How to Fix Trekking Poles that Won’t Stay Locked

I’ve always had problems with trekking poles that have an internal locking mechanism because I could never figure out how to fix them when they started to slip. It got so bad, that I gave up on them for many years and only used poles with external flicks locks like Black Diamond’s Trail Trekking Poles.

But two years ago, I went back to a trekking pole with an internal locking mechanism because I really like the hand grip they use (see Pacer Poles). I’ve really beaten on a pair of these since then and the locking mechanism started to fail this summer. Short of buying a new pair, I wasn’t sure whether I could fix them or not.

Until I watched this video. This is the first coherent explanation I’ve ever seen of how to fix a trekking pole with an internal locking mechanism and it helped me fix mine – which just needed to be cleaned. Buenisimo!

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10 Responses to How to Fix Trekking Poles that Won’t Stay Locked

  1. Liz September 30, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Still, the internal locking mechanism is a terrible design. In so many instances, I’ve hiked with people whose poles have stopped collapsing because it’s impossible to twist the poles and unlock them, especially with cold or wet hands. The flick-locks are much more user-friendly. Too bad the kind of poles you like have the internal lock.

  2. lori October 1, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Gossamer Gear Lightrek 4s are the solution.

    They don’t fail. Sometimes they don’t lock – but they are easy as pie to fix. Not at all like the commercial poles.

    • Earlylite October 1, 2012 at 9:45 am #

      I’ve snapped four lighttrek 4 poles. I won’t touch them despite the superiority of their internal locks.

      • lori November 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

        That’s interesting, because one of mine finally gave up after years of abuse – because I kept putting them in the trunk with the packs. If I had stored them properly I wouldn’t have had the failure, I’m sure. The location and nature of the break tells me it wasn’t normal use, and they didn’t break while in use. I only replaced one section.

  3. Grandpa October 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Thanks for the link. I love my Pacer Poles. I do wish they had flip locks and I’d like the option of shock absorbing tips (which makes me feel more secure on rock slabs), however those are small requests in relation to the incomparable comfort of the hand grips.

  4. Gary Allman October 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    To the gearheads this is going to sound like heresy, but we use cheap (sub $25) Outdoor Adventure poles.

    They have the flip locks and are easily tightened up on the trail with the screwdriver blade on my knife. I’ve broken one – by falling on it lengthways – I don’t think any pole would survive that.

    • Earlylite October 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      Not at all. I know people who make poles out of used carbon fiber golf club shafts. Cheap is good!

  5. Trish November 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Thank you thank you thank you!!! I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have found your video and instructions. I had just purchased the NB Walking Poles and mistakenly removed the bottom of the telescoping section one one pole while adjusting the length, and it would not lock when I put it back together. Followed your instructions and Viola! I now have two working/locking Walking Poles. Thanks again!!!

  6. Bushwhacking Fool February 16, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    I just fixed my telescoping snowshoe poles after watching the video. One stopped locking a couple years ago and I thought I would have to buy new ones. It is working great now. Thanks!

    • Philip Werner February 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

      They just require periodic maintenance. It can be as simple as unscrewing the plastic piece as far as it will go (without taking it off) and then reinserting it into the tube. Another trick is to gently spread out the fins of the plastic locking piece (very gently and imperceptibly). I went back to telescoping poles about 3 years and haven’t had a problem since.

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