Trekking poles a.k.a. walking sticks are one of the most essential items that you will ever include in your hiking and backpacking checklist. They relieve the stress on your back, hips, and feet especially if you are carrying a weighty backpack.
Poles will cut up to 20 pounds of the weight exerted on your joints by shifting it to the arms and the sticks. They will also enable you to maintain balance while walking on bumpy terrain.
However, like any outdoor gear in constant use, hiking poles may snap and leave you picking dry sticks on the trail. If you are used to hiking with poles, then you know that any pole-related problem can be a real pain in the neck. And if you are short of getting a new pair, it could be really difficult for you to walk on the trail without support. It is therefore important that you learn simple trekking pole repair tips just in case you slip and break one of your poles or need to lock it right.
How To Fix Trekking Poles
Hiking pole repair will mainly depend on what the failure point is. Maybe you were bushwhacking and your pole accidentally hit a rock buried under some tangled grass and got broken. Perhaps you are using a pole that has an interlocking mechanism that won’t lock properly so it keeps slipping while you walk. If you know exactly what you need to fix, then the process will be a cakewalk.
In this guide, we are going to discuss how you can tighten your pole so it locks properly and how to patch it up if it snaps.
Tightening your poles: Most hiking poles will come with an interlocking mechanism that locks parts firmly together to prevent them from slipping. What this mechanism does is that it expands out, exerting pressure on the inside of the pole and locking it in place so it doesn’t slide while you move on the trail. If this mechanism is not working properly, then your pole definitely needs fixing. To do this:
- Pull out the part that is not locking. The idea here is to pull the locking mechanism down to the thinnest section of the pole, enabling it to make as much contact with the walls of the pole as possible.
- Turn your pole as if you are locking it in and you will feel it slowly begin to tighten up.
- Simply back the pole off and lock it in wherever you want to.
But there are times when a trekking pole won’t lock due to some trapped debris inside. Though this is rare, if you have followed the above steps and your stick is still sliding, then you should check if there is any dirt caught in the locking mechanism. Here is the easiest way to go about it:
- Separate the two sections of your trekking pole.
- Pull the locking mechanism from the threads.
- Using a wet rag or sponge, wipe the threads at the top of your pole. Clean the locking mechanism too.
4. Reassemble. Never lubricate the inside of your locking mechanism, as this could cause slippage in the interior of the pole.
Fixing broken poles: If you know how to repair a tent pole, then this one will be easy peasy. You will need plastic tubing, a saw blade, and electrical tape. Trekking pole repair for broken parts will go as follows:
- Using your saw blade, cut a small length (about 30cm) off the edge of the plastic tube.
- Take the small piece of tubing you have just cut and make a slot down its length. Make sure your blade is sharp enough to hasten the cutting.
- Grab the broken pole and slide the slotted tubing onto it.
- Hold the brake and pull the pole apart to expose the cord running down the center of the pole.
- Get the tape and bundle everything together. Do as many layers as you can until the pole looks and feels sturdy enough to support you on the terrain.
- You can ditch the remaining tubing if you have completed your mission. Just make sure to cut a few more pieces just in case you break another pole or the one you just repaired needs more fixing while out there.
Maintaining Your Poles In Good Shape
Though fixing a pole is not as complicated as it sounds, it can be annoying particularly if you have to do it every time you plan a trip in the woods. But you can make sure that your poles are in good working condition by maintaining constant care.
Get familiar: With regular maintenance, your hiking poles can last a long, long time. If you don’t have any outdoor trip on your calendar and got a few minutes to spare, dismantle your poles and check to see that the locking mechanisms, tips, and straps are clean and working as desired. Familiarizing yourself with the interior of your poles and how things work can help you identify a problem before it escalates.
Keep them clean: If you were hiking in the rain and your poles got all wet and muddy, disassemble them, pull the shafts apart, and then clean them with water. Get a clean rag and wipe them off and then leave them to air dry before joining the parts together again. Never store your poles wet as this encourages oxidation, which could make the poles harder to tighten.
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Like any important piece of gear, hiking poles require constant care and maintenance. If you have been using poles in your treks, then you know that sometimes posts can snap and the locking mechanism can jam on you while on the trail. Luckily, this is something that can be fixed easily.
The above guide on trekking pole repair states the quick steps you can use to pull yourself out of this sticky situation. Just be certain that you understand what is inside your pole so you can know what you are actually fixing.
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