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OR - Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles - Stephen Chase

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  • schase1967
    http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-% 20Black%20Diamond%20Trail%20Trekking%20Poles%20-%20S%20Chase/ BLACK DIAMOND TRAIL TREKKING
    Message 1 of 2 , May 7, 2008
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      May 04, 2008


      NAME: Stephen Chase
      EMAIL: sjchase@...
      AGE: 41
      LOCATION: Ashtabula, Ohio, United States
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
      WEIGHT: 190 lb (86.20 kg)

      I started backpacking almost 20 years ago. Today, I backpack mainly
      in the Midwest, spending a lot of time in the Allegheny National
      I spend a great deal of time sea kayaking, mountaineering, biking,
      snow shoeing and cross country skiing. All of these require some
      I spend an average of 3-4 nights per month outdoors. In winter, I
      typically day hike, either snow shoeing or cross country skiing.
      I am a mid-weight backpacker; I minimize pack weight, but like some
      I do a lot outdoors and expect a lot of performance out of my gear.


      Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment
      Year of Manufacture: 2006
      Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE -
      "http://www.bdel.com" LINK TEXT = "Black Diamong Equipment">>
      MSRP: US$ 79.95 USD
      Listed Weight: 18 oz (516 g)
      Measured Weight: 20 oz (567 g) with winter basket
      Other details:

      From Black Diamond Website:
      COLLAPSED SIZE : 63.5 cm (25 in)
      USABLE RANGE: 63.5 cm (25 in) - 140 cm (55 in)

      An easy-to-use, comfortable pole offering year-round versatility,
      the Trail now comes equipped with our new 360-degree padded webbing
      for all-day comfort. An excellent value, the Trail features glove-
      friendly dual FlickLocks, a non-slip foam grip with lower extension
      for choking down on steeper terrain, a Long Flex Tip, and both a low-
      profile, non-snagging trekking basket and a winter-specific powder

      User Impression:
      These are a pair of three piece aluminum trekking poles. The hand
      grips are ergonomically shaped and covered with a dense foam
      material. The hand grips measure 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) in height and
      3.75 inches (9.5 cm) in circumference. A short tubular section of
      foam extends from just below the hand grips down the first aluminum
      tube approximately 6 inches (15 cm). The hand grips have a padded
      adjustable nylon wrist strap. The strap extends to a maximum of 8
      inches (20 cm).
      The lower two aluminum tubes are clearly marked in centimeters from
      100 cm to 140 cm. The two lower sections of the poles are adjusted
      by what Black Diamond calls a "Flicklock mechanism". This unique
      locking system has a moon shape plastic piece that functions as a
      cam to lock each lower pole section in place. (The mechanism is
      further detailed below with a photograph.)
      The baskets provided are a small summer hiking basket and a much
      larger winter or snow basket. The smaller basket is a solid donut
      shaped flexible plastic 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. The outer edges
      of this basket have some slight serrations for added traction. The
      snow basket has similar serrations along the middle of the basket.
      The snow basket is 3.75 inches (9.5 cm) in diameter with cutouts in
      a pattern around the circle. The tip of the pole extends 3 inches
      (7.6 cm) past the basket. The end of the tip has a small circular
      piece of hardened steel attached to protect the plastic.


      I have used these trekking poles on all my outings since purchasing
      them in the December of 2005. During the warmer months, I use them
      in the traditional role of a trekking pole. When the snow flies, I
      use them in for both mountaineering and snowshoeing. In fact, this
      past winter (2007-2008), I started using them at a nearby ski resort
      as alpine ski poles. I have exposed these poles to rain, mud,
      freezing river, and snow, from temperatures of -30 F (-34 C) to 90 F
      (32 C).

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Collapsed">>
      Collapsed pole

      The first thing I noticed is how compact the poles are when
      collapsed. I believe the lack of an internal locking mechanism
      allows the section to have less overlap allowing the poles to
      collapse further than most. The benefit of this is that collapsed
      the poles are the shortest I have ever owned. This makes packing
      them for travel or stowing them on or in a pack much easier.

      The hand grips are the perfect size and shape for my hands. I wear
      XL gloves and mittens and find the strap accommodates my hands
      without any difficulties. In fact, the straps are long enough to
      allow me to use them like a typical ski pole strap. I slip my hand
      up through the loop from below and grasp back down on the strap and
      hand grip. This gives me a superb grip and these poles seem to be
      made with that method in mind.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Wriststrap">>
      Wrist strap with wedge

      The wrist strap has a wedge shaped piece of plastic located on one
      end of the strap. This wedge is located in the middle of the two
      pieces of strap material that comes out of the hand grip. Shortening
      the strap is just a matter of pulling on the free end of the wrist
      strap. Lengthening the strap is not so simple. In order to lengthen
      the strap, this wedge must first be pulled loose. I find this to be
      very difficult to accomplish while on the move and absolutely
      impossible while wearing gloves.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Flicklock Mechanism">>
      Flicklock closed on left, Flicklock open on right

      The length of the poles is adjustable by use of Black Diamond's
      Flicklock mechanism (See image above). This is where Black Diamond
      has revolutionized the trekking pole market. The Flicklock mechanism
      is the easiest and surest pole adjustment I have ever used. The
      mechanism consists of a small semi-circular hinged piece of plastic
      that acts like a cam around the pole. The plastic cam piece wraps
      around the shaft of the outside pole section clamping the inside
      pole section in place. The nice thing about the design is that the
      end of the semi-circle plastic piece is exposed so a simple push
      with a thumb will release the mechanism and allow the pole length to
      be adjusted.
      My old poles would routinely ice up and begin to slip, sometimes
      collapsing completely at the worst possible moment. The Flicklock
      adjustment doesn't suffer from this problem. I have used these poles
      for two winters now without a single incidence of slippage.
      The Flicklock mechanism makes the adjustment of pole length so
      simple that I continually adjust the length to suit the terrain and
      conditions. I can easily adjust the poles longer on down hills,
      shorter on up hills, and even different lengths when traversing
      hills. It takes just a couple of steps to pull the pole up, twist
      the Flicklock mechanism open and lengthen or shorten the pole.

      The tight fit required to keep the baskets in place makes changing
      them very difficult, it's for this reason that I only use the larger
      snow baskets. I have been using winter baskets during the summer
      month for ten years or more and haven't had any problems. The tips
      of the poles seem to be wearing at about the same rate as the other
      poles I have owned.


      These are a comfortable and versatile pair of trekking poles. I use
      these poles for trekking, snowshoeing, mountaineering and as of this
      winter alpine skiing.


      The ergonomic hand grips are very comfortable.

      The Flicklock mechanism is fool proof.

      Very compact when collapsed.


      The wrist strap is difficult to adjust while on the move.

      Baskets are very difficult to switch out. I just leave the snow
      basket on all the time.


      Sincerely, Stephen Chase

      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
    • Jamie D.
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 2 , May 9, 2008
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