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MYOG trekking poles
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Jonathan Whitney
(WalksOn2Wheels) - F
MYOG trekking poles on 05/09/2010 00:18:41 MDT Print View

Ok, I know, it's been done and there are several threads/articles out there, etc. However, I decided to give this a go and found the details of other ventures to be slightly lacking when faced with so many decisions. So I thought I'd post a thorough list of what I found to be helpful details.

I, like many, went the golf club shaft route. You could hunt down goodwill clubs (good luck finding a matching pair), hang around golf ranges waiting for people to break stuff, call local golf shops, etc. for freebie scrap shafts, but there are two problems I found with this route.

1) the shaft you are using to support some of your weight has already suffered one failure and may not be far from another.

2) many golf shops can't/won't sell used shafts due to liability reasons.

For this reason, I found it acceptable to drop 10 bucks a piece on new shafts. You can sometimes find deals on ebay for closer to 5 bucks a shaft. However, shipping may get you in the end. I ended up buying online at golfsmith because I could have it shipped to a nearby store for free.

One benefit of buying a golf club shaft is that all the weights and lengths are listed online. However, there IS ONE IMPORTANT THING THAT MUST BE MENTIONED HERE:

When buying shafts, look for a tip size of .370 as this is a perfect fit for Leki tips. You can install the tips per Leki's instructions by simply slipping them on and banging them onto a hard surface. No glue required. The .370 size is actually not very common. I took a Leki tip to a golf store and slid it over the more common, smaller tip and it was a much sloppier fit. So tip size is important.

I had a hard time finding a sporting goods store that stocked cork grips for fishing poles. Had I lived closer to a Cabela's, this would not have been a problem.

Though I did notice while shopping for golf club shafts that they had a wide selection of grips available, most of which also have weights listed online in grams.

They are considerably heavier than cork, and should I hit up a cabela's soon, I may very well replace the rubber grips I ended up with.

But despite the weight penalty, there are advantages to using golf club grips:

1) You can cut to fit or leave the full length of the grip if you want to use the poles on extra steep ascents (these are fixed length, remember).

2) No glue required and you know the grip is going to fit. This also means they are easily replaceable.

3) Before you install the grip, you can use the hole in the top to install "straps" as seen in the photos. Just make a loop with a knot at one end, push a piece of coat hanger through the top of the grip, attach the loop to the end of the coat hanger (make a tight J hook with a set of pliers) and pull it through the top, letting the knot stop the string inside the grip.

So the shafts were roughly 10 bucks a piece, Leki tips are 10-14 or so a pair depending on where you get them. and then the baskets for a couple of bucks a piece. The grips in question were 3 bucks each and the cord for the straps I already had. So all in all, about 20 bucks a pole, 40 a set.

The short ones for the wife ended up weighing right at 5 oz. each and the longer ones came out at 4.8 oz. each.

EDIT: Not sure how to post images on here....

Edited by WalksOn2Wheels on 05/09/2010 00:19:32 MDT.

Jared Dilg
(Village) - MLife

Locale: Texas
Pole model number on 05/09/2010 01:06:21 MDT Print View


Do you have handy the exact model of shaft that you chose? I also have a Golfsmith in town but had trouble finding cheaper shafts in the .370 diameter. Yours look good too - not too flashy!

Thanks for the field notes.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
MYOG trekking poles on 05/09/2010 08:02:04 MDT Print View

Look at Golfsmith online. Look under clubmaking and expand the search box on the left. You will see tip size under those choices. They had 12 listed there this morning.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: EVA Grips on 05/09/2010 08:05:25 MDT Print View

If you like foam grips (like Ti Goat AGPs) they can be found Here.

Select the 4" length with a Inside diameter a bit smaller than you pole's OD. It will stretch and slide on, especially with glue acting as a lubricant.

Edited by greg23 on 05/09/2010 08:09:07 MDT.

Jonathan Whitney
(WalksOn2Wheels) - F
Re: Pole model number on 05/09/2010 08:21:20 MDT Print View

Yeah, they don't tend to carry the cheapest stuff in the store, but I had seen deals online so I checked for a ship to store option. This is the pole I bought for the longer set:

With the tips, the pole comes in at a little over 47 inches, or right around 120 cm.

For the short ones:

With tips, they come in at 41 inches.

These are the grips I went with:

I mainly bought them because they were oversized grips that would give a larger handle. If you're not entirely concerned with width, you could use a thinner grip and save some weight. My handles were rather weighty as they came in at 1.55 oz. each after being cut to 5 inches long. The poles themselves only weigh a little over 2 oz. I'm sure I could save a good bit by going with a cork fishing rod grip. I'm sure I'll probably pick some up next time I'm near a Cabela's. It would probably feel better than rubber as well.

I should note, regarding length, that at 6'2, my 47 inch poles are a little short for me by a couple of inches. I'm not worried about using them on flat ground and more concerned with steep climbing and river crossings, so I considered it a compromise.

To get them any longer, I'd have to hunt down a longer shaft, or use a shaft extension. They are rather common and can be bought at any golf store.

Jonathan Whitney
(WalksOn2Wheels) - F
Re: Re: EVA Grips on 05/09/2010 08:30:33 MDT Print View

Greg, awesome link and advice for the foam grips. One question: what did you do for an end cap and are you using any sort of straps with your setup?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: EVA Grips on 05/09/2010 08:46:36 MDT Print View

I have GG LT4s, and bought 100 caps that fit that inside diameter - 0.500" from McMaster-Carr. $5 + S&H. They are called "MP500 Lock Hole Plug", part # 62MP0500.

They look like this -

Pole Plug

If you have a 0.500 ID and need a few let me know, I'll put them in the mail.

Edit: Corrected the Part Number.

Edited by greg23 on 05/09/2010 08:48:32 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Straps on 05/09/2010 09:04:00 MDT Print View

I'm not using straps. But here is a way to do it:

Pole Strap Expander

This is an "Expansion Plug" found in the National section of your local hardware store, and a reinforced nylon bolt. I Use this setup for attaching my handles to shelters, as seen in This thread.

The bolt is a 1/4-20. I have 98 left. If you need a couple...

Jonathan Whitney
(WalksOn2Wheels) - F
Re: Re: Straps on 05/09/2010 10:08:51 MDT Print View

Hmmm, the main reason I added and sort of straps was just to keep them on hand without having to maintain a tight grip the whole time. Or if I had to suddenly let go and catch something, free up a hand, etc.

Do you find it annoying to not be able to just let go and use your hand without having to drop the stick? Because, honestly, if I can get away with no straps, I'd prefer a straight up cork grip.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Straps on 05/09/2010 10:22:48 MDT Print View

I do not use straps.
I like to be able to "wave good-bye" if a pole gets caught.

If you want a loose "keeper", take a look at the small loop a the bottom of the Gossamer Gear LT cork grips. You attach a very light loop to that, as a "wrist loop".

I tried it for a while, and then just went with nothing. I occasionally drop them, but two years later and plenty of miles, I'm quite content without any sort of attachment.

Some folks really lean on their poles - and straps -, and for that the more robust 'expansion plug' attachment is needed.

Jack Bauer
(mclovin) - F
great job Jon on 05/12/2010 15:14:12 MDT Print View

Hi Jon,

great job on the trekking poles. I am curious, how much does everything cost from the golf shalf, grip, leki material?


Jonathan Whitney
(WalksOn2Wheels) - F
Re: great job Jon on 05/13/2010 20:08:10 MDT Print View

My poles were 10.96, grips were roughly 3 dollars. Golf club grips can range anywhere from 2 bucks to 10 bucks, really. I might hit up the golf store and check out a few more to see if they are "softer" to the touch. I'm a little worried about the possibility of blisters with my current rubber grips. If you have patience (I lack it), the EVA foam fishing grips are probably the best way to go (see above link from previous poster)

The cord, I bought for 5 bucks for 50 feet. most people have that stuff lying around.

The Leki tips were 14 bucks a pair and the baskets were 2 dollars each at a local store. Prices tend to vary from place to place.

So for my set, I guess it cost right at $46 not counting the cord.

Jonathan Whitney
(WalksOn2Wheels) - F
Another bonus on 05/15/2010 19:15:43 MDT Print View

Hadn't thought of it until I nearly threw the box into the recycling bin, but if you order shafts from golfsmith (or any other golf retailer, I'd assume), they'll come in a box perfect for shipping your trekking poles should the need ever arise. Though, if you have the kind of money to fly to a backpacking destination and ship all your gear there, you probably have the bucks to go ahead and buy lightweight adjustable poles that fit in your pack....

Either way, mine came in a nice triangular prism shaped box at about 48 inches long.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
photo's and grips. on 05/16/2010 13:42:08 MDT Print View


1. When you are typing your entry, there is an "Insert Image at Cursor" button up and to the right. Click on it and a window will open. Click the "Browse" button in that window and you will be able to select a photo from your hard drive and upload it.

2. Did you check out the synthetic cork grips sells? I have their trekking poles with these grips and they're very light and comfortable. A pair of replacement grips cost $20. They're very light.

Edited by herman666 on 05/16/2010 13:45:30 MDT.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
MYOG Trekking Pole Grips on 03/01/2011 13:57:35 MST Print View

Does anyone know if EVA or cork grips would be lighter? Looks like Mud Hole has both. Also, has anyone tried sanding/molding cork ones to fit your hand better?

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Cork Source on 03/01/2011 15:30:06 MST Print View

Please forgive me if this has already been posted. I skimmed the postings but didn't read everything thoroughly.

Auto parts stores have flat sheets of cork for use as gaskets. One could laminate and shape this sheet into just about anything you want.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Cork Source on 03/01/2011 15:36:02 MST Print View

Shops that sell parts for making fishing poles carry cork rings that are made to be stacked as handles, or complete handles.

Kenneth Cowan
(zeros) - F

Locale: California
+1 for Janns Netcraft w/ caveat on 03/01/2011 15:46:13 MST Print View

good folks, but they will try and send you a fat catalog and overcharge shipping. specify no catalog and the shipping should be less.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
cork vs. EVA? on 03/01/2011 16:04:42 MST Print View

anybody know if the real cork is significantly lighter/heavier than EVA grips?

Eddie Rivera
(eddieruko) - F
composite vs steel vs aluminum shafts on 03/02/2011 09:32:02 MST Print View

Jonathan - Thanks for the great post. I've been considering trekking poles and this is perfect, inexpensive, and exteremely straight forward.

Question on the shaft material... has anyone noticed a difference in stiffness with the composite (graphite) shafts versus the metal alternatives? My concern isn't so much about the weight, but more about the flex using golf club shafts which are designed to torque. There is a specificaiton on golfsmith for stiff varieties, but I imagine the metal shafts flex quite a bit less.

Edited by eddieruko on 03/02/2011 09:32:37 MST.