How to Extend the Life of Your Trekking Poles

One of the most important items I take with me when I plan on camping in the backcountry is my trekking poles.  While this may sound a little strange, let me explain why I value these little sticks so much.

When my son, daughter and I went to Yellowstone with my son’s Boy Scout Troop, the game plan seemed to be simple.  We would stay at a Boy Scout camp outside of Cody, Wyoming.  While my son did his merit badges, my daughter and I would participate in Venture Crew activities.  One of these activities was to hike up a mountain, spend the night at the top and then hike down the next morning.  How simple this sounds but………….


As we prepared for the hike, we needed to carry a gallon of water, sleep roll, and food.  All of this would be carried in our backpacks.  Again, how simple this sounds.  We began our day early and hiked to the mountain.  The beginning of the trek was easy going but as the day wore on, the kids I was responsible for began to wear down and complain.  Frankly, they were just not in shape for the hike.  To reduce the chance of injury, we decided to turn back and this is when trouble started.

About a mile down the mountain, I stepped on slick boulder and tumbled down the path.  When I stopped, I realized I had stress fractured my ankle.  While I waited for help, I realize how foolish it was to leave my trekking poles behind.  At that point, I decided I would never leave for another hike without my poles.

While trekking poles are wonderful, they can leave traces of your trek in the form of holes in the ground.  Also, when you use them over rocks, they tend to slip off the surface because they have no way of gripping the stone.  Lastly, trekking poles can be expensive and you want to get the most out of them before they need to be replaced.  One of the areas that wear out quickly is the tip of the poles.  This is the surface that makes the lovely clacking sound when it hits a hard or stone surface.  To extend the life of this tip and preserve the concept of “leave no trace,” you will need to cover and protect this tip.  The easiest way to do this is to cover the tip.  The first step of this process starts off with a stop at the local drug store.  While you are there, pick up a 5/8ths inch cane tip and duct tape.  Once you have your supplies, take the cane tip and place it over the end of one trekking pole.  Mark how far this cane tip goes up the bottom of the pole.  Next, remove the cane tip and begin wrapping duct tape over the area that was covered with the cane tip.  Continue to wrap this area while checking to make sure that the cane tip will still fit over the end.  Once the cane tip fits snug, stop wrapping the duct tape and separate from the roll.  The last step is to wrap duct tape around the top of the cane tip to secure it to the trekking pole.  Repeat with the other pole.

Now that your trekking pole is protected, you are ready to hit the trail safe and sound.