How To: Rig Your Trekking Poles for Leave No Trace

Poles can prevent falls and stress injuries, particularly on rough terrain with big loads. But, the constant 'click click' can drive you nuts. They leave poked holes in soft trails, and on rock slabs trek pole tips skate dangerously. Here, a simple fix.


You’ll need your poles, duct tape, a 5/8ths-inch rubber cane tip, available from most local pharmacies.


Put the cane tip on the pole tip to judge how far up the pole tip you’ll need to wrap duct tape. Use a pen to mark that if desired.


Split the duct tape to size and wrap it around the pole tip until you can get a pressure fit with the rubber cane tip. The duct tape shouldn’t be longer than the pole tip end.


Shove the cane tip onto the pole tip, adjust the pressure fit if desired with more or less tape.


Make sure you shove the cane tip firmly, as far as it will go onto the pole.


Use another wrap of duct tape to hold the tip in place.


Twist the tape firmly around the upper ‘ferrule’ of the pole tip for maximum adhesion.


Finish off with a final wrap of duct tape on the pole, above the cane tip. This will prevent the rubber tip from being torn off in boulder fields.


Applied this way, rubber pole tips will last hundreds of miles, like this one, with at least 300 miles of use on sandstone, trail and talus.

Photos by Jennifer Howe /