How to Use Trekking Poles

Trekking poles, also known as Hiking poles, are used as a support for hiking and backpacking by reducing the weight placed on the hiker’s legs and back.

They closely resemble ski poles but are made with two to three extendable and retractable sections. Effective use of trekking poles reduces fatigue, provides stability, and increases speed allowing hikers to cover greater distances.

If you are an ardent hiker or looking to take up the hobby, trekking poles are recommended for a much better experience.  Read on to find out how to successfully use your trekking poles.

Things you will need

  • Adjustable Trekking pole – you can utilize to find a good trekking pole.


  1. Practice walking with your trekking poles before going on an actual trip.
  2. Adjust the trekking pole to your height.  Ensure you are standing straight with your shoulders relaxed when doing your adjustments.  Refer to your manufacturer’s manual for adjustment guidelines.
  3. Adjust the hand or wrist straps.   Place your hand through the loop and adjust the strap so you can apply pressure to the pole using the wrist. Ensure that the majority of the weight is distributed on the palm of your hands.  Do not grip the pole too tightly to apply the pressure.
  4. When taking a step, plant the pole in the ground and leverage it off before you do so.
  5. Level the pole for uphill terrain by putting your left foot forward while the left pole is back and your right foot forward with the right pole back.
  6. For steep uphill terrain plant the left pole and the left foot at the same time and do the same for the right.
  7. Going downhill – level the pole by putting your left foot back and the left pole forward and the right foot back with the right pole forward.
  8. For steep downhill terrain plant the left pole just before the left foot and then the right.


  • Try to choose telescopic poles when purchasing trekking poles.  This allows flexibility in adjusting for users and terrain.
  • When adjusting the poles adjust the length so your arms are bent at 90 degrees when the tips are on the ground and your hands are on the grips.
  • Try to get a rhythm in planting your poles and taking the steps.


  • Do not use one trekking pole.  Ensure you are working with a pair.