Yoda, I have the expedition pole (500gm). The one feature I will have to add myself is the rubber grip on the pole below the handle. That stuff is great for no-glove hiking. Perhaps some hockey tape. But I am happy with the expedition pole. For an extra 100gm I get a very tough pole that I can treat badly during that type of travel that is between mountaineering and touring. Are the 4 season hiking poles super robust?
The one thing I don't like about the BD poles is the wrist strap. They put the large plastic adjustment buckle right at the apex of the strap loop. This is a problem for me as I tend to hold my poles without actually using hand muscles to grip. The result is that after several hours of hiking the plastic buckle gouges a big dent into my bony wrist's meat, even if I am wearing thin liners. I suppose this is my fault as I am not holding the pole in the manner it was designed for.
Aside: I hold the pole without using hand grip as it saves effort over a long hike.
I extend the strap loop so that when your hand is inserted you can grip the pole just below the moulded plastic hand grip. By doing so the wrist strap should come comfortably tight and the top of your fist should push against the underside of the poles grip. The benefits when walking:
1. when un-weighting the pole: you don't need to grip with muscle it as the bottom of the hand grip rests on the top of your hand, which only needs to be loosely circled around the metal pole.
2. when weighting the pole: there is again no need to use hand muscles to grip as the weight of your arm rests on the wrist strap (and gets gouged by the plastic adjuster buckle)
Every step requires the pole to be weighted and un-weighted, over and over again for hours of touring. If you use the pole normally this means that you have to constantly grip the pole with energy (and get a sweaty hand). If you use it in the way I described then the pole just magically sits in your hand without any energy being used to grip it. I find it makes a big relaxing difference when using the poles for swinging rhythm and balance (rather than putting serious weight on them). I almost never hold the moulded grip.
Also, on a traverse I like to hold the up-hill pole further down the shaft, like most people do. When I do this I often hook my thumb through the extended wrist strap. This means the static hook of my thumb takes my arms weight/effort and again, I don't have to grip the pole until I unweight it for the forward step and even then you just tighten a finger to hold the pole in place. The plastic buckle makes this thumb-hook method uncomfortable.
Call me fussy, but every bit of effort and energy matters. Notice how marathon runnerÃ‚Â´s have dangly floppy arms? Having relaxed arms when hiking long distance is just as helpful to comfort and endurance.
I am going to replace the wrist straps on my BD's with a home made strap.