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Reader Reviews

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Black Diamond Ultra Distance

in Trekking Poles

Average Rating
3.17 / 5 (6 reviews)

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Bruce Tolley
( btolley )

San Francisco Bay Area
Black Diamond Ultra Distance on 04/24/2011 23:12:51 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

The new BD poles need to be praised for applying design principle of avalanche probes to hiking poles to create a lightweight, foldable pole. The 120cm carbon fiber pole has a manufacturer's claimed weight of 9.5 oz.

The poles come in three sizes, 110, 120 and 130 cm. The smallest size, 100 cm is currently not available from BD. I would have preferred 125mm.

The strap has velcro fastener and is attached to the pole with what looks to be 3/8 inch diameter shock cord. [I will post a photo in good time] It almost looks like the pole was designed for the strap to detach under stress before the pole itself breaks. In fact the poles come with a warning not to use them for high stress activities such as skiiing.

I know many of the visitors to BPL would cut the straps off. I personally like straps on my hiking poles and use them to lean into my poles on descents. Since the straps on the BD do not offer much slack, they are hard to use in this way, and also hard to take off and remove without undoing the velcro.

The poles come with a rubber tip that can be replaced with a steel tip. Replaceable carbide and rubber tips are available for sale on the BD web site.

Light weight. Compactness when folded

Expensive at US list $149
Straps are too small

Desired improvements
Get rid of the velcro and increase the size of the strap's opening. Design a stronger attachment of the strap to the pole.

Edited by btolley on 04/30/2011 22:48:58 MDT.

David Braddon-Mitchell
( dbm305 )
They Break: easily! on 05/01/2011 16:32:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

The Black Diamond Ultra distance Z-Poles seemed like a good idea. They are light, stow well, and are comfortable.

But they are useless for serious terrain.

On a five day river bash of the Wollemi National Park (NSW Australia) they broke twice.

On the first day the whole tip assembly broke off leaving the pole with no tip and no basket:Broken Tip

The very next day the pole broke in two: interesting not the carbon fibre shaft, but the metal lugs that hold them together:Broken in two!

I was then left lugging 2kg of casuarina branch with me on the last three days of the trip:Heavy pole!

Hardly ultra light!

I've given them a 2 not 1 because they are a cute idea; but only for well made tracks not serious walking. And not anywhere where you depend on them. The annoying thing is that the carbon shafts were OK; the failure points were elsewhere and could easily be redesigned with little weight penalty I think

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Black Diamond Distance priced at: $68.99 - $103.95
Black Diamond Distance Z-Poles - Women's priced at: $59.93 - $119.95
Black Diamond Ultra Distance priced at: $149.95
Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Pole priced at: $104.95 - $155.95
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( dunmaglass )
Too Fragile on 06/09/2011 14:21:06 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I bought these last week for a 47KM trek along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The plastic tips started to wear immediately, but after switching to the metal one's I had no complaints.

The big issue came around 20Kms into the trip when I slipped on a piece of wood and my body weight (~150lbs) + pack (~23lbs) was enough to snap one of the poles. It broke at the push button where the pole snaps into place.

I can understand that the metal might weaken after years of use but I think the poles should be build to withstand more than that. Slipping on a rock or piece of wood is to be expected while hiking. This is especially true for lightweight backpacking where you often find yourself in extreme conditions.

-Very lightweight
-Small and easy to store when not in use

-Plastic tips are poor
-Too weak for serious backcountry
-Grips became uncomfortable after 15+ kms, but gloves solve this problem.

Brad Walker
( brawa )

No problems here on 09/15/2011 16:55:29 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

These poles are getting bashed pretty hard by other reviewers, so I thought I'd rate my experience with them.

Are they overpriced at MSRP? Yes
Can they be had on sale, unlike a lot of the other UL pole options? Yes

About 4 months into ownership and I have no pain or soreness from holding them. I find the grips and wrist loops comfy and appreciate the additional grip to choke up on during ascents. Friends that have borrowed them have been very impressed. I've used them in snow, and although their basket is small they work OK. None-the-less, this winter I will definitely be defaulting to my 3-piece flick-lock poles.

I have three complaints about them, which are really no big deal:
1. Rubber/plastic tips wear a lot faster than a carbon tip.
2. Can't be stored on the outside of a pack like an ice axe or other collapsing poles can be. Not a big problem, since they collapse so small and fit other places.
3. The "lock" that holds them together while collapsed isn't very secure.

Jaimie Cook
( Jcook )
Bent easily on 07/17/2012 00:26:38 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

Expensive waste of money. Light weight, but lack durability. I am a 60kg woman and was carrying 5kg in my daypack. I stumbled on a grassy slope and the lower shaft bent at the alloy connection with the middle shaft. I expected carbon fibre to be durable, but the alloy is the weak link. These poles can't even handle being used on light daywalks (as per manufacture's suggestions). Wouldn't buy these again.

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Mike In Socal
( rcmike )

They survived my trip on 05/19/2013 21:36:29 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I got the Black Diamond Ultra Distance poles as a gift in 2011. They performed admirably on a 35 mile trip through the Grand Canyon this past April. The bottom sections did get pretty scratched up though. I plan on replacing the bottom segments since carbon fiber can weaken if the scratches are too deep (i.e. beyond the outer epoxy layer).

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Black Diamond Distance priced at: $69.97 - $99.95
Black Diamond Ultra Distance priced at: $99.97 - $159.95

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