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Black Diamond Expedition 3

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Black Diamond Expedition 3 alpine touring/telemark pole

Light, tough, and cheap.


  • Excellent locking system
  • Tough
  • Inexpensive


  • Hard to find tip protectors that fit
  • Threads are easily damaged

I find it a bit amusing that after many years, the traditional leaders in hiking poles, Leki and Komperdell, are finally coming out with locking systems for their poles based on the Black Diamond Flicklock system. We've all heard stories about the old twist-lock poles collapsing at the wrong moment, dumping someone in a puddle or causing a fall, and it's good to see other companies following BD's lead.

I've had my latest pair of Black Diamond Expedition poles for about three or four years, and they're still going strong. The first time I used them, I put a slight bend in one by trying to lever myself out of a puddle with it, but I just bent it back, and other than being a bit stiff when extending it, the pole is as good as new. The carbide tips are still sharp, and everything still works like it's supposed to.

The only problem I've found with them is trying to get tip protectors that fit! The new Black Diamond tips are a bit thicker, and the new protectors just fall off my older poles. If you're looking for some, take your poles into the store with you.

Surprisingly, I found that a standard Komperdell tip works just fine. In other accessories, the poles come with a standard snow basket with a 1/3 cutaway, but you'll want to get the smaller baskets as well, just to protect the threads.

The Expeditions are about the cheapest poles that BD makes, and they are certainly the basic model — no shock absorbers, no elliptical construction, and they could probably be a bit lighter — but they've always done what I needed them to do. Whether it's powering up a mountain trail, or absorbing some of the shock on my knees on a long downhill, the Expeditions have been my mainstay.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $69

I love my three piece BD Expedition ski poles with two flick locks. They are super strong and easy to adjust while wearing thick gloves. The flick lock can be adjusted while hiking or skiing and it holds tight.

The biggest problem I had with twist locking poles before I discovered BD flicklock was making an adjustment when it was cold or wet outside. You fight to loosen the pole from the first length.  Then you can't get it to stay at the new length. The twist lock style is very hard to hold and make adjustments when wet or with sweaty hands, and in the cold temps.

The BD poles work well for me all year long for backpacking, hiking, xc skiing, snowshoeing, and some canyoneering.  I have installed standard snow ski baskets for the deep Utah backcountry powder. 

I own two pairs of poles because my friends always want to try them out before they buy. I bought my first pair about 2001.

Price Paid: $59 on sale

Received these as a Father's Day gift in 2008 and they have not disappointed hiking or snowshoeing. You can remove the snow baskets in the summer which is nice. They fit in the ice axe straps on all my packs when I don't need them.

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Price MSRP: $89.95
Current Retail: $107.96-$169.95
Historic Range: $0.01-$169.95
Reviewers Paid: $59.00-$69.00
Weight Per Pair 516 g for 57-125 cm Length / 1.15 lb for 22.2-48.8 cm Length
Series Touring
Usable Length 22.2-48.8 in / 57-125 cm 24.2-54.6 in / 62-140 cm
Collapsed Length 22.2 in / 57 cm 24.2 in / 62 cm
Product Details from Black Diamond »

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