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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles > Owner Review by Alyssa KimberBlack Diamond Trail Trekking Poles - Women's
Owner Review by Alyssa Kimber
June 2, 2018
Name: Alyssa Kimber
Height: 5' 10" (1.8 Meters)
Weight: 130 lb (59 Kg)
Email address: alyssakimber AT hotmail DOT com
City, Province, Country: Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
Backpacking Background: I started backpacking last year after moving from the prairies to the Kootenay region of British Columbia. I’m new to backpacking but I have significant outdoors experience having enjoyed camping and day hiking for many years. My trip length is generally one to three nights and ranges from prairie hikes to mountainous terrain. I am a 3-season hiker at present but I plan on extending my trips into the winter season as I pick up more gear. My pack weight varies depending on the trip, but I tend to sacrifice weight savings for comfort.
Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP): $99.95 USD
Listed Weight Per Pair : 450 g (15.9 oz)
Listed Usable Length : 59-125 cm (23-49 in)
Listed Collapsed Length : 59 cm (23 in)
Measured Weight Per Pair : 489 g (1 lb 1.2 oz) (the difference in weight is probably dependent on what tips and baskets are on the pole - I had on the snow baskets and rubber tips)
Measured Usable Length : 59-128 cm (23-50.5 in) (the poles can extend a little past the 125 cm marker)
Measured Collapsed Length : 59 cm (23 in)
Color: Blue and Grey
The Black Diamond Trekking Poles are Women's-specific poles meant for "year-round hiking, trekking, backpacking and snowshoeing". According to the manufacturer's website, what makes the poles "women's-specific" is their size, grip and plush-lined padded strap. Based on the website photos, I do not see a difference between the grip and strap of the women's specific Trekking Poles and the regular Trekking Poles. However, the regular Trekking Poles have an adjustable height that is longer at 63.5-140 cm (25-55 in) and the weight heavier at 489 g (1 lb 1 oz). The point of this comparison is simply to show that I believe men can use these "Women-specific" poles too, if the height works for them!
Some features of the poles are the dual "FlickLocks" which provide adjustability to suit the terrain and the hiker, and non-slip foam grip for the handles. The poles come with interchangeable carbide Tech Tips, low-profile Trekking Baskets, and Powder baskets. I also purchased the rubber Tech Tips (sold separately) and have used these tips for the majority of my hikes.
I have used these poles on many hikes (estimate 30+ days) since I purchased them about a year ago. I've used them on several overnight backpacking trips and day hikes in the Kootenay area of British Columbia and in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island.
Temperatures: between -8 and 30 C (18-86 F)
Precipitation: ranged from dry, wet, icy and snowy conditions
Terrain: Rocky and/or forested in the alpine and sub-alpine up to 2850 m (9350 ft) above sea level (ASL)
I consider these poles a necessity on almost any type of hike. The poles work very well to relieve pressure on my knees while descending and also help with balance while both ascending and descending. I really appreciate the adjustability of the poles as I often have them slightly longer while descending a trail and slightly shorter while ascending. I typically adjust my poles to between 110 cm to 115 cm (43 in to 45 in). They can also be adjusted short enough to store in my pack. The FlickLocks are super easy and intuitive to use - you just flip them out, pull or push the pole to adjust the length, then flip the locks back into place. The poles also have length markers on the sides which make it simple to find the correct length quickly and ensure both poles are adjusted to the same length. See photo below of the FlickLocks and length markers.
I was a little worried about the foam grip when I purchased these as I was told a cork grip is better for absorbing sweat. However, I haven't found any problem with the foam grip becoming slippery, even on hot days. The wrist straps are also a nice feature as they keep the pole "attached" to me. So if the poles get stuck between two rocks, for example, I won't lose the pole from my grip and have it go tumbling down the trail. The straps also allow the poles to hang from my wrists if I need to use my hands for something else (e.g. adjusting a backpack strap, eating a snack, etc.). Another feature of the straps is an additional piece of material that hangs off each strap and displays either an "L" or an "R" to assist me in remembering which pole is for which hand. Although this identification is helpful, I would have appreciated having this marking on the pole as opposed to on an additional piece of material that occasionally gets in the way of my grip. The only difference I can find between the left and right poles is an extremely slight indent on the side where my thumbs wrap around. The poles can be used interchangeably quite comfortably.
The included carbide Tech Tips seem to work well in all terrain. I especially like them for icy conditions, as opposed to the rubber tips (sold separately). The only downfall with the carbide tips is that they are noisy on rocks and so I use the rubber tips for summer conditions. I found the tips tricky to remove. Due to their small size it is difficult to grip them with just my fingers. It is possible to remove them without any tools, but it is easier with a tool such as a pair of small pliers.
I used the Powder Baskets in winter while snowshoeing and the low profile Trekking Baskets while hiking in the spring, fall, and summer. The Powder Baskets prevented the poles from sinking into the snow more than a few inches and the Trekking Baskets helped to prevent the pole from getting wedged between roots and rocks. Both baskets were easy to remove and replace. The photo below shows the poles in the shortest position with the Powder Baskets and rubber tips.
The Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles (Women's) are a necessity for me on almost any hike. They help relieve pressure on my knees and help me keep my balance while on uneven terrain. The poles are easily adjustable to suit whether I'm ascending or descending and can be adjusted short enough to store in my pack. The interchangeable tips and baskets are nice features that allow me to use the poles in different seasons and on different types of terrain, although the tips can be a bit tricky to interchange. The straps help to keep the poles from straying too far and also identify which pole is for which hand. The foam grip is comfortable and functional. I would definitely recommend these poles!
Things I like:
1. FlickLocks and length markers make length adjustment simple
2. Two different types of baskets included (Trekking and Snow)
3. Comfortable foam grip, even on hot and sweaty days
Things I don't like:
1. Interchangeable tips are tricky to change without tools
2. The "L" and "R" identification is on an extra piece of strap material which occasionally gets in the way of my grip
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