T.Trekking poles are very important when it comes to trekking. They make your trekking experience safe and comfortable. They act as a third leg and keep you balanced on difficult terrain and on descents. Poles also help you maintain a steady rhythm while walking.
I’ve found that a lot of trekkers think you should only use trekking poles when you have an injury. That’s a big myth. The truth is, if you don’t use a trekking pole, you will likely get injured, especially in your knees.
In fact, I strongly recommend that you always use two trekking poles instead of one.
And as with all other trekking equipment, the poles need to be well maintained. Here are a few simple things you can do to help you make it through multiple hikes.
1. Use your trekking pole properly
Your trekking pole has two buttons to adjust its height. If you open it up before the hike, keep each section of the bar the same height.
I have seen many trekkers only open part of their trekking poles, either the middle one or the lower one. When you do this, all of the load is only on the open section of the rod, making it more prone to bending or breaking.
To avoid this, always make sure that the lower and middle part of the trekking pole are the same height.
I would also suggest that you watch this video to learn how to use a trekking stick during your trek.
Always keep the heights of your trekking poles the same. This avoids straining part of the trekking pole
2. Do not abuse your trekking pole
This is the simplest thing you can do to keep your walking pole secure. Use your trekking pole only for what it was made for – trekking.
Don’t mess around with it. Do not dig holes in the ground or hit snow. Don’t fight with it. It’s not a lightsaber!
I’ve seen many trekkers do everything I’ve mentioned many times above. I’ve also seen how quickly it scratches and bends their trekking poles.
Use your trekking pole only for trekking. Playing around makes it more prone to damage. Image by Vishwajeet Chavan
3. Fold your trekking poles every day after trekking
After each day of trekking, take the time to fold your trekking poles when you arrive at your campsite. It barely takes a minute.
I’ve seen hikers usually leave their sticks open outside of their tents and expose them to rain, snow, and cold, damp winds at night. As a result, trekking poles rust quickly and are stiff. This shortens the life of the pole considerably.
I suggest you leave them folded (with the rubber cap on) in your tent. If they are outside or on the ground, they can be accidentally stepped on and break.
4. Use the trekking pole cap when you are on a muddy or rocky trail
Your trekking pole has a removable pole cap that covers the tungsten tip. When walking through rocky trails make sure the cap is in place. Remove the snow basket and keep it in a safe place.
The tungsten tip is intended for soft surfaces and the snow basket is only intended for snow-covered terrain. Failure to use your polar ice cap will damage it and will not work well on snow and muddy trails.
If you lose your polar ice caps (they are small) there are always new ones you can buy before your hike. They don’t cost a lot.
For snow tours – use a snow basket and remove the polar cap. The tungsten tip gives you more grip. For hikes that are not covered with snow, remove the snow basket and use polar ice caps
5. Pack your trekking poles properly when traveling
Trekking poles can be damaged very easily while traveling. So make sure you pack them well.
Fold your bars properly. Remove the snow basket and store it separately. Put the polar caps on. I would suggest that you wrap your trekking poles with newspaper and / or bubble wrap.
If you arrive by plane and check it in, notify the airline staff to add a “Fragile” tag to your trekking stick.
This video will help you understand how to pack your trekking pole:
6. Follow this routine after trekking
When you get home, take some time to clean your walking sticks before storing. First, open your trekking pole in full length. Clean off dirt and mud with a damp cloth. Let it dry out.
After drying, apply lubricant such as grease or oil to each bolt on the trekking pole. Fold it again and store in a dry place.
I recommend that you apply lubricant to all screws once a month. This will prevent rust from building up and protect your poles.
These simple steps will ensure that your trekking poles will stay in good condition for a long time.
If you have any more maintenance tips, share them in the comments below to help other trekkers too!
(This article is part of a series by Trek Leader Tanmay Bain about maintaining your trekking equipment. The previous article about maintaining your backpack can be found here.)