New Black Diamond Flicklock Pro for Fall 2012.
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!
Actually I really don’t like the current ones. I had to replace mine and the replacements were clearly not the same as the originals, cheaper plastic, larger diameter so I had to shim them to get them bite on my carbon poles. The finish was clearly poor.
So it will be great to use the new ones as they look to be much better. Will they fit on older poles? (Hoping).
Mark…there have been a few variations on diameter with BD poles (both carbon and aluminium) over the years…and therefore different sized flicklock mechanisms. So it’s important to make sure you are ordering the correct ones when looking for replacements.
Not sure about cross compatibilty of next year’s flicklocks with older poles, but will try to find out.
Steve, has BD changed where the shoulder strap avalung diaphragm box is located? They tend to make it a little uncomfortable when you ditch a layer or two. I find this is the only issue from hands down being the best ski packs around. Thanks for the info!
ben…thanks for the reminder.
for Fall 2012, the valve-box will be located further back on the shoulder strap, closer to the body of the pack. it will also be fixed in place. in past versions, i found the box would migrate forward when you extended the AvaLung to your mouth…so a very nice improvement.
mark…that is a big negative on being able to put Flicklock Pro clamps on older BD adjustable poles. the Flicklock Pro mechanism will be affixed, metal-on-metal, to the new poles.
steve, do you have the weights on the new packs? how will they compare to the old ones?
tony…here at the weights of the avalung packs. the active-form suspension systems and more bomber ballistic material used in construction bump the weights up a little.
anarchist avalung- 4lbs 8oz
revelation avalung- 4lbs 6oz
alias avalung- 4lbs 4oz
outlaw avalung- 4lbs 6oz
covert avalung- 4lbs 6oz
agent avalung- 3lbs 3oz
bandit avalung- 2lbs 11oz
it looks like the fall 2012 non-avalung packs weight about 14oz less than their avalung equivalent.
Any chance of BD putting an external shovel pocket on the avalung packs? Ever seen a workaround?
justin…haven’t seen much. why do you want an external shovel pocket?
to me, an easily assessable zippered pocket on the outside works great. i mean…it doesn’t get much more accessible than what the revelation has going on. no?
I’m with Justin–the single vertical zip design is a pain–wish they’d do more of the rainbow zips like the Outlaw.
aj/justin…with the packs that have the vertical zip on the shovel pocket (anarchist, revelation, alias) for fall 2012, they will also have a velcroed opening at the top which allows the zippered panels to butterfly open…for better access. i think you will find it to be a vast improvement over the old design.
Bummer that the new flicklocks are fixed to the poles. It doesn’t seem like it will be possible to shorten the Whippet’s or turn them into 3 section poles in the future.
david…why can’t you just cut the poles from the grip end. might talk a little more time…but still doable. no?
I think you are correct about the normal poles, not sure about the newer Whippets (I don’t know how or to what they fixed the pick). It’s always seemed odd that BD doesn’t sell a 3 section version. A couple years back there was even a photo of a BD employee skiing while using a 3 section Whippet in their catalog. Oh well.
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Can you tell me if BD changed the sizes? Are these packs available in 3 sizes like their current summer line?
tom…the bd ski packs are only available in 2 sizes, S/M and M/L.