The DAOTS Trekking Poles (Black, twin pack) were kindly provided to me by DAOTS UK free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
At the time of writing pricing on Amazon.co.uk has yet to be confirmed. On Amazon.com single poles are available for $16.99 or a twin pack is available for $28.99, all options are Fulfilled by Amazon with free next day delivery available to Prime members. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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Included with the two DAOTS trekking poles you will receive…Two pole clips to secure the poles together when in storage, two snow shoes that attach on the bottom of the poles and a shoulder carry bag. There are some labels attached to each pole that contain some specification and cleaning instructions.
Sadly, I failed to retain these labels before I started testing them otherwise I would have included the cleaning instructions within my review. Given that the poles are made from alloy metal and plastic I see no reason they can’t be cleaned with water and personally I’ve been using a soapy non scratch scour sponge to clean them followed with a hosing down and a quick wipe with a dry cloth.
Many, if not all will be grateful for the inclusion of a carry bag, but in fairness it isn’t of the highest quality. The bag is made from a shiny, smooth black material that somewhat resembles the material used in 90s shell suits and is believed to be nylon. It is made from a single piece of material with a single row of stitching down one side with a flat base and a drawstring opening with a toggle lock to secure.
The material has a good degree of water resistance, however it should be noted that the stitched seam and top opening will allow water ingress. There is a strap sewn onto the bag with a box and cross stitch to reinforce, this is made from black nylon canvas measuring 2cm wide and 58cm in length. The design of the strap is very much intended for the bag to be worn on the shoulder as the bottom edge is flat and the top edge is folded under.
The distance between one end of the strap and the other is 37cm and in the case of my son whom is 6’1″ with a 44″ chest it could do with being slightly larger as it is a little tight over his shoulder. Obviously the bag can also be carried in the hand, but there is no padding on the strap and doing so for prolonged periods isn’t something I would call comfortable unless you are wearing gloves.
Packing the sticks into the bag can at first appear to be a bit of a challenge as the opening is perhaps marginally smaller than one would like. The following method appears to be the easiest trouble free method…
Collapse the sticks and attach together using the two provided clips. Insert the sticks half way into the bag and place the snow shoes onto the sticks, then continue to insert the sticks up to the handles. Wrap the wrist straps around the handles and then gently twist the sticks left and right as you finish pushing them in.
For me this has worked each and every time, if you put the snow shoes in first the sticks end up on top of them and the handles protrude from the bag opening. If you just push the sticks in without wrapping the wrist strap around the handles first and you will struggle to close the drawstring.
On a final note do not try and put the sticks into the bag with the snow shoes attached and I hope it goes without saying that you should clean and dry your sticks before packing them away.
THE HANDLES & WRIST STRAP.
The top section of the handles is made from black rubberized silicone and a small quantity of grey plastic. On the top edge there are a number of recessed circles similar to the design of a golf ball and there is a protruding lip on the front edge to ensure your hand does not slip off during use.
On the back edge of this section is a recess that contains the adjustable wrist strap, details of which I shall discuss at the end of this section.
The actual hand grip section measures 12cm long at its greatest point and has a protruding ridge near the top for your index finger as well as one near to bottom on which your little finger rests. The main grip measures 9cm in circumference, the ridge at the bottom measures 11cm and the top ridge about 10cm.
The grips are made with EVA foam, there is a slight degree of flex in the padding but it is very firm. They do have a degree of “memory” but when the sticks were received there were some indents on both of the grips that still remain over a week later.
The covering of the padding is soft but not smooth, it’s far from coarse and feels somewhat like suede, it offers a good grip and even manages a decent job of wicking away sweat. My son has an 11cm wide closed hand or 21.5cm wide, open hand and the grip sections are perhaps a little on the small side for him, they are usable but it would be more comfortable for him if it were slightly larger.
Back to the wrist strap… I believe this to be made from polyester with a satin stitch, the outside is black with a relatively coarse finish and contains some grey stitched lettering “DAOTS” and the inside is grey with a reasonably smooth finish.
The top section measures 1.2cm wide and the bottom measures 3cm wide. Fully extended the wrist strap measures approximately 42cm end to end and it can be shortened to about 17cm in length. On one end of the strap to prevent it being pulled from the recessed housing there is a rather large black plastic block attached to the strap via a single metal stud and on the other end the strap has just been widened to prevent it being pulled through.
The strap can be a little fiddly to operate, but I will admit that it is effective if used correctly as follows.
– Pull the strap containing the black plastic cap on the end so that is stands about 1″ away from the handle.
– Pull the 1.2cm wide (the thin part) of the strap that goes around your wrist so that the end of the strap with wide end sits level with the black plastic cap.
– Insert your wrist through the strap.
– Then alternate pulling the strap with the wide end downwards and the wider part of the strap that is around your wrist towards you ensuring that with your final pull the black plastic cap is tightly pulled against the edge of the handle. (When the black plastic block is up against the edge of the handle it acts as a lock and prevents unintended adjustment of the strap length).
This sounds like a lot of effort, but you get used to it. If you do not set the strap up like this is will be loose and the strap will easily extend during use. To remove the wrist strap simply pull the black plastic tab down a little and while holding it away from the handle pull your hand way and the strap will loosen.
As long you ensure that only the internal grey edge is in contact with your skin, there is no chaffing, rubbing or soreness from us. Sadly the same cannot be said with prolonged contact with the black outside surface.
THE POLE SECTIONS.
The sticks are made from three pole sections, the main top pole that is always exposed and two internal sections that are retracted and extended using quick release clips located on the bottom of the main pole and the first extension pole.
When both extensions are retracted the length of the sticks from the base of the foot to the tip of the handle is 70.2cm, the measurement to the base of the handle is 56cm.
When the second pole is extended to the top edge of the “135cm” marker the distance between the base of the foot to the tip of the handle is 105.9cm, the measurement to the base of the handle is 91.7cm.
When both extension poles are retracted to the top of the “135cm” marker the distance between the base of the foot to the tip of the handle is 134.5cm, the measurement to the base of the handle is 120.3cm.
The outside thickness of the poles is as follows…top pole section = 15.91mm, the first extension pole = 14.17mm and the second extension = 12.1mm.
All three pole sections are made from Duralumin, this used to be a trade name for a specific metal, but is a term now used to describe alloy metal containing aluminium copper.
The top pole is black with a white line drawing design, on the rear edge where the two ends of these line drawings meet, sadly do not match up resulting in a look of misaligned patterned wallpaper. On the front near the top is a white outline box containing a “DAOTS” logo in red and white and the letters “F66”. On one stick this logo is centralised with the front of the handle, but on the other is slightly off centre indicating the handle was installed out of alignment.
Towards the bottom of the main pole there are two other painted labels with a red box background and white writing. The first states “Duralumin 7075” (the metal composition of 7075 Duralumin is 5.6–6.1% zinc, 2.1–2.5% magnesium and 1.2–1.6% copper) and the second states “Fast lock system”. While the artwork has so far proved to be reasonably durable, after 3 afternoons use there is one very small chip on the paintwork.
On one of the sticks there is a small patch of red paint drips located on the back edge. This is hardly noticeable due to its size and location, but is it a bit of an oversight considering the product comes with an inspection certificate. Coupled with the misaligned white lines the overall quality and finish of the artwork could be better.
The two extension poles are identical in every way except for the differing size. I had hoped to measure the thickness of these two poles using a calliper however, there are plastic expansions clips on the top of each preventing me from doing so.
The following markings can be found on each of the extension poles. (Each measurement is taken from the top of the pole to the top of edge of the marking using a Milwaukee tape measure by eye).
5.5cm from the top = “Stop”
6.6cm from the top = “Made in China”
7.4cm from the top = “135cm”
9.85cm from the top = “130cm”
12.2cm from the top = “125cm”
14.8cm from the top = “120cm”
17.3cm from the top = “115cm”
23.7cm from the top = “Open” and “Close” in boxed arrows pointing in opposite directions. (I have to admit to being slightly unsure about the purpose of these markings as you do not have to twist the poles to open or extend them).
All of the markings (with the exception of the made in China marking) are repeated on the front and back edges of the poles. Also located between”115cm” and the open and close arrows running vertically there is one last marking stating “Duralumin 7075”.
With frequent use extending and retracting the extension poles during testing and reviewing I am glad to report that the markings on the extensions appear to be resistant to wear.
On a final point of note when the first extension pole is extended beyond the “130cm” marker there is a slight degree of flex in the stick. When the second extension pole is set beyond “125cm” regardless of the first poles length there is a slight degree of flex in the stick.
The further the first extension pole is set beyond the “130cm” and the second beyond “125cm” markings the degree of flex becomes greater. How much the stick flexes will entirely depend on your size and strength as well as how the stick is being used. In the case of my 6’1″ 17st son when both extensions are set to 135cm and he pushes down as hard as he can with one hand the stick bows about 2 or 3cm at the bottom half of the stick.
THE QUICK RELEASE ADJUSTMENT CLIPS.
Quick release adjustable clips are located on the bottom edge of the main pole and the first extension pole. These work in conjunction with the plastic expanders located on the top of both of the extension poles to keep them securely in place at any desired length and they are highly effective in doing so, their ability frankly could not be improved.
These clips are made from two parts, the first is a bolt head with a clear plastic cover that has a textured edge grip measuring 1.2cm in diameter. The other section is a 3.7cm x 2.3cm white flap. To release the lock enabling you to extend one of the poles simply lift the white flap and push it down again once the pole has been set to the desired length.
If you need to tighten or loosen the grip of the lock simply lift the white flap and while holding the clear bolt in one hand twist the white flap. Twisting the flap anticlockwise will loosen it and twisting clockwise will tighten it. Just be aware that it is entirely possible to over tighten the clip to the point of being unable to depress the white flap.
These clips are brilliant, easy to use and highly effective, but I seriously don’t understand the reasoning for the clip flaps being white. They would be far more aesthetically pleasing if they were black. They just stand out too much and look like a mismatched replacement part.
THE RUBBER FEET.
Tip to tip the rubber feet measure 41.39mm long, the centre hole measures 11.5mm and it fits over a 12.8mm end on the sticks. On the underside there is a series of raised rings with the largest located in the centre protruding by about 2mm and at the bottom edge they measure 22.88mm in diameter.
To ensure the feet remain tightly in place I would advise jabbing the base of the stick down firmly on concrete, otherwise they can be a little loose and easy to remove. That said, when they are firmly in place they are very much so and will require twisting as well as pulling to remove.
Thankfully the feet appear very durable and are yet to show any signs of use.
THE SNOW SHOES.
The snow shoes are made from black plastic, measure 5.4cm in diameter and are domed in shape with a recessed underside. On the top is a slightly raised star pattern and around the edge is a series of protruding semi circle pattern.
In the centre of the shoe is a threaded hole for mounting the shoes onto the poles. To install the shoes pull the rubber feet from the base of the sticks twisting in one direction as you pull (there is no thread they just slip on). Then slide the shoe over the bottom edge of the stick and twist to lock into place on the stick thread. It should be noted that the first half of the thread is easy to mount, but as you near the top of the thread, it does become rather stiff.
With the shoes mounted you have two options, you can either reattach the rubber feet to the sticks or you can leave them off. At the ends of the sticks under the rubber feet there are metal pins (made from tungsten steel) the point is flat but is does have a slightly raised star on the end.
If the ground underfoot is flat and firm use the rubber feet. If the ground is firm but you are going up hill remove them as the metal point serves well to dig in the ground and provide balance and leverage. In any situation where the ground is boggy remove the feet otherwise you run the risk of them becoming stuck in the mud which could lead to them becoming detached and lost forever.
Sadly, I am somewhat unable to comment regarding the snow shoes, at least when using on actual snow. It’s been a couple of years since we have had any significant snow and what snow we have had this winter has neither been deep or lasting. The shoes, however do have their uses other than on snow.
When walking over soft of boggy ground they do prevent the sticks sinking too far into the ground. More importantly the larger surface area in contact with the ground provides a far more stable surface with which to gain purchase. A further unintended use (assuming you have the shoes are fully tightened) is using them to assist pulling someone up on a rock outcrop.
When the snow shoes are installed, the distance between the base of the shoe and the metal tip is 5.2cm. When the rubber foot is installed, the distance is 5.6cm between the base of the snow shoe and the bottom of the foot.
Two clips are provided to keep the sticks attached to one another. These are made from plastic and are designed to attach to the main top section of the poles when the sticks are retracted.
They hold the poles separated by 2.1cm and it is frankly impossible for them to separate by accident even if the sticks are dropped. Now, while their ability to remain attached is undeniable there are two caveats…
The first is that the sticks do move about quite easily up and down when mounted in the clips. If you attach the clips and leave them alone the clips will remain where they are put, they are not free moving. Should you also accidentally lift just one stick while both are attached they also usually remain in place. However, with little effort (especially when trying to pack them away) the poles do move about up and down. This is hardly an issue, I’m just being thorough.
The second point of note this that as well as moving up and down the poles also twist when secured in the clips. Again, this only proves to be a minor annoyance when trying to pack them in their bag.
A thin silicone padding on the inside of the actual clips would be most welcomed and should alleviate these problems to some extent.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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