Brand: Black Diamond Equipment
Model: First Strike
I rarely bother to change my pole length while hiking, because I find even the simplest locking mechanisms too fiddly—but the SureLock eases on-the-fly adjustments. A unique trigger system lets you adjust this three-section aluminum pole with one hand: Holding and squeezing the handle like a syringe releases the lock and allows you to push (or pull) on the middle segment to adjust the length in five-centimeter increments. The collapsible bottom segment locks into one fixed length with a push-button mechanism. Dings: The relatively heavy swing weight gave it a sluggish feel when I was skiing downhill and the plastic grip gets slippery with sweat or rain.
Hiking on terrain with frequent elevation changes
> Kelly Bastone (other tester: Kristin Hostetter)
> Duration Jan. to March
> Locales/conditions CO; 20℉ to 70℉; dry, muddy, and snowy trails
> “Just 23 inches when stowed, the TR-3 fits tidily onto a pack.”
> Weight 19 oz./pair
> Price $150
A 4-season, full-featured adjustabe youth pole.