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Best Practice: Trekking pole maintenance
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Slugsworth .
Best Practice: Trekking pole maintenance on 12/09/2013 17:48:00 MST Print View

For those of you who don't use single piece trekking poles, what sort of maintenance do you do to your poles? Is there a 'best practice' that perhaps people who rent gear follow?

Maintenance is not my favorite activity and I try to remember to separate the segments after a hike to allow them to dry out (assuming snow or rain or stream crossings) but I've got a huge amount of oxidation on my poles and the locking mechanisms (I have both twist and flick lock) seem to fail way more often than they should.

Wolf's Rain
(WolfsRain) - M
trekking poles on 12/09/2013 17:54:56 MST Print View

I have 3 segment pacer poles. So far I have been breaking them down and being sure to store them that way in the net bag they came in. This past weekend was a cold, snowy trip with a lot of water crossings. My poles had icy mud on them quite often and I'm sure some water inside. When I got home, I wiped down each segment with a wet paper towel and dried them. Now they are hanging in my closet in their mesh bag.

Edited by WolfsRain on 12/09/2013 17:55:27 MST.

Slugsworth .
and rehab on 12/09/2013 17:58:49 MST Print View

I should have added that I welcome tips on:
The best way to remove the existing aluminum corrosion and the best way to extract segments that are stuck together.

*FYI, I am happy to provide beta testing to any manufacturer that would like their poles beat on.

Kiel Senninger
(Kiel.S.) - F

Locale: San Diego
Re: Trek pole cleaning on 12/09/2013 20:02:30 MST Print View

Have you tried WD-40 on the stuck parts and to clean off corrosion? I by no means consider myself a handyman, but that would be my first instinct. Some other sort of mineral spirit may get the corrosion off too.

Ito Jakuchu
(jakuchu) - MLife

Locale: Japan
reply on 12/09/2013 21:11:16 MST Print View

I have Leki poles with flip locks. I dismantle the poles, rub the dirt from the rubber tips (more because of where I need to store them). Wipe the pole segments with a dry cloth and blow inside the tubes. I store them with the flip locks open (unlocked) as per the instructions they give you here in Japan. Takes roughly the same time as typing this reply. They've seen some bad bad weather but, other than replacing the rubber tips three times because of wear, they are in great condition I have to say..

Edited by jakuchu on 12/10/2013 01:06:51 MST.

hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
Leave 'em in the trunk of the car on 12/09/2013 23:14:15 MST Print View

I just leave my Black Diamond Ergo Corks in the trunk of the car. Otherwise, I would end up at the trailhead having left them at home...

I'll probably take them out and clean them up when I switch to the big snow baskets for snow shoeing.

Edited by wcollings on 12/09/2013 23:15:05 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Here
Best Practice: Trekking pole maintenance on 12/09/2013 23:46:23 MST Print View

Same as Wolf and Ito.
Aluminium poles will oxidise if not cleaned and dried after use.
So yes take them apart, wipe them down and let them dry out.
If stuck yes you can use WD40 but make sure you do wipe it off after use.
Do leave the flick lock type open when stored.
If they are already corroded, gently sand them off with fine sand paper.

Edited by Franco on 12/09/2013 23:47:21 MST.

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
I don't on 12/10/2013 07:33:00 MST Print View

I've had the same pair of adjustable black diamond poles for 8 years. I have never "maintained" them or taken them apart. Best poles ever made.

scree ride
I don't on 12/10/2013 08:05:56 MST Print View

Same with my Leki's. Long time use, no maintenance. Sounds like work.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
what not to do on 12/10/2013 08:56:02 MST Print View

my buddy and I both got Black Diamond Contour flick lock, for snow, mud, stream crossing.

When I get home, I wipe down the moisture dry, and once a year I separate the 3 sections to remove the dust from inside the tube. In winter I add the snow basket on only one pole, because I like the diversity.

I store with the flick lock open.

I tighten with a phillips screw driver as needed, usually once a year, if I suspect slipping.

I once used WD-40 because the bottom section squeeze button was not unlocking. WD-40, cleaned the dirt, lubed the squeeze button, and now it's fine.

My friend on the other hand, takes his poles inside the shower with him. they get exposed to hot water, shampoo, soaps, and he lets them hang dry. The paint rusted within 2 years. He still uses them, but I wouldn't trust moving fast downhill and leaning my weight on suspcious rusted poles.

WD-40 stands for [W]ater [D]isplacement, 40th formula. Jokingly, it's referred to as [W]et & [D]ry.

As stated by someone earlier, wipe down excess WD-40 lubricant with a dry towel. otherwise the goo will attract dust and dirt, that's the primary problem you are trying to correct.

Edited by RogerDodger on 12/10/2013 08:57:23 MST.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Best Practice: Trekking pole maintenance on 12/10/2013 11:56:17 MST Print View

" Maintenance is not my favorite activity "

well. ok ...
being a journeyman maint tech, and moving past the part of me that draws the line at not dating people who state things like "bathing is not my favorite activity". there are things you can do to back yourself out of the problems that you've caused.

to disassemble stuck things made of aluminium, it can help (in order of severity) to run them under scalding hot tap water, submerge them in even hotter boiling water, heat them with a propane torch, and about that time you are running out of thermal options as alloy melts pretty easily.

but, as advised, soak them in penetrating oil and let them sit (easy). then get to work with heat and twisting.
in a perfect world they will soon enough yield to your new, more maint oriented efforts, and you'll then "want" to render them properly clean.
the nicest way to do this is with a bore brush. sold at better gun stores, you'll find them avail in a multiplicity of sizes. they are plenty long enough to get as far as you need to get inside the tubes. also avail at McMaster Carr (and what isn;t ...).

after you learn the wonders and benefits of performing regular maint on your gear, your life will be better, people of all manner will find you desirable, you'l look Hella Better, and butterflies may stream from behind when you break wind.

good luck !

Slugsworth .
thanks on 12/10/2013 12:09:18 MST Print View

Thanks for the insight (especially Peter, for the record I do maintain other stuff - I just didn't think that my sticks warranted 'care')

For those that are providing their favorite brands: I have a Leki pole (it's match was given to an injured hiker) that is probably ~8years old and has finally corroded up and I have a pair of flicklock BD poles that are less than a year old and are giving me a lot of problems.

I'll give the WD-40, heat, and if all else fails the sandpaper a try.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: and rehab on 12/10/2013 13:23:59 MST Print View

An old trick for stuck aluminum is to use ammonia. Stuck aluminum stems in headtubes of bikes (before threadless headsets) used to be common and generally wd-40 and other solvents would not work. Ammonia seemed to work good on aluminum oxide.