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July 2015 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Walking Poles

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock



Our Rating:

These poles have a simple, yet extremely secure, external clamp-lock system, called FlickLock, rather than the twist-lock found on many other poles. I found it quick and easy to adjust the pole length.

An extended grip runs down the top of the shaft. With most walking poles you need to adjust the length when going uphill, otherwise your hands are too high. With the Trail Pro, you simply move your grip from the normal hand position to the top of the shaft, effectively reducing the pole’s length. For someone like me who does not bother to adjust pole length every time I approach a steep hill, it meant I got more use from them.

The four-stage shock absorbing system is excellent. It doesn’t bottom out easily and as such appears to be sturdy. It can’t be turned off, but I don’t mind – it’s less likely to break down.  

The padded straps are comfortable, but I didn’t have these adjusted properly on the first outing and found the base of my thumb rubbing against the harsher webbing. By day’s end, I had a raw sore there so it’s worth stopping to adjust it the moment you feel discomfort.

The carbide tip provides secure grip on rock and other trail surfaces. I used these poles on Stewart Island where the tracks are muddy and chaotic, but if I were on a groomed trail I would like the option of a rubber tip to protect the track surface.

They weigh 590g/pair and I found them invaluable crossing fast flowing streams, balancing on slippery logs above rivers and in absorbing some of the load on steep descents and the flat. Their ease of adjustment and the shock absorbing system is first class.