Hiking poles are a useful aid to balance and allow some of your weight to be bared through your upper body during your walks. This is going to enhance your stability and give more support on tougher terrain.
The end effect here will be a quicker and less strenuous hike, and with your increased pace, an increased heart rate and oxygen intake. You will also have a more rounded body workout as the poles spread the workload across different muscle groups.
You will also find that walking poles aid your posture, through the support they provide, but also by making you more aware of keeping an upright position as you hike. But, before you delve into purchasing a pair, what do you need to consider?
The decision to use a single or double hiking pole arrangement comes down to you. Obviously, a double arrangement is going to provide a better balance of weight across your body and more stability. While one is better than none, we advise two for the biggest range of benefits.
Similar to adjusting a bicycle seat to allow a slight bend in your knee, when adjusting your hiking pole length, you want your elbow to have a 90-degree bend when your hiking poles are touching the ground.
All our hiking pole ranges feature adjustable length, which means they are easily collapsible for storage and travelling purposes. Despite adjustable poles meaning you can customise them to your height, for taller people you will need a longer maximum length:
- For those over 6-foot tall, you’ll want a maximum length of at least 130cm which is standard on the Forclaz 500 and Forclaz 700.
- If under 6-foot tall, nearly all adjustable poles will be able to be sufficiently shortened which will include the Forclaz Hike 100.
When hiking uphill, you’ll want to shorten each pole by about 5-10cm which will allow more leverage as you climb. The steeper the hike, the more you can shorten the pole.
When hiking downhill, you’ll want to lengthen each pole by about 5-10cm, which will keep you more upright.
In both cases you never want any strain on your shoulders, and the shoulders should never feel like they are unnaturally raised or pushed backwards. If this is the case, the poles need to be adjusted accordingly.
Asides from adjustability, you are going to want to look out for features that aid your comfort, ability to transport your poles, and how long they are going to last you.
# Ergonomic Grip
You don’t want a hiking pole that’s going to cause strain on your hands, that’s why all of the Forclaz range are designed with an ergonomic handle that will allow a comfortable grip as you trek, climb or descend.
Lightweight poles create less strain during use, as well as during transport. You don’t want to be lugging around poles that are going to add weight to your carry pack, or to your movement during a hike.
# Compact Design
With foldable poles you gain the ability to adjust size, and also to allow easier storage when not in use.
Depending on your pole material you are going to get longer use, generally here cost is going to reflect the trekking poles longevity. The Forclaz 700 even comes with a 2 year warranty.
Now you’ve got a working knowledge of the various styles and features you can choose from, take the next step and head out for your next hike like a pro.