The Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 Trekking Poles are a three-section pole pair with angled grips & Black Diamond’s patented FlickLock pole section length adjusters. They are comparatively simple as far as trekking poles go – there are no cork handles or shock absorbing springs or titanium alloys or carbon fibers. The Trail Sport 3 Trekking Poles are simple aluminum poles with standard rubber grips.
These particular trekking poles are very similar to advanced trekkig pol trekking poles of black diamonds , manufactured in 2001 are unpainted aluminum except yellow & black graphics toward the top of the uppermost section. While this exact model is no longer available, it does show up occasionally in inventory sales, and similar contributions While this exact model is no longer available, it does show up occasionally in inventory sales, and similar contributions are now available by Black Diamond. are still manufactured by Black Diamond. Hopefully, that makes this review still relevant.
- Series : Trail
Usable Length : 100-140 cm (40-55 in)
Weight Per Pair : 624 g (1 lb 6 oz)
Collapsed Length : 63 cm (25 in)
Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 Trekking Poles are break down into three sections, making them compact enough for easy travel or an unobtrusive attachment to a backpack when not in use.
- Angled Grips: The part of the trekking pole is bent at a slight angle (15 degrees, according to Black Diamond) which gives the user an ergonomic advantage when swinging the poles forward. The doctrine is that the pole reaches its forward plant position while the user’s wrist is in a neutral position.
- Lack of “Extras”: These are essential trekking poles. There are no wreck absorbers in the shafts, no shock absorbing grips, no carbon fiber, no titanium, no compasses or cork built into the handles.
- Cam grips: The Trekking poles wrist loops fit into a locking cam on the very top of the pole grip. This allows for rapid and straightforward infinite adjustments of the wrist loop lengths.
- Dual FlickLock adjustability Mechanism: Unlike most poles on the market, the Advance trekking poles do not use a twist expander inside the pole segments that rely on friction to keep the certain pole lengths. Instead, Black Diamond Trekking poles use a patented camming device called the FlickLock that squeezes the inner pole sections securely but allows for very easy undoing. This requires no internal screw mechanism like most trekking poles and is quite straightforward and reliable to adjust both at home and in the field.
- Tips & Baskets: The tips are just like most of the industry-standard carbide tips found on new trekking poles. Sturdy, small, and extremely durable.
- Three-section aluminum shaft
- Rubber grip extension
- Vari-width nylon webbing strap with woven lining for increased comfort
- Rubber grip with rib pattern to reduce vibration
- Replaceable flex tip with low-profile Trekking Baskets
Use and Review
The virtues of carrying trekking poles into the backcountry are many, but I won’t cover them here. If you are unsure of the value, there has been a lot written about trekking poles and a little time spent researching this will offer hours of reading. The comments below on my use and review of these particular poles are for the benefit of those who carry poles and are trying to make a solid choice in which poles to use – not to convert those who don’t believe trekking poles are useful. That said, here is my experience with the Black Diamond Advance Trekking Poles:
The Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 Trekking Poles have served me extremely well over the past couple of years. From day hikes to snow climbs to skiing to shelter support, they have risen to the challenges I have presented them. Best of all, I have almost never had to tinker with or even think about them – something I appreciate.
On day hikes and common backpacking trips, they have performed flawlessly. They have not collapsed on me, have not bent, and still work as well as they did when new. This is not something I can say about my other twist-expander trekking poles. My expander trekking poles all have been factory-painted black trekking poles, and eventually, all begin to chip and flake. The unpainted aluminum on the Advance poles is indeed scratched and nicked, but it has not affected the feel or appearance of the poles. After using unpainted poles like the Advance, I will never buy painted metal poles again. The unpainted poles age and perform so much better over time that this has become a priority characteristic in any future pole purchase.
I have not noticed a significant difference between the straight shaft trekking poles and the angled Advance poles. There is a slight difference, to be sure, but nothing so great as to make angled grips a “must have.” They are especially useful on downhill pole plants.
The cam locking wrist retention straps are one of the few places Advance poles could use some improvement. The straps themselves are both too short and too stiff and thick for my tastes. After a year or so of use, I finally replaced the original straps with replacements made from webbing available at local outdoor shops or fabric stores. I used a slightly thinner webbing, added a few inches of length, and with a couple of quick passes of a sewing machine, created a better fitting and more comfortable straps that are easy to replace the stock straps with.
Due to the thickness of the webbing, my stock straps regularly popped the cam open. The thinner webbing allows the cam to get a better bite and hold a strap adjustment much more securely. Better yet, the additional length has allowed me to fit gloved or mittened hands into the wrist loops.
The greatest feature of the Advance poles – and in my opinion the most significant feature of all Black Diamond poles – is the FlickLock adjustment. I had constant difficulty with the twist expander trekking poles, primarily with loosening them to shorten them. To get the poles tight enough to support a full weekend of trail use or climbing adequately, I tightened the expanders quite securely.
This made them almost impossible to undo. Particularly in wet or snowy weather, the effort was often futile. With the flick lock, it is always a straightforward affair with little effort no matter what the conditions are. I have used the FlickLocks in rain, snow, sub- freezing temperatures and brutal heat. The quick opening cam has never posed a problem. An initial (and once a year in my case) adjustment of each cam with a screwdriver determines how tightly the cam squeezes and how much forces are needed to open and close the FlickLock. Proper compression is simple to determine and stays secure once set.
I have bent two pairs of trekking poles while skiing and snapped another pair. After two and half seasons of skiing on this one pair, I have yet to bend or break even a single section of either pole. Each section slides as smoothly and easily into the next as they did when new. This is not something I can say about any other trekking poles I have used. Even with the best of them, it is now difficult to slide sections into each other due to slight bends here and there. Even with my XXL size, I am confident in putting great pressure on the poles when getting up from a deep snow fall.
I have used the Advance as a center pole in three pyramid style tents – the Black Diamond Megamid, the Black Diamond Megalight, and the GoLite Hex 3 Nest. All 3 of these shelters require connecting the trekking poles to each other to gain the needed height to erect the shelter. Using the Black Diamond fabric pole connector, I have successfully used the Trail Sport 3 Trekking Poles to support all of these shelters strongly. While certainly not as simple, clean, and attractive as the dedicated poles for them, the Trail Sport 3 Trekking Poles has proven every bit as strong and durable.
In this particular use of the trekking poles, the FlickLock mechanism has been invaluable. Slight adjustments to the pole height to accommodate shelter fabric sagging, expansion, or stretching is difficult at best and a nightmare at worst with a twist-expander trekking pole used as a center pole. With the FlickLock, small adjustments can be made easily and accurately with little effort or stress.
In my opinion, users of shelters that depend on trekking poles for support owe it to themselves to tryout FlickLock poles to see how simple and secure this can be done.
Overall, the Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 Trekking Poles have been a valuable addition to my backcountry gear kit. No other trekking pole has proven so durable, simple to use, secure, and stable. In my opinion, the FlickLock mechanism – while a little bulkier – is a superior pole length adjustment technology that will likely be copied extensively in various incarnations once the patent expires. Until then, Black Diamond has a great thing going with the FlickLock line of poles. They could be lighter, but for a relatively basic trekking pole that works in all conditions and involves little worry or frustration, the Black Diamond Advance Trekking Poles are a wonderful example.