5 Tips And Techniques To Using Trekking Poles Properly

using trekking poles

October 16, 2023 / Comments Off on 5 Tips And Techniques To Using Trekking Poles Properly

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Have you ever tried using trekking poles on the trail? Trekking poles are useful on long grinding climbs. If you're really exhausted and you know it's still a long way to the finish line, you could simply whip out your poles and make good use of them.

By doing this, you're allowing your upper body to get involved in the movement to some degree. Your legs still do the walking, yet your arms and shoulders are somehow sharing the stress to keep you on the go.

I wouldn't really recommend relying too much on trekking poles, but these things come in handy at some point on the trail.

5 Tips And Techniques For Using Trekking Poles Properly

Why is there a need to use trekking poles? There are short-term and long-term benefits to using trekking poles. Short-term benefits include being able to help relieve some of the stress on your knees and joints by distributing the weight of your body to the ground using the poles.

For the long-term benefits, your body won't be able to consistently work like a machine as you get older. Your legs, in particular, will tire over the years despite your healthy lifestyle, so using the poles will somehow share the labor done in the long climb.

5 Tips And Techniques For Using Trekking Poles Properly

Here are tips and techniques to be much more efficient when using trekking poles.

1. Inserting Your Hands into the Wrist Straps

To correctly insert your hands into the pole's wrist straps, your hands should come from underneath, then fold your hand over the grip and strap.

trekking poles 1 pb

This way, you don't have to grip constantly, and your hand can be relaxed in the grip, avoiding unnecessary muscle movement that causes fatigue.

2. Use the Poles to Push Yourself Forward

Use the trekking to engage your upper body to help you move forward. A lot of times, people misuse the poles that impede their movement.

trekking poles 6 pb

Try to use the poles to tip yourself forward as much as possible.

3. Overhand Grip Poling Method

You can use the poles almost more like a cane in this method.

trekking poles 2 pb

Shift your palms up on top of the pole with your ring finger and little finger to stabilize the grip. This way, you can use your upper body strength to push yourself forward.

4. Double Poling Technique

Rather than alternating one pole with each opposite foot, plant both poles and take two steps forward then plant the poles again.

trekking poles 4 pb

This method helps when the weight of your body and the load you're carrying is getting heavier in the climb.

5. Downhill Poling

Using the overhand grip technique, position the poles nice and wide as you go down for better stability.

trekking poles 5 pb

This allows your upper body to take some of the heavy load as go down.

Watch this video review of the Black Diamond Carbon FLZ trekking pole by Backcountry Edge.

As you can see, poling basically helps ease the load carried by your legs as you go deeper into the trail. Personally, I don't resort to poling in most of my hikes as long as my legs are still well-conditioned. But the poles have proven to be very useful at some point in the trail.

Click here for guidelines on extreme hiking.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 30, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.