Hiking Pole Length – The right length for you!

Hiking poles can come in all different lengths, which as wonderful as it is, can be quite intimidating. How do you know which hiking pole length is the best for you? Well that’s what I want to help you discover. The right length of pole makes a huge difference – especially when hitting up slopes.

Standard length for everyday hiking

On a typical day of going out for a hike or a stroll you won’t need to adjust your pole. You can put it to the sweet spot. The spot that just, for lack of better words, “feels right.” Thankfully it is actually pretty straight forward to select the perfect length.

Relax your arm beside you and then lift up your hand so that you make an L shape, or a 90 degree angle. Yes my friends, it is that simple. All you need is a pole that can be adjusted so that when you hold it in front of you, your arm rests naturally in a 90 degree curve. It should feel natural and comfortable.

Hitting up a hill

While going for a nice leisurely and flat walk is relaxing, it is not usually the case. If you are like me, you want to head uphill and feel some burn. I don’t adjust my poles if it is a small hill, but on the big hills or the mountain slopes it makes a big difference having them adjusted.

Before a big slope I stop to shorten the length of my hiking pole. It just feels award and less stable when your pole is too long on an uphill slope. Adjusting the pole to a shorter length gives you more stability and more of a natural feel.

Last summer my wife and I hit up her first mountain. The final point before the top was at a @ incline. So stinking steep. As a new hiker, she was struggling at first. But after adjusting her poles to a shorter length she had more of a pull upwards, more confidence and was much less fatigued than previous hikes.

So, uphill = shorter pole.

Coming down steep slopes

Going up a hill or mountain may be more tiring, but coming down can be a whole lot freakier. For instance – walking down a slope with loose pebbles, needing to side hill and zig zag back and forth like a sheep. Yes, we are talking the steep ones. Having a longer hiking pole makes a world of difference in these situations.

Going down hill requires a longer pole.

If the pole is longer you can place more weight on it without awkwardly twisting your body. You are more stable as you have something to lean on. Whether it is a long and gentle incline around town, or a riveting mountain slope, a slight adjustment of your pole to a longer length will help greatly.

Unconventional hiking pole length uses

Now, you may see an article about hiking poles and their lengths and think that there are three options: flat, up and down. But alas, hiking poles have some unconventional uses.

Tent poles: If you happen to be one of the brave souls that camps with just a tarp, and your sleeping bag (crazy but we do it!) than your hiking poles will become your best friend. Stab those suckers nice and steady into the ground and adjust them to what ever height you prefer – and you have yourself a home made tent. Seriously, it helps.
Testing foundations: When going for a nice walk, sometimes you come across mother natures random surprises. She throws all types of stuff at us, be it some nasty mud, ice with an unknown thickness or tall grass and you can’t quite see your footing. Adjusting your poles in a face off with mother nature is extremely helpful.
Maneuvering objects: Often when walking in the forest you come across fallen logs. You can adjust the height of you poles and use them to vault right over the logs. If you are scaling up some rocks and boulders you can shorten them a bunch and then get them in a nook and pull yourself up. These are just a couple examples, but there are tons of situations when a quick switch from longer to shorter can give you the power you need.

Helping your partner: My wife’s all time favorite – when you are right at the brink of getting to the top of a steep slope, and just need a little help, and your partner shortens or lengthens their pole, locks it in place, and lets you grab hold as they help heave you over the finish line. Yes, that my friends, is one of the most rewarding ones.

Variety of lengths

All in all, the best thing about poles is that you can make them what ever length you need them to be. Standard, long, short, it all has its uses. Hiking pole lengths can be as versatile as necessary to get you through your walking, hiking of gallivanting experiences.





Best Collapsible Hiking Poles – What Makes Them The Best?

Really what are the best collapsible hiking sticks around? There are many hiking poles but the most reliable and the most sturdy are truly hard to find. In this article I will go over what makes the most sturdy and reliable hiking poles, and also I will explain what makes them the best. From the stiffness of the shaft to the hand grips and what are the most comfortable with specific body types and weight that each pole can withstand.

Sturdy Sticks

We all know that feeling when you grab an object for stability and then that object you briefly grabbed doesn’t hold the weight that was applied to it and it gives way. This same idea goes with hiking sticks, you don’t want a hiking pole that is to thin at the shaft for the amount of stress that will be applied to it. Also, with saying that, having a hiking stick that is over qualified for the task can also be a problem because the added thickness the shaft has can play a big part with weight, even if it is a carbon fire shaft. Any bit of extra weight can throw off the internal balance of the body when walking, hiking or just out for a stroll. The longer the hiking stick is the thicker the shaft should be and this is also true if the pole collapses (folds up). The example behind this is if you have a 1/4′ shaft on your hiking stick and the total length is 3ft then this stick is reliable and sturdy but if you have a 1/4′ shaft and the pole extends to 6ft then the hiking stick would be 50% less sturdy than when it is at 3ft.

Weight to Pole Ratio

Like I was touching on in the previous paragraph the weight that is applied to the hiking pole determines what poles you should purchase. Some poles are ratted for lighter loads and are ment for light walking or hiking where there is no extra weight distribution as a backpack or steep hill climbing. If you are going for hikes where you are definitely going to be packing weight on your back or using these hiking poles for some extreme hill climbing or steep hill descending then you should look into special grade poles that are ment for such applications. Remember also that when using hiking poles one of the great advantages is when needing to jump over water or logs you can use the collapsible poles to extend or shorten, then use them as a swivel to jump over these obstacles and the weight to pole strength ratio can play a big part into being able to use hiking poles for these applications.

Reliable poles

There are so many hiking poles and sticks out there for different types of walking styles, how do you know if the hiking poles your looking at or have purchased are reliable? I would just like to start saying that the carbon fire poles are going out of style sort of speak. The aluminum ones are much more popular because they are stronger but with saying that they have less flexibility. Aluminum isn’t as light as carbon fiber so if your looking for a light walking pole for trail walking or just walking around the neighborhood then carbon fiber is your best bet giving you a great amount of stability with being easily carried for the average walker. If you are more of a hiker and like more of an extreme trail or even off-roading then I highly recommend using the hiking poles that are made out of aluminum, although aluminum is heavier it is still 1/3 the weight of carbon steel and has the same strength ratio as steel. When it comes to reliable hiking poles there is quite a bit of variables to weigh, for instance what kind of torque are you going to apply to the pole? Will you be using it as a packing stick or as a tent pole or even as a bush hacking machine to get through that tough terrain where you can hold the vegetation back with the hiking pole to be able to easily walk your next step.

Which Ones Are The Best?

When walking around the neighborhood or on maintained trails when the strain of the pole is going to be kept at a minimal the best pole would be a carbon fire one such as the Cascade Mountain Tech 100% Carbon Fiber Adjustable Lightweight Trekking Poleswell the weight of the pole is kept very low but the strength is still plenty enough to put a full amount of trust into. When choosing a hiking pole another recommendation is to choose one that can be collapsed so that you don’t have to worry about where you are going to place or store these tools when not in use. Collapsible poles are a must have because I myself have used hiking poles that didn’t collapse and it was always a headache when trying to store these poles that really just take up too much space.

When walking on mountains or on more extreme trails or not on trails at all the aluminum hiking pole would definitely be your best bet such as the Hetto 1 Pair 7075 Aluminium Walking Sticks Hiking Poles Trekking Poles because of the amount of strain and torque that will be applied to it. For instance, when using a hiking pole as a tent pole, you would need a pole that can withstand the full weight of mother natures force like wind, snow, and heavy rain to name a few. This weather is usual when hiking or camping and having a hiking pole that is strong enough for these applications is a must. I wouldn’t want my tent to fall down when I’m fast asleep in the middle of the night (yup, it has happened to me). Also, it sure would be tough to use a hiking stick as a tent pole if it doesn’t collapse. If you did the tent might not even be able to stand or be positioned properly. Number one rule to setting up a tent is to do it properly and to the right dimensions it was designed for, if it isn’t then you might just wake up soaking wet in the night. Oooaa….. I’m getting shivers just talking about this. Yes, so definitely get the collapsible hiking poles when planning to use the poles for more than just stability on the trail.

Pole Conclusion

We just learned quite a bit about hiking poles in this article. We know that a hiking pole needs to be sturdy enough to trust for keeping you upright on the trail. Now you can choose a hiking stick that you know can support the weight that will be applied to it with different hiking maneuvers and uses that these poles can help out with such as jumping over logs or rocks and even hiking up and down different kinds of challenging terrain. If you’re planning on going for some pretty mild walks, then a lighter carbon fiber hiking pole will be approved for that use. However, if you’re planning on going for more of an extreme hiking path then aluminum is stronger to support the different applications that these poles can be used for.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,