May 13, 2022

Did your Leki poles weld themselves together again?


I (Malcolm) went to use my alloy Leki walking poles on a hike on Taranaki, and they had self-welded together with a white oxide. As I’m always banging on to our guides to take proper care of our poles this is embarrassing.

The white stuff is aluminum oxide corrosion that accelerates if the poles are put away wet or you live in a humid place. To prevent this, disassemble the poles and store them apart so they dry. Tape or rubber band the sections together so different sets don’t get mixed up.

To clean oxide off use hot soapy water, and perhaps a scotch brite. Poles have either quick cam lock levers (on the outside of the tube)  or barrel expanders (see image below). I remove the orange barrel expanders and wire-brush the threads.

Although Leki doesn’t recommend it, I put the tiniest amount (less than a quarter of a match head) of dry lube on the thread so the barrel expands easier and is less likely to spin in the tube. Too much lube (and warmth) and it creeps to the barrel lock/tube interface surface and no longer grips!) BTW, Leki has this set of tips on their website (including saying don’t lube the thread!).


Leki expanding barrel lock


Assemble the poles again before you travel as those orange barrels and quick lock nuts have a bad habit of jiggling off by themselves when separated and then disappearing forever to that place in the space-time continuum where all lost stuff goes.

The ‘hack’ for a lost or broke barrel lock/quick-lock is outside splint/s taped on, not a great look in my humble opinion. For reasons that evade me, sometimes a single splint on the outside) works better than two splints - go figure?


Got carbon poles? Well, lucky you then.

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