While the concept of walking with a pole or stick isn't new, trekking poles have become an almost indispensable piece of gear for many hikers. Poles are useful for helping stabilize heavy loads and negotiating trails or creek beds with uneven terrain. Similar to x-country skiing, the use of trekking poles while hiking distributes weight so you can use your entire body to propel you forward, saving your legs during endless uphill grinds. They also reduce stress on your knees, hips, and lower back, and help you maintain a more upright, efficient posture.
Features that differentiate a trekking pole from a wooden stick:
- Collapsible poles are easy to store when not needed.
- Lightweight aluminum is less likely to break than wood.
- Ergonomically-shaped grips make them comfortable to grasp.
- Shafts may incorporate shock absorbers to dissipate force and reduce jarring.
- Metal tips are durable and are designed to be stable in dirt, rock, snow, or ice.
- A telescoping pole can be extended to probe the depth of puddles or the strength of snow bridges.
Repairing Adjustable Poles
Adjustable pole sections can loosen over time and grit can accumulate. As a preventative step, consider taking your poles apart after each trip and allow them to dry before storing.
- To clean the inside of your trekking poles, take them apart and push a tissue through with a long, thin stick or rigid wire, such as a disassembled coat hanger wire.
- If the poles are slipping, take the sections apart and clean off the surfaces of the expanders (plastic device that holds sections in place with friction). When aluminum oxidizes through air and water exposure, a fine white deposit builds up on the expanders, and causes them to slip against the inner pole surface.
- If, after cleaning, an expander still does not grip the section's inner wall, the expander may need to be replaced.
- To replace an expander or a bent pole section, please call the Member Service Desk of any MEC store, or contact us through email.