What size trekking pole do i need?
When you decide to go trekking or hiking, the right gear can break or make your day. A trekking pole is one must-have. Not only can trekking poles help you maintain balance on difficult terrain, they can also reduce the impact on your joints, improve your endurance, and help you navigate steep inclines and descents.
At CamperRules, we believe that selecting the right size of trekking poles is crucial to make the most out of your outdoor adventure. We understand that it can be overwhelming to choose the appropriate size, but worry not! In this blog post, I will be guiding you through everything you need to know about selecting the perfect size trekking pole that caters to your specific needs.
Understanding Trekking Pole Sizing
At CamperRules, we believe that selecting the right size for your trekking pole is a personal choice. Factors such as your height, length of your arms, and the terrain you plan to hike on will all play a role in determining the right size. As an avid hiker myself, I know that a good starting point is to choose a pole that reaches about waist height when standing on level ground. But remember, this is just a starting point, as you'll need to make adjustments to the pole length for different types of terrain.
For example, when hiking uphill, you'll want to shorten your poles to give yourself a bit more leverage. When hiking downhill, you'll want to lengthen your poles to help you maintain your balance and reduce the impact on your knees and ankles.
How to Measure for Trekking Poles
To get an accurate measurement of the right size trekking pole for you, you'll need to take a few measurements.
Start by doing the following:
- Stand up straight with your arms at your sides.
- Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle.
- Measure the distance from the ground to your elbow.
- Add a few inches to this measurement to account for different types of terrain.
Choosing the Right Trekking Pole Material
Trekking poles come in many different types of materials, such as aluminum, carbon fiber, and composite materials. We understand that each of these materials has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and selecting the right one that suits your requirements is crucial. Below I will go over some of these pros and cons.
- Aluminum poles are typically the most affordable option and are known for their durability. However, they are also the heaviest option, which can be a drawback for long hikes or backpacking trips.
- Carbon fiber poles are much lighter than aluminum, which can make a big difference on long hikes. They are also more expensive and less durable, however, which may be a consideration for some hikers.
- Composite materials, such as those used in Black Diamond's Z-Pole series, offer a good balance between weight and durability. They are also collapsible, which can make them more convenient to put in a simple backpack.
Common Trekking Pole Accessories
In addition to the pole itself, there are a number of accessories available for trekking poles. These can include tips, baskets, wrist straps, and grips. The right accessories for you will depend on your personal preferences and the type of terrain you'll be hiking on.
For example, snow baskets can help keep your poles from sinking into snow or sand, while rubber tips can provide better traction on rocks and other hard surfaces. Wrist straps can help you maintain your grip on your poles, while ergonomic grips can reduce hand fatigue on long hikes.
Different scenarios call for different types of trekking poles
How fast you plan on walking: If you plan on walking at a faster pace, you may benefit from a shorter trekking pole. This will allow you to maintain a consistent pace and also reduce the likelihood of tripping over something. Conversely, if you are walking at a slower pace, a longer pole may provide more stability and support.
Mud, Beach or Sand: If you will be trekking through muddy or sandy terrain, you may want to consider a longer pole. This can help you maintain your balance and avoid sinking into the ground.
Walking Downhill: When walking downhill, your trekking pole should be longer to provide additional support and stability. This can help reduce the strain on your knees and prevent slipping.
Walking Uphill: When walking uphill, a shorter pole may be more suitable as it allows for a quicker stride and greater flexibility.
Which type of terrain: The type of terrain you will be walking on can also impact your pole length. For example, if you will be walking on uneven or rocky terrain, a longer pole may provide more stability.
What is your height: Finally, your own height should also be considered when selecting the right size for your trekking pole. Taller individuals may require a longer pole, while shorter individuals may be better suited to a shorter pole.
As the owner of CamperRules, I understand that choosing the right trekking poles can make or break your hiking experience. Material type is very important when purchasing trekking poles. Below you will find out different things about these material types.
First up is aluminum. This is the most common material used in trekking poles and for good reason. Aluminum poles are durable, lightweight, and relatively affordable. They are strong enough to withstand heavy use while on the trail and harsh weather conditions. However, there are downside such as that they tend to be less stiff and more prone to bending than other materials.
Next, we have carbon fiber. Carbon fiber poles are popular in part due to their superior stiffness, which makes them ideal for more intense hikes. Carbon Fiber is very lightweight, which makes them perfect for long-distance hikes or treks. However, they tend to be more expensive than aluminum poles and are not as durable. Carbon fiber poles are also more prone to breakage, particularly in extreme temperatures.
Last but definitely not least, there are hybrid poles, which are made of a combination of both aluminum and carbon fiber. They offer the best of both worlds, combining the stiffness and lightweight of carbon fiber and also the durability of aluminum. However, these can be more expensive than either aluminum or carbon fiber poles and may not be as widely available.
Carbon fiber vs Aluminum
- Modulus of elasticity: This determines the stiffness of a material by measuring the ratio of stress against the strain in a certain material. It is the slope of the stress-strain curve of a material in its elastic region.
- Ultimate tensile strength: Refers to the maximum stress a material can withstand before breaking.
- Density: Refers to the mass per unit volume of a material.
- Specific stiffness: Elastic modulus divided by material density, used to compare materials with different densities.
Specific tensile strength: Tensile strength divided by material density.
|Density (ρ) g/cm3
|Tensile strength (σ) MPa
|Elastic Modulus (E) GPa
|Specific stiffness (E/ρ)
|Specific tensile strength (σ/ρ)
||Cost per kg
|Commercial-grade Carbon Fiber
|Aerospace-grade Carbon Fiber
||$2 or less
Adjusting Pole Length
||Pole Length Adjustment
||Adjust the pole length so that the arm makes a 90-degree bend at the elbow when holding the pole with the tip on the ground near the foot.
||Set the top adjustment to the middle of the adjustment range and set the bottom adjustment to the correct length for the arm angle. Use only the top adjustment to fine-tune the length while hiking.
|Long Uphill Sections
||Shorten each pole by about 5-10cm to get more leverage and more secure pole plants. Shorten poles more if shoulders feel strain or fatigue or lifted in an unnatural position.
|Long Downhill Sections
||Lengthen each pole by about 5-10cm from the length set for general hiking to keep the body more upright for better balance.
|Long Traversing Section
||Lengthen the pole on the downhill side then Shorten the pole on the uphill side as needed. This will improve both stabilityand comfort .
Trekking Pole Shaft Materials
The material used in the pole shaft plays a crucial role in determining the weight of the pole. CamperRules offers two different materials to choose from:
||18-22 ounces per pair
||Durable and Economical
||Unlikely to break under high stress
||12-18 ounces per pair
||Lightweight and Expensive
||More vulnerable to breakage or splintering under high stress, good at reducing vibration
Heat resistance for these materials
||40 times slower than aluminum
||6 times less than aluminum
||Up to 200°C (~400°F) without losing strength
||Up to 200°C (~400°F) before losing strength
||Does not melt even under extremely high temperatures
||Melting point of 660°C (1220°F)
Overall, carbon fiber has better heat resistance than aluminum as it has a lower heat conduction and expansion rate, can withstand temperatures up to 200°C (~400°F) without losing strength, and does not melt under extreme heat. However, aluminum and carbon fiber have similar heat resistance up to 200°C (~400°F).
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Getting the right trekking pole size for your hikes or treks is a must. Without the right size, you will more than likely be at a disadvantage. I hope this article has helped you figure out which size trekking pole u=you need.