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How to Use Trekking Poles

Take a hike! But don't forget to bring along your trekking poles. These lightweight poles can reduce the pressure on your lower back, joints, knees, and feet by as much as 25 pounds, helping you go the distance.


  • Step 1: Adjust pole length Adjust the poles properly so the grips are level with your elbows. When your hands are in position, your arms will be at about a 90 degree angle. This position is best for walking on flat terrain. Lock the poles in place.
  • TIP: Don't let trekking poles give you a false sense of security. Always test the ground with your foot before moving forward, especially on rocks, in snow and water.
  • Step 2: Adjust poles for uphill and downhill walks Shorten the poles if you're going downhill and lengthen them for uphill. Some poles have soft grips at the tip of the pole and below the main grip, so you can adjust your hand rather than the pole.
  • Step 3: Position the wrist strap Slip your hand up through the wrist strap and tighten for comfort. The base of the strap should touch your palm, letting the strap take the strain so your hand and wrist don't ache.
  • Step 4: Use poles as extensions to arms Swing the arm and pole opposite your stepping leg like you do when you walk naturally. Use the poles as extensions to your arms. Push down on them as you step so they absorb some of the weight.
  • TIP: Some hikers prefer to use the trekking poles more like downhill ski poles with both moving forward and backward at the same time. Decide what's comfortable for you.
  • Step 5: Keep poles clean Clean dirt and debris off your poles after each walk. Happy trails!
  • FACT: At 3,100 miles, the Continental Divide Trail is known as the 'King of the Trails' as it winds through 5 western states.

You Will Need

  • Trekking poles
  • Energy

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