Brand new from Black Diamond, the Trail Pro Shock are an all-season, multi-use trekking pole featuring 4 stage shock absorption, dual density grips, interchangeable carbide tips and Black Diamonds ‘Double FlickLock Pro’ adjustments. These all-rounder poles promise to eat up just about any terrain you can throw at it, we’ve been testing them in varied conditions in the French Alps to see how they performed.
The grips and wrist bands are padded and fit very well, offering a secure and comfortable fit – for both large and small hands (we have extremes of both on the team). Black Diamond have installed a ‘4-stage shock absorption’ system to take the bone wrenching vibration from trekking on harder surfaces, and when descending/ascending heavily. We did find on more strenuous activities a horizontal oscillation as the pole was planted but this wasn’t particularly uncomfortable.
The poles feel robust – from the strapping, to the locking system and poles themselves. Over a few months of use they have stood up to punishment quite well, however recently we did manage to bend one of the lower extensions when we stumbled and leaned heavily on the pole (I guess this is a drawback of non-composite poles), we have since gently eased it back (a benefit of non-composite poles…) but you get the feeling it’s weaker and could bend again.
The FlickLock Pro is an excellent system; easy to operate with gloves on (of varying thickness) and is absolutely secure when locked. Sometimes they’re a little difficult to close, you have to get the angle right to lever them shut – however this is a minor complaint of an otherwise brilliant system.
At 590g, the poles are on the heavy side compared to some other composite poles we’ve been using. The robust build and shock absorbing system all contribute to the weight and that is the trade off. On that basis, these poles are more suitable to weighted trekking and hikes – rather then ultra-light racing or similar activities where weight is critical.
With a usable length of 68-140 cm (7-55 in), the Trail Shock Pros are adaptable to any height, at 186cm in height I tended to use around 130cm+/- depending on the gradient and activity. With a collapsed length of 68 cm (27 in), they are a little on the long side when it comes to packability.
Overall, the Trail Shock Pros make for excellent robust hiking and trekking poles (particularly when carrying weight). There construction and adaptable design makes for a tough and serviceable set of poles that should see you through most situations, however if weight and packability are critical it may be worth checking out some of the more lightweight poles in this range.