Black Diamond Alpine FLZ
Excellent poles. I use them for day hikes and they work very well. They are fairly light, built well, and fold down much smaller than telescoping poles. And they have adjustability in their length. For beginning and intermediate hikers they are great. I cannot speak for advanced hikers, because I am not one.
- Tip Changing
I like these poles a lot. I'm an intermediate day hiker, going about 8 miles a hike. These poles have made the uphills much easier, and give me more stability on the downhills. They are light enough that they don't really get in the way for the flat areas, and even if they did, I could fold them up and pack them, because they pack small. I really like the fact that I can fold them up while keeping the height adjustment the same. Their construction is very good, befitting a set of poles that cost this much.
The cork grips are comfortable even at first, and I expect that they will only get better. Their weight is pretty good, which is why I listed that as a Pro, but I think they could shave off some ounces if they really wanted to, as the Distance Z (non adjustable) are far lighter, and the only different I can see if the adjuster, which shouldn't add too much weight. So, I listed that as a Con, too.
The straps are OK, although after four hours hiking, they chaffed a little. Perhaps those will also get a bit softer over time. They have very good replaceable tips (the metal ones are quite tough), but you really can't replace the tips on the trail unless you carry a pliers. So, you have to pick which ones you want to use before you hike. I used the metal ones, and they worked quite well on the hard-packed drought-stricken trails we have here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Having the adjustability is wonderful; it is quick, easy, and didn't slip at all. I was a little surprised the first time I folded them back down that an odd looking plastic piece stuck out of the end of one of the sections, but realized quickly that it was the tension adjustment mechanism for the cord. It just slides back into its tube.
I like the fact that the baskets can be completely removed, and I was going to do that (to save a tiny bit of weight), but actually, when the pole went into some soft dirt and leaves, it was sort of nice to have the basket arrest any further downward movement.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $139
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Current Retail: $127.46-$169.95
Historic Range: $52.73-$169.95
Reviewers Paid: $139.00