What is a trek pole and why is a trek pole needed?

"By Wanderers India"

What is a trek pole and why is a trek pole needed?


Trek Pole

2 trek poles with foam – wrist grips, 2 silicon snow baskets, 2 runners, 2 basic caps, 2 tip covers and 2 jointers (to keep/ attach them together)

Trek pole is also termed as a trekker’s third leg. As human beings, we balance our bodies on our feet, unlike animals on 4 legs. Mountain goats are a classic example of balancing on four legs. Having 2 trek poles while trekking can provide the perfect balance that is needed. Getting used to the trek poles could take 2 to 3 The treks. How much body weight to put over the trek pole and how to use it properly. Once you learn how to use it, it becomes a great support.

It is important to get out of the mindset that trekking with a trek pole makes the The trek any less challenging however it helps as an additional support. As humans we balance our weight on two legs, left foot and right foot. An additional third support is if we use one trek pole. The best possible way to trek is with 2 trek poles to have a perfect 4 point support. This not just eases out the pressure off our knees, but also acts as a good workout for the arms.

On some terrains in terms of the The ascend using 2 trek poles is a better option. However, depending upon some stretches/terrains, one might have to let go of both the trek poles. These patches are very sensitive to negotiate through and it is best to follow the instructions as given by the trip/ trek leader.

What to keep in mind before investing in a trek pole?

Before choosing the brand and colour of the trek pole, it is important to check the below mentioned features of your trek pole;

1) Correct length – height size of the trek pole
Trek poles come in different lengths starting from 110cms, going up to 180cms. Depending upon the trekker’s height, it is important to invest in the right trek pole. Below mentioned is the chart with the appropriate length required of a trek pole as per the individual’s height:

Individual's height Trek pole height
5ft - 5.4ft 110cms
5.5ft - 5.8ft 130cms
5.8ft - 6ft 145cms
6.1ft - 6.4ft 165cms


Using a trek pole is an art that can be mastered only after a few The treks. To some people it comes naturally and to the others it may take a little time to get used to. Correct height of the trek pole could reduce the stress on the knees by half. They are not only helpful during steep The ascends but are also comfortable during descend, gradual or steep. Adjusting from the locking mechanism by increasing/decreasing, trek pole length can be adjusted.

2) Anti-shock
One of the most important feature to look at before buying a trek pole is its anti shock feature. If the trek pole does not have this feature, it is no different from a piece of log. The anti-shock feature allows the stress on the elbows and arms to release. This avoids any hard impact on the arms and elbows. This is the sole purpose of the anti-shock feature – to avoid shock/ jerk/ physical damage to the arm.

3) Make – Duraluminium/ Aluminium/ carbon fibre
The material of which the trek poles are made is generally aluminium. But as the trekking community is evolving, so is the equipment. Other than aluminium there are other materials that are being used – Duraluminium and carbon fibre. The difference in all these is the pole’s overall weight, and its capacity to take the load.

4) Accessories/ attachments along
Good trekking poles come with a few attachments – foam – wrist grips, silicon snow-baskets, ice-cap, tip runners and tip covers. For a better understanding, below are images for reference;

Trek Pole

Name and purpose of the attachments from left to right (in the above image) Wrist grips – Provides an additional grip around the wrists.

Runner – While trekking on normal/ regular terrain, this rubber based runner helps to protect the tip. This gives a better grip than the regular tip cover.

Tip-cover – this cover is used to protect the tip so that it doesn’t get blunt at the time of its need over ice (hard) patches.

Snow basket – this silicon basket is to be used over soft powdered snow. This could prevent the stick from sliding deep into snow patches.

Basic caps – these basic caps could be used over slushy muddy terrains to avoid dried leaves to crop up and also over small patches of snow.

Some Trek pole options;

Trek Pole
Forclaz 100 hiking pole

Trek Pole
Forclaz 500 blue/grey hiking pole

Trek Pole
Forclaz 700 - carbon

Trek Pole
Leki - Makalu

Trek Pole
Black Diamond - Makalu

Where not to use trekking poles?
Boulder patcheswe suggest not using trek poles on boulder patches as they tend to get stuck in the gaps of the boulders. That would not only hamper the pace/ rhythm of the trek but could also result in a fall. It is suggested that over the boulders one should go with bare hands. We have seen trekkers put the trek poles around their wrists while negotiating boulders. In case of a slip, this could be a risk and could cause an injury.

How to maintain trek poles?
Do’s - Cleaning and maintaining your trek pole is mandatory just as your other trek gears. Make sure to wash them, dry them and then dismantle (learn to fold/dismantle you trek pole while purchasing) them. This increases the life of your trek pole.

Don’t – Do not grease/ oil the spring of the anti shock separately. After purchase, make sure to not misplace the tip-cover or any other attachments. They are all useful on different terrains.

Could be used in medical emergencies;
Trek poles can also be used during medical emergencies such as splinting/ supportingthe leg, thy (femur) fractures or other injuries in the leg. One could utilise in making a stretcher out of it too (if need be).

*Note – Images used in this article are from the internet

To know more about for the right postures of using trekking poles and more, watch out for our video coming soon!!

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