How do I Attach a Trekking Pole to a Pack?

Trekking poles are invaluable hiking companions: They take much strain off your legs and hips, lend greater stability over loose footing or during a river-ford and can, in a pinch, serve to push aside thick vegetation or prop up a tarp. But there are times when you don't want to be wielding the pole in your hands. Perhaps you have an easy, level stretch of trail and you want to give your palms and fingers a break. Maybe a particularly steep slope demands a stretch of climbing. Or you have located an intriguing bird or a distant mammal and want your binoculars ready as you slip closer for a better look. Whatever the situation, you usually can easily attach poles to your pack when you're not actively using them.
How do I Attach a Trekking Pole to a Pack?


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Collapse the trekking poles to their most compact state, if they are a telescopic model. Unless you have no other choice, you don't want fully extended poles affixed to your pack--banging together, throwing you off balance and snagging on vegetation. Depending on the brand, poles are shortened or lengthened by different methods; often you can loosen the individual segments by twisting them or engaging a locking mechanism.
Step 2
Examine your backpack and look for a likely spot to attach your poles. Many packs will include drawstring-style loops at their corners and along their sides. Sling your poles vertically through two of these loops, tightening them just below the handle and toward the pole-tips. Depending on your pack setup and weight distribution, you might want to rig each pole separately in this manner on opposite sides of the pack.
Step 3
Secure the poles horizontally across the breadth of your pack using the drawstring loops, if this makes more sense with your bag design. This may attach them more snugly to the bag than harnessing them on the sides, but you may want to point each pole in opposite directions so that the heavier handles balance each other out.
Step 4
Sling the poles with rope if your backpack doesn't include enough exterior loops or clasps. Orient them either horizontally or vertically, as described, and tie the ropes in convenient anchors, like backpack handles or straps. Again, arrange the poles and knots with even weight-distribution in mind.
Step 5
Keep close tabs on your poles when they are attached to your pack. Check on them frequently, especially soon after securing them, to make sure they aren't slipping off. If the poles turn out to be awkwardly placed--slipping loosely, clacking against each other, rubbing against your back--stop and attach them elsewhere.
Step 6
Slip the poles into your pack as a last resort, if other options aren't working and you can deal with not being able to get them back in your hands quickly. In this scenario, place them headfirst into the pack so that the sharp toes of the poles don't pierce the fabric.

Article Written By Ethan Schowalter-Hay

Ethan Schowalter-Hay is a writer and naturalist living in Oregon. He has written for the "Observer," the Bureau of Land Management and various online publishers. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from the University of Wisconsin.

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