Should you use trekking poles? Hell yes! As long as you know how to use them. Trekking poles will enable you to hike much more efficiently and reduce pressure on your knees and joints as they distribute the weight of your body and backpack into the ground with four points of contact rather than two.

The key though is to use trekking poles correctly. If you use them incorrectly they are basically useless. Below are basic instructions of how to use trekking poles.

How to use trekking poles:

  1. Set the height of your poles at a 90 degree angle with your elbow. When you are going uphill, make them a little bit shorter (there is a shorter distance to the ground), and make them a little bit longer when going downhill.
  2. Hold your pole upright, take your hand underneath and up through the handle, then grasp the pole. The strap should not be over your thumb. You should be able to dangle the pole from your handles without your hand falling out.
  3. Walk Asymmetrically with the poles. ie. left foot forwards, right arm forward.
  4. On flat ground you want forward propulsion, use your poles at a 70 degree angle, the bottom of the pole toward your foot.
  5. On the uphill, make sure you keep walking asymmetrically ie. don’t place both poles on the step in front of you.
  6. On the downhill, place your hands over the top of your poles, place them wide, the poles will take a significant amount of pack weight and body weight off your leg.

    Extra Tip: Take the rubber caps off the bottom of the poles, the tip will help you get grip on rock, mud, etc. Do not leave the rubber cap on the trail.

Watch this video for more details on how to use trekking poles like a pro!

To watch the original video, filmed in Nepal 7 years ago: How to use trekking poles (like a boss)