your Perfect Match

Before setting out, consider these three factors:

  • Length: This is crucial for comfort and efficiency. Use the provided chart as a starting point, but fine-tune the length by planting the pole upright and gripping it comfortably with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Features: Consider adjustability for varied terrain, foldability for easy storage, shock absorption for joint protection, and weight based on your preferences and fitness level.

3. Types of Trekking Poles

There are three main types of trekking poles:

  • Fixed length trekking poles - Not adjustable, so you must buy a specific size. They are extremely durable but less versatile.
  • Adjustable trekking poles - Can change length with flick locks, twist locks, or push-button mechanisms. This allows you to fine-tune fit. They're more versatile for changing terrain but have more break points.
  • Folding/compact trekking poles - Collapse down to a smaller size. Great for packing but less durable over time. Some also have adjustable lengths.

When purchasing, consider where and how often you will use the poles to decide which type is the best option.

4. Trekking Pole Length - Adjustable and Fixed

Adjusting the length of trekking poles is pivotal for their optimal use, especially when navigating diverse terrains. Refer to the following graph for suggested pole lengths based on height:


Suggested Pole Length

< 5 ft. 1 in.

100 cm (39 in.)

5 ft. 1 in. – 5 ft. 7 in.

110 cm (43 in.)

5 ft. 8 in. – 5 ft. 11 in.

120 cm (47 in.)

6 ft.+

130 cm (51 in.)

Remember: This is a guide, not a rule. Always fine-tune the length for a comfortable 90-degree elbow bend.

Tailor pole length to specific terrain conditions:

5. Trekking Pole Length

Proper pole length helps with balance, absorbs impact, and reduces strain on your body. As a general rule of thumb for hiking:

  • General hiking: 100-110cm (39-43 in)
  • Long uphill sections: 110-120cm (43-47 in)
  • Long downhill sections: 120-130cm (47-51 in)
  • Long traversing sections: 110-120cm (43-47 in)

6. Trekking Pole Features

  • Adjustable Poles: Permit customization for diverse terrains and preferences. an change length with flick locks, twist locks, push buttons. More versatility.
  • Non-adjustable Poles: Deliver simplicity, lightweight design, and hassle-free use. Fixed length. Less versatility but greater durability.
  • Foldable Poles: Offer compactness for convenient storage and easy transportation. Collapse down for packing and traveling. Sacrifices some stability.
  • Shock-absorbing Poles: Reduce strain on joints, especially beneficial during downhill sections. Springs or air shafts reduce impact on wrists/arms. Ideal for high-impact activities.
  • Standard Poles: Present durability and straightforward functionality for regular use. Rigid poles without shock absorption. Better energy transfer for some hikers.
  • Ultralight Poles: Prioritize minimal weight without sacrificing strength. Emphasize low weight. Great for through hikes but less durable.

7. Trekking Pole Locking Mechanisms

Selecting the appropriate locking mechanism is paramount for seamless and secure adjustment:

  • a. External Lever Lock: Rotate an external lever to achieve desired length
  • Push-button Lock: Employ a convenient button press to modify pole length.
  • Combination Lock: Features a hybrid mechanism incorporating external levers and buttons.

Opt for a locking mechanism aligning with your preference for ease of use and reliability.

8. Trekking Pole Shaft Materials

  • Aluminum - Affordable, fairly lightweight. Prone to vibration/noise but very strong.
  • Carbon fiber - Lightweight, absorbs shock, expensive. Strong yet can crack if overloaded.
  • Composite - Mix of materials like fiberglass, plastic, carbon fiber. Lightweight and durable.
  • Cork - Organic option. Eco-friendly but less variety in pole customization.

9. Trekking Pole Grips

Grip Materials:

  • Cork - Sweat-wicking, comfortable for long periods. But can compress over time.
  • Rubber - Durable, weather-resistant, firm grasp. Can be slick when wet.
  • Foam - Lightweight, shock-absorbing. Less durable over time.

10. Deciding on poles for Men’s, Women’s, Kids and Unisex Trekking Poles

Many brands offer poles tailored specifically for men, women and children via grip type/size, grip color patterns, size adjustability range and overall pole weights. However, most adult unisex poles work well for both men and women.

  • Men's and Women's poles: Differ in grip size and shaft thickness to accommodate anatomical differences.
  • Kids' poles: Shorter and lighter, designed for smaller stature and growing bodies.
  • Unisex poles: Offer a wider grip range and shaft diameter, suitable for various users.

11. Other Trekking Pole Considerations

  • Wrist straps - Help keep hands free and poles secure. Include molded straps or loops.
  • Baskets - Prevent sinking into mud/snow. Consider snow baskets for winter terrain.
  • Anti-shock - Can reduce arm strain on uneven terrain. Integrated into grip or lower shaft.
  • Camera mounts – Allows you to attach a camera for unique hands-free shooting.

Try Militarykart Survival Kit Trekking Pole

Militarykart offers a unique survival kit trekking pole with multiple functionalities. Made of lightweight aluminum, this trekking pole includes a knife for cutting, a saw blade, a ground insertion tip, flintstones for fire starting, a lifesaving whistle, and a compass. With a wide range of applications, this all-in-one tool is perfect for those who seek versatility in their outdoor gear.

Lightweight & High Quality: Our  hiking poles are made of premium Aluminum alloy which makes them extremely durable and is not easy to distort. These poles are perfect for long hikes, backpacking trips, daily walks and camping adventures. The strength of Aluminum is necessary for supporting heavier weight and crucial on rocky terrain.

Multifunctional Usage: Our trekking poles is a combination of many outdoor tools, compass, flintstone, whistle, screwdriver, icebreaker, harpoon, serrated knife.  Those can be helpful aids to you for enjoying rich outdoor life. You can also use it as survival walking cane.

Adjustable Length: Our tactical trekking poles includes 5 aluminum alloy tube and 1 tapered tip, which you can organize your trekking pole according to your need. The maximum length can be up to 106 CM/41.7 inches. The tip is made of tungsten steel, which can be used as a icebreaker. These hiking sticks are collapsible & extendable which makes them great for everyone.

Wide Application: Ergonomic Trekking Poles give you a reason to increase the steps you take. Helps prevent knee injury, support extra weight, and walk comfortably with these hiking poles. | Pick your way over rugged terrain, while keeping your balance and alleviating pressure to your lower body. These hiking poles are designed for those who live to conquer mountains and scale summits


  • Materials: Alumimum Alloy, Stainless Steel, Tungsten Steel
  • Diemsions: 8.07 inches(each tube), the maximum length can be up to 41.7 inches
  • Accessories: compass, flintstone, whistle, screwdriver, icebreaker (tungsten steel tip), serrated knife, camouflage carrying bag

In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of trekking poles is essential for optimizing their use during outdoor adventures. By considering length, features, and additional factors, you can select the perfect trekking poles that suit your specific needs and preferences.