How to make ice axe protectors yourself?

I have few ideas from using duck tape to 3D printing, but it would be nice to hear about methods proven to work.

The reason I want to add protectors is a lot of travelling using public transport coming winter in weapon paranoid country.

  • 4
    I nearly had a heart attack then, I thought you meant DIY ice protection (like ice screws)! :)
    – user2766
    Oct 16, 2014 at 9:57
  • 3
    Liam, 3D printed screws with duck tape for extra durability ;)
    – Val
    Oct 16, 2014 at 10:13

6 Answers 6


I was once shown a great way to protect the blade on a wood axe or hatchet.

I realize that ice axes are a different shape than wood axes, so this may not be a perfect solution, but maybe it will give you an inspiration for something similar.

  1. Get an old garden hose.
  2. Cut a length of the hose about as long as the axe's blade.
  3. Cut an incision down the length of the piece of hose.
  4. Force-fit the axe blade into the slice in the hose.

If it's a stiff enough hose, it stays on pretty well, but for travel you may like to tie it on with twine or tape.

For the pointy end of the ice axe, perhaps an old tennis ball can protect it.

  • That's exactly what I do (tennis ball + garden hose). Welcome to Outdoors.SX!
    – Felix
    Oct 16, 2014 at 20:41
  • 1
    Great answer, garden hose is great for crampons too, esp mono-points.
    – RogerB
    Oct 17, 2014 at 17:38

For the spike, I usually just take a piece of corrugated cardboard, fold it to double the thickness, punch holes through it, and use some thin cord to tie it through the hole in the spike. This is low-tech and works if I lose my protector while traveling, which is what always happens. No matter where I am, it's always pretty easy to get some cardboard.

For the adze, duct tape works. In fact, I know people who climb with duct tape over the adze, on the theory that it will keep them from getting cut accidentally by the edge. You don't need the adze for self-arrest. If you need to cut hard ice or something, you can take off the duct tape (or the act of cutting might just take it off). The duct tape method also works for me when traveling, since I carry a small amount of duct tape anyway for use in taping toes, repairing ponchos, etc.

  • I did similar; making shapes out of cardboard to fit over the pointy/sharp bits and wrapping them in duct tape.
    – requiem
    Oct 17, 2014 at 6:00

I can think of the following two ways to cover the blade:

  1. You can use something like a Bike Handle cover, the one that has a cap on the other end. You can get it of the size that your axe-blade fits in. I assume that the main blade will be a bit hard to fit in, but then you can always give a try towards getting the handle cover which is a bit flexible(probably made of vulcanized rubber?)
  2. You could get a leather packet sewed/tailored to fit the blade in. Provide some kind of a sling-thread thing to wrap around it?

What came to my mind when I read WedaPashi's answer about bicycle handles was the use of old bicycle tubes to build some sheath. The rubber of the tube is flexible but it's not too easy to perforate it, therefore you can build your sheath rather close-fitting. Also you can glue it easily with bicycle patch glue.


I use pneumatic hosing, something like this:


It's super cheap (runs under a dollar/foot and a foot is more than you will need) and you can buy as short of a section you want at most hardware stores.

  • Welcome to the great outdoors! I was so free as to edit your post a bit to make it more readable and concise. Please have a look around also at our help pages and tour to learn a bit more about good Q&A should look like. Nov 21, 2014 at 15:21

I use an empty prescription medication plastic bottle form CVS or Wallgreens. If it's a little bit loose, I can secure it with a duct tape.

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