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Thread: Cork Handles

  1. #1
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    Default Cork Handles

    Has anyone had problems with cork grips deteriorating? I was wondering if putting a cork sealer on the grips might be a good idea.

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    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    My Leki cork grips started to disintegrate after about 200 miles. I talked with an outfitter and he said he never had seen this happen. Asked if I used DEET. I don't. I think it is just a combination of perspiration and friction and repeated use. Like my Leki poles and they have great customer service, but I won't buy cork grips again.
    More walking, less talking.

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    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    I've used a Leki Wanderfreund single pole for over 500 miles.The only problem with the handle was when a pony in Grayson Highlands chewed on the handle a bit till I could get it out of his mouth.
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

  4. #4

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    I had a pair of cork gripped poles and found they tended to get a bit slimy with sweat on hot days and don't dry out as quickly as the composite material grips. The only actual failure I experienced was the grips started losing bits of cork after about 300 miles or so of use but seemed to be limited certain sized particles I presumed were absorbing more moisture than the surrounding cork particles, forcing them out.

    Wouldn't cork sealer defeat the purpose of the cork grips and not allow them to absorb moisture?

  5. #5

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    I'm finding my cork handles on my BD poles are getting a rough texture after a couple of hundred miles. This is probably due to the loss of some particles of cork, but I've never noticed actual shedding. Like AT Traveler said, I also think they tend to stay wetter with sweat than the composite material on my other BD poles. I think I prefer the composite materials. They seem to stay drier, hold up better, and I can clean them by squeezing them under running water.

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    I have a pair that has maybe 3000 miles on it, the cork on the top piece is gone, and now the top is rubber. The handgrip section is still good. This have been put into semi retirement and I use a carbon fiber stick w/ synthetic grip for most hiking now. I don't see the advantage of cork, but some people like it.

    Since the cork sticks are Leki one day I should sent them back, the tips are also badly worn and much smaller then they once were, I have just not gotten around to that yet.

  7. #7
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Since the cork sticks are Leki one day I should sent them back, the tips are also badly worn and much smaller then they once were, I have just not gotten around to that yet.
    Leki warranty covers shaft breakage only. Worn tips and normal wear and tear are not covered.
    More walking, less talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Leki warranty covers shaft breakage only. Worn tips and normal wear and tear are not covered.
    Oh well, at least that's one more thing I don't have to do. But also checked it out, it appears they won't cover defective expanders either, which seems like they should unless they sell them as replacements.

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    After about 900 miles on my BDs I've had no problems other than my puppy took a little nibble out of one. Much less slippery than rubber handles.

  10. #10

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    Cork actually wears very well and evenly. I built a fly rod about 30 years ago, using cork as the handle, and it's as smooth as a baby's bottom with minimal pitting, splits, and checks.

  11. #11

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    I sweat allot so the cork handles on my BD poles.started to wear prematurely. I treated with cork sealer and that stopped the wear. The sealer is a little sticky, even when dry, so I sprinkle on some Gold Bond powder when I start a hike.

    Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk

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    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    I was a bit skeptical about the longevity of cork handles myself. But, bought a pair of Black Diamond poles with cork grips anyway. They are stained dark from sweat, grime, sunscreen etc. but otherwise are wearing fine after about 1500 miles or so.
    Lonehiker (MRT '22)

  13. #13
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    My Leki's with cork handles have thousands of miles of use. I would never use poles without cork handles, I've never had a problem, so I'm surprised to see so many issues with them posted here.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeartFire View Post
    My Leki's with cork handles have thousands of miles of use. I would never use poles without cork handles, I've never had a problem, so I'm surprised to see so many issues with them posted here.
    A good barometer of how differently the same type of gear behaves for different people and why there is so much selection in the marketplace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeartFire View Post
    My Leki's with cork handles have thousands of miles of use. I would never use poles without cork handles, I've never had a problem, so I'm surprised to see so many issues with them posted here.
    It also has to do with the quality of the cork used on your specific poles. It could have been a good year for high quality cork that didn't need any cork filling, or if you're unlucky, the exact opposite

  16. #16

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    I use Leki's with cork and have had no issues. I'm in Florida so they have had plenty of sweat on them with no adverse results.

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    I was told that rodents like to chew cork handles in the middle of the night. Hanging them so they are less accessible might be a good idea. I assume they are going after the salt in absorbed perspiration. Unfortunately I use my BD Alpine Ergo Cork poles to hold up my tent (with the handles one the ground) so mine are most vulnerable to rodents. No problems yet, but I have only used them for a couple of short trips (8 nights total) so far. After 10 days of backpacking and many days of day hiking, they have a nice patina, but no deterioration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    I was told that rodents like to chew cork handles in the middle of the night. Hanging them so they are less accessible might be a good idea. I assume they are going after the salt in absorbed perspiration. Unfortunately I use my BD Alpine Ergo Cork poles to hold up my tent (with the handles one the ground) so mine are most vulnerable to rodents. No problems yet, but I have only used them for a couple of short trips (8 nights total) so far. After 10 days of backpacking and many days of day hiking, they have a nice patina, but no deterioration.
    I don't have very many rodent problems if I'm not staying at a shelter. Is this turning into another 'tents in shelters' thread?

    You may be right about rodents and salt. I had a porcupine come in my tent vestibule once and make off with a pair of sweaty skivvies, no doubt for the salt in them.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    I don't have very many rodent problems if I'm not staying at a shelter. Is this turning into another 'tents in shelters' thread?

    You may be right about rodents and salt. I had a porcupine come in my tent vestibule once and make off with a pair of sweaty skivvies, no doubt for the salt in them.
    He was going to tip his spikes with pygmy poo poo poison, and then stick ya when you came out in the morning, then follow til lunch.

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    No problems so far, but I am not a thru-hiker..

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