[pct-l] Trail Gear - Pole Tips

Scott Williams baidarker at gmail.com
Wed Feb 11 08:50:41 CST 2015

> Great ideas for replacing pole tips I’ve never thought of.  Heating them
> up and twisting them off with a chord!  I’ve gotta try it.  And as said
> before, it’s not the carbide, it’s the plastic holding the carbide that
> gives up, allowing the carbide tip to push up inside and become useless.
> Then if I’m trying to get a good grip on rock with plastic it’s not good.
> On a sandy trail you won’t notice the difference, but on tough terrain,
> that carbide is important for grip.
> I use poles really hard and go through 3 sets of tips per thru hike, so
> I’ve gotten good at replacing them.  Most folks don’t need to change them
> that often, but I beat them up but good over the miles.
> The first time I had to replace a tip myself was the day before Idyllwild
> and I whittled it off with a knife.  The plastic is tough and it took
> forever with the little knife I had.   But it worked and the tip came off
> easily once I’d cut through, and off I went with a new tip, only to have
> the second pole’s tip give up the next day.  When I got into town, the guy
> at the gear shop showed me how to easily replace it with a pair or pliers
> and I’ve since modified the technique for doing it on trail without the
> pliers, and it’s quick and works every time.
> If you’ve got access to pliers, a hammer or large rock and another person,
> have your buddy hold the bottom section of the pole in both hands.  Then
> grip the shaft loosely with the pliers just above the plastic fitting and
> give the pliers a good whack with the hammer or rock and the tip pops right
> off.  It’s always come off with the first blow in spite of the glue.  I
> like to scrape that glue off with the blade of a knife and put the new tip
> on clean aluminum, but I don’t know if that’s really important or not.
> Bang the pole and tip on a tough rock or pavement really hard several times
> and you’re good to go.  I’ve never had one that I’ve replaced fall off on
> trail.  They wear out again, but stay put just fine without glue.
> In the field I look for a fairly large rock with a broken edge that is a
> bit sharp and a second smooth one for pounding.  Have a friend hold the
> bottom section of pole with two hands and put the sharp edge of the first
> rock on the upper edge of the plastic tip.  Give it a good blow or two with
> the rock and it’ll pop right off.  I’ve done a good bit of pole repair with
> this technique on my own poles and many others in just a few minutes on
> trail.  So, if you’ve got extra tips in your pack  there’s no need to wait
> till town.
> I’ve also found that if one tip goes, the other will probably die within a
> day or so, and I always replace them both when I either have a pliers or
> have just the right rock.  Oh, and in a pinch off trail I’ve used a screw
> driver held against the top of the plastic fitting and whacked it with a
> hammer.  The main thing is a sharp blow aimed directly at the top edge of
> the tip.
> Happy poling everyone.
> Shroomer

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