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Fix Internal Lock Trekking Poles That Won’t Stay Locked

Throughout the years I’ve had lots of problems with internal locking trekking poles. After a few years on the trail, my poles would start to slip and never stay locked.

Eventually I just got frustrated and ended up giving them away to a friend(don’t know if he ever fixed them) and switching to external locking styles.

My Internal Lock Trekking Poles Keep Slipping

When your trekking poles start to slip you usually have a problem with the internal locking system. The only other time this might happen is if you’re significantly over the trekking poles weight limit. Trekking poles definitely aren’t meant to support the full weight of a 300lb man.

Fixing Trekking Pole Locks

If you’ve been a long time user of internal locking trekking poles I’m sure you’ve experienced the occasional slip, sticking point or poles that won’t lock in. It’s usually not a big problem and it’s something that you can typically fix in a few basic steps.

Fixing internal locking trekking poles that won’t stay locked is actually pretty easy. It all boils down to maintaining a regular care and maintenance schedule. Don’t Worry! If your poles have already stopped locking it should be an easy fix.

Check Your Trekking Poles Expander

Internal locking trekking poles all work pretty much the same way. They have a small plastic piece(pictured above) that expands to fill in the internal gap of the trekking poles as you expand the pole. It puts pressure on the inside of the pole wall locking it in place and stopping it from sliding.

If your trekking pole isn’t locking in place as you extend and turn it follow these steps.

  1. Pull the section of your trekking pole that isn’t locking in all the way out. Most brands have a stop mark that you need to go a few inches past. What you’re doing is pulling the locking mechanism to the thinnest part of the pole
  2. When your pole sections are apart you want to clean the locking mechanisms. Just unscrew the plastic locking mechanism, clean the threads and plastic expander with a damp paper towel. Remember to never lubricate the inside of your lock! Lubrication will reduce the amount of friction making matters worse.
  3. If this doesn’t work you might have to call the manufacturer to get a replacement lock. They usually give them out free of charge under the factory warranty.

Cleaning and replacing your locking mechanism really shouldn’t take more than a minute or two. If done properly your poles should be good to go for years until you build up enough gunk to foul them up again.