Upcoming Massdrop x Fizan Collaboration
After nearly a year in discussion and development, we are proud to announce the upcoming release of the next generation of Fizan Compact poles. With a completely redesigned grip, a new silky smooth strap, and a plethora of accessories, we are taking an already great set of poles and making them even better. Oh, and did I mention that the are some of the lightest fully adjustable, compactable poles in the world? Only 6 ounces (158 g) per pole.
Without hesitation, these are the hiking poles that I would recommend to 98% of my friends. However, without a personal referral, I am certain almost no one would have heard of this company. You'll not see them in REI or your local mom n pop outdoor store. Fizan is not well known in the US and even throughout most of the world, because they are still a smaller family owned, family run company making poles in their northern Italy factory. They don't have a big distribution network, a marketing team or huge advertisements or any crazy sponsored athletes. They haven't made a big push into sexier materials like carbon fiber or titanium. They do one thing and they do it really well, like they've been done since the 1940's - really high quality aluminum poles.
I chanced upon Fizan back in 2011 when my wife and I were traveling around Europe. We have been using Compact poles for personal use ever since then. I contacted Fizan as soon as I started working at Massdrop in 2015, and since then thousands of our UL members have bought the Compact poles.
In that time, I've talked with many of you about Fizan poles. I read every single post in the drop discussion. I've scoured the forums for chatter - BPL, reddit, whiteblaze, hammockforum - and any review I could find. I've seen people use them on the PCT and other thru-hikes. Some of our members even contacted Fizan with suggestions for improvement.
Well, all the information has been funneled to me and on to Fizan. We started talking last year about changes to the poles. And here we are.
So, what's different? Let's dive in
1) The Handle
The handle grip is a bit more ergonomic, with a more pronounced bump on top and bottom of the front, small air channels along the palm, and a reduced bump at the bottom of the back (which makes it more comfortable to move your hand up and down the grip as you change hand position for ascents). The harder plastic top is a bit smaller, which will make it a bit easier to use for shelters like TarpTents. It is also slightly more rounded, which makes it more comfortable on your palm for descents.
Old grip on top, new grip on bottom
2) The Strap
The old strap was part nylon and part neoprene, almost like a padding. For the same weight, we are able to get a wider strap that is smoother and softer. It feels like silk almost. It'll breathe better, not absorb water, and minimize chance of chafing while distributing weight/pressure better (if you use your straps in that manner). The strap weighs about 1.0 oz (28.5 g) and is removable.
New strap on top, old strap on bottom
3) The Accessories
The original Compact poles came with 35mm and 50mm baskets, plus a tip cover. The baskets were good for general hiking, but many people asked for basket brands that are compatible as they needed baskets with greater surface area for snowy passes in the summer (like in the Sierras or Rockies). We are now including a 95mm alpine basket for those intrepid hikers.
We also got several member comments that the tip cover is good for covering the carbide tip from poking something while packed away, but it was not durable enough hiking use. Our poles will come with a durable rubber tip with a traction grip and metal reinforced bottom, for many miles of hiking on rock, paved trails, or fragile areas.
35, 50, and 95mm baskets, and durable hiking tip covers
4) The Color
The earlier version was green, which is appealing for some backpacking gear, but maybe not so great for poles as it's easy to forget them after a rest break if it blends in with the ground too well (hence, no green, brown or gray) . Our poles are in a nice sky blue, which is calming and evokes the color of a cool lake or, um, the sky.
What's the same?
1) The aluminum sections and reliable internal locking mechanisms are still as great as ever. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
2) Fizan is still a family owned and operated company, with their factory making all of their poles in Veneto, Italy.
3) Massdrop is still the place to get Compact poles, and we will be the only ones to have this complete package.
The current drop of the new Massdrop x Fizan Compact Trekking poles: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-fizan-compact
Check out our original Compact drop page for previous community discussion: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/fizan-compact-poles
Dave at Engearment http://engearment.com/backpacking/massdrop-fizan-compact-poles/
Danielle at The Trek https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/gear-review-massdrop-x-fizan-compact-trekking-poles/
Kenneth Shaw at Ultralightandcomfortable https://ultralightandcomfortable.com/2017/06/02/gear-review-fizan-trekking-poles/
And here's the 2011 BPL review for the original Compact 3: https://backpackinglight.com/fizan_compact_poles_review/
A follow-up note on who might not want these poles, as I said I would recommend these to most of my friends but not all. Here are a couple other options for common scenarios. Nothing beats the simplicity of a walking staff or fixed-length pole, even a collapsible one like Black Diamond's Distance Carbon Z. For the absolute lightest when money is no object, then the Ruta Locura Yana and Gossamer Gear LT5S will shave an ounce at the cost of $95-130 more. The Fizan Compacts are ultralight poles, and aren't meant for extreme use, like snowshoeing, skiing, or mountaineering. So for one set of poles that can do it all, then check out something burlier from the likes of Black Diamond, Komperdell, or Leki. Finally, some people swear by Pacer Poles due to their unique grip.
To give some comparison and help you make sure these are the best poles for you, I put together a list of specs of some of the best lightweight poles on the market. For the most part, all of these poles adjust height and collapse, which is the most popular style and helps keep the comparison apples-to-apples. The two exceptions are the BD Distance Carbon Z, which is not adjustable (fixed length at 120cm), but does collapse quite small, and the GG LT4S which adjusts for hiker's height, but doesn't really collapse (in the sense that it is still quite long even at it's shortest setting). Consider these limitations when comparing poles, and the fact that we'll be selling the Compact 3 for $59.99 shipped.
Top Ultralight Poles - Arranged by MSRP
Top Ultralight Poles - Arranged by Weight