How To Sand Cork Handles On Trekking Pole?

Trekking poles with cork handles.

For many outdoor enthusiasts, trekking poles, also known as hiking poles, are standard pieces of equipment. There are various types of trekking poles and handles. If you’ve been using trekking poles with cork handles for a while or your handles have sustained some damage you may want to find out how to sand cork handles on trekking poles.

To sand cork handles on trekking poles, first, you will need some old wine corks, a container, a box grater, wood glue, and some fine-grit sandpaper. We will present you with detailed steps on how to sand cork handles on trekking poles and repair them so they look and feel as good as new.

Stick around and we’ll also tell you if the cork trekking poles are good and how to maintain your trekking poles. Even if you maintain your trekking poles properly, they will face wear and tear after years of use, your dog might accidentally chew on them, or you might damage them on some rough terrain. If your trekking poles are years past warranty when damage occurs, you may want to try some DIY before purchasing a new pair.

Table of Contents

Pros and cons of trekking poles

Trekking poles can either add a lot of comfort and stability to your hike or become a burden. Whether you will use them or not is a matter of personal choice and it depends on the circumstances. We will first present you with some advantages of trekking poles.

Trekking poles lift the weight off your shoulders

Not really, but they definitely offer more stability when you hike with a heavy backpack. Trekking poles come in particularly handy on a steep incline or decline. Hikers’ opinion is divided as to whether trekking poles take the strain off of your knees. Try testing them out and see whether they really absorb the shock your knees take, especially if you hike a steep downhill trail.

Trekking poles as a testing ground

Trekking poles can help you determine how safe the ground you walk on is or how deep the water is. If you need to cross the stream with slippery rocks, you will be grateful that you carried your trekking poles with you. Ice on a frozen stream is another serious hazard and you can also use your poles to check how thick it is.

Trekking poles as protection

The chances of encountering a bear in the backcountry are low, but never zero. The sound of banging your poles together or against trees might scare the bear away. Find out if bears can smell dry food and if they are attracted to hand sanitizer. Poison plants pose another danger in certain areas and you can use your trekking poles to gently push them aside as you pass through. Here are some harmful plants to avoid when hiking and camping.

Let’s now also consider some downsides of trekking poles. We’ll let you be the judge of whether or not they are the right choice for you.

Trekking poles are a barrier between you and the nature

For some people, trekking poles don’t feel natural, but more like a barrier between them and the earth. If you would much rather touch trees or rocks when ascending and descending and enjoy that childlike experience, by all means, ditch the poles.

Trekking poles are cumbersome

In certain situations, they can be a limiting factor or an extra carried weight. If for any reason you need to repeat the process of stashing your trekking poles on your pack and getting them back out, you might end up finding them annoying. The same goes if you enjoy taking a lot of photos. Trekking poles can get in the way when you simply want to grab a quick shot.

Trekking poles are expensive

The price range of quality trekking poles can be anywhere from $60 to $200. If you are a trekking rookie, who is just starting to assemble outdoor gear from scratch, trekking poles are not the most affordable piece of equipment. However, if you are willing to invest some money in getting a durable pair, you might want to check out this one.

Trekking with cork trekking poles.

Are cork trekking poles good?

There are different grip materials and cork is just one of them. There are also foam and rubber grips. We believe that cork trekking poles are the best and here is why:

  • Cork doesn’t absorb moisture – it can resist moisture from sweaty hands, so it doesn’t become slippery or soaked on long walks.
  • It doesn’t cause blisters or sores – it is smooth and stays dry even when hiking in hot weather.
  • Cork stays cool in summer and doesn’t freeze in winter – it means that your hands won’t overheat or freeze.
  • It conforms to the shape of your hands – it might feel a bit chunky at first, but it will conform to your hand over time.
  • Cork is eco-friendly – choosing cork will make a difference if you care about the environment.

Cork trekking poles are comfortable and durable. The only downside we could think of is that cork trekking poles are a bit pricey. Still, if you consider all the benefits that you get when choosing cork, we would say that that money is well spent.

What about EVA foam trekking pole grips?

Let’s also take a look at some benefits of EVA foam handles:

  • EVA foam handles are durable – cork can crumble over years and with EVA foam you may only experience a bit of fraying on the edges.
  • Foam grips are cheaper – they are a more economic purchase since they are cheaper and last longer.
  • EVA foam grips have better shock absorption – with their extra cushioning, they can save your wrists on rocky and hard trails.
  • Foam grips are typically lighter than cork – still keep in mind that other components of a trekking pole might add to the weight.

Any thoughts on rubber grips?

Rubber grips are your cheapest and least comfortable option. We don’t generally recommend them. If you don’t wear gloves, you are likely to end up with blisters. On the plus side, they can take a beating and are very low maintenance and easy to clean. Just like cork, they won’t freeze, so they are suitable for cold weather activities.

Finally, choosing the right grip material is a matter of personal preference. If you need some extra information about the trekking poles or trekking in general, take a look at our blog and find out how long trekking poles should be, or if trekking shoes can be used for walking.

How do you maintain trekking poles?

If you want to take proper care of your trekking poles and keep them at peak performance, you need to know how to use them correctly. Also, try following these three simple steps:

  1. Dismantle them – if you want to thoroughly clean your trekking poles, you need to take them apart. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Dry your poles – wipe off your poles with a soft cloth and dry the insides of your poles after using them in the rain or snow. Fold them and keep them inside when you don’t use them. If they are exposed to rain and snow, they will rust quickly.
  3. Remove the dirt – use a small brush to clean the insides of your poles. Pay special attention to the locking mechanism, as that is a part that helps your trekking poles stay secure.

How to sand cork handles on a trekking pole – a simple guide

In the course of time, your cork handles on a trekking pole can suffer some damage. You can repair certain damage by yourself and here we will guide you through the process.

First, you need a filler. As your filler, you can either use sawdust or cork shavings. Getting cork shavings is more time-consuming. You will need one or two old corks and a box grater. You will also need a container for your cork bits and ground dust.

Then you need some glue. Form a rough paste from wood glue and a small pile of sawdust or cork dust. Build volume in the holes in your cork handle. It’s ok to apply slightly more material than you actually need.

Next, you wait. We would recommend waiting for two to three days for glue and cork to dry and cure. Don’t be impatient to start sanding.

Finally, it’s time for sanding handles! You can also use a small rasp to get the shape at the beginning of the process. However, we recommend that you then proceed to fine-grained sandpaper and begin sanding the handle with 180-220 grit sandpaper. As the finishing touch, you may want to switch to an even finer 320 grit sandpaper. You can even apply a commercial cork sealer to protect the repaired handles of your trekking poles.


We hope that you’ve enjoyed our detailed analysis of trekking poles, and their different grips, with special emphasis on cork handles. With our DIY guide, you will also learn how to sand cork handles on a trekking pole and repair damage, so you can prolong their life years past their warranty.

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