By Denissa Morvan. Trekking Poles. Published at Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 - 03:41:07 AM.
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.
Still, these poles are inexpensive for a few reasons: The shafts vibrate, the grips are a bit rough, and the carbide tips don’t last as long as those from Black Diamond or Leki. The locks don’t slip or break and are easy to adjust, but they’re not as nice as the metal locks on the REI Flash Carbon poles. Cascade Mountain Tech sells a higher-end pair for $58, the main benefit of which is more solid-feeling shafts.
Adjustable-length poles will have twist- or lever-style locks. Avoid twist locks, period. Lever locks are more reliable (no slippage) and easier to adjust and troubleshoot.
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.
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