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How To Use Trekking Poles When Walking On Sand


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Anne-Corinne Ciccone



Walking on sand can be an exhilarating and challenging experience. Whether you’re exploring the vast dunes of the desert or strolling along a beautiful sandy beach, proper equipment becomes essential to ensure a comfortable and safe walking experience. One of the most valuable tools to have in these scenarios is a set of trekking poles.


In recent years, trekking poles have gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts due to their numerous benefits. These lightweight and adjustable poles not only provide stability and support on uneven terrain but also offer significant advantages when walking on sand. By distributing the weight and reducing the strain on your legs and joints, trekking poles can enhance your balance, conserve energy, and improve overall walking endurance.


In this article, we will explore the various benefits of using trekking poles when walking on sand. We will also delve into the process of selecting the right trekking poles for sandy terrains, along with the proper technique to adjust and utilize them effectively. Additionally, we will provide some helpful tips for maintaining balance and stability while walking on sand, as well as important safety precautions to consider.


Benefits of Using Trekking Poles on Sand

Using trekking poles when walking on sand can greatly enhance your overall experience. Here are some key benefits:

  • Improved Stability: Walking on sand can be unstable, as the surface constantly shifts and sinks beneath your feet. Trekking poles provide extra points of contact with the ground, increasing stability and reducing the risk of slips and falls.
  • Reduced Strain on Joints: The soft and uneven nature of sand can put additional stress on your knees, ankles, and hips. By transferring some of your body weight to the poles, you can reduce the impact on your joints and minimize discomfort.
  • Enhanced Balance: Walking on sand requires constant adjustment to maintain balance. Trekking poles act as additional support, helping you stay steady and preventing you from sinking into the sand with every step.
  • Increased Endurance: The use of trekking poles distributes your energy more efficiently, allowing you to walk for longer periods without feeling fatigued. This can be especially beneficial when exploring long stretches of sandy terrains.
  • Engagement of Upper Body Muscles: When using trekking poles, you engage your upper body muscles, including the arms, shoulders, and core. This adds a full-body workout element to your sandy walks, contributing to overall strength and fitness.
  • Versatility: Trekking poles are not only useful on sandy terrains; they can be adjusted and used on various terrains, offering support and stability on rocky trails, steep descents, and uneven surfaces.

With these benefits in mind, it’s clear that trekking poles are invaluable tools for enhancing safety, comfort, and overall enjoyment when walking on sand.


Choosing the Right Trekking Poles for Walking on Sand

When it comes to selecting trekking poles for walking on sand, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Material: Look for trekking poles made from lightweight and durable materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber. These materials provide the necessary strength without adding unnecessary weight.
  • Grip and Strap: Opt for poles with comfortable and non-slip grips, as well as adjustable straps. These features will ensure a secure and comfortable grip, even when your hands are sweaty or sandy.
  • Adjustability: Choose trekking poles with adjustable length options. This allows you to customize the height of the poles to suit your walking style and the specific sand conditions.
  • Spike or Basket Attachments: Check if the trekking poles come with removable baskets or additional spike attachments. These accessories can be helpful for navigating different types of sand or for tackling other terrains.
  • Collapsible Design: Consider trekking poles that have a collapsible design for easy transportation and storage. This feature allows you to pack them into smaller spaces, such as in your backpack or travel gear.

Additionally, it’s advisable to try out different trekking poles and find the ones that feel comfortable and well-balanced in your hands. Pay attention to details like the pole’s weight, shock absorption capabilities, and locking mechanisms to ensure a smooth and reliable walking experience on sand.


Remember that choosing the right trekking poles will contribute to your overall comfort and effectiveness when tackling sandy terrains. Take the time to research and test out different options to find the perfect pair that suits your needs.


Adjusting and Using Trekking Poles on Sand

Properly adjusting and utilizing your trekking poles on sand is crucial for optimal performance and stability. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Adjusting the Length: Start by adjusting the length of your trekking poles. Extend the poles so that your elbows form a 90-degree angle when holding them. This position provides the most efficient transfer of weight and balance.
  2. Securing the Straps: Slip your hands through the straps from below, allowing your wrists to rest on top of the straps. This technique ensures a solid connection between your hands and the poles, allowing for a more effective transfer of force.
  3. Grip Technique: Hold the grip firmly, but avoid gripping too tightly. Keep your wrists straight and relaxed to allow for a fluid and natural movement while walking on sand.
  4. Placement of Poles: When walking on sand, aim to place your trekkings poles slightly ahead or at the same time as your corresponding foot. This rhythm helps distribute weight evenly and maintain balance throughout each step.
  5. Planting the Poles: As you place the poles on the sand, make sure to gently plant them at an angle, allowing the tips to sink slightly into the surface. This provides stability and traction while walking.
  6. Pace and Cadence: Find a comfortable walking pace and rhythm that syncs with the movement of your poles. Allow your arms to swing naturally and coordinate the pole placement with each step.

It’s important to note that everybody has different walking styles and preferences, so feel free to adjust and experiment with these techniques to find the most comfortable and effective method for you.


By properly adjusting and utilizing your trekking poles, you can maximize their benefits and make your sandy walks more enjoyable and stable.


Proper Technique for Walking on Sand with Trekking Poles

Walking on sand with trekking poles requires a slightly different technique compared to walking on solid ground. Here are some tips to help you navigate sandy terrains more efficiently:

  1. Keep a Wide Stance: Start by maintaining a wider stance than you would on regular surfaces. This provides a stable base and helps prevent your feet from sinking too deeply into the sand.
  2. Engage Your Core: Activate your core muscles as you walk. This will provide additional stability and support, especially when encountering uneven or soft sand.
  3. Walk with a Heel-to-Toe Motion: Take each step by landing on your heel first and then rolling through to your toes. This helps distribute your weight more evenly and prevents your feet from getting stuck in the sand.
  4. Use the Poles for Balance: Lean slightly forward and use your trekking poles to maintain balance. Let them sink into the sand as you push off with each step, providing stability and propulsion.
  5. Mind Your Cadence: Find a comfortable and consistent cadence that suits the terrain. This will help you maintain momentum and prevent unnecessary strain on your legs and joints.
  6. Don’t Force the Poles: Avoid using excessive force or putting too much weight on the poles. Instead, let them assist your natural walking motion, maintaining a gentle and fluid rhythm.

Remember to listen to your body and adjust your technique accordingly. As you gain experience and familiarity with trekking on sand, you may discover personalized techniques that work best for you.


By following these proper techniques, you can walk on sand with ease and make the most of your trekking poles as a valuable aid in navigating sandy terrains.


Tips for Maintaining Balance and Stability on Sand

Walking on sand can be challenging, but with the right techniques and practice, you can maintain balance and stability. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Choose the Right Footwear: Opt for sturdy and supportive footwear with good traction. Shoes designed for hiking or walking on sandy terrains will provide better stability and prevent your feet from sinking into the sand.
  • Take Smaller Steps: When walking on sand, shorter and more controlled steps can help maintain balance and prevent tripping or stumbling. Keep your strides more compact and maintain a steady pace.
  • Engage Your Core Muscles: Activate your core muscles to maintain stability and balance. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged by pulling your belly button towards your spine. This will help stabilize your upper body.
  • Look Ahead: Keep your gaze slightly ahead and focused on the path ahead of you. This will not only help you anticipate any uneven or challenging sections but also assist in maintaining your balance.
  • Use Your Arms: Allow your arms to move freely and naturally while walking on sand. Swing them gently in coordination with your steps and utilize your trekking poles for extra balance and support.
  • Pick the Right Time: Walking on sandy terrains can be easier during low tide or early morning when the sand is more compact and firm. Avoid walking on loose or deep sand if you’re new to trekking on sand.
  • Practice on Different Sand Types: Each beach or desert may have different types of sand, ranging from soft and loose to compact and wet. Practice walking on different sand textures to improve your balance and adaptability.
  • Stay Hydrated: It’s crucial to stay hydrated during your sandy walks. Dehydration can affect your balance and stability, so make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your trek.
  • Be Mindful of Your Body: Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Overexertion can lead to loss of balance and stability. Pace yourself and enjoy the journey at a comfortable and sustainable pace.

Remember, maintaining balance and stability on sand is a skill that improves with practice. Incorporate these tips into your hiking routine, and before long, you’ll feel more confident walking on sandy terrains.


Safety Precautions to Consider When Using Trekking Poles on Sand

While trekking poles can greatly enhance your walking experience on sand, it’s important to follow safety precautions to ensure your well-being. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Proper Training: Familiarize yourself with the correct technique for using trekking poles on sand before embarking on a longer or more challenging sandy trek. Practice in a controlled environment to build confidence.
  • Check Poles Regularly: Before each trek, inspect your trekking poles for any signs of damage or wear. Make sure the locks and adjustments are secure, and the tips are in good condition.
  • Be Mindful of Overexertion: Walking on sand can be physically demanding. Know your limits and take breaks when needed to avoid overexertion, especially when walking long distances or on challenging terrains.
  • Protect from Sun Exposure: When trekking on sandy beaches or deserts, protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, and consider lightweight, breathable clothing to shield your skin from the sun.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sandy trek to prevent dehydration. Carry an adequate supply of water and consider electrolyte drinks to replenish lost minerals.
  • Watch for Hazards: Keep an eye out for any potential hazards on the sand, such as rocks, debris, or hidden drop-offs. Stay alert and adjust your footwork and pole placement accordingly.
  • Inform Others of Your Plans: If you’re embarking on a more remote or challenging sandy trek, let someone know about your plans and estimated return time. This way, they can alert authorities if you encounter any difficulties.
  • Practice Leave-No-Trace Principles: Be respectful of the natural environment and practice Leave-No-Trace principles by minimizing your impact. Avoid disturbing wildlife or delicate sand dunes and carry out any trash or litter.
  • Consider Weather Conditions: Be aware of weather conditions, tides (for beach walks), and potential sandstorms (for desert hikes). Plan your trek accordingly and be prepared with appropriate clothing and equipment.

By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy your sandy adventures with peace of mind and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries.



Walking on sand can be a truly incredible and memorable experience, whether you’re exploring stunning sandy beaches or venturing into vast deserts. By utilizing trekking poles, you can enhance your stability, conserve energy, and make the most of your sandy treks.


In this article, we’ve explored the benefits of using trekking poles on sand, including improved stability, reduced strain on joints, and increased endurance. We’ve also discussed the importance of choosing the right trekking poles and adjusting them to fit your needs. Additionally, we’ve provided proper techniques for walking on sand with trekking poles, along with tips for maintaining balance and stability.


It’s crucial to always prioritize safety when using trekking poles on sand. Following the recommended safety precautions, such as proper training, inspecting your poles, being mindful of overexertion, and staying hydrated, will contribute to a safe and enjoyable trekking experience.


So, next time you find yourself walking on sand, whether it’s to witness breathtaking sunset views or to embrace the serenity of the desert, don’t forget to bring your trusty trekking poles. Embrace the benefits they offer, stay balanced, and embark on your sandy adventure with confidence.


Enjoy the journey, explore the wonders of sandy terrains, and make unforgettable memories with your trekking poles by your side!