View Full Version : trekking pole malfunction

02-14-2009, 08:54
Ok, so it seemed to me that a trekking pole is simple enough that I shouldn't encounter a malfunction. But yesterday when I stook a short stroll, I decided to take my poles with me to at least give me the impression I was on a long hike. When I tried to extend one pole, I could not get the middle section to twist so I could extend it. I've had the poles about three years now and had not run into this problem and solved it. I bought them from Campmor -- the Switchback models technical hiking gear which claim to be based on Leki technology. So, have any of you experienced this problem? Or do I just give up on them. I did try, gingerly, to use pliers with cloth to protect the pole, but that didn't work.

thanks for any suggestions or advice.


02-14-2009, 14:40
Bob, the mechanism for my Leki's is a cone-shaped gizmo that threads through a nut at the top of each pole section. When you twist the pole to tighten, this gizmo is pulled down by the nut and spreads out four little "petals" that grip the inside of the next section.

I store my poles un-tightened, and have found that the threaded piece sometimes does not move freely in the nut, making it difficult to tighten the pole. I've taken to disassembling them after any wet weather hikes to dry out the hardware.

For your problem, it sounds like the nut and threaded piece have jammed/gunked themselves together, but I'm surprised your pliers method did not loosen them, maybe you need to use more power--understanding that the hardware might just break, it's mostly plastic. You could try squirting some WD-40 inside the joint, but then the interior of your pole sections will need to be completely cleaned--any lubricant on the inside surface of the sections or the "petals" will prevent the poles from locking when twisted. There is the off chance that WD-40, or the solution you use to clean it up might eat the plastic parts.

You can also take them an outdoor store, they may have the tools and brushes needed to re-condition hiking poles and might be nice enough to repair something you did not buy from them. You can always return them to Campmor as well.


02-14-2009, 14:55
you may also want to check out the leki site on line. they have a FAQ section and several short videos about maintenance and repair.

Desert Reprobate
02-14-2009, 15:06
You might get a better grip on the poles with latex gloves.

02-14-2009, 15:16
OHBob, keep us posted on how you fixed the problem. I have the same brand of poles and have had good luck with them. Hope you get them fixed.

02-14-2009, 16:48

Well, finally got the malfunctioning pole apart, or at least a bit of it apart. It seems I managed somehow to get some chemical or something on that plastic-like finish, which deterioratated and in the process expanded to the point I simply can't get that top section out to clean or examine. At this point I think it was "operator error" rather than a problem with the pole's construction since the other one works fine. I remember I had laid it down in the garage after one trip while I cleaned up some other things. Perhaps something got on on the surface there, then when I collapsed it, it got all gummed up and began that process of deterioration. The plastic or whatever that material covering poles keeps flaking off as I turn the tube and I can't read any of the numbers on the extensions.

I haven't had a problem with the poles previously and even bought a pair for my son.


02-14-2009, 17:38
If you break the plastic expander, it's easy enough to get a new one at a good outfitter. Once a friend broke the plastic off inside the pole, and we got it out by heating it carefully over a stove to melt the plastic.

All collapsible poles with moving parts need maintenance. They should be stored clean and dry and I heard it's even better to store them disassembled.

max patch
02-14-2009, 19:08
My bamboo pole has never malfunctioned.

02-14-2009, 19:13
going on 3 years with my sticks. Never had a problem.