Black Diamond Distance FL
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.
14 to 16 ounces per pair (depending on length)
Where to Buy
Compare prices from 12 outdoor retailers: