Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

BD Trail Pro Poles

I’ve learned over the years that if you really want something specific for Xmas you buy it yourself & hand it over for wrapping.

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I’ve been eyeing the Black Diamond Trail Pro trekking poles for a while having decided to move away from the twist lock type for winter use due to them being prone to locking up.  I’ve had this happen more than once, a bit of moisture & an overnight frost can effectively ‘weld’ the sections together, & while I’ve gotten away with it with the Trailstar (I can pitch with the poles set at my walking height of 110cm) with the MLD Duomid this would be a real problem.

My idea of a winter pole is something robust, penetrating the snow & potentially in between hidden boulders increases the risk of damage, the other thing I like is a longer handle section so I can side the hand down a bit when climbing steep slopes.  In browsing the shops I quickly whittled my choice down to the ‘Trail’ or the ‘Trail Pro’.  The locking mechanism on the ‘Pro’ definitely felts more robust than the original plastic Flicklock mechanism so I bit the bullet; I did get a good deal thanks to my DofE 20% discount card.

I’m quite impressed with the build quality; no sharp edges, the locking mechanisms operate smoothly & preset to a comfortable setting.  Despite being only 150g (a pair) heavier than my favourite Fizan Compact 4’s the weight does seem noticeable (520g Vs 370g) but not unduly heavy, just different.

Since I’ll be using them in conjunction with the Duomid the maximum length of 140cm is a bit short so thought I’d take the opportunity to knock up an extender.

I thought about BobC’s Flick Lock Extender but at 66g it seemed a bit heavy, I had some 12mm diameter (NOT ½”) aluminium tube to hand (1mm & 1.5mm wall), which one to use?  It seemed sensible to make the junction to be the same strength as the 14mm section so a quick check of comparative Section Modulus’s showed the 1mm wall marginal so I went for the 1.5mm (also catered for the possibly lower strength of the tube material Vs the pole)).

The fit of the 12mm tube into the poles was good but the flicklock wasn’t rock solid so I added a section of 14mm tube (from a scrap pole) over the 12mm, stops the extender disappearing down inside the trekking pole & possibly getting stuck & if slippage occurs it takes the end load. The result turned out pretty neat, 125mm long and 19g.

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With one pole fully collapsed and the other at the 135cm mark the resultant ‘pole’ is ~ 140cm long, ideal for initial placement & there a good 450cm (18”) of scope for extension (way more than necessary).

Got to hand them over now & wait for Xmas.

Update: well after 2 years of use how have they performed?

I can say I’m very pleased with them, the locking mechanism has never slipped even when under some serious loading when holding up the Duomid in storms. I’ve have to replace the flex tips after ‘losing’ a carbide tip on one of them, I reckon it probably unscrewed itself. The replacement was pretty straight forward, I just boiled the old plastic tips for 5 mins then carved it off with a utility knife, the new ones just then are push fits. I did note the new carbide tips are of a different design incorporating locking ‘teeth’ to reduce the possibility of then unscrewing.

The pole coupler I made also ‘failed’ during a pretty nasty storm, it bent about 10 – 15 deg. I’ve since reproduced the design using the bottom section of a trekking pole; the 7075-T6 aluminium alloy being far stronger than the original.

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3 comments on “BD Trail Pro Poles

  1. Mole
    December 2, 2014

    That looks great Paul. I use BD Trails. I have used a piece of 12mm steel tube for a joiner, but it does rust and needs rubbing down regularly. I mostly use a MYOG webbing/velcro joiner (see the Pyramid pole thread on Trek-lite for photos). Are the flicklocks on the pros metal? What about the red bit – is it just trim? – could it fall off?

    • Paul Atkinson
      December 3, 2014

      I tried the strap technique with my Leki’s but didn’t like it as it meant removing the baskets (I like the 50mm ones for bog trotting & the larger ones for snow).

      The Flicklock Pro mechanism is stainless, the red plastic bit is ‘trim’ bonded to the SS chassis.

  2. Fellbound
    December 21, 2014

    I just got a pair of these too as my brilliant Pacers are not suitable for holding up a new shelter I have purchased – and like you also find them sometimes ‘welded’ together, so unadjustable, especially when hands are wet and cold. I love the flicklock mechanism on the BD Poles. But the handles are far too narrow to be really comfortable for me. As ever with gear these are, therefore another compromise.

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2014 by in Gear, Reviews and tagged .
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