When you start hiking, trekking, and climbing, you may be comfortable doing it all without much more assistance than a branch here or there. However, once you get a trekking pole, you may be surprised with the ease of all hikes and the overall lifespan of the protective tips.
Depending on the tip you are using, trekking pole tips usually last between 35 to 45 miles; this measurement is based on the most common rubber tips. Carbide and extra-durable tips can last well over 80 miles, depending on your hiking surface.
Many people assume that these tips are supposed to last a lifetime; however, they are not, and learning which tips should last almost forever is important. Many tips around the world will be vastly different from the tips you can buy from your local enthusiast store.
Can You Replace Trekking Pole Tips?
All good trekking poles have tips that can be replaced within a few minutes; usually, the tips screw in with a threaded tip. This allows you to replace a tip by simply unscrewing the last one and screwing a new one into the pole to ensure that you can hike with ease.
There are cheap hiking poles with permanent tips; these poles are meant to take advantage of inexperienced buyers. As the tips cannot be replaced, the pole reaches the end of its life once the tip has broken off or been worn through entirely.
When buying your trekking pole, we recommend that you test it first, ensuring that the tip can be replaced by the most common tips around. Some manufacturers have their unique thread, limiting their buying options to tips they have made, usually costing more than generic brands.
What Affects the Total Length That The Tip Will Last?
As mentioned earlier, the type of hiking, trekking, or climbing you are doing will heavily affect the lifespan of your tip. Each surface you are walking across will have a different effect on your tips, with the weight you are putting down on the pole makes a big difference.
We recommend that you look at each of these when choosing what types of tips you will be using. Each one will affect the overall health of your tips and the amount of assistance that the pole will provide to you as you are making your way through the wilds of the world.
- Rocks: The biggest enemy of any trekking pole tip are the rocks you will find all over the place. You need to use rubber tips to grip these properly; unfortunately, the rock will break the rubber faster; we recommend taking several tips when trekking in rocky areas.
- Sand: Sand is awful to hike in, especially when it becomes too thick; however, it is not the worst for trekking poles. We recommend having carbide tips as these tips are perfect for any dry surface that is not on a rock, like gravel, sand, ice, or snow.
- Moisture: Moisture while hiking is the biggest nightmare you can have and will be why you may be slipping all over the place. Soft rubber tips will help with grip but will eventually start breaking off, while carbide tips will not provide you with any traction.
- Dirt: If you are walking on a muddy trail, you recommend using whichever tips you have the most off. You might hit rocks under the dirt; you may only have muddy sand to deal with, a tip that you trust will be the best tip for you to use.
- Road: When a large portion of your trekking adventure will be on, along, or across a street, we recommend getting durable or carbide steel tips. These will not be eaten by the hard, sand-like material while providing you with the necessary grip.
- Weight: If you need to lean on the trekking pole more than you expect, you will need to use harder tips overall. The soft rubber tips that are available everywhere will not handle the pressure applied to them as they are meant for stabilizing more than anything.
- Speed: An often-ignored part of the trekking pole world is the speed at which you are traveling, with walkers forgetting about walking. When you are walking faster, you put different strains on the tips, affecting the types you should be using.
Where Should You Be Using Each Type of Tip?
Now that we know what can affect the type of tips you should be using, we need to look at what types of information are out there. Each tip comes with its uses and specializations that many people have learned to love or hate.
You must know where to use each one before blindly purchasing a bag packed, hoping for the best. Many trekkers learn through trial and error what works for them but knowing the basics of each type of tip will allow you to be prepared for anything comfortably.
- Rubber Grip: The most common type of tip you can find is good for most hard surfaces and will grip almost anything. We recommend only using these tips as backups whenever you go hiking; they are cheap and lightweight enough not to make your bag heavy.
- Carbide Tips: The most common tip you will find attached to a standard trekking pole is a carbide steel tip. These tips are good in all conditions except hard, wet surfaces such as rocks or mountains become too slippery for the tip to hold onto.
- Extra-Durable Tips: We recommend this be your go-to tip for everyday trekking; these tips offer the same level of all-terrain grip that cheap rubber grips have. However, they are strengthened to last a lot longer, won’t tear, and will not flake as you walk.
- Spiked Or Studded: The most expensive types of tips you can find in the market are hybrid spiked and studded tips. Offering all the benefits of both carbide and rubber tips with none of the downsides, we always get them if you can afford a set.
- Boots As Tips: These are the tips you can find almost anywhere globally and will be almost useless for any significant length that you may be traveling. With a wide area of grip, they leave no marks as you hike and break easily as they are made from soft rubber.
How Do You Attach A New Tip?
A good trekking pole will come with a carbide tip already attached, with rubber tips that you can add to the tips going onto these carbide tips. This is often seen as an excellent way to protect the pole and extend the overall lifespan of the pole, with only expensive poles having different kinds of tips.
When buying a trekking pole, we recommend going for a pole with a screw-in tip, allowing you to replace the carbide tip with the specialized tips entirely. This means that you are not simply sleeving the carbide tip, which is a significant cause for the tips falling off, breaking, or going missing while walking.
The cheaper the pole is that you are buying, the less likely it will be to easily replace the tips, with some having permanent rubber tips. This means that you need to replace the entire pole once the tip is broken or worn out or create a custom replacement solution.
Your trekking pole tip should last you through one good hike, with the most expensive poles having directions that last significantly longer. The type of tip that you have will dramatically affect the overall time that your pole will last, with the most expensive poles coming with carbide tips.
Whatever you do, please remember that carbide tips are better for self-defence than other tips!