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Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z trekking poles review: a solid choice for serious trekkers, fastpackers and ultrarunners

These cutting-edge lightweight Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z trekking poles are great for hikers, fastpackers and trail runners

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z
(Image: © Black Diamond)

Our Verdict

A sizeable outlay, but super versatile and very lightweight, these running and hiking poles are a solid choice for serious trekkers, fastpackers and ultrarunners.

For

  • Interchangeable tips
  • Light
  • Compact

Against

  • Come with summer baskets only
  • Length can’t be adjusted (you need to know and buy the length you need)

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z trekking poles: first impressions

A versatile piece of kit for both hiking and running, Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z trekking poles are light, compact and user-friendly. The three-section poles lock into place with a quick tug on the EVA foam handle, clicking the connected carbon sections into one stable and solid carbon shaft. Flexible ‘speed cones’ between sections guide the sections together smoothly.

The lightweight, extended, EVA foam grip has a breathable, moisture-wicking strap. And the carbide tech tips are interchangeable with rubber tech tips that come with the poles. The Distance Carbon Z poles are snow basket compatible. 

Ranging in weight from 273g (9.6 oz) to 315g (11.1oz) per pair, these poles are unisex but will (we hear) be available in a women-specific model very soon. (The next model up is the Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ AR which you can read about in our best trekking poles round-up.)

Specifications

• RRP: $170 (US) / £130 (UK)
• Shaft: Carbon
• Grip: EVA foam
• Tip: Interchangeable carbide and rubber tech tips
• Available variants: Multiple
• Operational length: Seven lengths, going up in 5cm / 2in increments from 100cm / 39in to 130cm / 51in
• Pack size: 33–43cm / 13–17in
• Weight (per pair): 273–315g / 9.6oz–11.1oz
• Compatibility: Hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, trail running

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z trekking poles: on the trails

When I’m trying to move fast, weight matters. And these poles didn’t weigh me down. When I needed them, they deployed in a flash, and when I didn’t they broke down and stored in or on my backpack or running vest nearly as fast. (Learn how to use trekking pole in our expert guide.)

Despite their featherlight weight, they supported my weight no problem, and held their own very well during use in rugged, rocky terrain, including New Hampshire’s White Mountains. 

For winter, I bought winter baskets, which screwed on easily, and helped these stay on top of the snowpack instead of punching through. (Wondering why you should buy trekking poles? We explain everything.)