Using trekking/hiking poles ...

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paulshikleejr
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Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by paulshikleejr » Jan 08 2013 10:13 pm

My kids got me some poles for Christmas. I'm excited to try them out correctly.

I've read the "Trekking Poles," "hiking poles," and "Hiking Poles" threads, but they don't seem to address a very basic question I have:

How long should I set them for? Is there a formula or method for determining this?

I'm only 5' 4" and have a proportionally longer torso as compared to my legs. (It's weird: my wife and I are the same height standing, but when we sit next to each other [on a church pew, for instance], I'm noticeably "taller.")

I saw that Al_HikesAZ advises that "you want them a little shorter going uphill, a little longer going downhill and just right for even terrain." I'll make note of the recommended adjustments to length for uphill and downhill legs. :thanx: Guess I'm just a little fuzzy on the "just right" part.

If there is another thread that addresses my question, please let me know.
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cactuscat
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by cactuscat » Jan 08 2013 10:22 pm

When you are gripping the poles on flat ground, your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. That's just right.
I don't usually bother adjusting them for uphill or downhill, even on steep GC trails.
Also, your hands go up through the straps from the bottom, then wrap around the poles.
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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 08 2013 10:44 pm

cactuscat wrote:When you are gripping the poles on flat ground, your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. That's just right.
I don't usually bother adjusting them for uphill or downhill, even on steep GC trails.
Also, your hands go up through the straps from the bottom, then wrap around the poles.
cactuscat's advice is spot on for "just right". I definitely like them longer going downhill to absorb the jarring so that my knees and back don't get sore. If I'm facing a long downhill stretch, I would guesstimate about 20% longer so that they reach out in front. You will need to experiment a little to find your comfort range. Going uphill, I like them about 10% shorter so that I can lean into them a little. If there is a lot of rolling uphill and downhill I agree with cactuscat that I just leave them at the "just right" length. The comment about inserting your hands up and through the straps is important. If the poles were bought at REI go in and ask them for some instruction.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by paulshikleejr » Jan 08 2013 10:45 pm

@cactuscat :thanx: I'll do as you suggest! :PMIC:
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by paulshikleejr » Jan 08 2013 10:47 pm

@Al_HikesAZ :thanx: also, Uncle Jack! They bought them from Amazon and the Hikking poles only had the OEM plastic wrap around them without instructions. :(
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 09 2013 11:57 am

Yeah if the straps go over the tops of your wrists you can basically just hang your wrists in there, and barely have to grip the handles at all. Like cross country skiing. See photo.
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by paulshikleejr » Jan 09 2013 3:05 pm

@azbackpackr :thanx: for the info!
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by kingsnake » Jan 09 2013 3:08 pm

I was told by someone that holding them that way also makes it less likely to snap your wrist, should you fall. Were they blowing smoke?
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 09 2013 4:23 pm

kingsnake wrote:I was told by someone that holding them that way also makes it less likely to snap your wrist, should you fall. Were they blowing smoke?
That could be true, when held properly the poles do seem to fall out of the way as you brace for landing with your hands. If you are worried about it, you might want to practice your falling techniques. :)
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by kingsnake » Jan 09 2013 4:27 pm

My worry is the opposite of falling: It is hitting things with my head ... ;)
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 09 2013 4:38 pm

kingsnake wrote:My worry is the opposite of falling: It is hitting things with my head ... ;)
Part of the art of falling involves relaxing into the fall and protecting your head. Or wearing a brain bucket.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 09 2013 4:52 pm

You guys fall?
:D
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 09 2013 5:42 pm

azbackpackr wrote:You guys fall? :D
NO!!! but sometimes I embrace Gravity. :sl:
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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paulshikleejr
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Re: Using trekking/hiking poles ...

Post by paulshikleejr » Jan 11 2013 4:42 pm

:sl: :D
Decisionmaking and action should only be informed by, not subject to, healthy, reasonable concern.
That being said, anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.

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