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How to Use Walking Sticks

Updated February 21, 2017

Walking sticks, or hiking poles as they are sometimes called, are an excellent addition to your outdoor gear, whether you're undertaking an extended backpacking trip, or just going out for a brisk day hike. They provide extra stability and work the muscles of your upper body while you hike. Using walking sticks involves setting them properly to your height and the conditions you'll be hiking in.

Stand on a flat surface and let your arms dangle at your sides. Bring one arm up, bending it at the elbow, so that you have a 90-degree bend in the arm. Your forearm will be parallel to the floor.

Place one of your walking sticks in this hand, and place the tip on the floor. If the position of your hand goes up, the stick is too long. If it goes down, the stick is too short.

Adjust the length of the walking stick by twisting the quick-release catch on the shaft of the walking stick. Twist it to the right to tighten and to the left to loosen. Tighten securely when you've got the walking stick at the correct height.

Grasp the walking stick by slipping your hand through the wrist strap and then grasping the handle of the stick.

Alternate placing the tip of the stick in front of you as you walk. Maintain a normal arm motion, and swing the stick out in front, placing the tip down securely as you take each step. In slippery or steep conditions, you may want to place both sticks in front of you on rough patches to provide a stable surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Walking Sticks (hiking poles)
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About the Author

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.