Where is the bamboo for the poles grown?
This specific species of bamboo is native to Indo-China, but can be grown around the world. Ours comes from Vietnam and India in particular. As of the spring of 2014, we began working with our friend Josh Eisenberg to plant 5 of our own plants in central Georgia. We expect to be producing ski poles from this bamboo in the next 2 years. Check out "Project: American Grown" for more about this project!
Is your bamboo “panda safe”?
Yes. Although a panda’s diet is 99% bamboo and they eat 25 different types of bamboo, the bamboo we will be using is not a panda food source. We will also be donating at least 1% of our profits to maintain wild panda bear habitat in China.
How are Panda Poles made?
Panda Poles, much like most ski poles, are comprised of four main parts: The pole, the basket, the grips, and the straps. Our bamboo ski poles are grown, cut, dried, and sent to the Panda World HQ in Pocatello, Idaho. The baskets and end caps are molded by a liquid injection manufacturing company in the Midwest. The grips are molded in California. The webbing for the straps is sent to Utah, where fellow alpine shredder Shayne Metos sews on the emboirdery, buckles, and Kushy padding. The magical ninja team of Kody Kirkland and TanSnowMan then assemble all four pieces in a very casual process involving lots of laughter and music.. We do every process from trimming the straps material, to washing and blessing each piece, cutting, sanding, branding, drilling, and everything in between.
What if I want to cut the poles?
If for some reason your poles are longer than you would prefer, please contact us. The process of cutting the poles requires proper tools and some manufacturing skill. The bamboo alone requires a concrete or tile saw just to cut through it. Being as this is, we highly recommend that you follow our pole sizing guide to avoid any issue with extra length. Contact us if you are unsure about what size to order.
Note: Because of the basket design, our poles do feel longer than standard poles by about 2".
What material is used in the manufacture of the baskets?
We are currently using a HDPE plastic for our baskets. We have begun sourcing recycled materials for our future basket designs. Unfortunately our current mold is owned by the prototype manufacturer which we used for o, and we cannot run recycled materials in their machines.
Why aren't you using a more sustainable material for your baskets?
When we originally purchased the molds for our baskets, we had not been able to find a recycled plastic that would hold up in freezing temperatures. Until recently, we just couldn't find the right stuff. In 2012, we finally found the right company, with the right recycled product. However, our current mold is owned by a prototype manufacturer which does not supply recycled resins, nor will they release our mold to us for proprietary reasons. Our future molds will be designed to be used with 100% recycled resins, however, it will take us time to raise the capital for the new molds which cost $3,000-$10,000 a pop. Our current baskets are 100% recycle-able and will be taken to a recycling center in the event that they break and are returned for warranty.
Here are some links to bioplastics websites: arboform wood resins (http://www.tecnaro.de/english/arboform.htm), cereplast resins (cereplast.com)
The baskets look heavy. Do they weigh more than most baskets?
Our baskets are several grams heavier than the average basket, but this is really only noticeable in the swing weight. And just like with powder skis, if you want something that'll perform off-piste, it may be a little heavier (these poles were not designed for mogul skiing or gate chasing). However, simply by skiing with slightly shorter poles, you can reduce the swing weight substantially--another reason we suggest shorter poles. We also offer a 3" and a 2" basket if you want to cut some weight or size.
What type of material are the grips made from?
All of our grips are made of a TPR (thermoplast resin) blend. We plan to implement recycled product with future grip molds.
Where does the material for the strap originate?
Our Recycled PET webbing comes from China--the only place manufacturing such a material that we know of. Our hemp also comes from China.
Why don’t you get it from the US?
Nobody is making Recycled PET in the U.S. and the current legal status for industrial hemp in the US prohibits the manufacture of such things as the webbing for our straps. With proper political action we will someday be able to grow our own industrial hemp, or at least buy from a company in the US.
links: industrial hemp law reform (norml.org)
What happens when the poles break? Will I get stabbed? Is there a warranty?
When bamboo fractures, it behaves much like like grass, fraying into a soft/flexible wand. There is of course always the chance that a pole may stab a person, but this is no different than a carbon fiber or aluminum pole. As far as the pole goes, it’s toast... Luckily, we offer a single season warranty on our bamboo from breaks and unfixable bends.
How long will I have to wait for my warrantied item to return?
The average turn-around time on a warranty issue in the continental U.S. is about 2-3 weeks.
Can I buy the poles anywhere else other than pandapoles.com?
Yes, we will have an updated list of retailers by January, 2014.
When can I expect my order?
2-3 weeks after placing your order, you can expect it on your doorstep. Here’s the break down: Within 48 hours of placing your order, we will have our skilled team of professional assemblers dial your product in with the correct length, grip, and strap. We will have it in the mail via Fedex or UPS within 3 days of assembly. UPS or Fedex take anywhere from 2-5 business days in the continental US. We will send shipping confirmations and tracking # to keep you in the know about where your poles are.
Why does the shipping cost so much?
Because of the “oversized” status of the box (48”x4”x4”) the shipping costs are a little bit more than your average 2.5 lb. shipment.
2nd Day Delivery also available for $50.