Trekking Poles in The Sand: Baskets and Tips Explained


Have you ever went for a casual stroll along the beach? Walking on sand puts way more strain on your body, specifically the calves and knees. Don’t you wish there was a way to reduce that pain on long walks down the beach? Buy yourself a pair of trekking poles to take stress off your joints.

I didn’t realize you could use trekking poles in sand until my recent trip to visit my parents in Florida. There was a large group of 20-30 senior citizens walking in unison like a military parade. They were using nordic poles instead of trekking poles but I really couldn’t see a difference.

This led me to experimenting with my trekking poles trying to find out what would work in the sand. I started asking myself a few basic questions. What Trekking Pole Tips Work in Sand? What basket style should I use?

Using Trekking Poles in The Sand

Think about what it’s like to walk through the sand. As you walk the sand separates surrounding your feet allowing you to sink into the ground. You need the same basic setup that you would use in mud and snow. Large rubber tips with wide baskets to stop you from sinking in.

Only Use Carbon Fiber Poles

Your pole style really doesn’t matter in the desert, but on the beach it makes a huge difference. The saltwater in the sand will quickly destroy your aluminum poles. Within months your lock mechanism will stop working and everything will just start to stick.

Go with carbon fiber poles instead of aluminum. Carbon fiber is naturally resistant to salt. The reduction in weight is another added bonus, but durability is slightly reduced(not bad). Price is the only downside to choosing carbon fiber trekking poles.

I really like my Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles, but they can be a bit pricey. Cascade mountain makes cheap carbon fiber poles as well. I actually saw the Cascade Mountain poles sold at my local Costco as a BOGO deal, but you can also find them on Amazon.

Regular Maintenance is Key

Ever get sand in your pocket knife? It’s a serious pain to get sand out of moving joints. When using trekking poles in the sand you need to regularly take the poles apart and clean up the sands. This is a pretty simple process, but make sure you don’t lubricate the inside of your poles(they will start to slip).

What Trekking Pole Tips Work in Sand?

Honestly, the trekking pole tip doesn’t make all that much difference in sand. In the desert it’s not going to matter. On the beach I would personally go with a durable rubber tip.

At the beach, you want rubber tips so that you can use your poles on wooden walkways and boardwalks without damaging the wood. If you’re using carbide or steel tips you can always just carry the poles in these areas.

I personally prefer Leki’s Vulcanized rubber tips, but they can be a bit pricey. Black Diamond and Gossamer Gear also make very good rubber tip protectors.

You might want to check out my post decribing the different types of trekking pole tips.

What Trekking Pole Baskets Work in Sand?

Go for the biggest basket you can find for the sand. Summer baskets really won’t help all that much since they are so small.

Look for baskets that are designed for mud and snow. Mud and snow baskets have a wider base to stop you from sinking in. If you aren’t all that concerned with weight just go with a cheap basket on amazon.

I spent the extra 5-10 dollars on Leki’s Snowflake Basket because they were a little bit lighter. Honestly, I doubt anybody would even be able to tell the difference in weight.

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