62305FIELD REPORT: Black Diamond (BD) FlickLock Carbon - Fuzzy
- Dec 1, 2004Another one for the books. Yahooisms blah blah blah... HTML in test
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Fuzzy (Chuck Kime)
Black Diamond Carbon Fiber FlickLock Poles
Field Report December 1, 2004
· Reviewer Information
· Product Information
· Features and Benefits
· Field Testing
· Things I Like
· Things I Don't Like
· Backpacking Background
Name: Chuck Kime
Height: 5' 8" (172 cm)
Weight: 229 lb (104 kg)
Email address: ckime AT nelsononline DOT com
City, State, Country: Upper Darby (Philadelphia suburb), PA, U.S.A.
Date: December 1, 2004
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Model: Carbon Fiber FlickLock Poles
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Listed weight: 490 g (1 lb 1 oz) per pair with baskets (size 120 cm)
Measured weight (size 115): 1 lb 5.5 oz (610 g) per pair with NO
baskets, scale accurate to 0.1 oz
MSRP: $89 USD
Features (from web site)
The Carbon Fiber FlickLockwith its thin profile, balanced swing and
agile feelis the perfect complement for blissful days of bottomless,
effortless, fresh powder. The FlickLock adjustment won't slip or ice
up regardless of conditions. Redesigned dual-density grips,
anatomical wrist straps and new colors up the ante. Now Whippet-
compatible with the new Carbon Fiber Adapter.
· Balanced swing weight
· Redesigned dual-density grip and anatomical wrist strap
· Whippet Compatible w/ Carbon Fiber Adapter
· Slip-proof FlickLock adjustments
The Carbon Fiber FlickLock Poles are a 2-section trekking pole, with
an aluminum upper section and a longer carbon fiber lower section
with replaceable tip. Each lower section has a male-threaded stud at
the top (hidden) end that is conveniently the correct size to
screw into the tripod mount on my camera, so I may now be able to
steady the occasional shot while I am out with the poles.
The FlickLock name comes from BD's adjustment/locking mechanism,
which is a lever actuated, adjustable-tension system that does not
require twisting of the pole sections. The lever is flicked open,
the pole is adjusted to the desired length, and the lever is flicked
closed. If there is any slippage, or if the lever is too hard to
move, the tension may be adjusted by turning a small screw.
The poles I received were listed as size 115-140 cm (45¼-55 in).
Collapsed, they measure 42½ in (108 cm). Usable length range is
marked 115-140 cm (45¼-55 in), in 5 cm increments, and the poles
actually measure the same when adjusted according to the marks.
The dual density grips are molded in two colors, and have index-
finger grooves on the front side. Just under the top lip at the
front is a small indentation designed to assist with ski/snowshoe
bindings and other cables. The straps are made of nylon webbing,
wider wherever they would come in contact with the user's hands.
The baskets normally included with the poles are a ¾-basket made of a
semi-rigid black plastic. A pair of BD Powder Baskets was also
included. These are made of a rubbery grey plastic.
For a more detailed description, and photos, please see my Initial
Our Boy Scout troop camps monthly. Almost all of these outings
include a minimum of 2 nights of camping, with temperatures expected
to be from lows around 30 ºF (-1 ºC) to highs around 95 ºF (35 ºC).
Elevations will range from sea level to approximately 2,000' (610
m). Our new Scoutmaster is trying to get more hiking into our
program. My girlfriend and I, who between us have 3 First Class Boy
Scouts (ages 13, 14 and 15), are also looking into additional camping
without the Scouts, and the possibilities of beginning to do some AT
section hikes in Pennsylvania as we recover from a recent car
My son has begun working on the Hiking Merit Badge, which requires
the completion of five 10-mile (16 km) hikes and one 20-mile (32 km)
hike, and needs a buddy to accompany him on these hikes (i.e. me).
These hikes, only one of which has been done so far, will likely be
done at relatively low elevations in southeastern Pennsylvania, with
a possibility of doing a short section of the Appalachian Trail (in
Pennsylvania) for the 20-miler.
Things I am/will be looking for:
· Adjustability. How easily can I adjust them, and how
quickly? Do they stay where they are set? Does the FlickLock
mechanism make it easier to adjust the height when using the poles to
pitch a tarp?
· Comfort. Does the construction effectively dampen vibration
(and hopefully sound)?
· Grips. Do they fit my hands comfortably? Is sweating an
· Straps. Are they readily adjustable? Comfortable? Are
there any edges or buckles that cause pressure points?
· Durability. Do they wear well? Do they bend when used
· Packability. Do they fit in places I would normally pack
poles for travel or flat-ground hiking?
· Multi-use. Are they long enough to pitch a tarp for shelter?
My findings so far:
· Adjustability. Once I got the hang of the FlickLocks, I was
able to adjust or at least release and close them without
looking. So far they stay where they are set. The FlickLock
mechanism does make it easier to adjust the height when using the
poles to pitch a tarp, or in my case so far the Six Moon Designs
Lunar Solo tent.
· Comfort. The poles don't seem to make much noise, but I can
feel a noticeable `twang' as the poles strike the ground. I find it
somewhat disconcerting, as my first poles did not do this, but I may
get used to it.
· Grips. Just plain nice. No abnormal sweating of my hands.
· Straps. Also very nice. Adjustable and comfortable.
· Durability. I haven't noticed any wear, but under normal
heavy usage (remember, I am not a small person) they do flex a bit.
· Packability. As opposed to my other 3-section poles, the 2-
section design results in a longer packed size. They (just) fit in
my travel footlocker, and extend nearly to the top of my head when
attached to the back of my Deuter Futura 32.
· Multi-use. See note above about the Lunar Solo.
Things I like
1. Light weight.
2. Color (hey, I like red).
Things I don't like
1. A bit harder to pack than my 3-section poles (not as compact).
2. Only marked every 5 cm.
3. A bit of `vibration'/flexing during use. I may just need to
adjust my expectations.
When I first started looking into using two poles, I found Pete's
Pole Pages (try Googling it). These pages, along with pole tests
already posted to BGT, gave me information on pole use that I found
invaluable when starting to use poles for the first time.
I started car/trailer camping with the family when I was about 5. I
enlisted in the Army Reserve during my first year of college and
spent 17 years fine-tuning my packing methodology - by the time I
separated from the service, I was down to what I thought was a
respectable 75-80 lb (34-36 kg) load. When my son started Cub
Scouts, I brought my 60 lb (27 kg) ALICE pack for a weekend. We got
to Boy Scouts in the Spring of 2002 and now camp monthly in locations
ranging from the Chesapeake Bay area (flat and lightly wooded) to the
Pocono Mts (flat spots hard to find and very wooded), in all seasons.
Lightweight (and ultralightweight) web sites, along with a day hike
up Pikes Peak in July 2003, have led me to seriously rethink my gear
choices. I plan to start doing more hiking/backpacking on our
monthly scout trips, taking along as many scouts as are willing, to
a) get in shape (yeah, yeah, I know round IS a shape), and b)
determine what I really need to take along. I am relatively
confident that I will be able to reduce my 3-season pack to 20 lb (9
kg), before food, fuel and water, by the time this season is over.
Thank you for your time.
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