My Coleman anti-shock hiking pole came apart in two pieces, and I can't get the two pieces back together so they don't slide apart again. Any suggestions how they can be stabilized so it can be used?
I'm guessing these are screw fit poles. This has happened to me. The problem is that the mechanism that prevents the poles from collapsing when you tighten them is essentially a friction expending wedge type mechanism. So as you tighten the bolt inside the body the plastic "wedge" expeands.
I'm using the term "wedge" here, for want of a better term. What I mean is the expanding body mechanism that is inside the pole when they're together. It should be on the end of the bottom pole and will typically be made of plastic with some kind of screw going into the end.
i.e. The white section on the end of the pole in this photo, above the spring
What's likely happened with yours is that somehow the wedge has gotten out when expanded, so it won't go back in because it's too wide. So you need to loosen then bolt and contracts the "wedge".
You can do this using a pair of pliers. Basically grip the exposed end of the bottom pole and twist the pole (as though you want to collapse them). Be careful not to damage the locking mechanism and ensure you unscrew them, not tighten them up more. Eventually you should see the locking mechanism "wedge" contract and get thinner. You should now be able to put the pole back together.
Hopefully nothing is broken and you can tighten them whilst inside. If not you can try and expand the "wedge" a little and try again.
If they're broken, then they're broken though and you may need a new pole
I'm assuming you have a screw/twist locking pole, which has been dismantled, and when you put it back together no amount of twisting makes it lock. If you can't get it back together at all, see Liam's answer.
Have a close look at the end of the thinner pole section. There are a few different twist-lock mechanisms, but they work in a similar way. There is a plastic wedge or nut, which expands as it is screwed onto a thread sticking out the end of the pole. Here's a sketch I nicked from a review of some Komperdell poles, showing two variations:
These sketches are for a pole without anti-shock. An anti-shock pole has a spring mechanism in there too, usually just below the nut in one of the joints.
To make the pole lock, the lower pole section has to turn, while the nut/wedge stays put, along with the upper pole section. If the nut is retracted all the way, it spins with the lower section of pole, and never tightens. To stop this from happening you can:
- Adjust the nut by hand until it only just fits into the upper pole section, so there is just a little resistance as you slide the parts together.
- Keep a slight bending pressure on the pole as you start to screw it up. This pushes the nut against the inside of the upper pole section.
- Lubricate the screw thread (be careful not to get lubricant onto the outside of the nut, or inside of the tube). You want a lubricant which is long lived and won't migrate to the wrong place. I use paraffin wax from candle stubs.
- If that doesn't work, or if the nut doesn't turn, or if the nut is missing, then it may be that something is broken. You can edit your question to add a photo and we'll have another look.
From the sound of it, you don't often take your poles apart. You may want to store them in pieces, rather than assembled, as this lets any moisture which as made its way into the tubes dry out.