How do I set the correct height for my trekking poles?

How do I set the correct height for my trekking poles?

January 28, 2017

Selecting the correct length for your trekking poles is essential in making sure you are using them as effectively and efficiently as possible! Most trekking poles are relatively easily adjustable, and have lengths delineated in centimeters along the side of the shaft. Typically poles can adjust from around 60 centimeters to 140 centimeters, and as you would expect, your desired length depends on your own individual height!

In order to determine an ideal height for your trekking poles, hold your trekking poles out in front of you with your elbows tucked in at your side. In this position your elbow would ideally be forming a 90 degree angle. If it isn’t, adjust your pole height until you reach the desired 90 degree angle. Once you find the correct height, remember it so you can easily set your pole in the future.


For ballpark estimates of correct sizing, see below:

Height of Hiker
Desired Trekking Pole Height
Below 5’1
5’1 - 5’7
5’8 - 5’11
Above 6’0

When going uphill you will want to decrease the length of your poles in order to increase your leverage and keep your weight moving forward. When going downhill you will want to increase the length of your poles in order to provide more stability and keep your weight centered back over your feet.


Personal preference (determined by trial and error) also affects one’s ideal trekking pole length. Add or subtract 5cm based on what you find comfortable! Try a height, change it, and try it again until you find a height that works best for your body and your hike.