Have we convinced you that you need trekking poles to save your joints, especially your knees? If not, then you may want to take a look at this article we wrote explaining why you need trekking poles. You’ll learn all about why we take them along on all of our long day hikes, every backpacking trip, and of course on trekking adventures!
If you own a pair (or are borrowing a friend’s pair) of trekking poles, you can optimize them so they can serve you well in varying terrains.
Trekking Pole Mud Baskets
Most trekking poles come with mud baskets. If you’ve used trekking poles in muddy terrain without mud baskets, then you may have already experienced your trekking pole sinking deep into the mud, similar to what would happen in snow.
The mud baskets help provide a bit of flotation so your poles don’t sink so deeply into the mud. As an added bonus, mud baskets help prevent mud from splashing up on your adventure apparel! We lost a mud basket while hiking through some poison oak recently, but picked up a replacement pair. They are cheap and you can buy them on amazon.com.
Trekking Pole Snow Baskets
Trekking pole snow baskets can convert your trekking poles into snow poles! Snow baskets prevent your trekking poles from sliding down several feet into the snow. Instead, they only go into the snow a few inches and provide flotation, just like snowshoes.
Snow baskets come in a couple of different sizes based on the snow you’ll be snowshoeing in. Here’s the rule of thumb: The softer the powder, the bigger the basket. Buy your snow basket here.
Trekking Pole Rubber Caps
Rubber caps are what you can slip onto your trekking poles in rocky terrain, such as Joshua Tree National Park in California.
We have climbed to some of the unnamed (but numbered!) peaks in Joshua Tree, and while there is typically a lot of scrambling involved, and therefore no need for trekking poles, we have used them on descents along the rocky trails. Without the rubber caps, however, trekking poles are useless in terrain like that. The metal of the trekking pole tip slides right off the rocks, creating a dangerous situation!