For many years Black Diamond poles have featured a FlipLock camming system to allow the poles to be adjusted in length and firmly locked in place. This system has been well-proven and does not appear to suffer from the common failings of the internal expanding cam design used by other brands. This single feature of the Black Diamond Trail Compact is a major bonus. Plus you get a more compact packed length than with some poles, meaning these are ideal for stashing on your pack. I also like the handle design, which offers just enough padding and profiling to make these easy and comfy to use. Grip on uneven terrain or when traversing slopes is improved by extending the foam down the shaft a little too. The wrist loop is well-padded and contoured, again adding to the comfort level. All those features make this pole ideal for a wide variety of mountain action. But the Black Diamond Trail Compact does not have a shock-absorbing system, although a shock-absorbing model is available for £80. There are lighter poles available with carbon fibre shafts for example. The handles are not tilted as much as some, so the walking action when using these is not as natural as it could be.
Handle dual density rubber and foam
Max length 125cm
Min length 60cm
Weight 504g per pair
Made in Taiwan
Stores in the UK no info provided
The FlipLock system transforms the Black Diamond Trail Compact’s long-term performance, the short packed length is extremely useful for mixed mountain activity and the price is good too. It won the ‘Best in Test’ award .
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2010