Honestly, I had no idea what the baskets were for when I first purchased trekking poles. I just took the baskets off, tossed them in my drawer and god only knows what happened to them.
It wasn’t until I started trekking into some really boggy mud that I realized what they were for. My poles were sinking deep into the mud and not helping me at all. Hindsight is always 20/20, but obviously I would have loved a set of large baskets that day.
Of course by the time I realized that I needed my baskets they were nowhere to be found. So I started looking for aftermarket trekking pole baskets and one question kept popping into my head.
Are Trekking Pole Baskets Universal? (Interchangeable)
I couldn’t figure out if trekking pole baskets were universal so I started searching the internet and I couldn’t find anything. After calling a few manufacturers I finally got an answer.
Yes, all modern trekking pole baskets are universal so they can be swapped between poles. Although there are a few oddballs most manufacturers use the same standard threaded design. However, older poles might not use a threaded tip so check your poles before purchasing baskets.
After trying a few different basket styles I finally settled on a pair of low profile baskets (these ones). I might end up switching to bigger baskets in the rainy season, but these are great for now.
Checking Your Basket For Threads
Most modern trekking poles use the same basic threaded designed found on ski poles. To attach your mud/snow baskets just unscrew the old basket and screw the new one on.
If the basket doesn’t easily unscrew you might have push/slide on tips, which are found on older poles. Try pushing and twisting the baskets to see if they move.
What If The Baskets are Stuck?
If your baskets are stuck don’t worry, there’s an easy solution! Just boil a pot of water and soak the ends of your poles for about 10 minutes. Once hot the old baskets should come right off and the new ones will screw on easily.
Watch Out For The Oddballs
Some of the older Black Diamond and Leki Poles use special baskets that only work on their poles. Thankfully they’ve went away from this in the past couple of years, but be careful with older poles.
Keep an eye out for Leki’s Nock System and Black Diamonds older Z-Poles which used product specific designs.
You might also run into issues with cheap trekking poles that don’t follow the industry standard. Some budget manufacturers are still using push-on and odd sized baskets.
Ski and Trekking Pole Baskets are Interchangeable
Generally speaking, ski and trekking pole baskets are interchangeable between products. The only major difference is that ski poles tend to have wider baskets designed for snow.
Ski baskets are great for the average hiker/backpacker in the winter time, but a little cumbersome in the summer. You’re much better off using mud baskets or small performance baskets in the summer.