It's critical that you purchase trekking poles that will help give you stability. Find poles that are telescoping--this means that the pole consists of three separate shafts that fit into one another. This will allow you to adjust the height of each pole. Also, find poles that feel comfortable in your hand. Some hikers have found cork handles to be ergonomically correct and highly adept at absorbing hand sweat. Last, find a brand that offers a lifetime guarantee on the poles, such as Leki, as these are bound to break down.
When walking uphill, increase the height of each of your poles. Then, while grinding up a hill, start your hands near the top of the pole, and slide your hand down the shaft as you push yourself up with each stride. This evens out your energy transfer and saves precious power. Keep the poles in a sharp angle, about 60 degrees, against the ground when hiking uphill. This will let you use the poles to push harder against the ground, thus relieving your body of doing most of the work.
Use the wrist straps when hiking downhill. Shorten the length on each pole by at least six inches. Keep your poles out in front of you. Think of them as two extra feet. They will test the ground in front of you, letting you know it's OK to tread where they've just been. Trust the poles--they're designed to support your weight. In steeper sections, use your poles to stabilize yourself before moving your body down a slope. Be sure to practice with pole prior to descending quickly down steeper grades.
Article Written By Duncan Jenkins
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.