The Black Diamond Compactor Pole utilises their novel Z-Pole technology to create a light, stiff pole with an incredibly small pack size. The Compactor is built in a similar way to an avalanche safety pole with a thread running the length of the pole which when tensioned pulls the segments tightly together. The top section of the compactor can then be adjusted by up to 20cm thanks to a flicklock section.
The Compactor Pole is a great choice for ski mountaineering, snow shoeing or for splitboard touring as its small size means it can be tucked into a pack when not in use whilst it remains tough enough to handle sustained skinning.
The Black Diamond compactor poles benefit from an innovative design that enables them to be packed away in your backpack easily when not in use - the clue is in the name! For snowboarding, these are pretty much the industry standard now for splitboarders, as reducing bulk in the pack when riding down is of great benefit. The mechanism is easily clicked into place and can be operated with gloves on. When extended, the poles are solid with no tendency to collapse, as can be found with some. They also have other uses: handy as a spare pole to be carried on a long ski tour within a group perhaps, and ideal as an occasional, packable trekking pole.
Click to see more about Ric.
Ric is a North Wales based Guide who has a small guiding company called RPM Guiding. Ric teaches rock climbing and mountaineering in summer, and works as a backcountry ski and splitboard guide in winter.
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I bought these poles as backup for use in the back country. This was after my last trip, where one of my group lost a pole skiing trees in deep powder, and had to spend half the day with one pole. I intend to carry one pole in my pack as a backup.
My regular poles are the BD Pure Carbon which are very stiff, very light and easy to adjust. The Compactor poles are not as stiff, not as light but just as easy to adjust.
I have the longer 115-135cm pole, which folds down to 42cm. The folding mechanism and the length adjustment are independent of each other, but unless you need a 115cm pole you have to adjust the FlickLock to change the length in any case.
When folded the upper sections of the pole click into the powder basket forming a relatively solid unit. To extend the pole you just free the sections from the basket, grasp the top section of the pole below the FlickLock and pull it away from the pole grip until a small push button clicks out locking the lower pole. This automatically extends the internal cable locking the lower sections together. The new FlickLock Pro gives a much more positive 'click' than the previous plastic version.
As mentioned, the pole is not as stiff as the Pure Carbon (not much is), as you can feel some movement if you shake the pole. However, when skiing I am sure I will not notice it.
A great pole for its intended purpose.
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