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Trekking poles and sweaty hands

I got a good deal on a pair of decent trekking poles, but unfortunately they have rubber grips. My hands get so sweaty when using them. I hear cork is best, but I don't have much of an option at this point. Any recommendations on how to fix this? Perhaps recommendations on some type of sports tape I could wrap it in or a light weight and cooling pair of gloves? I think I would prefer the tape if possible since the gloves are just one more thing to lose or have to dig out of the pack. Thanks! 

7 Replies

You can buy rolls of cork tape and that would help, but the downside is that you’ll be adding to the overall thickness of the handles. 

Another option is to use hockey tape. Very strong adhesive, a lot thinner than cork, and it’s a fabric so you’d get the benefit of additional grip. 

The downside to hockey tape is that after enough use, the heat from your hands can cause the adhesive to wick through the fabric and make the grips sticky with residue. But you can peel it off and re-wrap it. However, once you do that, you’ll always have to wrap the handles with something as the original rubber grips will be messed up. 

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I use sun gloves for hiking.   REI has these...

but I like Glacier Gloves Ascension Bay.  They have a faux leather palms.

If you want to wrap the handles there is tape for bicycle handle bars and for tennis rackets.  Either might work.

I meant to gloves is another way you can find this sort of glove.  I basically wear them all the time I'm hiking.  They are finger less so you don't really need to take them off for much.  They protect your hand from the sun which is an issue when using trekking poles...particularly at altitude.


I concur with Glove options.  Stop by an REI with your poles and try on a couple pair until you find what you like.  I'd keep them light and airy to ensure the sweat isn't a bigger problem....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.


If the rubber grips do not rub against your palms and give you blisters, make sure that you are using the trekking pole straps in such a way that you can let go of the grip and still have the advantage of the pole. To do this, adjust your pole strap such that it is large enough to 1) hold out at a 90-degree angle from the pole, 2) you can pass your hand through it from the bottom of the loop, and 3) grasp the strap (which should now be running across your palm) between your thumb and index finger.

Using the straps in this way allows me to let go of the handle from time to time, giving my forearms a break and letting air circulate around my palms, while at the same time I am still putting my weight down on the staps to the poles, maintaining the advantages of carrying them in the first place.

Does that make sense? If not, there are loads of videos out there that highlight this technique.

Cheers -


I concur with @JBG .  Using hiking pole straps "correctly" means that you only have to grip the handle occasionally and mostly you "hold" the handles very loosely.  Your weight is typically supported via your wrists on the strap and releases each step.   Generally I'm swinging the poles with fingers and bearing down with my wrists.  I'm only grasping the handle for an occasional maneuver like a big step up.

I agree with everyone else here about using gloves. I use sun gloves like the Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves (

And @OldGuyot is right; using the straps on the poles to your advantage is also key (see this YouTube video Not only will you have less of an issue with gripping the poles, but you also will not have a problem with blisters and will have maximum use of the poles with little effort.


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
How to use LEKI locking pole straps. Video from AdventureBuddies.NET shows how to properly adjust and use pole straps. Correct use of straps prevents hand ...