Have you ever tried using trekking poles in the trail? Trekking poles are useful in 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 it. 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 on relying too much in trekking poles, but these things come in handy at some point on the trail.
5 Tips And Techniques To Using Trekking Poles Properly
Why is there a need to use trekking poles? There are short term and long term benefits for 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. 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. 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 impedes their movement. 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. 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. 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. 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 in extreme hiking.
Feature Image Via – collectivequarterly