How To Adjust Hiking Poles: Ensure Perfect Fitment & Comfort

There are many beneficial reasons to carry a pair of trekking poles on your next backpacking or hiking vacay—like improves stability in rough terrain and eases wear and tear on your body.

However, to take full advantage of your trekking poles, know ‘how to adjust hiking poles.’

Hiking poles play a vital role in your trek. I recommend understanding the terrain before you adjust them.

So, take note of your requirements and notice to get ideal outcomes. I have listed the most common ones here for a better understanding.

How To Adjust Hiking Poles

Hiking poles are an essential piece of gear for many hikers, providing balance and support on rough terrain.

But how do you know if your hiking poles are the right size? And how do you adjust them to fit your needs?

When choosing a hiking or trekking pole, you must pick one that is comfortable for you to grip and that is the right length.

Once you have your poles, check to make sure they are properly adjusted. Further, the straps should be tight enough so that your hands don’t slip, but not too tight so that they cut off circulation.

Moreover, the hiking poles can be used for balance and stability when hiking uphill or downhill. They can also assist take some of the strain off of your legs and back by providing support.

You don’t always need to use hiking poles, but if you feel like you need them then don’t hesitate to put them to good use!


A 90-degree bend in your arms is required when using trekking poles on flat ground or somewhat sloping terrain.

Your trekking poles will be in this position most of the time, so remember the graduated marks on the pole in this position or apply some nail polish to make a note of it now to save time later.

Setting the top piece of three-section trekking poles in the middle of its adjustment range and using the lower section to position your arm correctly are two useful size tips.

It makes it possible to adjust fit quickly with the upper section while moving.


Trekking poles allow you to push yourself up the slope with your arms instead of your legs, which reduces the pressure on your heavy backpacks and your legs.

When climbing: It would help if you shortened your poles more as the hill gets steeper.

To achieve a comfortable position, reduce poles by five to ten centimeters from where you initially positioned them for flat or undulating terrain.


Trekking poles give you more stability and balance and let you move downhill with less force on your knees (especially if you’re carrying a big backpack).

When descending: 

  • You should stretch your poles steeper than the decline.
  • Extend poles from where you set them for most of your hiking in five- to ten-centimeter increments until you find a spot you like.


You can modify your trekking poles accordingly on bench cuts, sidehills, and traverses where one route’s side is lower or higher than the other by shortening the hiking pole on the ascending side and extending the one on the descent side.


Most hiking poles have a strap that you may adjust. Straps are useful for having poles close at hand when shooting pictures or digging through your pack for food.

Additionally, straps redistribute strain from your hands to your wrists when properly adjusted, reducing over-gripping and enabling longer, more pleasant use.

How to properly utilize trekking pole straps

  • Your hand’s position, so the strap comes across the palm and between the index finger and thumb
  • Fasten the strap, so your hand aligns with where you would wish to grip the pole 
  • You’ll understand the straps are correctly fit if they cradle your hand and keep the pole in position when weighted. Most people instinctively place their hands on the top of the strap.

Check to see if straps are side-specific before slipping them on. Many trekking poles have left- and right-hand straps with cushioning or lining for comfort, as well as hidden closure and tightening mechanisms.

How to Use Hiking Poles

Use Apt Arm Motion

Keep your elbows close to your sides when using the poles and walking. Move the pole to the opposing side with each step. It is a tiny forearm upward motion or a tiny wrist flick.

The pole will pivot forward correctly if you have a loose hold. The action of the opposing arm and leg is crucial. You will walk with a swinging gait if you extend the same arm and leg forward.

If it doesn’t come naturally, you should practice this first. You should notice that you slip into the opposite arm/leg pattern if you walk while dragging the poles behind you in a normal motion.

The poles can now be raised high enough for the tips to contact the ground with every step.

It is not necessary to firmly plant the tip into the ground. As you walk, your arms can naturally move forward and backward. No forced or unbalanced arm motion is required.

To maintain an inclined elbow as your poles make contact with the ground, adjust the length of the poles.

Install the pole

The pole’s tip will lightly plant for stability. Before you take the following step and flip it forward, it merely touches the ground. You can bear down on it to provide clear movement and gain upper body exercise.

It can operate as a brake when traveling downhill or level and as a small boost when traveling upwards. Make sure to exert pressure back and down while employing a plant/push technique.

How often to double-pole

Position both poles in front of you at once when navigating curbs, stairs, or slopes.

Swing both poles forward in a fluid motion while using the swing and drop technique, then take one to four steps forward.

When you believe you can benefit from the poles’ steadiness, swing them forward again.

Trekking Poles (A to Z)

Trekking Poles are an essential piece of gear for any hiker, backpacker, or trail runner. They provide balance and stability on uneven terrain, help relieve stress on the knees and hips, and can even be used to help set up a tent or tarp.

But with so many different brands and models available, it can be tough to know which trekking poles are right for you.

At present, there are different types of trekking poles available, as well as what to look for when choosing a pair for your next adventure.

The two main types of trekking poles: Adjustable and Fixed-length.

Adjustable trekking poles are great for hikers who want one pair of poles that can be used on a variety of trails with varying degrees of elevation gain/loss.

Fixed-length trekking poles are best suited for those who have their favorite trails dialed in and don’t need the adjustability feature.

When choosing between the two, it’s also important to consider the weight of the pole – adjustable poles tend to be heavier than fixed-length ones.

During selecting a pair of trekking poles, there are several other factors to consider beyond just length adjustability.

Also, think about what type of terrain you’ll be using them on most often – if you’re mostly hiking on relatively level ground with occasional rocky sections, you won’t need as burly of a pole as someone who’s spending most days bushwhacking through thick forests or summiting steep peaks.

Besides, consider how much weight you’re willing to carry – lighter materials like aluminum or carbon fiber will add less weight to your pack but may not offer as much durability as something like titanium; if durability is key, go with a slightly heavier material.

What is an Overextended Trekking Pole?

Overextended trekking poles can be a major problem when hiking. When your pole is overextended, it puts extra strain on your wrist and elbow, which can lead to joint pain or other injuries.

It also makes it more difficult to control your pole, making it more likely that you’ll lose your balance and fall.

To avoid overextending your trekking pole, make sure that you always adjust the length of your pole so that it’s comfortable for you to use.

If you’re unsure about the proper length, ask a salesperson at a hiking or outdoor store for help.

Once you have the right length, be sure to grip the handle tightly with both hands and keep your elbows close to your body while walking.

This will help you maintain control of the pole and prevent overextension.

Trekking Pole Locking Mechanisms

Trekking poles are an essential piece of gear for many hikers and backpackers. They provide extra support on steep or uneven terrain and can help save your knees on long descents.

But how do you choose the right trekking pole locking mechanism for you?

There are three main types of locking mechanisms for trekking poles: twist locks, lever locks, and push-button locks. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Twist locks are the most common type of locking mechanism. They’re simple to use and usually quite strong. The downside is that they can be difficult to adjust on the go, and if they fail, they can be very hard to fix.

Lever locks are less common than twist locks, but they offer a few advantages. They’re easier to adjust on the go, and if they break, they’re usually much easier to repair. The downside is that they’re not as strong as twist locks, so they may not hold up as well on rough terrain.

Push-button locks are the newest type of locking mechanism, and they offer some advantages over both twist and lever locks. They’re very easy to adjust, even while hiking, and if they break, they can often be fixed with just a few simple tools.

The downside is that push-button locks aren’t as widely available as other types of locking mechanisms yet, so you may have difficulty finding them in stores.

Trekking Pole Height Calculator

When you go for a hike, having the proper trekking pole height is key to a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Depending on your height and the terrain you’ll be hiking on, the ideal height for your trekking poles will vary.

That’s why we created this handy Trekking Pole Height Calculator.

Just input your height and the average grade of the terrain you’ll be hiking on and our calculator will do the rest. It’ll tell you the minimum and maximum heights that your trekking poles should be, so all you have to do is adjust them to fit your needs.

And if you’re ever in doubt, just remember – taller is better!

So what are you waiting for? Grab a good quality trekking pole height calculator a try and make sure you have the perfect trekking pole height for your next hike!

Crucial FAQS

Why do hikers carry poles?

Trekking poles, often called hiking poles, trekking sticks, or walking poles, are the finest tools that help trekkers keep their rhythm when trailing on rough terrain and provide stability along with joint-saving support.

When should I use hiking poles?

Trekking poles can be useful anchors to balance against as you walk down a steep hill.

Similarly, you can use poles to dig in and pull yourself up on a steep incline.

How much should you spend on trekking poles?

Costs for trekking poles range from $20 to $200. They will break after a few uses if you don’t spend at least $60.

The sweet spot is $150, which often denotes carbon fiber is sturdy, lightweight, packable, and easy to alter.

What type of hiking stick is best?

Aluminum poles, which are more resilient and cost-effective, typically weigh between 18 and 22 ounces in each pair.

The gauge of the pole, which ranges from 12 to 16mm, can slightly impact the actual weight (and cost). Aluminum can bend under intense pressure but is not likely to break.

Are carbon or aluminum hiking poles stronger?

Aluminum trekking poles are more robust than carbon fiber poles. Aluminum poles are not as climate-sensitive and last longer than other materials.

They function just as well in extreme heat and cold.

What brand is the best hiking poles?

There are multiple known brands. However, I find Black Diamond’s Alpine Carbon and Cascade Mountain Tech the most reliable options.

How Do You Adjust the Height of a Hiking Pole?

It is important to adjust the height of your hiking poles because it can help prevent injuries and make your hike more comfortable.

The best way to adjust the height of your hiking poles is to first find a level spot on the ground.

Then, place your hiking pole in front of you with the tip pointing towards the ground.

Next, hold the top of the pole in one hand and grasp the bottom of the pole with your other hand.

Finally, twist your hands in opposite directions until you reach the desired height for your hike.

How Do You Adjust the Straps on a Hiking Pole?

Hiking poles are an essential piece of equipment for any serious hiker, providing stability and support on uneven terrain.

But even the best hiking pole will be useless if it isn’t properly adjusted to fit your height.

Luckily, adjusting the straps on a hiking pole is a quick and easy process that can be done in just a few seconds.

To adjust the straps on your hiking pole, start by holding the pole in your dominant hand with the strap hanging loose.

Next, use your other hand to grab the strap near the top of the pole and pull it tight until it’s snug against your wrist.

Ultimately, adjust the length of the strap so that it’s comfortable to hold without being too tight or too loose.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your hiking poles are properly adjusted for maximum comfort and support on your next hike.

How Should Walking Poles Fit?

When it comes to choosing the right walking poles, fit is important. The wrong size or style of the pole can make your walk more difficult and even cause pain.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting walking poles:

Your height: Poles should be tall enough that you can comfortably grip them without stooping over.

However, they shouldn’t be so tall that they rub against your armpits when you walk.

The terrain you’ll be walking on: If you’re planning on using your poles on rougher terrain, look for ones with broader tips that can better grip the ground.

If you’ll mostly stick to smoother paths, narrower tips will do the trick.

Your grip: Some people prefer fatter grips while others like thinner ones. It’s really a matter of personal preference, so try out a few different styles before settling on one.

Adjustability: Many walking poles come with adjustable shafts so you can change their length to suit your needs.

This is particularly useful if you plan on using your poles for different activities like hiking and Nordic walking.

What Tips Should I Use on My Trekking Poles?

Considering you are referring to tips for using trekking poles while hiking. Trekking poles can be a great asset while hiking, providing stability and support on uneven terrain.

  • Adjust the length of your poles to suit your height and the terrain. Poles that are too long or too short will be less effective.
  • Use a light grip on the handles, holding them lightly but firmly. This will help avoid fatigue in your arms and hands.
  • Plant the tips of your poles into the ground at a slight angle, rather than straight down. This provides more stability and helps prevent them from slipping.
  • When going uphill, plant your poles ahead of you and lean into them for added support. For downhill sections, plant them behind you to help brake and maintain balance.

Final Words

Adjusting the height and picking the right hiking pole is essential. Thus, use these tips and get your hiking pole today.

Not using one can lead to danger, so avoid doing so while on a trek. Also, I suggest you use hiking poles for the proper safety of your life and body.

With the aid of these smart accessories, one can benefit the most. So, pick fine options and get reliable results.  


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