Hey thanks for the inside on Philmont, that may be something to look into. For the moment I've already gotten a few positive responses, and so I feel like I'll probably get enough volunteers without riling up the boy scouts. As for those LuxuryLite poles--good God they are bomber. It says you can do pullups on 'em! Thanks for the info but these are definitely in a separate class and marketed to a different kind of hiker. My angle is fast, light, cheap, and a little breakable. The Trail Poles from LuxuryLite, on the other hand, are fast, light, indestructible, and exorbitant. I doubt anyone will have trouble choosing between my flimsy graphite pencils and LuxuryLite's . . . well . . . burly, deadly weapons.
Edit: Well no, I was definitely looking at the 16 oz Assault Pole. Aptly named. The trail poles, as you indicated, are probably going to be somewhat competitive with what I will eventually bring to market. However, a few things:
My poles will likely be even cheaper
They will be, to some degree, custom made in terms of pole height, grip style, and extra features (maybe).
They will be 5 oz at most, and maybe closer to 3 oz, which is less than half the weight of the Trail Poles.
They will accomodate short people (minimum height for Trail Poles is 48").
There is one more juicy possibility that I didn't mention before, because I don't want to raise hopes unnecessarily. But I might be collaborating with a very clever professional masseuse and practitioner of eastern medicine (ooh!), and her part in this play might be, just maybe, helping me to design a new kind of adaptable, extremely functional ergonomic grip made out of some kind of foam or other moldable material. This is in the early preliminary stages and if this endeavor is fruitful, might surface during a later batch of beta testing (gamma testing?).
In any case, this idea is still evolving, and if I find that there's another product already on the market that competes too strongly, I'll either A) change my product or B) call it a day. Either way, it will be a good time. Thanks everybody, keep it coming if you like. All info and conjecture is perfectly welcome.