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.
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.
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.
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.