Your trekking poles will perform better and last longer if you periodically remove dirt and debris. Here's how, plus other recommendations for long life:
- After each trip, wipe off mud and dirt with a damp rag. If your poles are submerged during a stream crossing, take the shafts apart and dry them.
- After hiking in the salty environs of coastal trails, rinse and dry your poles thoroughly.
- At least once a year, separate the pole sections and use a long wire brush (get a soft brass version at a gun-supply store, or fit a wire hanger with a swab soaked in soap and water) to scrub the insides of the shafts. While the pole is disassembled, clean the brake parts with warm water and a toothbrush. Rinse and dry everything before reassembling.
- Don't hang heavy items, like a food bag, from a horizontal pole. They aren't designed to withstand perpendicular pressure.
- Resist the urge to tighten twist-locks until you can't tighten them any more. This can damage the interior mechanism.
- Don't lubricate your poles. Most adjustable-length poles lock with a friction mechanism that won't function if oiled.
- Contact the manufacturer or your local outdoor retailer for replacement tips and brake parts.