Guide to Choosing Trekking Pole Parts

Originally known as “trekking poles” (a more common term in Europe), backcountry skiers and snowshoe hikers have found the added benefit of using poles year-round, especially in the Nordic countries where such activities are a way of life for many people. As pole use grows, people want more than just fixed-length snowsports poles. The demand for multi-section poles that are easy to pack and adjust has prompted manufacturers to develop new designs and production techniques. With three-section poles being offered by ski stores and outdoor specialty stores, pole use went from mysterious to cool.


You would think that a grip is a grip, but in reality they are very different. Grips come in different shapes, widths and materials. Quality clubs use three different grip materials or a combination of them: foam, rubber and cork.
Dense EVA foam is popular, has good grip when wet, and feels relatively cool in the hand in hot weather. Rubber handles are very durable and grip well in cold conditions. Sweat and body oils from bare hands can make the rubber a bit slippery. The grip material that is considered to have the best all-around performance is cork. Molded from polymer, cork provides a durable grip with very low water absorption and good grip even when sweating.

4 Section Telescopic Nordic Walking Stick 


The nylon straps located at the top of the grip are adjustable. For most hikers, straps are an integral part of effective trekking pole use. A properly designed and adjusted shoulder strap provides support for your weight (rather than leaving your hands to carry all the weight), makes it easier for the pole to swing with the rhythm of your walk, and prevents the pole from slipping off you (e.g. from sliding downhill into an inaccessible area). Quality straps include some kind of soft material that is in contact with your skin, such as painted nylon, microfiber, or neoprene.

Stem material

Originally, aluminum shafts were used to produce 3 section bars. As scientific materials advanced, carbon fiber trekking poles became available. Initially sold for their light weight, they proved to be unreliable. Then manufacturers began making 3-part carbon fiber poles with thicker tubes for greater strength and more durable lamination. They weigh roughly the same as or slightly less than lightweight aluminum poles. Carbon fiber is a good choice for dispersing vibration, thus reducing the amount of shock transmitted to your hand.
Aluminum itself is slightly heavier than carbon fiber, but is more durable. Aluminum rods have proven themselves in all terrains and weather on all continents. As long as you take some care of the rod section locking mechanism, aluminum rods will last for decades.

Aluminum 6061 Hiking Pole for Mountain Climbing 

Twist Locks

A twist lock is an internal fitting on a screw that expands when you twist adjacent pole sections in opposite directions. Friction locks the poles at the desired length. The twist lock allows for the development of lightweight three-piece poles, but is a bit of a pain to use because you have to hold a smooth pole with one hand while turning it with the other. Once you get used to the twisting action, it’s fast enough.

Hiking Pole Care

Take care of your poles a few times a year, especially before and after multi-day trips. Pull the pole sections apart and inspect each component for dents, cracks or worn parts. Pay special attention to the pole locking mechanism, whether it is a twist lock or a lever lock. Over time, the plastic can develop thin wire breaks, which can fail in the most inconvenient locations (most companies will repair your pole for a small fee).
Simply clean the inside and outside of the lever with a large bowl of warm water and a drop or two of dish soap. Use a soft cloth to clean, especially the inside of the pipe that connects the poles. Always rinse with water and allow parts to air dry before assembling.

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