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Gear Review

4 5

Reliable backcountry tools

I've been using the BD Carbon Fiber Flicklock poles and variations of them (Whippets) for years and have never had a problem. They are a nice balance of weight and function and I like the simple, yet comfy grip. Like any piece of backcountry gear, they will last longer if you maintain and inspect them a few times a year, but I have never broken a lower or upper shaft or had anything malfunction on them. It helps to occasionally check the tension of the clamping mechanism, especially if you are going from a warmer climate to somewhere very cold as the clamp has less elasticity.

I've grown to totally trust the clamping mechanism to a point that I probably shouldn't! There have been a few times where I'm booting along a ridgeline and put the majority of my weight on the poles, only to realize that if the clamping mechanism should slip, the pole would collapse and I'd be sent for a header. So far this hasn't happened and it is much more likely to happen with other clamping devices.

On the negative side, snow can occasionally plug up the clamping mechanism (no big deal - knock it out), and the bulbous lump on an otherwise smooth shaft takes a bit of visual getting use to, but you get over it.

The swing weight is nice and I love the asymmetrical baskets (truth in advertising as I designed them years ago).

Overall, an excellent backcountry tool.