How to Size Trekking Poles? // How to Use a Hiking Pole Height Chart

How to Use a Hiking Pole Height Chart

There are numerous advantages to utilizing trekking poles. Firstly, they can assist you in creating a perfect walking pace for your body.

Secondly, they can make sure you don’t hurt yourself by falling when traversing hard terrains like rocky slopes or bogs. Finally, they are known for providing additional support to your lumbar spine, back muscles, and joints, so you can walk for more extended periods and cover longer distances.

In this article, we will provide you with bits of information to help you learn how to size trekking poles so that you can enjoy the benefits of using trekking poles. Likewise, we will give other pieces of advice regarding this useful but straightforward procedure.

How to Size Trekking Poles?

Sizing a trekking pole is quite easy, thanks to various accessibility features that they have in their extensions. However, you should make sure not to make your trekking pole too long or too short, as doing that will render their primary purpose completely useless, and you won’t get the needed support while walking.

For the user to determine what length is appropriate to use, familiarity with the mechanism and function of the pole’s various parts is needed. The user should know how to properly utilize the parts of a pole so that the user can be more functional and conserve energy while on a trek. The user should also be able to know how to maximize the pole to avoid accidents.

There are a few things you should consider though when you adjust the trekking poleheight. The first one is, of course, your own height. The second one is the type of terrain you are going to be crossing, and the last one is the pace at which you plan to be walking at.

The height of a pole is crucial to the way it will function while hiking. The pole acts like a third and fourth leg to the hiker as well as provides additional support when the user is off balanced. The height of the pole will make it effective in providing stability and strength while walking long distances. The height of the pole will also be necessary to the strength of the tip’s traction to the ground.

Knowing the features of the pole will also be important in understanding why the pole should be set at a certain height.

How to Size Trekking Poles

1. Regarding Your Own Height

Usually, trekking poles should be extended to the height of your open palm when you hold your hand in front of you at ninety degrees. Once you adjust the total length, you should change the length of the handles. These should be at your hip level so that you are comfortable holding the accessory when walking.

Depending on your body type and the length of your arms, the measurements might not be correct. If you suspect your extremities are a bit shorter or longer than those of an average person, make sure to adjust the tool accordingly so that you are comfortable while using it for hiking.

2. Regarding the Expected Terrain Type

If you’re expecting to climb or face a rocky terrain, then you should retract any of your walking poles or both of them. This is done so that you don’t have to bend over so much while walking since the average distance between the ground and your hands will be lower.

Retracting only a single pole and putting it in front of you to support your weight while climbing is a great idea. This way, you can leave the other pole at its regular height and use it with your back arm to make sure you don’t fall over all the while pushing yourself upward.

While facing a muddy terrain or resembling a desert or a beach, you should extend your poles by a few inches. After you do this, you won’t feel the pressure of your poles getting driven into the ground, and you will be able to remain hiking with the same stability as if you were on the regular ground.

3. Regarding Your Expected Walking Pace

When you decide to walk at a faster pace, you will naturally bend forward more and shorten the distance between your palms and the ground. This is why you should always reduce the height of your trekking poles when deciding to walk at a brisker pace. This will not only make holding them more comfortable but also take some additional pressure off your muscles.

Similarly, when you are going on a slow walk, you might not even need the trekking poles. However, if you wish to use them even then, make sure to increase their length so that you don’t have to lean in so much to reach the ground. This will allow you to comfortably control your pace and walk as slowly as you want to.

Adjusting the Trekking Pole Length

Trekking poles typically have two or three sections that can be twisted and adjusted. Some even sport more of them, with the maximum of six sections being the industry standard.

Some models might require you to unscrew a section to adjust it, but most just need a simple twist to release the pressure and make the pole retractable. After you decide on the perfect length, you should just twist in the opposite direction until the contraption is being held in place tightly.

adjusting the hiking pole length

What’s the right height for a hiking pole?

As a basic rule, users who are more than six feet tall should use poles with a maximum of 55 inches. For users who are under six feet tall, a pole that is 43 to 47 inches long will work best.

What are the features of a trekking pole?

A trekking pole is made of carbon or aluminum and is very sturdy and light. The length of the pole is adjusted by locks and is extended by three short shafts that come from the handle sliding downwards.

The pole has a length of 24 inches when it is folded and extends to 55 inches when it is extended. The height of the pole should be adjusted depending on if the user is going uphill or downhill.

There are poles that are shock absorbing. These poles have a spring placed inside the tip. These poles are designed for users with disabilities or those who suffer from pain in the ankles and knees.

Ultralight poles are easy to bring and handle. They have the same function as shock absorbing poles. They also provide stable support and are resistant against rain and snow.

What is a locking mechanism?

Since poles are built to be compact and easy to fit inside a backpack, they are built to extend to the desired length. The desired length is then locked by fasteners or a built-in fastener that creates a stable structure on the pole.

Knowing how the locks work is important because it will affect the stability of the pole when used on impact. The locks will also support the weight of the user. An unsafe lock may cause the pole to extend or retract unexpectedly and cause accidents.

Some trekking poles have an external lever lock. These are clamps that are found on the shaft of the pole. Unfastening it will let the shaft extend and clasping it will set it to the right length. These locks are quick and easy to use but can be knocked off by rocks or trees, causing the clamp to loosen.

There are push button locks that are released with a push of a button which releases and locks the shaft to the desired length. The most durable lock is the twist lock. The shaft is released by twisting the fastener loose. This type of lock creates more stability to the pole.

Other Trekking Pole Features

There are other features of the trekking pole that are important to its functionality. These are the handle, tip and basket.

The handle of a pole is made of cork or foam. Using a cork handle is comfortable because the cork follows the contour of the user’s palm. Handles with foam are also comfortable to use but are not sweat resistant. Some poles have a cork grip and a foam grip underneath to make the shaft non-slip.

The basket is the plastic attachment at the tip of the pole. Baskets are detachable and can be replaced with larger ones to stop the pole from sinking in the snow or mud. They are placed near the tip which is usually pointed for piercing the ground.


As you now know, there are multiple factors to consider when determining the right size of your trekking pole. Your own height, the speed at which you are going to be walking at, and the type of terrain you expect.

That being said, adjusting trekking polesis pretty simple. You should merely unscrew or, more often, twist the section that you wish to extend or shorten. After getting to your desired length, just wrap back and make sure it’s adequately stabilized.