User Review: Black Diamond Ultra Distance
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100
My first non-telescoping trekking poles, they have quickly become my favorite poles of all time.
- Extremely lightweight
- Fixed small baskets
The very excellent and thorough review by tester trouthunter convinced me to buy these and I have not been disappointed. There's not a whole lot that I can add to trouthunter's review other than to confirm his findings.
I have used telescoping type poles for years and was unsure if I would like this design. After quite a few day hikes and backpacking trips, I have come to really love these poles. The light weight is the most prominent feature. They barely feel like anything in your hands. Sometimes when I want to move fast, I'll choke up to the midsections and just run with them, swinging them like a baton. They hardly get in the way.
But the other prominent feature is the ease with which they set up or break down. I find this to be much faster than telescoping poles. When broken down, they are also a lot shorter than telescoping poles, making it easy to stick them inside any suitcase or backpack. I even mailed them in a flat rate box along with some other carry-on-prohibited items so that I wouldn't have to pay a checked baggage fee flying from FL to CO. The 120 cm just fit in a medium box if placed diagonally. These get a huge A+ for travel convenience.
The small fixed baskets are perhaps the major detractor. I don't find them to be too much a problem but they have taken a beating from my hikes in rough terrain. The carbon shafts have also sustained some deep scratches from rocks but so far nothing fatal. It's really easy to wedge these into holes when hiking scree fields, probably more so than with trekking poles having larger baskets. You just have to be careful.
Finally, many may be concerned about how much strain these will hold up to. My advice is just don't be disillusioned about your size and weight. If you are a heavier-set person, then maybe these just aren't for you. I am pretty slender, so I don't put a lot of strain them. But when I have leaned into them, they have always felt study enough for my weight.
I would hate for BD to beef them up just to satisfy those that call for more robustness. There are plenty of more robust options out there to choose from, so please BD, continue to think of us petites out there and provide lightweight options!