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Advice for Hiking pole length


i need hiking poles for a 650 km pilgrimage and I am not Sure what length or size I need. I am 5.6 f tall and 157lb. 


7 Replies

@Sonny2004 I'm not an REI employee but I am 5'6" and I've been hiking with poles for over 30 years. I set my poles to 110-120cm when hiking on relatively flat terrain, shortening them on steep uphill sections and lengthening them on steep downhill sections.

Most hiking poles are adjustable. (Some Black Diamond Z-poles aren't.) So basically any adult hiking pole will do. Aluminum is heavier but more durable than carbon fiber. Also make sure the grips are comfortable. I like softer like cork or foam but some prefer harder plastic.

Stick (no pun intended) with name brands like Leki, BD, Komperdell or REI house brand and you won't go wrong.

Enjoy your pilgrimage and stay safe.


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Thanks for your response. It’s very helpful and I will consider your experience. Last week I went to REI and was looking for poles but now with your response it helps me to decide what I want.

@Sonny2004 Rule of thumb is that when you hold the pole vertically with its tip on the ground, you forearm should be horizontal.

Also for best results learn to use the straps "the right way".  For most purposes this means inserting you hand up through the loop and grasping the handle so the loop wraps across you palm and up between your thumb and forefinger. You will need to adjust the strap length to get a comfortable grip. Your should grip the poles lightly so you can swing them and you weight should rest on the straps. It is the same grip as is usually used in cross country skiing.

Thanks for the information it will help to decide. I changed now my mind and will not buy the poles online. I think it’s better to try it in the store to be sure I get the one who fits the best. 


@Sonny2004 Probably the best way to try out the various choice of handle.

The flick lock type are generally easier and more reliable to adjust vs the twist lock kind. 

The Z fold ones are quicker to pack up and unpack which can be an advantage in some situations although some of these are fixed length making them very light but of more limited application...more oriented to power walking rather than backpacking but there is crossover.

For road walking get the some rubber tips.  Quiets them and stops the metal tips from wearing out.  You remove them for the trail unless it is slick rock.  Generally poles only come with plastic tip protectors that are only meant for storage.

Consider getting sun gloves since the poles will position your hands to get sun burn.

Thanks a lot




Thanks for reaching out and welcome to the community!

We're going to back up everything @Wanderer said except that we will do it, sadly, without the excellent pun. At 5'6" you'll likely want a pole that is 110" long. Your best bet is to go with a pole that is adjustable so that you can change the length depending on the incline you are on. Here are a couple of solid options for you:

Poles that are designed specifically for women tend to not extend quite as long and sometimes have smaller grips. Both of which can save precious grams which can be particularly helpful on longer journeys such as the one you are taking.

Lastly, we recommend checking out this Expert Advice article, How to Choose and Use Trekking Poles and Hiking Staffs. It has lots of additional useful information about trekking poles.

Hopefully this helps, best of luck on your pilgrimage!

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