These poles are part of Black Diamond’s Z-Pole series, which are designed to be extremely versatile when hillwalking. On the top section of the pole they feature Black Diamond’s external Flip Lock device so there is no internal screw cam to adjust. This is then linked to the two sections of the pole by an internal rubber-coated cord, like a tent pole. To deploy the pole you just pull the handle away from the tip to tension the internal cord and the pole snaps together. The external Flip Lock near the handle is then used to make small length adjustments. This does work really well and has the bonus of allowing these poles to be only 38cm long when folded. The handle is a good shape with a comfortable grip that extends down the shaft for holding options. The strap has Velcro-style adjustment, which is unusual but appears to work fine at least while the poles are new. However winter walkers cannot fit a snow basket, which means the Black Diamond Distance FL is a pole that can only be used below the snow line, whereas most poles have the ability to take a snow basket if needed.
Shaft material aluminium alloy
Handle material EVA foam with padded strap
Maximum length 125cm
Packed length 38cm
Weight 444g per pair
Anti-shock cushioning no
The Black Diamond Distance FL is a superb compact and innovative design that is ideal for walking and backpacking, but as it cannot be fitted with a snow basket it is only useful below the snowline.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2012