Have I 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 I wrote explaining why I love my trekking poles. You’ll learn all about why I take them along on all of my 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! I lost a mud basket while hiking through some poison oak last May, but picked up a replacement pair.
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.
I use my snowbaskets on my REI Peak Ultralight Trekking Poles for snowshoeing trips. 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. I only have one pair of snowbaskets (the smaller size) and they have suited me just fine on countless snowshoeing adventures.
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.
I 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, I 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!