Trekking poles one of the best gear items for every hiker. Using trekking poles will help a hiker in many ways, It is a fact that trekking poles have long-term and short-term benefits. It helps one to move quicker and cover the distance more quickly without wasting a tank of energy, on the other hand, it also helps in preventing injuries, joint pain, and distributing the body weight. Where there are many benefits of using trekking poles, still a lot of people don’t able to get the full benefits of poles because of the wrong technique. Without the correct technique, if you use the trekking pole then you will defeat the purpose of it. So, if you are a beginner who doesn’t know how to use trekking poles then don’t worry today I will tell you the proper technique of how to use trekking poles.
The grip is the top of the pole which allows you to hold the pole tightly and comfortably with your hand. Trekking pole grip comes in different sizes and shapes, choose which fits your hands. It is made of different materials such as rubbers, foams, cork, and plastic. Plastic being the cheap material of all, causes slipperiness in wet conditions.
straps are given at the top of the grip to provide support to the wrist. Straps provide support to your hand so that they don’t get fatigued with a tight grip. Other than that they also provide safety for poles, and decrease the chance of dropping a trekking pole.
Straps are also great to carry the poles when not in use by hanging on your wrist.
shaft segment is present below the grip, usually made of aluminum or carbon. Both aluminum and carbon have their own pros and cons. The carbon shaft tends to be lightweight and more likable able to absorb vibration, while on the other side aluminum provides more strength to the pole, and not easily breakable when comes in contact with pointy or sharp rocks.
Trekking poles come in two or three segments, each narrower than the top one. Segments are locked into each other with help of different locking mechanisms. Three segment poles are good for tall hikers, provide more stability on the downhill. While two-segment shafts don’t collapse and take less space to be packed.
The locking mechanism is the basic feature available in trekking poles, which gives hikers the option to adjust the length of the pole or segment according to their needs. There are two types of locking mechanisms that are used in trekking poles i.e internal locking and external locking mechanism. Internal locking is being used most in trekking poles today.
The internal locking mechanism is made of plastic and totally rely on friction. To change the length of the pole twist the shift, and the plastic widget present inside will expand and gives you an option to adjust the desired length.
Baskets, a round circular cap present below the locking mechanism and just above the tip of a trekking pole. The purpose of a basket in the trekking pole is to prevent the pole from digging or plunging deep. Baskets come in different shapes and sizes. While a small basket is best in rainy or muddy weather, a large one is best for snowy weather.
Tips are the end part of the pole where the pole meets the ground surface. These are made of plastic(upper part) and hard steel(lower part), the steel is so hard and sharp at the bottom that it can dig into the rocks. An extra rubber tip is also available that fits under the steel tips. Rubber tips are used by hikers to prevent any noise or harm to the tip because tips are most likely to be damaged first.
How to use trekking poles?
There are different ways to use trekking poles. Depending on the situation or direction you are walking in (uphill, downhill, flat surface) different method is used for better stability and security. Before that, first, you should know the correct way to hold the pole
How to hold the pole
First, check the right strap for each hand, straps come with marking R and L to distinguish the right fit for your left and right hand. The wrong strap in hand will result in blisters and less grip.
Now, take your hand through the strap(from the bottom) and hold the grip with your hand. Hold the grip from the top by putting your palm on the tip of the grip if you are walking downhill for more stability.
Never put your hand through the top of the strap because it will eliminate the purpose of the pole which is providing stability and transferring pressure or weight.
How to Use Trekking Poles for Flat Surface
- Set up the pole – First, you need to hold the pole in a way that your elbow is making a 90-degree angle.
- Now, adjust the length of the pole in a way that your elbow is still at 90 degrees and the pole is touching the ground. Before doing so, make sure you have the right pole in your right hand(you can always look for the R and L sign-on straps or grip for confirmation).
- Now set the walking rhythm by taking alternatives or opposites forward at one time. This means if you step your right leg forward then move the left trekking pole with it to set the balance and rhythm. lift the single trekking up the surface at a time, which always be your behind pole every time.
- When you are walking on a flat trail, you have to create a forward angle with a trekking pole to get the push to move forward. To create the angle keep the grip or upper part of the trekking pole away from your body and the tip at the end should be directing towards your body.
How to Use Trekking Poles for Uphill
- Using trekking poles on an incline or ascending trail will transfer the weight or pressure from your legs to your upper body, this way you prevent the pressure on lower joints. Also, using trekking poles on the ascending surface will help you to cover the distance more quickly without getting fatigued.
- First, adjust the length of the pole by moving the shift in locking mechanism. Keep the length of the pole short when walking uphill because when walking up you need to keep the pole close to your body to get the push or to transfer the weight.
- The proper technique of using a trekking pole while moving uphill is to keep the pole behind you and lean your upper body forward to get the push. When the trekking pole remains behind you, your leg and pole both create the thrust to move forward, it’s like a boat in the water if you move the shape backward then, you go forward.
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How Use Trekking Poles for Downhill
- Using trekking poles on a declined surface will prevent injury and release the pressure from your knees.
- When walking downhill, first adjust the length of the pole by moving the shift.
- While walking uphill you need to keep the length short, in downhill it’s vice-versa, which means you have to increase the length of the pole.
- After adjusting the length, hold the pole, and start moving. When walking downhill you have two methods.
- Method1- Keep the pole in front of your body and put your upper weight on the straps of the pole, which means you have to hold the grip loosely.
- Method2- In this method instead of using the losses grip, place your hands on the top of the grip, make sure to grab it with your palm. Now, move downward by moving one pole at a time in front of you.
Tip- You can also move both poles at one time when moving downhill. But make sure to stop at every step you take, and then again move both the poles at the same time.