Do your trekking pole baskets have a little notch on the side? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what that little notch was for.
I thought that maybe it was to reduce suction in mud or to shave off just a little bit of weight, but boy was I wrong. As a full-grown man I sure felt stupid when my 8 year old cousin showed me what it was used for.
What is The Notch For On a Trekking Pole Basket?
The notch on the trekking pole basket serves one very simple purpose. It’s there so that your trekking poles can snugly nest together. Each little cutaway slot is the exact size as the pointy end on the other pole.
More Important With Fixed Length Poles
It really isn’t that big of a deal to break down adjustable and foldable poles to strap onto your pack. The compact designs make storing your poles easy.
The same can’t be said with fixed length poles. When strapped to your pack fixed length poles are long and awkward. They wobble, make noise and constantly bang into stuff.
Nesting the tips of fixed length poles into the basket notch makes them way more manageable. It reduces the overall footprint of the poles strapped to your pack and cuts down on noise since they won’t be clinking together.
The Trekking Pole Basket Notch Gives You Three Points of Contact
Ever try to use the small double-sided clip(these things) that came with your poles? Without nesting the tips of your poles into the basket notch they probably just wobble around.
When used with the double-sided clip the notch on your trekking pole basket joins the poles at two points keeping them securely together. This keeps your poles from jackknifing as you carry them around.
Snowflake Baskets Do The Same Thing
If you use snowflake baskets on your poles you’ve probably been nesting your poles together without even realizing it. Look at the design of the colorful Leki Baskets pictured above. There are cheaper snowflake baskets available on Amazon, but those Leki Baskets sure are spiffy (just kidding).
Instead of having one notch cut out snowflake baskets have lots of notches that your poles naturally sink into. They serve the same basic purpose as the notched cutout while shedding a little bit of weight with the added holes.
Although snowflake style baskets are marketed towards winter users they can be used in mud and rocks. Only you can decide if the slight weight difference is worth the slight increase in price over traditional designs.
The Notch Really Isn’t Necessary
Don’t worry! If your trekking pole baskets don’t have a notch it isn’t the end of the world. I used my poles for years without ever realizing what it was for.
If your poles don’t have a notch just run each end through the opposite poles wrist strap. This should keep the poles from seesawing out of your hands. When attaching them to your pack make sure you have multiple tie-downs to fully secure the poles.