Black Diamond Distance FL
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $64.95
The Black Diamond Distance FL Trekking poles are lightweight, pack small, and have comfortable grips. With the adjustable height, they go long enough for tall people. Great for backpacking and rough trails.
- Light weight
- Folds up small — can fit in carry-on luggage
- Perhaps not quite as strong as heavier models.
After looking at a number of poles, and borrowing some others from friends, I ended up buying these and couldn't be happier with them. I was surprised how compact they are when folded, which is great for travel. I'm 6'5" and they adjust plenty high for me. The flick lock mechanism is up near the grips and is very fast and easy to use. The baskets are very small which is perfect for me. Other poles I've used I always thought the baskets were too big, or they would fall off. Not with these.
I live close to the Appalachian Trail, which is particularly steep and rocky near me. I was pretty concerned at first by the flex in the poles and the light weight, fearing that my 245# body was going to crush them, but they have stood up to some very heavy loads just fine. I suppose it would be possible to break them, but I haven't had a problem and don't baby them.
They came with both rubber and carbide tips, and a nice storage bag. I use the rubber tips mostly, which work great. No slippage.
My biggest problem is that I always end up out with a group of scouts where someone is severely struggling, and end up loaning them out. Probably should buy a second pair.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 95 USD
I weigh 190 (lean) lbs and used these poles on a 12 mi. hike to Supai, AZ. They were the perfect combination of ultra-light and strong. The ascent and descent on desert terrain while carrying a 45 lb pack was much less difficult owing to the comfort and stability of these poles.
- Very light
- Collapsable to TSA specs for carry-on!
- Not as adjustable as conventional poles
- Somewhat expensive (but worth it!)
- No snow baskets are available
The grip comfort was fantastic. I never felt like they were slippery or irritating despite extreme heat. The strap adjustment stays where you put it and remains comfortable.
The poles themselves are only minimally adjustable as compared to regular poles, but this is the trade-off for keeping the weight down. There are also no shock absorbers or accessories — other than the inclusion of metal and plastic interchangeable tips.
These poles seem durable and very well made and have served me well in desert, river, and dry mountain hikes. I bought these at full MSRP from my local dealer (Appalachian Outfitters in Peninsula, Ohio) because I want to keep these guys in business.
Price Paid: $95
The folding design is innovative and greatly reduces the stowed length of the poles. They're easy to deploy, easy to collapse and easy to store.
I fly a lot with poles and the collapsed length of these poles makes them easy to pack in checked luggage. However, I wouldn't pack them in carry-on luggage because TSA may or may not allow them to pass depending on the screening agent. At least that's what I was told when I checked with TSA.
The adjustable length makes these poles great for hilly terrain if you adjust pole length like I do. The famous BD flick locks allow me to adjust the length in seconds.
The poles are reasonably light but the grips and straps can use some improvement.
The grips are a little small and the straps sometimes chaff the back of my hands. Leki's grips and straps are far superior to Black Diamond's.
Despite the convenience of these poles I sometimes find myself wishing I had packed my Leki Carbonlites instead.
Price Paid: $100
I busted mine a couple of inches from the tip after four day hikes. They're light and a great concept, and probably just fine for a casual hiker on easy trails, but if you put in the big miles on rocky, muddy trails (as in White Mountains and Adirondacks), these are just too wimpy to survive.