How To Use Hiking Poles? Useful Advice

How To Use Hiking Poles Useful Advice

Hiking poles are made to increase your stability and confidence. Knowing how to utilize hiking poles can be highly beneficial whether you’re hiking on rocky mountain slopes or need stability on sidewalks and park areas.

How to use hiking poles? Your joints may feel less strain if you use poles, especially while traveling uphill or downhill. If you have osteoarthritis or are overweight, this is advantageous. The increased stability that comes with using walking poles is also beneficial for those who have Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

The finest results come from using your hiking poles properly. Learn the proper gripping technique, proper arm and leg action, and how to adjust the poles for travel. You’ll feel more at ease walking and hiking with poles.

Hiking Pole Features

Depending on how you plan to use the poles, you may want to consider poles with some of these features:


To increase stability on various surfaces, many hiking poles can be lengthened or shortened. From about 24 to 55 inches in length, they typically adjust. Typically, you should shorten the poles for uphill travel and lengthen them for downhill travel.


Some hiking poles cannot be lengthened or contracted. Due to the fact that they have fewer moving parts than adjustable poles, these fixed-length poles are frequently used by ultralight users because they are typically lighter in weight. They work well for activities where you know you only need a certain length.


Because they have a lighter swing weight, ultralight poles have the advantage of being lighter to move. This results in less exhaustion over the course of a protracted hike. Ultralight poles are also simpler to pack. A major factor in determining the pole’s overall weight is the material of the pole shaft. Ultralight poles are those that weigh less than 1 pound per pair, according to REI.

Camera mount: The handle of some hiking poles and hiking staffs has a built-in camera mount, allowing the user to use the pole as a monopod.


hiking poles that fold instead of collapsing into themselves like adjustable poles behave somewhat like tent poles. Foldable poles are typically the most portable and are frequently very light and easy to set up. They are particularly well-liked by ultrarunners and quick hikers.

Shock-absorbing Poles

These have internal springs that cushion the impact of downhill walking. When not necessary, such as when you’re climbing a hill, most poles allow you to turn off this feature. Any hiker will appreciate shock absorption, but those with unstable hips, knees, or ankles or who have suffered from injuries to those joints in the past are advised to look for it in particular.

Standard Poles

As a result of lacking a shock-absorbing component, these are lighter and less expensive. They offer a comparable level of balance and support to shock-absorbing poles, even though they don’t cushion impacts as well when traveling downhill.

Hiking Pole Benefits

Avoiding The Risk Of Injury

hiking can put a tremendous amount of strain on your ankles, knees, hips, and leg muscles. Many hikers experience this strain on steep ascents and descents. Long-term stress on these joints can cause muscle fatigue and injuries from tripping, stumbling, or even falling while hiking. When hiking, using hiking poles can help to lessen the load by up to five kilograms when walking on level ground and up to eight kilograms when descending, as well as reduce the strain on the knees and leg muscles.  By evenly distributing the weight, strain, and stress across other muscles and sharing the load with the upper body muscles, the poles lessen the strain put on the leg muscles. Your muscles and joints will be less stressed as a result, making for a more enjoyable and injury-free hike.

Reducing Back Pain

Most people frequently watch where we put our feet while hiking and frequently look down. The issue with looking down is that it causes us to round our shoulders and blunder our heads forward, which strains our necks and upper backs. Furthermore, looking down while walking uphill shifts your center of gravity, making you more likely to trip or even fall on uneven surfaces. While bushwalking, using a hiking pole improves posture and activates muscles in the core and upper back that support and protect the back.

Increasing Blood Flow

hiking poles can help you walk faster and more efficiently, which raises your heart rate. This is because walking poles improve your posture, stability, and ability to avoid injuries while you’re out in the bush. 35% of your body’s muscles are used when you walk normally; however, when you use hiking poles, this number rises to 90%. As a result, even if you don’t actively increase your exercise intensity, you increase oxygen use and blood flow in your body by 20%. Actually, according to research, using hiking poles increases calorie burn by 20%.

Helping With Balance Issues

hiking poles can provide two extra points of contact with the ground, effectively transforming two-legged hikers into four-legged hiking machines, which can be invaluable when navigating through shallow streams, rock hopping, scree-running, or walking through muddy forest floors. This can be especially helpful for hikers carrying a heavy pack, as carrying an extra 15 kilograms can make it more difficult to cross streams, navigate rocks, and go over logs.

How To Use Hiking Poles?

Starting with the grip, loosen your hold on the pole to allow it to move back and forth between your thumb and forefinger. To make them easier to use, handgrips are frequently angled.

The pole will move forward with each step with little effort if your grip is relaxed. To practice the correct grip, hold it between your thumb and forefinger. You only need that. You can loosely close the other fingers.

It is unnecessary to hold the pole tightly, and doing so can wear out your hands and wrists. Don’t worry; if you feel yourself slipping or need a temporary source of stability while walking, you will instinctively tighten your grip.

Using Proper Arm Motion

How To Use Hiking Poles Useful Advice
How To Use Hiking Poles Useful Advice

while using the poles, keep your elbows close to your sides. Flick the pole on the other side forward with each step. This involves a tiny forearm lift or a tiny wrist flick. The pole will pivot correctly if you have a loose grip on it.

The opposite arm and leg motion is crucial. You will walk with a sway if you extend the same arm and leg forward. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, you may need to practice it at first. You should notice that you fall into the opposite arm/leg pattern if you simply walk while dragging the poles behind you with a natural gait. You can now raise the poles high enough so that with each step, the tips touch the ground.

The tip does not require a firm planting in the ground. While walking, you can naturally move your arms forward and backward. No jerky or overly vigorous arm motion is required. To maintain an angled elbow as your poles make contact with the ground, change the length of the poles.

Planting The Pole

The pole’s tip will be lightly planteded in order to provide stability. Before you flick it forward once more with the next step, it simply touches the ground. You can press down on it if you want to add a clear action and engage your upper body a little.

When moving uphill or level, this can add a little thrust, while moving downhill, it can act as a brake. Always exert pressure backward and downward when using the plant/push technique.

Time To Double Pole

You might want to simultaneously position both poles in front of you when navigating curbs, stairs, uphill or downhill slopes, and other obstacles.

Use the swing and drop technique by gliding both poles forward in a single fluid motion before taking one to four steps forward. When you believe you can use the poles’ stability, swing them forward once more.

If you’re feeling confident and want to move more quickly, you can let go of your arms and make each poling movement slightly more vigorous by using your shoulders, with the pole tip planting slightly in front of your body. This resembles the manner of Nordic walking. You can give yourself a little extra propulsion by planting the pole a little bit with each step when it is behind your body.

How To Buy The Right Hiking Poles?

It’s crucial that walking poles feel comfortable for you in order to reap their full benefits. The poles come in a wide variety of styles and price points, but if you don’t feel comfortable using them, you won’t.

From Straps

Straps for walking poles are a great addition because they enable you to walk more casually and with a softer grip.

You can easily use the straps. Put your hand through the strap and wrap the handle with your thumb and forefinger in the shape of a large O. Currently, gently grasp the handle.

The straps can be useful when walking because you will usually hold the handle with a looser grip when using the pole to propel yourself forward. To see the difference, try walking both ways while wearing the strap.

As you walk, the motion of your wrists, arms, and entire body is extended by your walking poles.

See Length

The majority of walking pole manufacturers offer recommendations for the ideal length for your height, or you can purchase extendable poles to accommodate a range of heights.

As a general rule, the pole should be adjusted so that your arm is at a right angle to the ground and your hand can comfortably rest on the handle. This means that your forearm is bent at the elbow and parallel to the ground.

According to some walkers, poles should be adapted for the terrain. Pole length should be longer for descending and shorter for ascending, therefore.

Some walking poles also feature long handles that allow users to adjust their grip length based on the terrain by moving their hands up and down the handle.

Pay Attention To Weight

The choice of a lighter pole is preferable if you plan to walk longer distances. Carbon fiber is used to make the strongest and lightest poles, but these are frequently the most expensive.

Take the poles in your hands and test their weight. For you and your preferred walking style, some poles will simply feel better. When walking on uneven terrain or in windy conditions, a pole that is extremely light might end up being too “floaty” and insufficiently sturdy for you.

By Accessories

To adapt to various situations, you can purchase various accessories. While walking pole baskets will keep you from sinking into soft ground, they can become tangled in dense vegetation. Other improvements include tips that can be switched between rubber and spikes for grip on rocks and other difficult surfaces. Spikes are for soft ground.

Most walking sticks and hill walking sticks have hand straps, but if you fall, these could potentially cause serious injuries to your wrists by immobilizing the sticks to them. In some circumstances, removing the wrist straps might be worthwhile.

From Handles

Look for handles that are cozy in your hands. For instance, some have a very comfortable ergonomic rubber handle.

Trespass Valeas hiking Poles feature an extended grip area that is practical for varying terrain, such as when climbing and descending hills.

When walking for long periods of time or if your hands tend to get sweaty, cork may feel more comfortable than rubber.

And when walking on terrain that demands a lot of balance, a handle with a curve or crook style will be helpful. Balance is helped by the crook. This would also come in handy for balancing on rocks and crossing rivers.


You can navigate a variety of terrain with confidence if you use hiking poles. They are a common hiking tool that is useful for anyone who requires extra stability and balance. Consult your physician or physical therapist for additional advice on how to use the poles if you suffer from a condition that makes it difficult for you to maintain your balance. Get outside and discover all the breathtaking locations nearby.