User Review: Black Diamond Ultra Distance
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Black Diamond is known for making hardcore gear for rock climbers and backcountry skiers. This product is one of the few from BD that is targeted to the everyday trail user (though lightweight gear aficionados will love them). Great for those who aren't using their poles for every step of the way too, or as a backup pair that is light, durable and compact.
- Simple deployment
- Field reparable
- Reasonable price
- High quality
- Tip is a bit skiddy
The Black Diamond Z-trekking poles weren't on here in any other review, so I figured I'd share the good news. Most BD gear is targeted to the hardcore climber... these poles, though, take the BD design ethic through to everyday trail users. Though one may sacrifice adjustability, there just isn't a trekking pole setup as light, simple to deploy and compact as these, especially at a decent price. Recommended for light-gear freaks of all shapes and sizes.
These were put to the test recently on a 25-miler over Kearsarge Pass to Vidette Meadows and back, with some short side trips off trail. The poles were great to take the edge off the pounding on the downhill, as well as engage full body musculature on the up.
Two things really stood out with these poles to me. First, they were very easy to deploy or store; since this kind of trip doesn't require hours of using the poles in adjusted mode (off-piste skiing and traversing, for example),
Second, the ultralight and simple construction was perfect to simply tuck back and forget you are even carrying them. I could see how they would be too simplified for backcountry skiing, but I have poles for that which are beefier, adjustable and have powder basket and probe options. The one-time adjustment for length on these required some trickery that wasn't completely intuitive, but it's a one time maneuver.
Lastly these poles seem very easy to field repair if necessary, with the internal rubber/plastic 'ferrule' design. Of course not breaking to begin with is even more crucial, and the BD poles held up admirably in that regard; a more trustworthy hardgoods manufacturer I cannot name. But since I've personally broken poles in both backcountry and frontcountry settings, I pay attention to the field repair quotient more than most.