Alright, I’m assuming you’ve either come from my previous post about stick clips, or your last stick clipping pole just died on you.
Whatever the case, there’s a few things that an extension pole needs to have if it’s to be any good for stick clipping, and I’ll quickly outline what those are.
If you’ve just come from my other post, then you probably know all this already, so you can click here to skip to the main part of this post.
First of all, it’s going to need to be rigid. It goes without saying, that a bendy pole that just flops all over the place is going to be a nightmare to work with.
The way that the pole collapses in on itself, as well as the mechanism it uses to lock into position at full extension is going to make a huge impact on this. Too much wiggle room can add up to create a sensation of “bendiness” at the end of the pole, but sometimes it can be down to something as simple as poor material choice.
The second criteria for a good extension pole is that it’s going to have to be extendable. Sure, you can get a rigid 16-foot pole that’ll do the trick, but how are you going to fit that in your house? Even if you fit it in the garage, you’ll never fit it in or on the car, which means your only option is to walk to the crag.
But the real question is, how does the pole extend? You want to stay clear of folding collapsible poles because they flop all over the place. By far the best kind of pole is a telescoping one.
Telescoping, like those old-timey collapsible pirate telescopes that have smaller and smaller sections coming out of the main bit. You know what I mean.
In a stick clipping pole, you’re going to have two or three sections ideally, because too many will cause the pole to droop down a bit at the end, making it a bit awkward to clip the first bolt when it’s that high up.
Third and finally, you’re going to want a pole that’s long. Really long.
Ideally, you’re going to want it to be 16 foot, because that’ll cover absolutely every crag or climbing place you can think of.
At the very least, you want it to be 12 foot long, but that won’t be enough if you’re climbing at places like Smith Rock where the first bolt will be super high up. You’d need a 16′ one in that case.
Of course, you can go shorter if you’re looking be able to carry your stick clip up the climb with you.
“Why would you want to do that?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s so that you can climb out of your grade, either for fun or for pushing your limits without having to leave any gear behind if you bail. I wrote all about it here if you’re interested.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the best overall extension pole for stick clipping.
Best Stick Clipping Pole: Pomatree 5.2-18 Foot Telescopic Extension Pole
Most extension poles that can handle a 16 foot reach only compact down to 8 foot.
Not this one.
At an 18′ max reach, this one is an absolute monster. Oh, and it has a really nice handle.
The crazy amount of reach doesn’t come at the cost of portability either. A 5.2′ pole is much more manageable to use as a hiking stick than a full 8′ one.
The way Pomatree achieve this is through having four telescoping sections rather than two, but there’s something especially good about their setup that is often overlooked…
The Flip Tabs
You’ll often see poles that have a “twist locking” mechanism that are marketed as being quick and easy to use. What they don’t tell you is that they’re notoriously bad for staying locked once you’ve set their length.
Those kinds of poles have a really bad tendency to fall down all the time. There’s nothing quick and easy about that.
Instead of all that nonsense, this pole has flip tabs. Flip tabs are genuinely quick and easy to use, and what’s more: the pole sections won’t fall down all the time.
The way they work is by locking the pole sections in place when you flip each flip tab, so all you’ve got to do is extend the pole out, and flip the tabs.
They won’t come undone until you flip the tabs back the other way. So you can stick clip in peace without having to worry about making any sudden movements that’ll cause the sections to collapse down.
If you’ve never had a stick clip before, you might think that I’m overemphasising this point. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than having the sections collapse down on you while you’re trying to do something that requires precise movements.
Well, nothing other than having a really bendy pole. The Pomatree 5.2-18 Foot Telescopic Extension Pole has a solid anodized aluminum metal construction which doesn’t bend under its own weight at full extension.
A Solid Anodized Aluminum Metal Construction
Other than not bending under its own weight at full extension, there’s a couple more things that are good about this material choice.
First of all, it won’t rust.
Anodized aluminium is like the “stainless steel” of aluminium.
That means it can be beaten up by the weather all it wants, and it’ll still be good as new. Well, the EVA foam handles might get a bit soggy in a rainstorm, but everything will still function just fine. Not that you’d be climbing in a rainstorm anyway, unless you’re super hardcore or just plain mad.
It’s also corrosion resistant too. Not that you’ll be storing it in a vat of acid when you’re not climbing, but it does come in useful at bolstering its resistance to bad weather.
The second thing about the material choice, is that aluminium poles are far better than those fiberglass ones.
Why Fiberglass Sucks
Sure, fiberglass won’t bend, but this pole doesn’t bend under its own weight, remember?
Guess what fiberglass does instead when you try to bend it? It shatters.
That means it’s susceptible to splintering over time. A splintery pole is no fun at all for hiking with, and it’s even less fun to keep held up at full extension.
This is especially true considering how sharp fiberglass splinters are. They’re not fun.
The EVA Rubber Handle
Like I said before, the Pomatree 5.2-18 Foot Telescopic Extension Pole has a really nice handle. It’s made of EVA rubber.
Now, EVA rubber feels very similar to your everyday normal rubber.
But there’s one big difference, however…
It’s much softer.
That gives it that ridiculously nice feel when you take ahold of it.
It’s also much more water resistant and corrosion resistant than rubber. That means you’re not trading off the durability of anodized aluminium for the extra comfort that this EVA rubberized handle offers.
Two Size Options
If you’re looking for a shorter pole, then they also do a 12 foot one that collapses right down to 4.8 feet. Pretty nice if you’re looking for something that fits in your car more easily.
To be honest, a 12 foot pole should easily be enough for the vast majority of climbing spots. However, now and then you’ll wish that you had some extra reach, especially if you’re not a tall climber.
Alternative pick: Eversprout 4.5-12 Foot Telescopic Extension Pole
This pole collapses down to 4.5 feet, while Pomatree’s 12 foot one collapses down to 4.8 feet. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s something to keep in mind.
The foam handles also don’t feel nearly as nice as Pomatree’s one. However, it does tend to be cheaper as a result. I’d say the only justification for going with this one would be the cheaper cost. Their longer pole sizes simply can’t compete with Pomatree’s poles’ compactness.
I guess if you need absolute portability above all else, then you could go with this Eversprout one to save that extra 3.6 inches. There’s really not much in it though.
Check the latest price on Amazon.