Adjusting Trekking Poles

How to Maintain External Locking Trekking Poles

Trekking poles are a fantastic hiking companion—they help you stay balanced, save your body from abuse, and are useful for setting up ultralight shelters and tarps. Trekking poles with external locking mechanisms have the added benefits of being simple to adjust while wearing gloves and giving hikers visual confirmation that the poles are secured. 

Occasional maintenance is needed to keep your trekking poles with external locks a reliable hiking partner, though; over time, locks can lose tension and fail to keep pole sections tight. Luckily, most locks are easy to adjust. Read on to learn how to maintain external locking trekking poles.

LEKI Trekking Poles 

LEKI’s external locking system is called SpeedLock and comes in three versions: SpeedLock, SpeedLock 2, and SpeedLock+. While the properties between the SpeedLock systems vary, the adjustment remains the same across models. To adjust LEKI SpeedLock mechanisms: 

  • Open the lever 
  • Turn the knurled adjuster—clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen
  • The adjuster is notched allowing you to use a flat screwdriver or back of a knife blade if needed 
  • Close the lever
  • Weight the pole to ensure it will hold
  • When adjusted properly, the SpeedLock levers close with an authoritative click 

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

The two external locking mechanisms Black Diamond uses on its trekking poles are FlickLock and FlickLock Pro. While there are some similarities between the two locking mechanisms, there are some differences in their adjustment.  

To adjust FlickLock trekking poles: 

  • Open the lever of the lock 
  • Turn the screw—a Phillips head screwdriver is required
  • Clockwise will tighten the lock and counterclockwise will loosen it
  • Black Diamond suggests adjusting between a quarter and half turn at a time 
  • Close the lever
  • When correctly set, FlickLocks require a bit of force to close 

To adjust FlickLock Pro trekking poles: 

  • Open the lever 
  • Turn the tension screw—depending on age and model, this will require a flat screwdriver or Allen wrench
  • Turn clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen  
  • Close the lever
  • When set correctly, FlickLock Pro locks make a clear clicking sound when engaged 

Mountainsmith Trekking Poles

The external locking system found on Mountainsmith trekking poles is called Outerlock, or OLS. Making adjustments to the tension of Mountainsmith’s OLS is a piece of cake. To adjust OLS mechanisms: 

  • Open the lever
  • Turn the adjustment knob clockwise to tighten or counterclockwise to loosen 
  • Close the lever
  • Test to ensure the pole’s holding power meets your needs
  • Adjusted appropriately, the OLS should snap securely in place with an audible click 

The Takeaway 

Keep tension on the trail low with the occasional inspection of the external locking mechanisms on your trekking poles before entering the backcountry. And if your poles require a special tool to make adjustments, consider adding it to your first-aid or repair kit.

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Questions? Talk to a gear specialist.