How To: Attaching Hiking Poles to Your Backpack

Attaching Hiking Poles: Hiking, also known as trekking poles, attached to a backpack

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Hiking can be an incredible adventure, but carrying those long and sometimes unwieldy hiking poles when you’re not using them can be a bit of a hassle. That’s where knowing how to attach your hiking poles to your backpack comes in handy.

It not only keeps your hands free for other important tasks but also ensures you won’t lose or drop your valuable hiking companions along the way.

In this post, we’re going to show you the ropes on securing your hiking poles to your backpack, making your hiking experience safer and more convenient.

1. Backpack Attachment Points

Attaching Hiking Poles: Hiker with hiking poles attached to his backpack climbing a steep rocky hill

Most modern backpacks come equipped with specific attachment points designed to secure hiking poles.

Here are some common backpack attachment points for hiking poles:

  • Cinch Points: Many packs have cinch points, which are adjustable loops or straps that you can tighten or loosen. We will dive into using them in the next section.
  • Hook Fasteners: Some backpacks feature hiking pole attachments that open and close with a small hook mechanism. You can simply unhook the fastener, lay the hiking pole in place (with the handle pointing upward), and close the fastener around your pole to secure it.

Securing Hiking Poles with Cinch Points

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use cinch points effectively:

  1. Loosen the Cinch: Begin by locating the cinch point on your backpack. Loosen the cinch all the way to create a wider opening.
  2. Insert the Handle: Take one poles and insert the handle through the loosened cinch point. Ensure that the handle is pointing towards the top of your pack.
  3. Secure the Pole: Now, stick the pointy end of the pole through the loop on the bottom corner of your pack. The pole’s basket will stop it from slipping through.
  4. Seat the Pole: Press the pole’s point down toward the bottom of your pack to make sure it securely seats into that loop.
  5. Tighten the Cinch: Finally, tighten down the cinch point around the body of the pole. This will hold it securely in place. Make sure it’s snug but not too tight, so you can easily access your poles when needed.
  6. Repeat: Attach your other pole to the pack using the same method.

However, if your backpack lacks these attachment points, don’t worry; we’ll explore alternative methods in the upcoming sections.

2. The Side Pocket Trick

Attaching Hiking Poles: Hiker using the side pockets of their backpack to carry their hiking poles

If your backpack lacks specific cinch points but has side pockets and side compression straps, you can still secure your hiking poles effectively using what we call “The Side Pocket Trick.”

This method is a clever workaround:

  1. Identify the Side Pocket: Locate the side pocket on your backpack.
  2. Insert the Handle: Take one of your hiking poles and insert the handle into the side pocket. Ensure that the handle goes all the way into the pocket.
  3. Secure with Compression Straps: After inserting the handle into the side pocket, fasten the side compression straps around the body of the pole. Cinch these straps tight.
  4. Repeat for the Second Pole: If you have two hiking poles, repeat the process for the second one, placing it in the opposite side pocket.

If your backpack lacks both cinch points and side pockets, don’t worry; we have alternative solutions coming up in the next sections.

3. Using Horizontal Compression Straps

If your backpack doesn’t have side pockets but does feature horizontal compression straps, you still have an effective option for securing your hiking poles.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Locate the Horizontal Compression Straps: Identify the horizontal compression straps on your backpack.
  2. Loosen the Straps: Begin by loosening the horizontal compression straps to create enough space to insert your hiking poles.
  3. Insert the Poles: Take one of your hiking poles and pass it through the horizontal compression straps with the handle facing downwards and the basket pointing upwards.
  4. Tighten the Straps: After inserting the pole, tighten the horizontal compression straps around the body of the pole. This will prevent the pole from slipping out and keep it securely in place.
  5. Repeat for the Second Pole: If you have a pair of hiking poles, repeat the process for the second pole.

It’s important to note that this method works best if your hiking poles have baskets on them, as the baskets prevent the poles from slipping through the straps.

If your backpack lacks side pockets and horizontal compression straps, read on.

4. The Top Carry Method

When your backpack lacks specialized attachment points, side pockets, and horizontal compression straps, you can still securely carry your hiking poles using the “Top Carry Method.”

While it may feel somewhat different, it can be a practical solution:

  1. Lay the Poles Across the Top: Begin by laying your hiking poles across the top of your backpack. Ensure that both poles are placed side by side.
  2. Secure the Poles: Close the top of your backpack over the hiking poles. This effectively traps the poles in place.
  3. Cinch it Tight: If your backpack has straps or cinches at the top, use them to secure the poles further. Tighten these straps to prevent the poles from shifting.
  4. Safety Note: Be aware that with this method, you’ll have a horizontal “crossbar” of sorts laid across your back, with one end being pointy. Exercise caution to avoid bumping into objects or people, especially in crowded hiking conditions.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, mastering the art of attaching hiking poles to your backpack is a valuable skill that enhances your hiking experience.

It not only frees up your hands for other essential tasks but also ensures the safety and security of your valuable hiking companions throughout your adventure.

With these techniques, your hiking poles are always securely fastened and easily accessible on your adventures. Happy hiking!

Looking for ultralight hiking poles? Check out our TOP 5 Guide for the lightest trekking poles on the market.


How do you carry hiking poles on a backpack?

To carry hiking poles on a backpack, you can utilize specific attachment points designed for this purpose. Modern backpacks often feature cinch points or hook fasteners. Cinch points are adjustable loops or straps that, when loosened, create an opening where you can insert the handle of a pole. Hook fasteners, on the other hand, provide a mechanism to easily secure poles in place.

If your backpack lacks these attachments, the “Side Pocket Trick” involves inserting the handle into a side pocket and fastening compression straps. Additionally, some backpacks have horizontal compression straps that can be used to secure hiking poles by inserting them handle-down through the straps. Another option, known as the “Top Carry Method,” involves laying the poles across the top of the backpack and securing them by closing the top and using any available straps or cinches.

How do you travel with trekking poles?

When traveling with trekking poles, it’s important to collapse the poles and secure them properly. Pack them in a durable carrying case or wrap them in protective material to ensure convenience and safety. Remember to check airline regulations if you’re planning to travel by air, as trekking poles are generally not allowed in carry-on luggage and should be put in checked-in baggage.

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