Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z
Indispensable, durable, lightweight trail tool for…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Slight discount on eBay $128
Indispensable, durable, lightweight trail tool for hiking, trail running, and backpacking.
- Fixed length
Possibly my favorite piece of gear. Hard pressed to find a situation where I do not bring along these poles since they are so light and portable.
Fit is determined by height of user. Come in a couple of different sizes, I use the 120mm model which is the size recommended for my height. Grips and straps are very comfortable, I tend to use with gloves and have noticed absolutely no chaffing or pain. Only problem with grips and straps is if you remove the straps they are difficult to put back on (straps are L or R handed, the grips are the same)
Pole is non-adjustable, which accounts for the incredible light weight of the product (no moving parts). Straps can be adjusted a bit, but really haven't noticed the need for why they have a velcro attachment.
Poles do not have a shock of any kind, but the carbon fiber does give a little bend which helps mitigate some hard falls or snags on rocks. I've never been concerned that they were going to snap or break.
Have only used the rubber tech tips since they are recommended for rocky terrain. I have found them to be incredibly grippy and useful, but do lose traction considerable once worn out (about every 100 miles or so).
Used to pole to prop up my HMG ultamid2, it has flexed well in hard wind. Also very considerable give on the off chance that I slip while running or hiking, have had absolutely no signs of wear or stress on the poles themselves.
Baskets have been only "failure" point in the time that I've used the poles. They wear down hard. The baskets have a cutout that is used to hold the pole together when collapsed that is pretty unusable after only a couple of miles. I had a basked break off but it was well after 4 months of use and over 200 miles.
Contacted Black Diamond through warranty request and they shipped me replacement baskets for free! Replacing the baskets was totally an ordeal though as you have to warm up the tips of the pole in hot water to remove, and pre-warm the new baskets to place. I looked up the process on youtube. Hopefully it is something I only have to do once a year.
Haven't seen any accessories for the pole, but I think that would negate their selling point as an lightweight/ultralight option.
Poles are incredibly easy to use and deploy, have had no issues with Z-fold. I am a little concerned that the buttons that hold the pole in place when rigid will be the first failing point of the product, but no problems so far. Even though they are easy to deploy I tend to just always have them at full length since they weigh so little and are not a chore to carry when running or hiking.
You pay a premium for the carbon fiber construction (model also comes in aluminum for less $) but I feel they have held up very well and after more than 300 miles I don't have any other piece of gear that is more likely to come with me on a hike, run, or backpacking trip. I've used these hard on the difficult/technical desert southwest terrain of the Chihuahuan desert.