Does it have to be right below the handle, or can I install it farther down the pole?

It really should be as close to the handle as you can manage for two reasons:

  1. Many poles begin to taper in the lower portions of the shaft, and PoleClinometer must be installed where there’s no taper.
  2. To use your PoleClinometer slope meter you MUST let your pole hang vertically from a loose grip at the top of the handle with PoleClinometer in your line of sight. This gets very difficult when the sticker is placed far down the shaft from the handle (unless you have really long arms).

But if your pole just doesn’t have space for it right below the handle, then yes, you can usually get away with mounting it just below the side-hilling grip.

How do I get the protective sleeve on?

If you have a fixed-length pole, remove the pole basket.  If you have an adjustable pole, remove the lower pole section(s).  Then you can slide the sleeve up the pole from the bottom.  If you can’t fit it over your adjustable pole’s locking mechanism, you can usually just slide the locking mechanism off.  Check the get-it-on page for specific suggestions.

Do I really need to mark up my pole with permanent marker?

Not really. I’ve found I can get it aligned about as well just by eyeballing it when I’m careful and take my time lining it up. And if you don’t get it on the first try, just peel the sticker off and try again. Easy! But if it’s aesthetics you’re concerned with, note that even “permanent” marker will easily wipe clean from a smooth pole shaft with a little alcohol. That’s part of the reason your kit comes with two alcohol wipes! Just be sure to catch it before you install the protective sleeve if it’s important to you.