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Re: [BackpackGearTest] COMMENT: INITIAL REPORT: BD Contour Trekking Poles (Dennis)

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  • Dennis Shubitowski
    Yup - hopefully they turned out. I noticed this on my 40 mile hike this weekend with the poles. I took a photo with pole in each hand. Dennis ... I d like to
    Message 1 of 10 , May 1, 2003
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      Yup - hopefully they turned out. I noticed this on my 40 mile hike this weekend with the poles. I took a photo with pole in each hand.

      Dennis

      >>> shane@... 05/01/03 04:01PM >>>
      > Since the strap layout is the same, my right thumb does
      > not rest on the neoprene padding.

      I'd like to see a picture of this... I don't seem to be having this
      problem...
    • Dennis Shubitowski
      Gosh, replying to myself - I hate that. The other thing I thought of is that the neoprene could simply extend longer on the strap that does not get moved. That
      Message 2 of 10 , May 1, 2003
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        Gosh, replying to myself - I hate that. The other thing I thought of is that the neoprene could simply extend longer on the strap that does not get moved. That would take care of the problem of a padding shortage and would eliminate have to make a right and left pole. A simple solution, and I will amend my report after the edits.

        >>> shane@... 05/01/03 04:01PM >>>
        > Since the strap layout is the same, my right thumb does
        > not rest on the neoprene padding.

        I'd like to see a picture of this... I don't seem to be having this
        problem...
      • rebecca@backpackgeartest.org
        Thanks for the great and thorough report again! It s deja vu all over again for me too. =) I ve added a few edits and comments below...not many - good job!
        Message 3 of 10 , May 2, 2003
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          Thanks for the great and thorough report again! It's deja vu all over again
          for me too. =) I've added a few edits and comments below...not many - good job!


          > Initial Report - Black Diamond Contour Trekking Poles
          >
          > Report Outline
          > Tester Information
          > Summary
          > Product Information
          > Product Description
          > Initial Observations
          > Testing Plan
          > Biography
          >
          > Tester Information <back to top>
          > Reviewer: Dennis Shubitowski
          > E-mail: shubitow at msu dot edu
          > Date Published: May 1, 2003
          >
          > Summary <back to top>
          > I really like these poles at first glance. This test series accidentally
          > began with the 2002 year model, and nearly all the concerns I had with those
          > otherwise fine poles were addressed in this 2003 model update. The FlickLock
          > mechanism is a solid and easily adjustable locking mechanism that is very
          > effective, and it is probably the strongest asset of this pole lineup in the
          > Black Diamond collection. If you are looking for a very light, comfortable,
          > and no-frills trekking pole, give these poles serious consideration.
          >
          > Product Information <back to top>
          > Item: Black Diamond Contour Trekking Poles
          > Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.
          > Manufacturer's web address: www.bdel.com
          > Year of manufacture: 2003
          > Manufacturer listed weight: Not listed on website or in product manual
          > Weight as received (poles only): 1 lb 0.5 oz (474 g) for pair (measured
          on
          > laboratory scale)
          > Manufacturer listed length: Not listed on website or in product manual
          > Length as received: 28.4 in (72.1 cm) to 53.9 in (136.8 cm)
          > MSRP: $99.95 USD
          >
          > Product Description <back to top>
          > The Black Diamond Contour Trekking Poles were waiting for me on the porch of
          > my house on Saturday, April 19, 2003. The poles were shipped in a plain box,
          > wrapped in "Black Diamond" logo shipping tape, with the poles, trekking
          > baskets, and a shipping receipt inside the box. The poles were wrapped in
          > plastic wrap and held together by a plastic connector and a rubber band, and
          > the pointy-tipped end of the poles were shipped with a mushroom-shaped tip
          > protector already in place. Everything arrived in good condition. There was a
          > generic instruction manual attached to one of the pole straps that covers
          > their pole lineup and is printed in English, German, French, Italian,
          > Spanish, and Japanese. The manual mentions both adjustment mechanisms -
          > "Flicklock" and "Binary" - and how they operate, the "Ascent" shock absorbing
          > grip which does not apply to these poles, and the 'Whippet" self-arrest ice
          > pick which is not included either. The manual also covers inspection,
          > maintenance, and storage of the poles.

          COMMENT: In the above paragraph you use the term "Flicklock" but everywhere
          else you capitalize the L - "FlickLock". Better to be consistent...

          >
          > This is my second pair of Black Diamond Contour trekking poles. This test
          > series began with the wrong set of poles (2002 model instead of 2003 model)
          > being shipped. This pole set has several changes compared to the first set I
          > have used. I surfed over to the recently redesigned Black Diamond website to
          > read about the new 2003 Contour poles, and I had difficulty finding them on
          > their website. The poles are not logically listed under "Backcountry »
          > FlickLock Poles," but instead under "Rock » Trekking Poles." A "Site Index"
          > or "Search" would be very helpful here, but they are not active links at the
          > bottom of the web page as of May 1, 2003. The Black Diamond website lists
          > these summarized properties for the poles:
          >
          > * Lightest pole in Black Diamond collection
          > * Ergonomic, non-slip foam grips
          > * 15º corrective angle
          > * Binary and FlickLock adjustment systems
          > * Usable adjustment range of 13 in (33 cm)
          > * Easily replaceable carbide tips
          >
          > The poles appear exactly as indicated by the picture on the Black Diamond
          > website, and they are quite sharp looking trekking poles. The poles are made
          > of three aluminum sections and are non shock-absorbing. Starting at the top,
          > the grips are set at a 15º angle. They are made a stiff foam and are topped
          > with a hard, plastic head. The grips are about 5 in (13 cm) in total length
          > with about 4 in (10 cm) of "useable" grip where your hand would normally
          > rest. My three bottom fingers wrap naturally around the lower portion of the
          > grip, and my thumb and forefinger rest on the curve of the upper portion. The
          > straps for the poles are connected to a recessed area in the plastic head.
          > The nylon straps are variable in width - they are about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) wide
          > at their narrowest and about 1 in (2.5 cm) at their widest. The side of the
          > straps that would rest against your hands are lined with a neoprene-like foam
          > that is cleanly sewn and follows the changing curves of the straps. The
          > straps are attached with a half-twist so they lie naturally against the back
          > of your hand without kinks when your hands are inserted from the bottom of
          > the pole straps. The straps are shortened by pulling down on the long, narrow
          > tail of the strap and lengthened by pulling up on the portion of the strap
          > that is closest to the top of the poles. The smallest loop diameter is about
          > 12 in (30 cm) and the largest loop is about 18.5 in (47 cm); the straps are
          > designed so they cannot be accidently pulled through the adjustment
          > mechanism.

          SPELLING: Accidentally

          >Initially, I find the straps much easier to shorten than they are
          > to lengthen. The straps for both of the poles are attached in exactly the
          > same manner - there is no dedicated "right" or "left" pole.
          >
          > The upper section of the poles is anodized in a soft orange tone that is
          > solid in color closest to the handle and fades in a random, pleasant pattern
          > as it approaches the FlickLock mechanism. This pole section has a definite
          > bend in it near the top that accounts for the angle of the grips. The upper
          > section is emblazoned with the Black Diamond logo and name, "Contour" in a
          > black band directly below the name and logo, and a FlickLock logo is located
          > near the bottom. At the bottom of the upper pole section is the removable
          > FlickLock mechanism used to adjust the length of the center pole section.
          > There is a removable sticker warning label directly on the Flicklock

          COMMENT: Again with the Flicklock vs. FlickLock

          > mechanism itself noting to adjust the tension before first use. This
          > FlickLock is a simple, cam mechanism, and the tension is adjustable by a
          > large screw using either a Philips or a flat headed screwdriver.

          COMMENT: I don't think the comma after simple is necessary.

          The screw is
          > very easy to adjust, and nearly any thin, flat object could be used for
          > tension adjustment in a pinch. To adjust the center pole length, you flip
          > open the Flicklock mechanism, the tension on the center section loosens, you
          > adjust the length by moving the center section in or out, and then snap the
          > FlickLock back into position. The center section can be pulled out and
          > separated completely from the upper section. The center pole section is
          > anodized with the same solid, soft orange color and is clearly marked with
          > the Black Diamond logo, measurements of 105 cm, 110 cm, 115 cm, 120 cm, 135
          > cm, 130 cm, and 135 cm (about 2 in intervals), and a STOP marker - all these
          > markings appear to have been masked off to reveal the silver aluminum base.
          > There is also a red, plastic end cap at the top of the middle section that
          > seems to be part of the tensioning mechanism for the poles. At the bottom of
          > the center pole is the Binary adjustment mechanism for the bottom pole
          > section.
          >
          > The bottom section of the poles is not removable, and it is not adjustable.
          > This pole section is meant to be either all the way in or all the way out,
          > thus binary is a proper term. To lock this section into place, you pull the
          > bottom section out until it stops and rotate it slightly until the brass pins
          > click into place. The mechanism is similar to the common, spring-loaded
          > button that pops out into one of many holes for adjustment on many types of
          > adjustable aluminum tubing sections like those used in some tripods. To
          > collapse the bottom section, you squeeze on both sides of the Binary
          > adjustment mechanism's soft, clear collar to compress the pins and slide the
          > pole back into the center section. This pole is silver and is marked in black
          > printing with the Black Diamond name and logo as well. The tip section is
          > located at the bottom of the pole (obviously), is made of a hard, formed
          > plastic, and is about 3 in (7.5 cm) long. There is a "neck" at the top that
          > stops against the Binary adjustment mechanism, and there is also a slight
          > ridge that is the upper stop for the trekking pole baskets. This tip section
          > tapers toward the carbide tip that is cut with an asterisk pattern cut onto
          > its end. According to the manufacturer, the carbide tip is "easily
          > replaceable," but I could not figure out how to remove it. All baskets and
          > tip protectors, when used, are held onto this section by friction. The
          > trekking baskets are pushed up to the slight ridge, and the tip protectors
          > slide onto the tapered section. The tip baskets are held quite firmly on the
          > poles and can be quite difficult to remove. This is probably a good thing as
          > I wouldn't want them to fall or get pulled off in the field. The tip
          > protectors have a small, metal disc inserted inside and at the bottom to
          > prevent to carbide tip from poking through. The metal discs do not seem to
          > stay firmly in place and look like they will pop out with repeated on the
          > pole, off the pole motions; testing will tell. Both the trekking baskets and
          > the tip protectors will fit on this lower tip section at the same time.
          >
          > The listed usable lengths of the poles given by the manufacturer is only
          > given as adjustable over a 13 in (33 cm) range - this is accurate by my
          > measurements assuming the bottom pole section is locked in the extended
          > position. The shortest collapsed length is 28.4 in (72.1 cm) and the longest
          > usable length is 53.9 in (136.8 cm). You can knock about 2 in (5 cm) off the
          > minimum length (i.e. in using the pole for a tarp support) by jamming the tip
          > into the ground up to the pole's basket. The poles and accessories were
          > measured on a laboratory balance with the following results:
          >
          > Pole: 237.1 g (8.36 oz)
          > Pole: 236.9 g (8.36 oz)
          > Tip Protector: 8.3 g each (0.3 oz)
          > Trekking Basket: 8.5 g each (0.3 oz)
          >
          > Initial Observations <back to top>
          > It is hard not to compare these poles to the 2002 model we were originally
          > given to test. The straps on these poles are a significant improvement over
          > the previous design. Black Diamond also made a very light pole even lighter
          > with the new model design. Length markings are now anodized onto the pole
          > shaft which should ensure that they will not rub off as well. From the
          > FlickLock mechanism on down, the poles remain relatively unchanged from the
          > previous model. One thing I noticed right away is that the straps for the
          > poles are attached in exactly the same way with no designated right or left
          > pole. This is unfortunate in an otherwise excellent redesign because padding
          > for the pole only fits naturally for my left hand where my thumb rests (this
          > assumes inserting your hand into the pole straps from the bottom). Since the
          > strap layout is the same, my right thumb does not rest on the neoprene
          > padding. This could be easily fixed by attaching the strap for the "right"
          > pole in a mirror image of the current attachment and labeling the top of the
          > poles with a "R" and "L." However, if I inserted my hands from the top
          > instead of the bottom, this change would probably not make a significant
          > difference in how the strap padding rests on my hand. The instruction manual
          > for this pole set needs to be updated as well - there is no mention of the
          > new strap system and how to adjust it.
          >
          > Additional resources for trekking pole use: Pete's Pole Page
          >
          > Testing Plan <back to top>
          > I will continue to use the Black Diamond Contour poles for the remaining test
          > period and beyond. I plan on paying particular attention to the Binary
          > adjustment mechanism as it is not removable and may be difficult to clean if
          > dirt or grit lodges its way past this locking mechanism. The upper section of
          > the poles can be separated for easy cleaning if necessary, and I plan to test
          > this likely using a shotgun cleaning kit. It is also curious to me that the
          > bottom section of the pole is also not adjustable with a FlickLock mechanism.
          > The bottom pole section is the smallest in diameter would seem to be the
          > weakest section in the pole. There is no mechanism to leave part of this
          > section in the upper section and lengthen the center section to make up the
          > difference. I will pay particular attention to this area as well as I
          > continue to test these poles. These poles will accompany me when geocaching,
          > going for my walks on campus during my work breaks, and while backpacking.
          > Spring is quickly fading into summer here in Michigan, and I will have
          > numerous multi-day backpacking trips and dayhikes in varying terrain which
          > will provide good testing opportunities for these poles. The poles will also
          > be assessed for secondary usages, especially as they apply to shelter setups
          > using tarps and my homemade tarptent shelter where they would replace the
          > Easton aluminum poles I currently use.
          >
          > Biography <back to top>
          > Name: Dennis Shubitowski
          > Age: 33
          > Height: 5'11" (180.34 cm
          > Weight: 165 lb (74.84 kg)
          > E-mail: shubitow at msu dot edu
          > Location: Owosso, Michigan
          >
          > Born, raised, and currently live in Michigan. I have been camping with family
          > since I was a young tot (and probably before that) along with scouting
          > activities. I have been backpacking since the early 1990s and have gotten out
          > much more over the last several years as life has settled down. I also hunt,
          > geocache, horseback ride, ski, orienteer, and canoe. I backpack in every
          > season - rain, snow, or shine. My hiking philosophy is definitely slid
          > somewhere between ultra- and lightweight backpacking over the past couple
          > years from my "backbreaker" days. This includes a homemade, silnylon tarp
          > shelter (although those hammocks are starting to look inviting!), a frameless
          > backpack, homemade alcohol and Esbit stoves, and cooking in a WalMart grease
          > pot.
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > BackpackGearTest-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
          >
        • Shane Steinkamp
          ... I posted MY report before DENNIS did, and you edited HIS FIRST! Wah! Wah! I m tellin daddy! Shane
          Message 4 of 10 , May 2, 2003
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            > Thanks for the great and thorough report again! It's deja vu all
            > over again for me too. =) I've added a few edits and comments
            > below...not many - good job!

            I posted MY report before DENNIS did, and you edited HIS FIRST!
            Wah! Wah! I'm tellin' daddy!

            Shane
          • rebecca@backpackgeartest.org
            Patience is a virtue! I was doing them both this afternoon...I just clicked send on his, then went to make a cup of tea and watch the rain, then came back and
            Message 5 of 10 , May 2, 2003
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              Patience is a virtue!

              I was doing them both this afternoon...I just clicked send on his, then went to
              make a cup of tea and watch the rain, then came back and clicked send on
              yours. I'll make sure to click in a more politically correct order next
              time. ;)

              Quoting Shane Steinkamp <shane@...>:

              > > Thanks for the great and thorough report again! It's deja vu all
              > > over again for me too. =) I've added a few edits and comments
              > > below...not many - good job!
              >
              > I posted MY report before DENNIS did, and you edited HIS FIRST!
              > Wah! Wah! I'm tellin' daddy!
              >
              > Shane
              >
              >
              >
              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              > BackpackGearTest-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              >
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              >
              >
              >
            • Shane
              ... Yeah... I m in a silly mood today and I couldn t help myself... ;) Shane
              Message 6 of 10 , May 2, 2003
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                > Patience is a virtue!

                Yeah... I'm in a silly mood today and I couldn't help myself... ;)

                Shane
              • rebecca@backpackgeartest.org
                It s Friday. Being silly isn t against the rules.
                Message 7 of 10 , May 2, 2003
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                  It's Friday. Being silly isn't against the rules.


                  Quoting Shane <shane@...>:

                  > > Patience is a virtue!
                  >
                  > Yeah... I'm in a silly mood today and I couldn't help myself... ;)
                  >
                  >
                • Dennis Shubitowski
                  Boy, out for a day or three and I miss all the witty banter. Sigh. ;) Thanks for the edits - I though Find and Replace got all those FlickLock/Flicklock, but
                  Message 8 of 10 , May 5, 2003
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                    Boy, out for a day or three and I miss all the witty banter. Sigh. ;) Thanks for the edits - I though "Find and Replace" got all those FlickLock/Flicklock, but I guess I overwhelmed it! I'll make the changes you suggested and upload away.

                    Dennis

                    >>> rebecca@... 05/02/03 04:24PM >>>
                    Thanks for the great and thorough report again! It's deja vu all over again
                    for me too. =) I've added a few edits and comments below...not many - good job!

                    COMMENT: In the above paragraph you use the term "Flicklock" but everywhere
                    else you capitalize the L - "FlickLock". Better to be consistent...

                    SPELLING: Accidentally

                    COMMENT: I don't think the comma after simple is necessary.
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