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How to Use Trekking Poles

Shashank Nakate
Trekking poles are useful for trekking as well as hiking. These poles not only help in descending slopes in a safe manner, but also reduce the pressure on the knees.

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A trekking pole is a hiking accessory which resembles a ski pole. It could be either retractable or manufactured in a single piece. The maximum length of a trekking pole is around 54 inches.

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The material used could be carbon fiber or aluminum in order to make them lightweight. Retractable poles can be stored even in a backpack. Rubber-padded handles, basket at the bottom, and wrist wraps are some of the features of a trekking pole.

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They are generally used on rough or uneven terrain to provide the trekker with necessary support. People suffering from knee pain use it to reduce pressure on their knees. However, these poles could also be used on a flat terrain to increase the speed of hiking.

Using Trekking Poles

These poles are not just limited to professional trekking activities. Their use by amateurs is increasing, thanks to the benefits and comfort factor. They should be held such that its top portion comes at a height just below the shoulders.
The intersection points present on the pole needs to be adjusted to the proper height. To maintain proper grip on the handles, wrist straps should be used. While treading a flat terrain, the pole should be held in such a manner that a 90-degree angle is maintained at the elbow joint.
The posture should be kept upright. While one steps ahead with the left leg, the pole in the right hand should be planted, and vice versa. On an uphill terrain, the manner in which poles are placed does not change. However, additional support could be provided by planting the pole on the same side of the leg placed ahead.
When a person is descending a steep slope, the method of placing the legs together and poles opposite to each other should be used. In hilly areas, the poles could be shortened in length to make hiking more comfortable. It reduces the awkwardness that is generally associated with trekking in hilly, uneven terrains.

Tips for Trekkers

Trekking poles are not only used as a support while treading rough terrain but also for many other purposes.

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The poles could be used as a tool in repairing camping gear. They can also be used to check the depth of snow. Trekkers use these poles as splints in case of leg injuries.
This is done by tying the leg to the pole with the help of a belt or jacket. One should not rely fully on trekking poles while crossing a river. The poles are not meant for bearing the huge pressure created by a river's water flow.