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How to adjust the height of trekking poles

Get ready to conquer the peaks with perfectly adjusted trekking poles. Whether you're climbing steep slopes or descending rugged trails, walking poles are an essential piece of equipment for the occasional hiker and the perfect ally for experienced trekkers for an unforgettable hiking experience.

Telescopic poles, foldable poles or fixed-length poles, just like your trekking shoes or backpack, help you perform at your best and make the most of your adventure while reducing the risk of falls. Only telescopic poles are adjustable, which helps prevent potential injuries and joint pain.

Black Diamond hiking pole adjustment

Adjusting Your Walking Poles to the Correct Height

The ideal height of hiking poles depends on several factors, including the hiker's height, the type of terrain, and individual preferences. Properly setting the height of your hiking poles in the mountains is essential to maximise their effectiveness. To determine the ideal height, we recommend holding your poles with the tips on the ground on a flat surface. To ensure they are at the correct height, your forearms should form a right angle at the elbows.

Adjustments According to the Terrain

  • Uphill: It may be beneficial to slightly shorten your poles for more stability. A reduction of 5 to 10 cm can be sufficient for better arm leverage. Note that poles equipped with long grips are particularly useful for uphill sections, as they can be held at different heights, eliminating the need to adjust their length.
  • Downhill: It may be beneficial to lengthen your poles to reduce pressure on the knees and improve stability. An extension of 5 to 10 cm can be sufficient to optimise comfort on steep slopes.

Adjusting Your Poles for Flat Terrain

On flat terrain, the adjustment depends on your discipline and the type of poles you use:

  • Versatile Use: If your hiking poles are used for versatile purposes, there is no need for specific poles for flat terrain. Telescopic trekking poles are adjustable, allowing you to modify the height according to the terrain. They are perfect for adapting to variations in gradient. When you find yourself on flat terrain, use the elbow technique mentioned earlier.
  • Nordic Walking: If you practice Nordic walking or fast walking exclusively on flat terrain, you likely use fixed-length poles. Since they do not need to be adjusted, they are often sturdier and lighter. As these poles cannot be adjusted, you need to choose the right size.

Regardless of your needs, seek assistance from one of our experts. Every athlete is unique, and they are available to give you the right advice, either by phone or in person at the store.

Lafuma hiking pole adjustment

The Different Adjustment Mechanisms for Telescopic Walking Poles

The Different Adjustment Mechanisms for Telescopic Walking Poles

Telescopic Poles with Twist Lock: These poles consist of 2 or 3 sections that slide into each other. Their length is adjusted using a tightening system that requires twisting to lock and unlock.

Lafuma Pole Lautaret Pairs Forest Night Detail 3

Telescopic Poles with FlickLock: Also consisting of 2, 3, or even 4 sections that slide into each other, these poles feature small levers that allow you to adjust the length, providing easy adjustment even when wearing gloves.

Guidetti T3-Light Alu 135cm Grenat Pole Detail 6

Z-Fold Telescopic Poles: These models typically consist of 3 sections connected by a cable. Once slotted into each other, the length is adjusted with a small lever, similar to the clip-lock mechanism on telescopic poles.

Leki Pole Black Series Fx Carbon Black-Natural Carbon Front

Glisshop's Tips for Maintaining Your Poles

Properly maintaining your trekking poles extends their lifespan and ensures they function correctly. Here are Glisshop's tips for maintaining your walking poles:

  • After each hike (if your poles are dirty), it is essential to clean them if you want them to last. If your trekking poles are telescopic, disassemble them completely. Rinse the sections with clean water to remove mud, dust, and other debris. Use a soft brush if necessary. Thoroughly dry each segment with a soft cloth. Make sure they are completely dry before reassembling to prevent corrosion or mould. For poles with an external locking system (like levers), ensure there is no dirt or sand in the mechanisms. You can use a damp cloth to clean them.
  • Lubrication: Over time, despite following our advice, rust may prevent your poles from functioning correctly. In this case, apply a small amount of appropriate lubricant (such as silicone grease) to the joints and locking mechanisms to ensure smooth operation. Avoid oil-based lubricants that can attract dirt.

You now know how to choose poles of the right size according to your height and the terrain where you hike. Browse our site; we offer many models from the most reputable brands, ensuring you find trekking poles suited to your needs.