By Chantell Leroux. Trekking Poles. Published at Sunday, March 03rd, 2019 - 23:55:01 PM.
My pair of Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork poles are tough, stiff, and have endured years of hard use. Black Diamond included stainless-steel lever-style locks that are secure and easily adjustable, and the foam extension grips are comfortable and versatile. The cork in the hand grips is real. These poles, and the women’s version (identical except for color), inspire confidence in rough environments.
All single-piece poles are fixed length and usually available in five- or ten-centimeter increments. Most (but not all) multipiece poles are adjustable. Adjustable-length poles will be heavier and more expensive than fixed-length models, collapsible or not. For example, the adjustable-length Black Diamond Distance FLZ and Distance Carbon FLZ are $20 to $40 more expensive and about 20 percent heavier than their fixed-length Z-series counterparts.
I don’t have a preference between foam and cork. The grips merely need to be tactile, nonabrasive, and slightly soft (not mushy like the REI Flash Carbon).
My eight-year-old poles are still going strong, and I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from others who have purchased them. (I did have to rebuild the grips with Aquaseal, but that’s reasonable after nearly a decade of use.) At 8.5 ounces per pole, they’re slightly heavier than the Cascade Mountain Tech poles, and I’d love to see these an ounce or two lighter. But I don’t see how Black Diamond could cut weight without sacrificing strength, durability, or a few features—in other words, the things that make these poles great. If you can justify the extra expense, the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles are worth it.
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