I can’t tell you how many times trekking poles have saved my kids from a fall or prevented a rolled ankle in difficult terrain. Trekking poles provide greater stability on uneven terrain and reduce fatigue during long climbs or steep descents. The Black Diamond First Strike Junior Trekking Poles are ready-made for kids and durable enough for adults

Black Diamond First Strike Trekking Poles

54.99
9.2

Construction

8.8/10

Features

9.0/10

Weight

8.5/10

Durability

9.5/10

Value

10.0/10

Pros

  • Two-sections are adjustable from 66-110cm
  • FlickLock provides a solid hold
  • Removeable winter basket
  • Steel safety tips provide good traction
  • Removeable wrist straps

Cons

  • Rubber handles can be uncomfortable
  • Safety tips are not removable
  • Heavier than some adult trekking poles

Detailed Review

The Black Diamond First Strike Trekking Pole is one of the few bonafide trekking poles for kids. I purchased these last year for my 10-year-old and he’s put over a hundred miles on them in various terrain. How have they held up? Here are the results:

Construction

These two-section aluminum trekking poles provide excellent strength and rigidity to tackle almost any activity in mixed terrain. From snow sports to backpacking, these poles are essentially kid-proof. Yes, I prefer carbon fiber over aluminum in trekking poles, but aluminum poles offer better longevity especially with novice users.

Features

The Black Diamond First Strike Trekking Poles have a number of great features. These are a few of my favorites:

Grip & Strap

The rubber grip provides a comfortable hold and helps absorb vibration. On the downside, rubber is not as comfortable as foam or cork and their hands will sweat in hot conditions, which can be uncomfortable.

The wrist strap is fully adjustable and extends large enough to accommodate winter gloves. The wrist strap can also be removed, which is my preference or replaced by removing a single screw.

FlickLock

The length of these poles can be adjusted with the “flick” of a lever from 66-110cm, which will fit kids and young adults (even some adults). This is a nice feature if tackling steep terrain when adjustments are necessary. The single FlickLock provides excellent hold even with full body weight. My son leaned on these poles while traversing steep slots in Canyonlands and the FlickLock didn’t budge.

Safety Tips

The steel safety tips are durable and provide good traction on compact dirt or rocky trails. We used these trekking poles during a trip in Canyonlands National Park and the steel tips performed admirably. These tips will serve the vast majority of hikers very well. Still, I would like the option to remove them and install carbide tips, which provide better traction in rocky and wet conditions.

Weight

Consider the fact that your kids will be moving these trekking poles thousands of times a day on a long backpacking trip so weight becomes really important. The First Strike Junior Trekking Poles weigh 14 ounces for the pair, which puts them squarely in line with most adult versions. I’d like to see them drop a few ounces by going with foam grips, but the weight is acceptable.

Durability

Usually, weight and durability have an inverse relationship with trekking poles. Although, I’ve used the extremely light carbon fiber Black Diamond Ultra Distance for three years in harsh conditions and they’ve held up extremely well. Like anything else, durability is a function of care and knowing limits of your gear. In most cases, trekking poles fail under excessive body weight or when jamming them between rocks and exerting force.

The First Strike Junior Trekking Poles are built to withstand most anything you throw at ‘em based in large part to the two-section aluminum construction. After a hundred miles, my son has accumulated plenty of superficial scratches on the lower sections from traversing rocky terrain, but nothing has compromised the integrity of these poles. He has leaned on them at times and the FlickLock is absolutely solid.

Value

The First Strike Junior Trekking Poles retail at $59. That’s a great value when compared to adult versions. Depending on use, these could easily be handed down from one sibling to another, making these a great investment.

Conclusions

The First Strike Junior Trekking Pole is one of the few bonafide trekking poles for kids. They deliver everything your kids need at a fraction of the price of comparable adult versions. The two-section aluminum construction and FlickLock mechanism provide outstanding durability and performance in the outdoors. Plus, the kid-sized grips and maximum length adjustments ensure your kids will enjoy these trekking poles for many years.

Would I buy them again? Absolutely!

I purchased the Black Diamond First Strike Junior Trekking Poles at full retail price for my 10-year-old son. These trekking poles have been used exclusively for hiking and backpacking. The review is based solely on my own personal experience and no other people or companies influenced the outcome of this review.

Mark Fitterer

Family Basecamp

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