Best for fast & light tramping & alpine use
Features: Formed from thin 7075 aluminium alloy tubes, this three-section pole has Black Diamond’s FlickLock Pro aluminium adjusters as well as the SmashLock mechanism on its lower part. Seamless and wide wrist loops complement a durable one-piece, two-position hand grip. Poles come with trekking-style and snow baskets and replaceable carbide tips.
Adjustability: The nicely engineered release mechanism provides 38.5cm of adjustment for the upper half of the pole. The lower half is released with the SmashLock mechanism – a one-position-only lock-out, which limits the usable minimum length of the pole. Of the three poles we tested, these are the fastest to deploy and collapse. The wrist loops adjust easily and firmly.
Comfort: These poles have the thinnest hand grips of the three reviewed, so would suit small- to medium-sized hands best. The foam is firm but quite open-pored so it copes with sweaty hands well, and the one-piece grip allows a smooth transition from the upper to lower hand grip position. The Trail Pro also had the widest straps, and while unpadded they have a sleeve over the top of the webbing that provides shape and support.
In use: These poles are nice to use: they are quick to set up and collapse down to 65.5cm for storage on the side of your pack. For durability, the Black Diamond FlickLock Pro alloy buckles are my favourite, being a bomb-proof design that can handle being dragged through rocks and vegetation. These were the most flexible of the poles tested, which, while being good for shock reduction, made them feel less positive when making big step-downs off boulders. They also creaked, which may be an issue for hunters and bird watchers.
Value: For top-end materials and design, the Trail Pro provides good value for money.
Verdict: Lightest by a small margin, and very comfortable. A great slim-line pole for those who pack light or are of lighter build.
Plusses: Fast to deploy, light, thin profile, comfortable
Minuses: A little noisy in use, long minimum collapsed length