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A Quick Guide To Trekking Pole Tips & Baskets

March 03, 2021 16 Comments

trekking pole tips

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 such as our TREK-Z 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.

Related: How to clean and maintain your trekking poles?

Here’s a quick rundown of the various trekking pole tips & baskets you can use to improve your hiking experience.

1) Rubber Tips

trekking pole tips rubber

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

trekking pole tips carbide

Copyright:ferrerivideo

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

trekking pole tips

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

trekking pole tips mud basket

Copyright:Prostock

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.

Conclusion

trekking pole tips

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.

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16 Responses

Peter Birtwistle
Peter Birtwistle

November 12, 2022

Hi can you buy walking poles with a cranked base as my feet catch the base of the pole (very odd feet I know)

Amy Saunders
Amy Saunders

October 17, 2022

Since my in-laws are going on a hiking trip at a hill near their house this weekend, I believe this article would be very helpful to them. It gives me so much relief upon knowing that rubber tipped trekking poles are highly versatile and have more gripping capability. Maybe they should make a worthy purchase as soon as possible based on this information. https://mypepperstick.com

Bill Harries
Bill Harries

September 12, 2022

I have a number of different walking poles from Leki to Chinese folding small for aircraft overhead locker bag-my favourite tho, is “pair of Ski Poles” by a company called “LOOK”-Why my Fav?,is because the the handle grips are integral to pole stem,plus are R & L hand finger grips,in plastic,will take mitts -sadly do not fold and can be awkward at times to cat around when not the boondocks.
at present the aluminum tips have worn down unevenly,more so on the R pole?.
Am now at the juncture(now 83yo) of wanting to continue use of these “ski” poles,but requireing Tungstan tips to be fitted by either MIG welding to the remaining irregular unworn bits of below basket aluminum original tips,OR if attal possible!, have brand new tips fitted to shafts incorporating the baskets I cut down OR even with a new integal basket & tip fitted to upper shaft.
Would delight in a post msg if some has done or had done.regards et al.
Bill

Bill Harries
Bill Harries

September 12, 2022

I have a number of different walking poles from Leki to Chinese folding small for aircraft overhead locker bag-my favourite tho, is “pair of Ski Poles” by a company called “LOOK”-Why my Fav?,is because the the handle grips are integral to pole stem,plus are R & L hand finger grips,in plastic,will take mitts -sadly do not fold and can be awkward at times to cat around when not the boondocks.
at present the aluminum tips have worn down unevenly,more so on the R pole?.
Am now at the juncture(now 83yo) of wanting to continue use of these “ski” poles,but requireing Tungstan tips to be fitted by either MIG welding to the remaining irregular unworn bits of below basket aluminum original tips,OR if attal possible!, have brand new tips fitted to shafts incorporating the baskets I cut down OR even with a new integal basket & tip fitted to upper shaft.
Would delight in a post msg if some has done or had done.regards et al.
Bill

Bill Harries
Bill Harries

September 12, 2022

I have a number of different walking poles from Leki to Chinese folding small for aircraft overhead locker bag-my favourite tho, is “pair of Ski Poles” by a company called “LOOK”-Why my Fav?,is because the the handle grips are integral to pole stem,plus are R & L hand finger grips,in plastic,will take mitts -sadly do not fold and can be awkward at times to cat around when not the boondocks.
at present the aluminum tips have worn down unevenly,more so on the R pole?.
Am now at the juncture(now 83yo) of wanting to continue use of these “ski” poles,but requireing Tungstan tips to be fitted by either MIG welding to the remaining irregular unworn bits of below basket aluminum original tips,OR if attal possible!, have brand new tips fitted to shafts incorporating the baskets I cut down OR even with a new integal basket & tip fitted to upper shaft.
Would delight in a post msg if some has done or had done.regards et al.
Bill

Margaret
Margaret

August 31, 2022

How can I remove the rubber tips if I need to replace them or add the snow discs ?

Leonor Gonzalez
Leonor Gonzalez

August 22, 2022

I bought new rubber tips for my poles but the carbide tip came through on my first walk. I still have another pair. Not sure if I just install them wrong. I know they might not be the best quality but just one hick of 3 miles. I feel I did something wrong

Mike Wedderburn
Mike Wedderburn

August 20, 2022

Can I buy walking pole rubber tips to fit my 8mm diameter walking pole tips?

Ralph Estrich
Ralph Estrich

July 19, 2022

I would have liked you to detail a comparison between different styled rubber tips, and why certain ones are more ideal for certain terrain or walking styles.

ET
ET

June 07, 2022

I see I have a similar concern as a previous commenter about your quote from your paragraph on rubber feet, “Using these rubber feet, you can increase your pace and momentum while losing your balance on the trail.” Maybe your wording could be changes a little more clearly to show the goal is not to loose your balance. . . . maybe something like "increase your pace and momentum while better maintaining your balance . . . . " Or, of course other wording you choose.

Teresa Covell
Teresa Covell

February 19, 2022

“You can increase your speed and momentum by LOSING your balance.”?? Is this a typo? Chalkengingvto find the video on which tips are used for which type of terrain. Not in directions received with poles not on videos on website had to Google it, frustrating.

Teresa Covell
Teresa Covell

February 19, 2022

“You can increase your speed and momentum by LOSING your balance.”?? Is this a typo? Chalkengingvto find the video on which tips are used for which type of terrain. Not in directions received with poles not on videos on website had to Google it, frustrating.

Jane Williams
Jane Williams

February 07, 2022

I have an unusual question: which walking poles are the strongest? My dog ran into my leg last year shattered my knee & tibia si I have a leg full of metal & a limp. I’ve been using my black diamond poles since then. Another dog ran into me yesterday & bent both poles! I’d like to replace with the strongest poles I can get. Any suggestions?

Sherri
Sherri

November 20, 2021

Do you know where I can get microspike tips for my Black Diamond hiking poles?

Cathy DeMichele
Cathy DeMichele

November 06, 2021

How can you stop the ‘Rubber Feet’ from turning (while using them on the poles)? Used them on a hike today, but needed to re-adjust (a few times), to keep them pointed in the right direction. ;-) Thanks!

no
no

October 24, 2021

I would have liked to see a comparison between different styled rubber tips, and why certain ones are more ideal for certain terrain or walking styles.

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