Friends and a dog walking together on a long, coastal path. One woman is using walking poles.

How to choose hiking poles

Hiking poles add stability in rougher terrain and give your upper body more of a workout during hikes. But which model is right for you?

Why use a hiking pole?

Hiking poles are a useful aid to add balance and allow some of your weight to be bared through your upper body during your walks. This will enhance your stability and offer greater support on more challenging terrain.

This will mean you'll enjoy a quicker and less strenuous hike at an increased pace, heart rate and oxygen intake. You will also have a more rounded body workout as the poles spread the workload across different muscle groups.

Walking poles also aid your posture by encouraging an upright position as you hike. Before purchasing a pair, find out what you need to consider first.

Single or Double?

The choice between a single or double hiking pole arrangement depends on your preference. A double arrangement will provide a better balance of weight distributed across your body and add to your stability. While one is better than none, we advise two for the most impact.


Much like adjusting a bicycle seat to allow for 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 lengths, making them easily collapsible for storage and travelling purposes. Despite adjustable poles to suit your height, taller folks will still need to opt for a pole that offers a greater maximum length:

• For those over 6 feet tall, you’ll want a maximum length of at least 130cm which is standard on the Forclaz 500 and Forclaz 700.
• If under 6 feet tall, nearly all adjustable poles will be able to be sufficiently shortened, such as the Forclaz Hike 100.


When hiking uphill, you’ll want to shorten each pole by about 5 - 10cm. This will give you 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, keeping you upright.

In both cases, you want to avoid adding any strain on your shoulders -- your shoulders should not feel like they are unnaturally raised or pushed backwards.

Choosing your pole's features

Asides from adjustability, look out for features that aid your comfort, ability to transport your poles as well as durability.

Ergonomic Grip

You don’t want a hiking pole that will add strain to your hands. Our Forclaz range is 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 will add weight to your backpack or slow you down on-route.


Depending on the pole material you opt for, you could get more use out of them. Generally, the cost will 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 on offer, take the next step and head out for your next hike like a pro.

Two people backpacking in a mountain using hiking poles

Time to Choose your Walking Poles

Now you know what to look out for, you can decide which makes the cut, from our range of hiking and walking poles.

How to choose - UK Draft to copy


Mountain sports specialist & avid hiker

"Much like adjusting a bicycle seat to allow for 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."

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