When Should You Use Trekking Pole Baskets?

Trekking poles typically have a small and removable plastic basket that is attached a few inches above the bottom of the pole. Typically, you will not need to use baskets if you are going for a hike during a nice, mild-weather day with little to no precipitation or moisture. Trekking poles and baskets really do not serve much of a purpose on dry ground. The purpose of the baskets is to keep your poles from sinking into the ground while using them. They also help to protect your poles as you hike through more challenging terrain. Here are a few conditions that are best hiked with trekking pole baskets:


Have you ever seen the poles that people use while they are skiing or snowshoeing? They usually have big and robust snow baskets. Those wide baskets help to stop your poles from sinking deep into the soft, powdery snow. If you are hiking after a significant snowfall or in deep snow, you will need to use larger snowflake baskets to ensure the best hike.


You won’t find baskets designed specifically for sand, but you can use large baskets. It will help to provide additional stability while hiking through the sand. They also help to eliminate much of the stress absorbed by your calves and knees.


Rocks, roots, and other challenging terrains can wreak havoc on a trekking pole – sometimes even resulting in one breaking. If you have ever had your trekking pole stuck in a crevice of a rock, then you know exactly what we are talking about. Larger baskets can help to prevent extra damage to your trekking poles by stopping the tips of your poles from pushing too deeply into the holes between rocks, roots, and other uneven terrain conditions.


Mud is typically the most apparent hiking condition that causes the need for baskets. If you have ever gone on a hike through the mud, then you know that your poles become, essentially, useless. As you try to rely on them further to stabilize yourself during a hike, you realize that they offer little assistance, and instead, sink into the ground. When you use baskets in the mud, you create more stability, keep the poles from sinking, and reduce the risk of falling or damaging your poles.

How do Baskets help?

Trekking pole baskets assist hikers in a few different ways. They help to increase the stability and traction provided by your trekking poles. This is especially true when hiking through tough or challenging terrain. Usually, it is difficult to get traction with only poles when you are hiking on soft ground. This is when the baskets offer a significant amount of help, as they help to keep your poles from sinking too far into the mud.

Baskets also help to take the stress off of your joints and muscles. The extra support, stability, and traction that they add to the trekking poles mean that the hiker is able to ease some of the stress and impact from their joints, namely their knees and the other muscles in their legs that tend to take on the majority of the physical tension throughout the hike.

Essentially, the primary purpose of a trekking pole basket is to create a barrier that keeps the pole from sliding too far into the ground. This helps to support the effectiveness of the pole, and it protects the pole itself. If you are trekking through particularly soft ground, such as snow or mud, choose a wider basket as they will provide the most stability and support.

When to use Trekking Poles?

Trekking poles are a standard piece of equipment for many hikers. However, many hikers still wonder if they are necessary or if you need to use them, and the answer is – maybe. You are never required to utilize a particular piece of gear, but it certainly can help to make the hike more enjoyable and safer. Of course, hikers concern themselves with the amount of weight that their gear adds. Why add any extra weight if you don’t have to?

When you are determining whether or not to use trekking poles, here is what you should consider…

First and foremost, how heavy is your backpack? Those hiking with a heavier pack may require some extra support. There is no way to deny that extra weight on your back can make it harder for you to maintain your stability. Trekking poles will help you maintain stability throughout your hike, especially when climbing a steep incline or decline.

If you are crossing streams, poles help you anchor yourself when faced with uneven terrain and slippery rocks. If this is the case, they can also help you determine how deep the water is and whether or not the ground is very soft or muddy.

Other circumstances that trekking poles help in are inclement weather, such as snow. If you are hiking in an area with any aggressive wildlife if your hike includes a lot of hills or inclines, and if you are traveling in an area with many poisonous plants that you need to push out of the way.


Hiking pole baskets are a fantastic way to further support yourself throughout your hike. They offer stability, protection, additional traction, and absorb some of the impact to your knees and other joints. All in all, they can only make your hike easier and more enjoyable.