Trekking poles make a nice holiday gift for the avid hiker. They reduce stress on the knees, they offer added stability, and they increase stamina. How much stamina? A German physician discovered that each pole plant relieves approximately 18 pounds of pressure from the lower extremities when traveling on an incline. Consider that an average hiker makes around 45 pole plants each minute, and the total weight savings over the course of a hike becomes enormous. Trekking poles are a “must have” on all of our hikes.
Use these sizing charts when shopping around for the perfect pair. The idea is to shoot for a 90 degree angle at the elbow when gripping the pole, and then make minor adjustments based on personal preference.
Two other notes: Always buy two poles, one for each arm. And, make sure that your poles aren’t completely extended while walking on flat ground. You want some length left in reserve so that you can extend the poles for added reach on the downhills. The object is to shorten the poles on climbs, and then extend them for the descents. You should rest somewhere in the middle on flat/slightly undulating terrain. The following charts from Leki offer advice.
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