No time like the present they say. Well since getting the Fizan Compact 4 poles, I have been looking forward to using them even if not completely convinced I would get on with them. So the weekend walk in the Wye Valley involved flat walking, steep sections and varied terrain from hard ground to muddy quagmires. Admittedly the main reasons for getting the poles were for a tarp set up as well as with help on steep sections. I wasnt entirely convinced from previous use that poles are for me.
Well, on the flat sections the poles felt easy to swing in a comfortable simple motion. More simple than I gave credit for. Perhaps the last time I used poles they were over heavy. I must admit the weight felt just about right with these. Lighter and they would have wafted out of that rhythmic forward and back motion. Heavier and they would have felt clumsy. The only criticism I have of the poles (poles of any description) is that they can bang into your legs when the “tic-toc” swing is interrupted on uneven or steep ground. On the steep sections and the muddy ground, the poles were useful in arresting quite a few slides that might have otherwise have happened. See the state of my shoes below for an indication of the muddy nature of the walk!
I am still not entirely convinced that poles are for me 100% of the time. I do admit to finding that they did help for around 20% of the time and combined with the tarp usage might just be enough vindication for me carrying them.
As to the actual poles themselves? I did like the simplicity of the Fizans. The locking mechanism is simple and streamlined. The poles stored nicely in my 20litre pack without poking above the level of the lid or leaning at crazy angles out of the pockets due to the length/weight. The weight feels right. The wrist straps are comfy but not complicated and the handles are easy to grip. The one thing I found mildly annoying about the poles was the noise they made upon making contact with the ground. Its a kind of noisy vibration. Now I dont have much experience with poles so not sure what other poles are like. Its been mentioned by at least one other reviewer of Fizan poles so maybe a function of the absence of external locking mechanisms? To be fair, after a while the noise goes into the background and you dont really notice it. Not a deal breaker but an oddity of the poles to contend with
Ok, so the next test is to take the poles for a camping trip with the tarp and obviously more miles than the eight I did on Sunday. More testing is needed both for the poles themselves and for me using them! I might, just might, decide that I should use them on a more regular basis whether using the tarp or no.
We’ll see 🙂