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How To Properly Use A Mountainsmith Trekking Pole?


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Birdie Hudspeth



Welcome to the exciting world of adventure and outdoor exploration! If you’re someone who loves to hike, backpack, or explore the wilderness, then a trekking pole is an essential tool to enhance your experience. In this article, we will be focusing on the proper use of the Mountainsmith trekking pole, a reliable and durable option trusted by outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.


A Mountainsmith trekking pole offers numerous benefits, including improved stability, reduced joint impact, increased balance, and better posture. Whether you’re tackling steep uphill climbs, navigating rugged terrains, or crossing streams, having a trekking pole can make a remarkable difference in your hiking experience.


However, simply owning a trekking pole isn’t enough. To truly reap the benefits and maximize its potential, you need to know how to use it correctly. This article will guide you through the proper techniques for using a Mountainsmith trekking pole, including adjusting the height, proper grip and handling, and utilizing it on different terrains. We will also cover essential tips for maintaining and caring for your trekking pole to ensure its longevity.


So, whether you’re an experienced hiker looking to fine-tune your hiking gear or a beginner embarking on your first adventure, read on to discover how to properly use a Mountainsmith trekking pole and make the most out of your outdoor journeys.


Benefits of Using a Mountainsmith Trekking Pole

Using a Mountainsmith trekking pole can greatly enhance your hiking experience and provide a range of benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Improved stability: A trekking pole acts as an additional point of contact with the ground, providing increased stability. This is particularly beneficial when traversing uneven terrain or navigating challenging trails. The pole helps distribute your weight more evenly, reducing the risk of slips or falls.
  2. Reduced joint impact: Hiking can put a significant amount of stress on your knees, especially when descending steep slopes. By using a Mountainsmith trekking pole, you can transfer some of the weight and impact to the pole, thereby reducing stress on your joints. This can alleviate discomfort and help prevent knee injuries.
  3. Increased balance: Uneven or rocky surfaces can throw off your balance, making it more difficult to navigate. With a trekking pole, you can extend your reach and create a wider base of support, enhancing your balance and stability. This is particularly beneficial when crossing streams, walking on slippery surfaces, or maneuvering through tricky sections.
  4. Better posture: Hiking with a trekking pole encourages you to maintain an upright posture. By engaging your core muscles and keeping your back straight, you can improve your overall alignment and reduce strain on your spine. Maintaining proper posture not only enhances your comfort during hikes but also decreases the risk of muscle fatigue and discomfort.
  5. Arm and shoulder engagement: Using a Mountainsmith trekking pole engages your upper body muscles, including the arms, shoulders, and core. As you swing the pole forward with each step, it helps to activate these muscles and provide a more balanced workout. This can contribute to increased calorie burn and overall fitness benefits during your hiking adventures.

By utilizing a Mountainsmith trekking pole, you can enhance your hiking performance, improve safety, and enjoy a more enjoyable outdoor experience. Next, let’s dive into how to choose the right Mountainsmith trekking pole based on your specific needs and preferences.


Choosing the Right Mountainsmith Trekking Pole

When it comes to selecting a Mountainsmith trekking pole, it’s important to consider your specific needs and hiking preferences. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  1. Adjustability: Look for a Mountainsmith trekking pole that offers adjustable length options. This allows you to customize the height according to your height and the type of terrain you’ll be hiking on. Adjustable poles are also convenient if you plan on sharing the pole with others who have different height preferences.
  2. Material: Mountainsmith trekking poles are typically made from aluminum or carbon fiber. Aluminum poles are durable, affordable, and offer excellent strength. Carbon fiber poles, on the other hand, are lighter but may come with a higher price tag. Consider the trade-off between weight and cost when choosing the material.
  3. Grip: Check the grip of the trekking pole, as it plays a crucial role in comfort and control. Rubber or foam grips are commonly used and provide a cushioned feel. Some grips may also have ergonomic features to reduce hand fatigue during long hikes. Consider testing different grips to find one that feels comfortable in your hands.
  4. Locking mechanism: Pay attention to the locking mechanism of the trekking pole. There are typically two types: twist-lock and lever-lock. Twist-lock poles require twisting to secure the sections in place, while lever-lock poles use a lever to lock and unlock the sections. Both options have their pros and cons, so choose the one that you find most convenient and secure.
  5. Shock absorption: If you anticipate hiking on rough or uneven terrains, you might want to consider a Mountainsmith trekking pole with a built-in shock absorption feature. This helps to minimize the impact on your joints and provide a smoother hiking experience. Keep in mind that poles with shock absorption tend to be slightly heavier.

Additionally, don’t forget to consider your hiking style, the level of difficulty of your hikes, and any specific requirements or preferences you may have. It’s always a good idea to seek advice from experienced hikers or outdoor gear experts who can provide personalized recommendations based on your needs.


Once you have selected the right Mountainsmith trekking pole, the next step is to adjust it to the ideal height for your comfort and hiking style. We will discuss this in detail in the next section.


Adjusting the Height of the Trekking Pole

Properly adjusting the height of your Mountainsmith trekking pole is crucial for optimal performance and comfort during your hikes. Follow these steps to adjust the pole to the right height:

  1. Start by standing in an upright position with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. This is a good starting point for adjusting the height of your trekking pole.
  2. Loosen the locking mechanism of the pole. Depending on the type of locking mechanism your Mountainsmith trekking pole has, this might involve twisting or flipping the lever.
  3. Extend or retract the sections of the pole to achieve the desired height. The measurement markings on the pole can serve as a guideline, but it’s important to adjust it according to your personal preference and comfort.
  4. Once you’ve set the desired height, secure the sections in place by tightening the locking mechanism. Make sure it’s tight enough to prevent any slippage during your hike, but avoid overtightening, as it may make it difficult to readjust later.
  5. Repeat these steps for the other trekking pole if you are using a pair.

Remember, the ideal height for your trekking pole may vary depending on the terrain and personal preference. In general, shorter poles are favored for uphill climbs, as they allow for a more agile and efficient stride. Conversely, longer poles are beneficial for downhill descents, providing additional stability and reducing joint impact.


It’s also worth experimenting with different heights during your hikes to find the most comfortable setting for various types of terrain. Adjusting the height of your trekking pole is a simple but important step to ensure you get the most out of your Mountainsmith trekking pole and enjoy a comfortable hiking experience.


With your trekking pole set to the right height, you’re ready to learn about proper grip and handling techniques to maximize its effectiveness. This will be discussed in the next section.


Proper Grip and Handling Techniques

Having the correct grip and handling techniques when using your Mountainsmith trekking pole is essential for maintaining control and maximizing its benefits. Follow these guidelines to ensure proper grip and handling:

  1. Hold the grip: Grasp the grip of your trekking pole firmly but not too tight. Your hand should be relaxed, with a light grip that allows for natural movement and flexibility. Avoid gripping the pole too tightly, as it can lead to hand fatigue and discomfort.
  2. Palm position: Place your hand over the grip with your palm facing inward and your fingers wrapping around the grip. Your fingers should be gently curled, and your thumb resting against the side of the grip. This position provides stability and control while allowing for proper wrist movement.
  3. Adjustable strap: Utilize the adjustable strap on the trekking pole to secure your hand in place. Slide your hand through the strap from the bottom, allowing the strap to rest comfortably around your wrist. Adjust the strap tension so that it supports your hand without restricting movement or causing discomfort. The strap will help transfer the force from your arm to the pole, reducing stress on your wrist.
  4. Pole placement: As you walk, plant the pole in front of you at an angle, approximately a 45-degree angle to the ground. This provides maximum stability and balance. Make sure to alternate the pole placement with the opposite foot, as the pole should be planted on the opposite side of the foot that is stepping forward.
  5. Swing motion: As you walk, allow your arm to swing naturally, moving in sync with your stride. The pole should swing forward with each step, striking the ground in a fluid motion. The swinging motion helps maintain rhythm and balance while providing extra support and stability.
  6. Downhill control: When descending steep slopes, it’s crucial to adjust your grip and pole placement accordingly. Shorten the length of the pole slightly to allow for better control and stability. Plant the pole slightly ahead of you, closer to your body, and use it as a brake by applying gentle pressure on the pole.

Remember, maintaining a relaxed grip and fluid motion is key to proper grip and handling techniques. This will allow you to reap the full benefits of your Mountainsmith trekking pole and make your hiking experience safer and more enjoyable.


Now that you have mastered the proper grip and handling techniques, let’s explore how to effectively use the Mountainsmith trekking pole on different types of terrains.


Using the Mountainsmith Trekking Pole on Different Terrains

The Mountainsmith trekking pole is a versatile tool that can be used on various types of terrains to enhance your hiking experience. Here’s a breakdown of how to use the trekking pole effectively on different terrain types:

  1. Flat terrains: While flat terrains may not require as much support or balance as other terrains, using a trekking pole can still provide added stability and reduce stress on your joints. Maintain a comfortable grip on the pole and swing it forward with each step to create a natural rhythm.
  2. Uphill terrains: When hiking uphill, adjust the length of the Mountainsmith trekking pole to be slightly shorter than its normal setting. This will provide you with better leverage and balance. Plant the pole slightly ahead of you as you ascend, using it to propel yourself forward and assist with each step to reduce the strain on your legs and improve your overall stability.
  3. Downhill terrains: Descending steep slopes can put a lot of pressure on your knees. To alleviate some of the impact, lengthen your Mountainsmith trekking pole slightly and plant it in front of you with each step. This will act as a support and help with balance, making your descent more controlled and reducing strain on your lower body.
  4. Rough and uneven terrains: When hiking on rocky or uneven terrains, a trekking pole becomes even more valuable. Use your Mountainsmith trekking pole to test the stability of the ground before stepping on it. Plant the pole securely to prevent any slips or missteps. The pole will provide added support, help you navigate through challenging sections, and improve stability on unpredictable surfaces.
  5. Stream crossings: Crossing streams and rivers can be tricky, but your Mountainsmith trekking pole can assist you. Shorten the pole slightly and use it to feel the depth and stability of the water before taking each step. Plant the pole firmly in the stream bed to provide additional support and help maintain balance as you navigate the water.

Remember to adjust the height and grip of your trekking pole as needed for the specific terrain you’re traversing. The Mountainsmith trekking pole is designed to be versatile and adaptable, making it a great companion for all types of terrains.


Now that you know how to effectively use your Mountainsmith trekking pole on different terrains, let’s explore some specific techniques for hiking uphill and downhill.


Techniques for Uphill and Downhill Hiking

When it comes to hiking uphill and downhill, employing the right techniques can make a significant difference in your energy expenditure and overall comfort. Here are some techniques to consider for both uphill and downhill hiking with your Mountainsmith trekking pole:

Uphill Hiking:

  1. Shorten your stride: When ascending steep inclines, it’s important to shorten your stride. This allows for better control and conserves energy. Take smaller steps and keep a consistent rhythm.
  2. Engage your upper body: Utilize your Mountainsmith trekking pole to help propel yourself uphill. With each step, plant the pole slightly ahead of you and push down on it to ease the strain on your lower body. This technique transfers some of the work to your arms and provides additional stability.
  3. Breathe deeply and pace yourself: Hiking uphill can be physically demanding, so it’s important to regulate your breathing. Take deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Pace yourself and listen to your body’s cues to avoid exhaustion.

Downhill Hiking:

  1. Lengthen your stride: When descending steep slopes, it’s often more efficient to lengthen your stride. Take larger steps, but be cautious not to overextend and lose your balance. The Mountainsmith trekking pole provides added stability and support as you navigate downhill.
  2. Plant the pole for balance: As you descend, plant your Mountainsmith trekking pole slightly ahead of you to assist with balance and control. This will help reduce the impact on your knees and joints. Adjust the length of the pole as needed to match the steepness of the descent.
  3. Use your body as a shock absorber: Allow your body to naturally absorb the impact as you step down. Bend your knees slightly and use your leg muscles to cushion the landing. The Mountainsmith trekking pole can also assist in absorbing some of the impact, reducing strain on your joints.

By employing these techniques, you can effectively tackle uphill and downhill sections with reduced fatigue and improved stability. Your Mountainsmith trekking pole serves as a valuable companion throughout your hiking journey, providing support and enhancing your overall hiking experience.


Next, let’s discuss how to confidently cross streams and rivers with your Mountainsmith trekking pole.


Crossing Streams and Rivers with a Mountainsmith Trekking Pole

When faced with the challenge of crossing streams and rivers during your hikes, your Mountainsmith trekking pole can be a valuable tool to help maintain balance, stability, and safety. Follow these guidelines to confidently cross streams and rivers:

  1. Assess the water: Before entering the water, evaluate the depth, current, and stability of the stream or river. Look for submerged rocks, strong currents, or any other potential hazards.
  2. Shorten the pole: Adjust the height of your Mountainsmith trekking pole by shortening it slightly. This will provide better control and allow you to gauge the depth of the water as you move forward.
  3. Use the pole as a support: Plant your trekking pole in the riverbed, slightly ahead and to the side of you, firmly enough to provide support. This will help you maintain balance and stability as you navigate the water.
  4. Probe the ground: Before stepping, use your Mountainsmith trekking pole to gently probe the riverbed in front of you. This can help you identify any underwater obstacles or uneven terrain that may pose a risk.
  5. Cross in a zigzag pattern: Instead of crossing directly across the stream or river, opt for a diagonal or zigzag pattern. This helps you maintain better stability and reduces the force of the water against your body.
  6. Take small and deliberate steps: Move slowly and deliberately, placing your feet securely on the riverbed with each step. Keep a firm grip on your Mountainsmith trekking pole for support and to help maintain balance.
  7. Work with the current: When crossing a river with a strong current, face upstream and lean into the current slightly. This technique provides better resistance against the flow and increases stability.
  8. When in doubt, turn back: If the current is too strong, or if the water level is rising, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Don’t hesitate to retreat and seek an alternative route or wait until the water level subsides.

Keep in mind that crossing streams and rivers can be unpredictable, and it’s essential to prioritize your safety. Consider wearing appropriate footwear for better grip and ensure the security of your gear before entering the water. Always use your judgment and assess the conditions before attempting a crossing.


With these tips in mind, you can confidently navigate water crossings during your hikes with your Mountainsmith trekking pole as a trusted companion.


Lastly, let’s discuss how to maintain and care for your Mountainsmith trekking pole to ensure its longevity and continued performance.


Maintaining and Caring for Your Mountainsmith Trekking Pole

Proper maintenance and care of your Mountainsmith trekking pole are essential for its longevity and continued performance. Here are some tips to help you maintain and care for your trekking pole:

  1. Inspect regularly: Regularly inspect all parts of your Mountainsmith trekking pole for any signs of wear, damage, or loose components. Pay special attention to the locking mechanism, tips, and grips. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage.
  2. Keep it clean: After each hike, wipe down your trekking pole with a clean, damp cloth to remove dirt, mud, or any other debris. If necessary, use mild soap or a non-abrasive cleanser. Allow the pole to air dry before storing it.
  3. Store properly: When not in use, store your Mountainsmith trekking pole in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving it exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can degrade the materials over time.
  4. Prevent rust: If your trekking pole has metal components, such as tips or locking mechanisms, it’s important to prevent rust. Apply a thin layer of rust-resistant oil or silicone lubricant to these areas periodically to protect against corrosion.
  5. Replace worn parts: Over time, certain parts of your Mountainsmith trekking pole may wear out, such as the tips or baskets. Replace these components as needed to ensure optimal performance. Check with the manufacturer or a trusted outdoor gear retailer for compatible replacement parts.
  6. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines: Mountainsmith provides specific care instructions for their trekking poles. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for cleaning, maintenance, and storage to ensure that you are properly caring for your specific model.
  7. Consider periodic tune-ups: If you frequently use your Mountainsmith trekking pole or have been through rugged terrains, consider taking it to a professional outdoor gear shop for a periodic tune-up. They can check and fine-tune the pole’s components, ensuring that everything is in good working order.

By following these maintenance and care tips, you can prolong the lifespan of your Mountainsmith trekking pole and ensure that it continues to serve you well on your outdoor adventures.


With proper care and attention, your Mountainsmith trekking pole will remain a reliable companion, supporting you through countless hikes and allowing you to fully enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors.


As we conclude this article, remember to continue exploring, stay safe, and make the most of every hiking experience with your Mountainsmith trekking pole by your side!



Congratulations! You have now learned how to properly use a Mountainsmith trekking pole and optimize its benefits for your outdoor adventures. Whether you’re hiking on flat terrains, conquering steep uphill climbs, navigating rocky trails, or crossing rivers, your Mountainsmith trekking pole will be a valuable tool to enhance your hiking experience.


By using the trekking pole, you can enjoy improved stability, reduced joint impact, increased balance, better posture, and engage your upper body muscles. Remember to choose the right Mountainsmith trekking pole based on your preferences and needs, ensuring it has the ideal adjustability, material, grip, and locking mechanism.


Adjusting the height of your trekking pole and employing the proper grip and handling techniques are crucial for maximizing its effectiveness. Use the pole on different terrains accordingly, such as on flat surfaces, uphill climbs, downhill descents, rough terrains, and when crossing streams or rivers.


Regular maintenance and care will keep your Mountainsmith trekking pole in optimal condition. Inspect it regularly, keep it clean, store it properly, prevent rust, and replace worn parts when necessary. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider professional tune-ups when required.


Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of how to use and care for your Mountainsmith trekking pole, it’s time to embark on your next adventure with confidence, stability, and comfort. Enjoy the wonders of nature, explore new trails, and make lasting memories as you make the most of your outdoor journeys!