Black Diamond Z-Pole trekking poles on sale

GearFlogger reviews the Black Diamond Ultra Distance trekking poles

UPDATED: on sale as of 2/4/2013. This is getting ridiculous. The Black Diamond Ultra Distance trekking poles weigh in at 4.7 ounces each for the 120cm length. They just disappear into your pack or into your hand. You don't swing them so much as point them.

BD's new Z-Pole technology is used in three of their poles: the Distance, Distance FL and Ultra Distance. All are three section poles that use a Kevlar cord to quickly snap into place, just like an avalanche probe. The Ultra Distance poles are carbon fiber and the other two aluminum. The FL features the FlickLock system for about 20cm of adjustability, the other two are fixed length.

Available in 110, 120, 130 and 140cm, we tested the 120cm Ultra Distance model, and it is a marvel of technology. The cord is covered in some kind of alien plastic that forms a cone so that guides the sections together when you pull the handle. You can literally deploy the pole in one second, no muss, no fuss. The EVA foam grips have two levels so you can shorten your grip on the uphill if you need to, and the broad pommel lets you palm it on the steep descent. The poles come with non-marking rubber tips installed, and the included storage bag contains a set of carbide tips that you can swap out for serious traction.

Thank god the strap system is not the buckle style, just a rip and stick design that is fast and stable. We consider poles a backcountry necessity, not just because they let you go farther, faster, with less effort, and not because they let your upper body get into the game, but because they let you gimp out if you twist an ankle. It's 4.7 ounces of prevention that stows in under 16 inches. What's not to like? Oh yeah, the price. Well, just cut back on your meds for a month. Or use your REI 20% off through 5/30.

All sizes except 110cm: $104.95 (on sale from $149.95) at Black Diamond
110cm: $69.96 at Sport Chalet


Note to readers: As of November 1, 2022, Gearflogger no longer participates in affiliate programs or accepts commissions on links to products. We’ll find some other way to make money. Maybe get a real job. Maybe not.

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