Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania™

Using Trekking Poles While Hiking

Some hikers never venture out on the trail without trekking poles, while other hikers think they are a waste of money. Personally I feel that trekking poles are an essential piece of hiking gear, especially on longer, multi-day hikes. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your trekking poles.

  • Adjust to you - When gripping the poles, your forearms should be parallel with the ground, with your elbow making a 90 degree angle.
  • Adjust for the terrain - If you are on a steep incline, shorten the poles and plant them the same time you take a step. For downhills, lengthen the poles and plant them just prior to your foot hitting the ground.
  • Check your adjustments - As you hike, especially across softer ground, you may find your poles shrinking on you as the sections loosen. You should stop and tighten your poles, if needed, about once an hour while hiking.

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  • I love my trekking poles. Just be careful with the straps. As a skier, I have always used pole straps. Several ski patrollers warned me that if I fall they can injure me, but I liked the way they felt an kept using them. When I started using trekking poles, I naturally used the straps just like my ski poles. Then I learned the hard way. Deep in the Allegheny National Forest, I slipped on a moss covered rock while crossing a stream. The trekking pole strap slipped up over my fingers and dislocated my index finger when I fell. I will never use the straps again.

    Dan on

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