An often overlooked yet vital part of trekking poles are the grips. Buyers tend to get so caught up in other details they neglect to consider comfort. This is a huge mistake. But don’t worry, we’re here to help!
This article is basically a crash course in trekking pole grips. We will cover the most commonly used materials as well as diameter. By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of what kind of grip you prefer. Stay tuned!
What are the Common Grip Materials?
There are 4 types of grip materials: rubber, foam, cork, and a combination. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks, and we are here to help you sort through the details.
Rubber grips are great for cold weather hiking and mountaineering because the material is a natural insulator. Other situations where this kind of grip excels are extreme landscapes. Rubber is great for absorbing shock and vibrations.
Unfortunately, rubber does not perform so well in warm weather. In fact, it can lead to blisters and chafing. The material doesn’t handle sweaty hands too well. It also doesn’t age well, losing its shape faster than cork.
Soft to the touch, foam is the most comfortable grip material hands down! It has moisture wicking properties to protect you from chafing and is extremely lightweight. However, these benefits come at a price.
This material loses its shape faster than the others. Furthermore, the foam itself tends to get scraped and nicked quite easily. In water, it becomes slippery. Most of the time these poles break before the grip gives out, so they may be worth it when you have to consider weight.
Cork grips are the best for trekking in hot weather. It’s also great for people with naturally sweaty hands. This material is moisture resistant, so you don’t have to worry as much about blisters. Cork also takes the same brunt of vibrations as rubber.
Over time, this material will actually take the shape of your hand. Do you plan to keep your trekking poles for a long time? If so, be aware that cork is durable and ages well!
We recommend purchasing a combination grip of synthetic cork and EVA foam. Why? You get the best of both worlds! The foam provides you with comfort and moisture wicking. The cork allows the grip to keep its shape and age like a fine wine.
Combination pole grips such as this offer a lightweight, dependable experience while avoiding blisters and chafing. You also get the absorbing power of cork for those hard-hitting steps. If that doesn’t sound like a successful day trekking I don’t know what does!
Does Grip Diameter Make a Difference?
We’re glad you asked. The diameter of the grip can mean the difference between an enjoyable trip and a misadventure. This goes double if you have hands that are bigger or smaller than average! Make sure to find a pole that will be comfortable to grip for an extended time.
Some trekking poles feature ergonomic grips. This simply makes them easier and more comfortable to hold. Ergonomic handles bend slightly forward and are shaped for your palm. Be aware that if the diameter of the grip is too large or small the palm shape won’t fit your hand!
One Last Word on the Best Grips
Remember, no 2 hands are the same and neither are 2 grips! Even seemingly identical brands offer different hand feel. The key is finding a trekking pole grip that fits comfortably in your palm. That goes double if you plan on taking them long distances.
What do you think is best grip material? Let us know in the comments below!