New trekking poles usually come with protective tip covers. The covers are great for protecting your gear during travel and storage, but they’re meant to be removed for hiking, so they usually end up lost or misplaced. Buying replacement tips can be next to impossible, or expensive for what you get, so here’s a quick and easy hack for making your own.
Less than $2.00
5-10 minutes, (not including the drive to the hardware store).
6-8 inches of vinyl or polyethylene tubing (available at your local hardware store).
Scissors, or a knife for cutting the tubing.
Step 1. Take one of your trekking poles to the hardware store and locate the section that sells vinyl tubing. It’s usually in the plumbing section and most stores carry large spools of it.
Step 2. Find your diameter. Eyeball the tubing that will fit over the tip of your trekking pole. Stick the tip of your pole into the end of the tubing, and choose a diameter that fits snugly and won’t fall off. Make sure to insert your pole all the way to the basket. For my poles, I used .5 inch diameter tubing. It goes on easy, but fits snugly against the pole basket. Note: Vinyl tubing is the clear, flexible stuff. Polyethylene is the cloudy, stiffer tubing (photo #1). Try them both and see what you like. I’ve found that the stiffer polyethylene does a better job of staying on, but it’s harder to put on and take off.
Step 3. Buy a six inch or foot-long section of tubing. Most hardware stores sell the tubing by the foot. It’s not expensive. My local store sells vinyl tubing for $.79/ft and polyethylene for $1.29/ft.
Step 4. Slide the first pole into the end of the tubing. Mark an extra half inch or so from the end of your trekking pole, and make the cut. On my poles it works out to a tip cover that is 2.25 inches long. You can also cut right at the tip for a clean look.
Step 5. Do the same with the second pole. You’re done!
Note: These are NOT to be used as replacements for the rubber tips used by skate skiers or hikers on ecologically sensitive terrain. These are just protective tips for travel and storage.
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