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Reviewed by 1 customer
Displaying review 1
Comments about Black Diamond Distance Z-Pole Trekking Poles - 130cm Pair - 2012 Closeout:
I just bought these poles 2 months ago and their first test was a trip through the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park last weekend. When they came in the mail my wife commented that she thought the box was empty, that's how light they are. They are much thinner than my previous poles, so I was a little nervous about how well they would hold up to the Narrows, which is one of the ultimate tests you can put any trekking pole through. They did a great job, but with a couple of quibbles.
First off the straps are different from my older poles, which isn't actually bad, it's good. These are easier to adjust, more padded and don't require constant adjusting throughout the hike because they stay exactly where you adjust them. The bad thing is I didn't realize you're not meant to put your whole hand through these until I had a raw, bloody spot on both of my thumbs. So either leave your thumbs out of the straps or wear the straps really loose (which kind of defeats the purpose). Maybe that's typical of all poles now (or maybe it always has been), but it's not what I'm used to and it wasn't spelled out in the manual and now I have scabs on both hands.
Another quibble is that the baskets are way too small and they aren't interchangeable or replaceable. They are so small that they are almost pointless. They will be no help in the snow and they weren't much help in a rocky bottomed river either.
I'm also not in love with the grips. They are just a tad small for my hand and they are a smooth foam with no ribbing or texture to help aid your grip. However, they are very absorbent so I can't say they ever became slippery even after taking a dip in the river.
Even though these aren't adjustable for length, the extended handle makes it easy to choke up or down on the grip depending on whether you're going uphill or down, which is all I ever did with my old adjustable poles anyway. I'm not going to stop moving to adjust my poles every time the trail changes inclination.
So how did these poles hold up to the Narrows? Overall, really really well. They did great until mile 14 when I took a really bad step and put my full weight (240lbs) plus the weight of my pack (30lbs) onto the left pole. The fact that the pole didn't break in half was incredibly impressive especially considering how much my weight made it bow. However, it never did straighten back out again afterwards. Even I have to admit that that is not a defect, but Black Diamond replaced the pole for me anyway and having a product made by a company that truly stands by their products and their customers is a really great feeling.
* Intermediate markdowns may have been taken.
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