MSR® Poles FAQ

Click on a question to view its answer.

What’s the advantage of adjustable poles?

The more weight you carry, the more rugged the terrain, the more tired you are, the greater you’ll benefit from poles. In addition to easy packability, adjustable poles add the necessary versatility for changing their length to match the terrain—minimizing fatigue while traversing, ascending and descending. When scrambling over technical terrain, stowing your poles becomes critical to using your hands.

What is the SureLock™ System?

At the foundation of MSR® Poles is the SureLock™ System, our unique adjustment technology. Instead of a traditional friction-based twist- or flip-lock mechanism, the SureLock System features a positive-locking push button design that employs a rolling lock-pin that pops through a hole. It creates an uncompromised connection between the pole segments and delivers no-slip reliability throughout a trip—in an intuitive design.

Additionally, the SureLock System includes the unique tri-lobe geometry of MSR pole shafts—rather than round. This design prevents the segments from rotating during adjustment so the button and hole are always aligned. The combination of these elements makes the SureLock System the easiest-to-use, most reliable adjustment design on the market, whatever the conditions.

What material are MSR® Poles built of?

MSR® Poles are constructed of a 7000-series aircraft-grade aluminum that offers one of the best strength-to-weight ratios in the industry, making them exceptionally strong, yet incredibly lightweight. And we’ve engineered the pole shafts with precision wall thicknesses to focus the strength exactly where it’s needed most, allowing us to shed weight elsewhere.

What is the Trigger Release?

Our patent-pending Trigger Release is a revolutionary adjustment mechanism that allows you to make one-handed length adjustments right from the grip of the pole. Without removing your hands from the straps, it allows you to make efficient, on-the-fly adjustments—changing the game for quick, hassle-free adjustment. For those who travel through frequently changing terrain, or when ascending, descending or traversing, the Trigger Release is especially beneficial.

The Trigger Release is a glove-friendly mechanism that sits just below the grip and is accessible with two fingers. When pulled, it engages the SureLock push button for you, allowing you to make quick and easy length adjustments, or collapse your poles for stowing.

How do I use the Trigger Release?

Our patent-pending Trigger Release is absolutely the easiest pole adjustment mechanism out there.

  • 1. Position the strap with the soft surface inside. Put your hand up through the loop, coming back down to grip the pole.
  • 2. Adjust the strap so that it’s snug on the bottom of your hand.
  • 3. Trap the pole’s basket under your toe, snowshoe or ski. Then, let go of the grip and with two fingers grab the Trigger Release. Pull it up.
  • 4. Next, pull the pole up and release the Trigger Release, so that SureLock™ button can click into the next hole. Repeat until the pole is at a comfortable height.

Which MSR® Pole series is right for me?

If you like the convenience of the Trigger Release’s one-handed adjustment—or if you travel through frequently changing terrain—the Talus™ Trekking series and Deploy™ Winter Backcountry series are your match.

If you consider yourself a minimalist who moves fast and light through the backcountry, and your top priority is saving weight, you’ll prefer the streamlined Swift™ Trekking series or Flight™ Winter Backcountry series.

Do I need two-section or three-section poles?

To answer this, consider the activities you’ll doing when using poles. If you’re skiing, hiking or snowshoeing—activities where poles are used mostly in-hand—two-section poles are a great pick. If you’re split-boarding, climbing, or scrambling over technical terrain, three-section poles are better, offering ideal compactness for stowing them on your pack for the descent or to free up your hands while climbing.

What is swing weight and why does it matter?

The more weight a pole has toward the basket, the heavier it feels to swing—this is swing weight. When bulky adjustment mechanisms reside low on a pole adding extra weight, the pole can feel heavier to swing even if it’s a lightweight pole. MSR poles are engineered with their adjustment technology solely in the upper shaft, which means that the lower sections remain bulk-free and light. This precision-balanced high center of gravity gives the pole a smooth, effortless swing with just the slightest flick of the wrist. The benefit of this is less arm fatigue throughout a trip.

What is the proper way to wear the straps?

Proper strap use is essential for safety and to ensure efficient transfer of your weight to the pole.

Adjusted properly, the strap should support your hand almost entirely while pushing through a stride, with fingers only loosely on the grip.

  • 1. Position the strap with the soft surface inside. Put your hand up through the loop, coming back down to grip the pole.
  • 2. Adjust the strap so that it’s snug on the bottom of your hand.

On poles equipped with our Trigger Release, you can release the grip and activate the trigger from this position.

Can MSR® Trekking Poles be used as winter poles?

Yes. MSR Trekking Poles are compatible with our MSR Snow Baskets, sold separately, and are built with all glove-friendly features. They’re engineered to perform just as well in winter conditions as in those of summer.

How do I change the baskets?

Our baskets are designed for easy removal and replacement. To remove, simply pull off. To replace, push on and seat under tri-lobe basket.

Other brands have women’s poles, why not MSR?

MSR Poles are unisex, but we designed the grips to accommodate a wide range of hand sizes. Our test team includes female mountain guides who gave MSR poles very high marks. When launching this line, we chose to give our greatest attention to their technical innovations to fulfill the MSR promise of engineering reliable solutions for all mountain travelers.

How do I clean my poles?

Our maintenance kit and instructions for keeping your poles running smoothly can be found here:

Sign Up

Welcome to
the adventure

Sign up to get the latest in gear, promotions, tech knowledge, and inspiration from MSR.

Sign up
Thanks for joining the adventure