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How to hold a trekking pole

The intuitive way to hold a trekking pole — reaching through the strap and grabbing the handle — is in fact the wrong way to hold it. You actually want the strap coming down across the back of your hand, parallel to your wristwatch, with the strap between your hands and the pole grip.

I made this quickie video to show the right way and wrong way:

Note you have to reach up through the strap so that it comes to rest across your wrist — not under it.

This takes some getting used to because you don’t expect the fabric of the strap to come between your hand and the handle. Well, get used to it.

The advantage of the strap over the back of your hand is that it does a better job of distributing the force of the pole against your hand and wrist. When you push down on the pole, you feel the weight coming down on the back of your hand and the weight coming off your fingers. This also vastly reduces the changes of developing blisters on your hand from grasping the pole handle.

You want a light touch on the pole grip, with your fingers doing little more than keeping the pole grip in proper alignment.

If you’ve ever worked with hand tools like saws, screwdrivers or hammers, you know what happens to your hands after a few hours: blisters galore. If you hold a pole like you hold a hammer, you’ll get the same result. The straps mean you don’t have to.

4 comments | Permalink | Tags: , |
Tom posted at 10:56 am August 22nd, 2008

4 Responses to 'How to hold a trekking pole'

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  1. Rick Deutsch says:

    Close, but no cigar.

    The correct way to hold the pole is to come in from underneath with your hand going towards the sky. Once thru, grab the top of the pole. Tighten the strap so your wrist is cradled in the strap. Your thumb/index finger “crotch” should be just below the crown of the pole. Then your body weight rests on the strap. This prevents carpe tunnel syndrome. You then lightly flick the pole forward – do not clutch the pole in the death grip as you might skiing. The poles are the same, but there is a left/right strap. Leki’s are marked. The strap is set so you have a nice smooth surface, not twisted. Use bike gloves to prevnet blisters. Sorry no U-Tube.

    For good info on pole use, get Jayah Faye Paley’s “POLES for Hiking, Trekking & Walking” see: http://www.adventurebuddies.net/

    Rick Deutsch-Mr. Half Dome
    Author: “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome”
    http://www.HikeHalfDome.com

    Permalink | Posted August 23rd, 2008, at 7:45 am
  2. Tom says:

    Rick,
    No cigar? The fundamental operation is putting your hand up through the strap and letting it rest across the back of your hand as my video & commentary showed.

    The rest anybody can figure out but the main thing is not putting your hand through the strap the wrong way to begin with. (did you read the rest of the post?)

    Permalink | Posted August 23rd, 2008, at 8:14 am
  3. RickDeutsch says:

    Fair enuff….. a key is keeping the strap tight with your hand at the top. To be honest, whatever works – works!! Truce!

    I read that you dissed the OutdoorBlog guy? I didn’t see your comment, but he IS on the edge (or over) with many entries.

    Permalink | Posted August 25th, 2008, at 1:58 pm
  4. Tom says:

    I was just kidding around w/the GoBlog guys.

    I shouldn’t have been so testy anyway… all the stuff you wrote after the intro was 100 percent valid.

    Permalink | Posted August 25th, 2008, at 2:05 pm

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