Want to bring your recently bought trekking poles on a hike but not sure how or when to use their tips and baskets?
Trekking poles make walking over rough terrain easier and provide support for your knees. So, it comes as no surprise why many hikers choose to bring a pair with them on their outdoor trips. But you’ll never be able to get the best out of your trekking poles unless and until you are familiar with all of its components including the tip and basket. While there aren’t any rigid rules for the correct technique, knowing how and when to use these trekking pole accessories will allow you to hike safely in all 4 seasons on a variety of surfaces.
Here’s a quick rundown of the various trekking pole tips & baskets you can use to improve your hiking experience.
1) Rubber Tips
Rubber tips are known for their versatility and provide extra grip & stability on slippery terrain. It is the most used type of tip when it comes to hiking. Rubber tips absorb shock and vibration better than metal tips on paved terrain. Unlike carbide tips, rubber tips are less damaging to trails making it an ideal choice for sensitive environmental areas. They also serve as good protection when traveling or storing your trekking poles. Rubber tips can even help reduce the sound that your poles make while on the trail.
2) Carbide Tips
If its durability you’re looking for then buy trekking poles that have carbide tips. Carbide tips are ultra-durable and can take a beating during lengthy backpacking trips. It provides optimal grip on a variety of surfaces, including rocks, dirt or ice. Poles with carbide tips are ideal for rugged terrain as they can easily dig into hard rock. One major drawback of having carbide tips is that they produce a lot of noise and vibration. This can cause slight discomfort to hikers who want to avoid unwanted noise during their trip. Also, do keep in mind that carbide tips can sometimes poke a hole into your travel bag.
3) Rubber Feet
Rubber Feet are also known as “fitness rubber tips” as they are designed to provide forward propulsion and improve stability. Using these rubber feet, you can increase your pace and momentum while losing your balance on the trail. They also help get an extra grip and absorb some of the shocks that go on to your poles. Trekking poles with bare metal tips are vulnerable to slipping on flat and rocky surfaces. But you can prevent that by using rubber feet. This way you can also avoid damaging the carbide tips of your trekking poles. You can use rubber feet while hiking/walking on hard surfaces such as paved roads and rocky terrain.
4) Mud Baskets
If your planned hiking route might go through places with mud or deep grass then you must attach mud baskets to your poles. Not only these baskets stop you from sinking too deep into the mud, but it will also help keep the mud from splashing up onto your clothing. Mud baskets provide additional support to keep the poles from sinking too deep into soft soil, making it easier for you to use your trekking poles.
5) Snow Baskets
Do you often go hiking during winter and hit trails full of snow? Consider adding snow baskets to your trekking poles! Snow baskets help provide support and flotation just like snowshoes. So your poles won’t sink into deep snow and slow you down. Snow baskets are normally much wider than mud baskets as they are specifically designed for terrains with at least a few feet of snow.
Note: One issue with having wider baskets attached to your poles is that they can sometimes get caught up on roots and bushes.
It’s not rocket science! Having a pair of trekking poles with the right tip and basket will serve you well on all types of terrain. Now that you are familiar with trekking pole tips & baskets, you should head to our trekking pole collection page and view our entire offering of poles. For even more information, check out our blog post titled “How to choose trekking poles?”.
Did I miss something? If you have any questions you want to ask us about trekking poles, comment below, and we will be sure to get back to you.