Yesterday, I showed you some of the new gear Black Diamond has in store for next season (known as Fall 2012 in retail lingo), so today I figured Iâ€™d share some of the changes BD will be making to their extremely popular Flicklock poles and ski packs. Two products I use nearly every day I go backcountry skiing. Iâ€™ve been using some of the new 2012 poles and packs and I must say, so farâ€¦I give the changes two thumbs up!
First off, itâ€™s hard to image that the Black Diamond Flicklock design could get any better than it is now. The system is so reliable and simple that it is no wander they are probably the most popular adjustable ski poles on the market, and why BD offers a full eight different styles of adjustable ski poles that have Flicklock. My favorite is the Pure Carbon, because it is the lightest and (I think) has the most range of adjust-ability.
The new design for Fall 2012 is called Flicklock Pro and is much easier to use and quite slick. It is extremely low profile and is very clean looking. The clamping mechanism is comprised of a dual axle design that increases leverage and required less force to lock them down. The hardware is also stainless steel, which should be rather durable. New colors are also a change from this year and they are kind of geared to match certain skis in the BD line-up.
Now, on to the ski packs. The biggest difference between next yearâ€™s and this yearâ€™s ski packs is the introduction of Black Diamondâ€™s Re-Active and Ergo-Active suspension system that has been in their summer pack line for a couple seasons now. Both suspension systems have SwingArm shoulder straps that move with you and reduce pressure points when you are raising your arms or reaching forward. Both systems also allow for a similar, friction-free movement of the hip-belt, though a bit more so with the Ergo-Active design, which allows the packâ€™s waist belt to rotate with the movement of your hips. The systems will be used in BDâ€™s AvaLung and non-AvaLung ski packs, with the exception of the Bandit and Agent, which have minimalist webbing belts instead.
Some tweaks in design in most of the packs are welcome and give them a much cleaner look and functionality. I also like the new colors, as the drab green and neon blue of this yearâ€™s packs wereâ€¦not my favorite.
At first, I was rather skeptical of the integration of these systems to the ski packs due to the increased weight and bulk. I was also worried that the free-movement of the shoulder straps and hip belt would cause the packs to wobble back and forth when packing your and top-heavy. But, after skiing with them for the past couple months, the comfort and freedom of movement when you are skinning, boot-packing and skiing is out-of-this-world. The more you torque your body, especially when you are laying down radical slash turns or high-stepping to get over that crux in a couloir, the more you feel the benefits of the systemâ€™s free moving characteristics.
I will be in down at the Outdoor Retailer trade-show in SLC next week, so look for more updates on whatâ€™s new later on. Ciao for now!