DIY: How to make grip extensions for touring ski poles

Bamboo ski poles with extended grip from wound bark tanned reindeer hide.

Many skiers prefer poles with grip extensions. Especially when going backcountry ski touring. Extra grip area can sometimes be practical, uphill as well as downhill. With well-treated leather gloves, you usually get a good grip of your ski poles regardless of extended grips or not. But if you don’t wear leather gloves, or simply just want to improve you grip further down your pole shafts, it’s easy to fix good extra grip for you skiing adventures.

This DIY guide describes step by step how you can extend the ski pole grip area with 25 cm of extra grip, down the shaft under the original grips. The basic principle is the same as when wrapping overgrip on a tennis racket or taping a bike handlebar.

Material and tools

  • 1 pair of ski poles with removable grips
  • 2 straps of leather (reindeer*), 25 mm wide, 0,8 mm thick and 900 mm long
  • Double-sided tape (for thicker/softer grip use foam tape)
  • Flex tape (Bison*) or other acrylic construction seaming tape
  • Liquid soap (linseed oil soap*)
  • Leather balm/wax/grease
  • Protractor or 22° angle
  • Scissors
  • Folding ruler and pen

* My product of choice

DIY—step by step

Time needed: 1 hour

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Measure and mark the angle on the leather straps

    I use bark-tanned reindeer leather that is 0.8 mm thick and 25 mm wide. In order to get 25 cm of extra grip under the original grip, the leather straps must be at least 90 cm long to make sure they are long enough. The end that begins the wrapping must be cut at an appropriate angle. Mark an angle of about 22 degrees with a pen. It is also possible to measure approx. 65 mm along the upper edge of the strip and draw a diagonal line. See the last picture!Markera en vinkel på ca 22 grader med ett streck med blyerts eller krita Jag klipper av i ca 22 graders vinkel.

  2. Cut the angle of the strips

    Cut the 22-degree angle on the straps.Klipp eller skär till 22-gradersvinkeln på remmarna.

  3. Double-sided tape

    Cut 25 cm long strips of double-sided tape. For thicker and softer grip use double-sided foam tape. It is also possible to tape directly directly to the shaft, without pre cutting into narrow strips, and then make razor cuts along the wide tape to be able to peel off the protective paper. However, it will be less lumpy with pre cut narrow strips. If you’re lucky, you might find narrower tape.Klipp 25 cm långa remsor av dubbelhäftande tejp. Det går också att tejpa direkt runt skaftet, och sedan skära snitt längs med för att kunna ta bort skyddspappen. Det blir dock mindre knögligt med klippta remsor.

  4. Attach double-sided tape to the shaft

    Attach the strips of double-sided tape to the pole shaft. Tape from the bottom of where the original grip will end, and 25 cm down the shaft. Peel off the protective paper.Fäst remsorna av dubbelhäftande tejp på stavskaftet. Tejpen ska sitta från där handtaget slutar och 25 cm ner på skaftet. Pilla av skyddspappen.

  5. Fasten the leather strap

    Place the sharp tip (the cut angle) of the leather strap at proper angle, on top of the double-sided tape, on the pole shaft. Then wrap until the strap overlaps itself and hides the tip you started with. In this way you lock the leather into place. Note! You always start wrapping from the bottom and continue upwards towards the original grip.Lägg spetsen av den tillskurna vinkeln på läderremmen i rät vinkel mot den dubbelhäftande tejpen på stavskaftet. Linda sedan runt tills remmen överlappar sig själv och döljer spetsen du började med.

  6. Wrap the leather strap

    Wrap the leather strap up the shaft with an overlap of approx. 6—7 mm. More overlap requires longer strap! Tighten the strap consistently and properly while winding. Not too loose and not too tight. If you pull too hard the strap will get too thin and narrow.Linda läderremmen uppför skaftet med ca 5–8 mm överlapp.

  7. Cut off the leather strap

    When you have wrapped one and a half centimeters above where the original grip’s bottom end will be when they are back on, you cut off the leather strap crosswiseNär du lindat halvannan centimeter ovanför där handtaget skulle ha slutat om de satt på, så klipper du av remsan tvärt.

  8. Secure the strap with flex tape

    Cut an 8 cm long piece of flex tape, and attach the leather by wrapping the flex tape at least one turn around the shaft. Make sure the flex tape does not end up below where the original grips will be mounted. When I use Tehnomat’s grips (with 10.5 cm hole inside) I make sure the flex tape doesn’t go any further down the pole than 9.5 cm. In this way, the green flex tape is hidden when the original grips are back on.Klipp av en ca 8 cm lång bit flextejp, och fäst läderlindan genom att vira flextejpen minst ett varv runt skaftet.

  9. Liquid soap

    Dip a finger in linseed oil soap (or other liquid soap) and smear the shaft from the tape upwards, as well as inside the grip. Be careful not to stain the leather!Doppa ett finger i linsåpa (eller annan flytande såpa) och gnid både på staven från tejpen och uppåt, samt lite inuti handtaget.

  10. Press the grip back on

    Press on the original grip while turning until the grip is at the bottom.Pressa på handtaget genom att trycka och vrida på det tills det är i botten.

  11. Treat the leather

    Before heading out to the mountains, it is important to treat the leather with leather balm, leather wax, grease or similar. Linseed oil wax containing beeswax also work well. Rub it in generously and then leave the ski sticks for a day to soak up the wax, or until completely absorbed. Undyed natural leather darkens slightly when treated.Smörj in lädret med sadelfett, läderbalsam eller liknande.

  12. Done diddly done!

    Congratulations to your homemade backcountry ski poles! Feel free to treat the leather at least once a year. Then they will last for a long time and provide extra good grip. Natural leather ages beautifully!Färdiga stavar med förlängt grepp av renskinn.

Tutorial DIY video

Tutorial video with instructions on how to make extended grips for your ski poles.

About the tape and leather

With the right material, making grip extensions is easy. All tape must be strong. You need double-sided tape for the grip area and super strong flex tape for fastening the end of the leather strap. For the grip area you have two options depending on your preferences: a thin tape to make a thin grip or a thick tape to make a thick grip. A wide tape may have to be cut in smaller strips. Above I use a 50 mm wide tape, but most often I use a 25 mm width.

The leather must also be relatively thin to be flexible. Bark-tanned reindeer leather is very durable and very flexible, and eco-friendly. At the same time, it supports the Sami traditions of reindeer herding. These are my choices of materials.

Go for it and good luck!
Fabian Rimfors

Bamboo ski poles with cork grips and extensions of reindeer leather.
Bamboo ski poles with cork grips and extensions of reindeer leather.
Ski poles of Calcutta bamboo and with grip extension of bark tanned reindeer hide.
Colorful backcountry touring poles with grip extensions of bark-tanned reindeer leather.
Bamboo ski poles with grip extensions of reindeer leather for a thicker and softer grip.
With double-sided foam tape the extended grip of reindeer leather is 2 mm thicker and softer.
Rimfors's fluorescent yellow bamboo ski poles.
My own bamboo ski touring poles with grip extensions.
Fat Bear's traditional leather care with Swedish bear fat is manufactured in small quantities in Rättvik, and it is perfect for treating the extended reindeer leather grips. The dark one contains tar and has a wonderful scent.
Fat Bear’s traditional leather care with Swedish bear fat is manufactured in small quantities in Rättvik, and it is perfect for treating the extended reindeer leather grips. The dark one contains tar and has a wonderful scent.
Ski pole grip extension (25 cm) of bark tanned reindeer leather. Photo: Andreas Hillergren
Extended grip (25 cm) of bark-tanned reindeer leather. Photo: Andreas Hillergren