While we are at it, here’s our first gear review for 2014. Our snow boarding guide Mark will give the insight into what looks like an awesome set of poles, and an essential for keen split boarders. Cheers Mark!
I got my hands on a set of Black Diamond’s Compactor poles last winter, gave them a good workout in the Craigieburn range, then another good hammering in Montana and Idaho this summer. Previous to these I had been using another brand of three piece telescopic poles , which due to the way they were constructed, even when at there smallest we’re still way longer than my touring pack, leaving a sharp end either near ones head or butt. This always gave slight concern, as with an ice axe, of the chance of a puncture type wound if one took a serious eggbeater on the run down hill. The compactor , as the name suggest contorts itself into the tiniest of parcels when compacted and just slides inside even the smallest of resort style packs when not needed. This feature enabled me to use them all the time this summer at Bridger Bowl for the boot packing which is necessary there for every ridge run, and meant I had the security and energy saving attributes of poles at hand all the time.
The poles deploy quickly, and feel secure when in use. I’m near to 100kg geared up so having confidence in your poles is key. The sandpaper like grit halfway down the top shaft is awesome for shortening the pole when side hilling with out having to adjust the pole itself. The flick lock type adjustment for length is a winner and a clear improvement over twist lock style mechanisms I have used in the past.
Overall I rate these poles a 9/10, and with the addition of a larger powder basket, (which I hope to order pronto) they will rate a 10/10. A great piece of kit for the touring snowboarder.
Check them out here