1.5 years and still going strong!
Have had them for well over a year now and have taken them on many, many adventures. They are extremeley durable, with no sign of wearing out. The flick lock is way better than any twist lock I've had. The cork handles are comfortable in the hot summer and the ergo slant takes some pressure off wrists. Some of the activities where I have used them include...standard trail hiking...of course, cruising around the county park when I want some upper body exercise, backpacking with a heavy load, "tent"pole for a tarp/makeshift shelter, snowshoeing, AT skiing...and mostly off trail hiking/scrambling. Nice to take some weight off my old, abused knees on the way down. I always have them when far off in the wild. In the case of an injured foot...tweaked knee, they provide support to get out quickly. This actually happened to a friend recently...when he developed a nasty, raw blister that was slowing him down and making him hobble. He really appreciated using my poles to get out. In another instance, another friend borrowed one to use glissading when he left his ice axe at home. The safety of that is circumstantial...but the point is, the pole held up just fine. Where I have found them indispendable is on slippery stream crossings and steep scree. Descending, they have kept me from slipping on my butt many times. Ascending, when it gets uncomfortably steep...with no handholds to be found... I use one pole compacted down all the way...and stab it into the scree/dirt/small rocks directly above me and it provides a balance point and some upward pull. Watch out...the cork handles that absorb sweat make for salty treats for critters. I was warned about this when purchasing at REI and I have witnessed hungry marmots on mountain summits sneaking up when my back was turned, trying to get at them. One complaint...the powder baskets that come with them for winter use could attach better. They have come off a few times, especially in crusty snow. I always quickly noticed, retraced a few steps and found it. Late last winter though, I finally lost one. So,I bought a few spares and always carry an extra now. Then this summer, out on a trail, I found one! So, this must be a common problem. Next winter I think I'll secure them with some duct tape when heading out in anything except dry powder. Overall I am extremely happy with them as they have exceded my expectaions and I have already purchased a second pair for my wife.
I bought these poles as an upgrade from my Leki Sierra hiking staff which I had been using for 10 years.
I'll mention the good things before getting to the big "IF". The Black Diamond poles are made in Taiwan. They come with small baskets and powder baskets. They are not supplied with rubber pole tips. The cork grips are comfortable, and the straps are cushioned, comfortable, and effective when used correctly (check the REI web site video clips for how to use trekking poles). The straps are easily adjustable. The flicklock works without any slippage, and allows for convenient and rapid adjustment of pole lengths. The rubber grips below the cork grips are useful when quickly needing a shorter length for the uphill side of switchbacks.
Now for the big "IF": compared to the Leki Sierra hiking staff, the Black Diamond shafts are way too flexible for me. I used these poles on a 9.2 mile hike (4.6 miles each way, 3900 ft elevation gain), and found that the poles were bending too much when I made the return downhill journey. When stepping down from rocks to the next lower level, the poles bent by 1 to 2 cm. when I put weight on them. They do snap back straight (with lots of vibration), but this can cause the tip to jump off the ground causing the pole tip to skip. This is partly because pushing on the top of the handles directs the force to one side of the pole axis.
The tubing diameters for these Black Diamond poles are about 16mm (top section), 14 mm (middle section), and 12 mm (bottom section). My Leki staff (and the Leki superstrong series trekking poles) have tubing diameters of 18 mm (top section), 16 mm (middle section) and 14 mm (bottom section). That's why the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork poles are more flexible than these particular Leki poles.
For people who are not too tall (less than 5' 10") or too heavy (less than 180-190 lbs) these poles may be an excellent choice since they won't need to be extended beyond 130-135 cm going downhill. Taller and bigger back-packers entering the back-country through 10,000+ ft passes may want more robust poles. I want poles I can trust if I slip and need to put a lot of weight on them.
PERFECT hiking sticks for me.
It was a long time coming. Thousands of miles and wearing out a number of Twist Lock store brand sticks, putting up with them loosening at random times during a hike, or the new Powerlock that loosen at all times during a hike.
Black Diamond knows how to make hiking poles.
Why did I wait so long to pay a couple extra bucks?...hardly any extra dollars, since BD includes snow baskets and regular trail baskets, saving buying those as an accessory.
The flick lock is rock solid and easy to use. Adjustable to any length, and locks securely completely collapsed, unlike another brand.
I was surprised just how much of a difference the secure lockup and very comfortable pommel on the top of the handle makes for going down scrabbley steep stuff. I am 200 pounds with a 15 pound day pack and at 60, I rely heavily on poles going downhill.
These are lightweight, but I do not find them to feel flimsy at all. A bit of flex, which I think is a good thing.
Straps are very well padded, including a cute thumb pad, which I think is all that differentiates left from right, as they are designated. The thumb pad almost forces correct use of the strap, which most people rarely do.
The flick locks are plenty beefy and look like they should last a long time. They do suggest storing them unlatched,if for a long period. Any plastic part will creep under load eventually, so that is probably a good idea.
Even the carbide tip is well done, made well and attached well.
Fit and finish looks and feels good. Not a high priority, but it sure doesn't hurt.
I thought the slight handle angle was a gimmick. I have to admit, it feels good.
I really like the combo of cork and thermoplastic top for the handles. No funky buckle to irritate your hands like the cheaper version from BD.
for me. These are perfect.
Ideal for a Hiker
This was my choice for a thru-hike on the AT. These poles lasted all of the 2,184 miles for 6 months, getting constant use all day long. Over time they formed perfectly to my grip. They were easy to collapse, and only a handful of times did I have to tighten the screws so that they would maintain their settings. All terrain ranging from rocks to bogs, they were 100% reliable. When I would hike without them, (a rare occurence) I noticed a dull hip pain would surface, the poles were a great tool to help distribute my weight and put less pressure on my joints. The only negatives were due to wear and tear, which I didn't notice until the last few hundred miles. A space grew between the cork grips and the foam beneath them, as well as above the grip. This led to slight sliding and twisting of the actual cork piece. I believe this happened as a result of the foam beneath the cork slowly sliding down a few centimeters from constant impact. But, as I mentioned, this was after roughly 1800 miles. Also, the tips wore down, broke off, and then wore down some more. This could have been prevented if I had replaced the tips.
Best gear purchase in a long time
These sticks are one of the best gear purchases I have made in a long time in terms of sheer benefit. If you are like me and no longer in the springtime of your youth you probably suffer from soar knees when hiking down hill. I recently used these sticks on a backpacking trip in Mt Rainier National Park involving several thousand feet of elevation gain and loss. The sticks allow you to propel yourself up step-up's and ease the impact when stepping down. I also suffer from swelling hands when I backpack but using the poles keeps your hands active and thus no swelling. The best part was when I woke up in the morrning my knees felt absolutely fine. I did notice an occasional vibration which would probably be solved by shocks, but it was not consistant or much of an irritant. Some people are sticklers for weight and you can buy lighter poles for more money, but I did not notice the weight of these poles at all. 100% satisfied. I will never hike without them and I bought my wife a pair.
A must have for a new hiker!
I am a 61 year old, 285 pound man getting back into shape. I am hiking between 3 and 11 miles, 4 or 5 days a week up and down wet and sometimes muddy mountain trails, flat paths and everywhere I am walking.
These poles have on more than one occassion kept me from falling and giving that extra stability needed at critical times. When stepping down it is difficult to gauge your step when wearing bifocals. These help tremendously in knowing where to step and to offer support.
They really do add to your upper body workout, strengthing the shoulders an arms. Combine this with the stability it is a win win.
I do notice they vibrate a bit when you hit rocks or hard ground.
While they are light they support my weight with no bending. They are durable and I am glad I have them. This was my first purchase of hiking equipment. For me an important purchase. I will be hiking throughout the winter and look forward to using them on our hiking/camping adventures.
When knee pain started to slow down my weekend hiking trips, a friend suggested I get some trekking poles and loaned me his for a short time. While I used them, I noticed a significant difference and decided to pick some up.
The helpful chap at my local REI suggested a few types in my price range, and while the REI brand was also available, the rep pointed me towards these. The cork grip is awesome, and does keep the poles in hand even while sweaty. The FlickLock couldn't be easier to use, and the sturdiness of this product from Black Diamond is great. I've used them on short and medium hikes (the longest being the 11 mile trek to the summit at Mt San Jacinto State Park) and have never once been disappointed.
They are lightweight and pack down real easy, and I simply lash them to the back of my day pack when they aren't in use. Great, great trekking poles.
My physical therapist suggested I get trekking poles since I have issues with ankle and knee weakness. Bought these after looking at multiple in the store and never have been happier. First thing I noticed is less pain in the lower back and knees since the poles keep you more upright. The second thing I noticed was the comfort of the grips. One reservation I had about any of the poles was that being a big guy (over 250) that I'd bend these things in no time. After 20+ miles of light and heavy hiking at no time did they bend even the slightest. One suggestion is get the rubber tips, they are great on pavement and on rocks. On steep grades with both take one of the rubber tips off so you can use one pole to anchor in the soft dirt and the other to brace on a rock or root. Well worth the money.
One for each hand
I bought 2, for a trip with my son to "Isle Royale." Covered 50 plus miles and these came in handy. It kept us upright so many times, vs a face plant if we did not have these poles. We carried 45 pounds pack, and I is a must have. I was off trail for about 5 miles, these may have saved my life when i used it as a brace when I was going when going over a downed tree. I jammed one between these two large branch since my center of gravity...I did not have one. The poles took a lot of stress, I swear i saw these things bend. It was only after I got back that I found them as good as new. They did not give at anytime, and the cork help if your hands sweat alot.
Great buy at good price!
Im 36 and am 6 months removed from achilles tendon rupture repair surgery. Back on the trails and I decided it was time to get a pair of trecking poles to lesson the wear n tear on my legs. I trust Black Diamond having had experience with many of their products in past. Thies poles are no different. High quality. Easy adjustments. Light. Strong. (Im 6 foot 245) They never slipped or lost leingth settings. Grips/handle is at good angle and the cork is great!
It realy helps disperse the weight and lesson impact, especially on incline and declines. IMO it feels like a 25% relief of leg load.
I will be going to Glacier National park in 4 months and am glad to be having thies poles with me.