FR - Big Agnes Passport trekking poles - Brian Hartman
- Hi Lori
Below is my Field Report for the Big Agnes Passport trekking poles. The link to my HTML report is:
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
<<IMAGE 1>> During this test phase I used the Passport trekking poles extensively while on a fourteen day backpacking trip across the Southwest. Although I did not use the Passport poles on every hike, I covered approximately 68 miles (109 km) with them while on this trip. The weather conditions throughout my journey were ideal with mostly sunny skies and daytime highs averaging 70 F (21 C) most days. Below are a few of the areas I hiked.
Oak Creek Canyon, Coconino National Forest, Arizona: Over the course of three days we hiked throughout this steep, narrow river gorge that runs for approximately 12 miles (19.3 km) between the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona. The top (north) of the canyon is at an elevation of approx 7,100 ft (2,164 m) while the bottom of the canyon varies from 6,200 - 4,800 ft (1,890 - 1,464 m) elevation as it descends southward towards Sedona. The trails in this area varied from hard rock to sand with numerous creek crossings that were quite deep in some areas.
Fay Canyon Trail, Sedona, Arizona: This half day hike was approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) along a mostly level and partly shaded sandy trail which led to Box Canyon. At the end of the trail my son and I climbed up a rock cliff which provided great views of Dry Creek Valley and Chimney Rock. From there we continued another ¼ mile (0.4 km) along a rock ledge before turning around to head back.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: This trip involved a 17.1 mile (27.5 km) hike down the South Kaibab Trail to the Colorado River and Bright Angel campground and then back up the Bright Angel Trail. The elevation on the South Rim was 7,260 ft (2,212 m) while the elevation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon at the Colorado River was 2,420 ft (738 m). The temperature at South Kaibab trailhead at 7:30am on the morning of our descent was 31 F (-0.5 C). When we arrived at Bright Angel campground at the bottom of the Grand Canyon it was 71 F (22 C). The skies were sunny during both days in the park. <<IMAGE 2>>
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado: This beautiful park is located in Southwest Colorado near the Four Corners and was created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world, including Cliff Palace and Spruce Tree House. Most of the trails I hiked during our two day stay in this area started between 7,100 and 8,000 ft (2,164 and 2,438 m) elevation and were somewhat steep with rocky hiking surfaces and some sand. One memorable 3 mile (4.8 km) trail began near Spruce Tree ruins and traversed along the canyon walls on its way to some spectacular petroglyphs before the trail climbed up to the mesa and back along the canyon rim to the trailhead.
Buena Vista, Colorado: On this portion of our trip we hiked through the Collegiate Wilderness Area and had spectacular views of several fourteeners in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. However most of our backpacking was done through forests of Ponderosa Pines and Aspen trees and along Chaulk Creek because it was so windy on the exposed ridge lines. Daytime highs during this two day stretch were cooler than normal at 64 F (17 C) and the nearly constant 30mph winds on the first day created morning wind chills approaching 28 F (-2 C). The elevation in the areas we hiked was approximately 7,900 feet (2,408 m).
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado: Most of the trails we hiked were through though pine trees and rock formations in rocky and sandy terrain. The elevation here was approximately 6,035 ft (1,839 m).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
<<IMAGE 3>> <<IMAGE 4>> One of the last things I packed in the van in preparation for my trip out West was the Passport trekking poles. Because they were only a month old and I didn't want anything to happen to them before hiking into the Grand Canyon, I set them right next to me in the front seat of the van. As we made our way from Indianapolis to Arizona and then on to Utah and Colorado over the next fourteen days, I really enjoyed the fact that I could pretty much stash these poles anywhere due to their small storage size and not be concerned about them breaking. Needless to say, they survived the trip in one piece and took up practically no space at all in our overly packed vehicle. A second set of poles that I had brought along were not so lucky. They were an older pair of traditional hiking poles, heavier in weight with large baskets and collapsible sections that slid down into each other. Because they were too long to fit in the
front of the van they were relegated to sit behind the third row of seats where they got smashed by fallen luggage on the drive home.
One of the first trails I hiked after arriving in Arizona was the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon. While hiking to the trailhead on the pavement and hard packed ground, I left the rubber tip protectors on the poles and they worked wonderfully. Keeping the rubber tips on during this part of the hike prevented the soft clanging and vibrations in the poles that occurred when they came in contact with hard surfaces. The trail itself was relatively flat with lots of creek crossings and scurries up and down the rocky banks. The poles helped me keep my balance while stepping on rocks and logs to cross the creek. In addition the carbide tips provided excellent traction when climbing out of the creek banks.
I also used the trekking poles on Fay Canyon trail where they came in handy to help propel me forward on the sandy ground. The sand was deep enough that it came up over the micro baskets but luckily there was solid ground only a few inches (5 cm) beneath. Upon arriving at the end of the trail and the beginning of Box Canyon, I quickly collapsed the poles so we could scramble up the rock cliff. In less than a minute I had the poles stowed away and we were climbing.
<<IMAGE 5>> During my descent into the Grand Canyon I carried a 25 lb (11 kg) backpack and was very happy to have the Passport trekking poles which helped me keep my balance on the loose gravel trail. On several occasions the poles prevented me from going down or twisting an ankle. In addition, the trekking poles helped decrease the pressure on my knees which took a beating during the 7 mile (11.2 km) hike down South Kaibab trail. A few years ago when I first began having knee problems while hiking on steep terrain, I read an article in the Journal of Sports Medicine which stated that using two trekking poles while descending steep grades decreased the downward force on one's knees by 20%. I have been a devout user and advocate of trekking poles ever since.
During the first mile (1.6 km) or so of my ascent up Bright Angel trail in early afternoon, the trail was very sandy. The poles really helped me push forward and maintain my momentum so that I did not get bogged down in the sand. As I continued up the trail I encountered numerous rocks and logs which were used to form steps and keep the trail from washing out. It would have been very easy to get the poles wedged between the rocks or a log and break them off, but despite a couple of close calls I had no problems whatsoever with the Big Agnes poles bending or breaking. As I continued on up the trail and my legs got more tired, I found myself using the poles to help propel myself up the steps and there were a couple of times when the poles flexed but I never felt that they weren't up to the task.
The Big Agnes Passport trekking poles performed very well during Field Testing. They are lightweight, well balanced and durable enough to stand up to some heavy duty use. This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in a few months for my Long Term report and my final test results. Thanks to Big Agnes and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these trekking poles.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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- Hi Brian,
I have to say that I am quite jealous of your testing locations!
The URL at the top that is supposed to click down to the field report
is pointing at the file on your C drive, and not working. Not sure
how the Report Writer works so not sure how that would be fixed.
>Edit: It took a minute or two to understand what you meant by
> The trail itself was relatively flat with lots of creek crossings
> and scurries up and down the rocky banks.
"scurries" up and down - it might be more immediately clear to the
reader to say "short slopes" or a similar, accurate description to
describe this without using a word that is usually a verb.
> luckily there was solid ground only a few inches (5 cm) beneath.EDIT: A more specific estimate, if using a conversion, I think. 5 cm
is about 2 inches?
> Please check back in a few months for my Long Term report and myEDIT: Two months, as usual.
> final test results.
Very nicely formatted. They must be good poles, it's unanimously a
Don't forget to delete after the edit/upload. See you in a couple