Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Check out the video below for a full breakdown of BD trekking poles.
Benefits of trekking poles
Trekking poles are an essential piece of gear in the hiking and trekking world. They work as an extension of your body, helping distribute weight and provide stability on a variety of terrains. On the trails, you’ll often encounter obstacles like water crossings, elevation changes, or slippery conditions, all of which can be better navigated with a pair of poles on hand. They allow you to check on creek depth, test out your next step, or simply provide four points of contact with the elements creating improved stability.
Who typically uses trekking poles?
Older generations. This is one of the biggest demographics for trekking poles since they provide some essential stability for the older hiker, and can help relieve joint stress while on the trails.
Parents. Those hiking with a kid strapped to their body will quickly find they might need some extra support. Adding two points of contact with trekking poles are a great way to avoid falls and make sure you're keeping your cargo safe.
Long distance or through-hikers. Similar to the parents, those hiking with large packs and additional weight often find poles useful for keeping their balance, especially on steep elevation changes. Also poles are a great way to keep the arms engaged while hiking long distances, which helps maintain blood flow.
Winter hikers. Obviously the winter months bring more snowy and icy conditions, and a set of poles, especially with snow baskets, are great for navigating winter terrain.
Travelers. If you’re unfamiliar with where you’ll be hiking, it’s typically safest to bring a pair along. You never know what kind of terrain, wildlife, or obstacles you’ll encounter, so a lightweight pair of poles is a great piece of gear to bring along.
Keep in mind, trekking poles aren't exclusive to these groups and can be a useful tool for anyone embarking on a hike, trek, or trail run.
Features to consider:
Z Pole (Z): Black Diamond is the first brand to debut the now iconic Z pole function. This allows the pole to break down into a Z shape without the added weight of metal or plastic locking mechanisms.
Flick Lock (FL):
Another awesome feature created by Black Diamond. Some poles will have one or two, and will come in either metal or plastic, which affects weight and price point.
BD's trekking poles will have either EVA, rubber, or cork. Cork is the most premium option and the highest price point. It has the best moisture-wicking properties and is designed to be extremely comfortable on the hand. Just to note: all of BD's cork handles are 100% cork with no fillers.
Carbon vs. aluminum
Here we'll have some differences between price, weight, and durability. Carbon is the lightest weight material used in trekking poles so it's often preferred by those trying to shave off as many ounces as possible, like trail runners or through-hikers. The more premium material comes with a higher price tag. On the other hand, aluminum is a lower price point and a more durable material, so those who want to prioritize durability over weight often go with aluminum.
Carbide and rubber. Carbide is better suited for the trail while rubber is better for lots of contact with rock or sidewalks as it provides some protection to the tip.
Black Diamond Pole Family
The trekking pole line is broken down into three series: Distance, Alpine, and Trail.
This group of poles include the lightest weight options. All styles in this line have Z pole technology, making them extremely packable, optimal for speed, and add minimal weight. They all have a lightweight EVA foam handle, and come in either carbon or aluminum construction.
This line is best for long expeditions, and for those who want to prioritize durability. Models in this category are the highest price point due to their 100% cork handles, which is the most premium option for moisture-wicking and comfort. Most in this line have AR capability, meaning they are accessory-ready. They also come with powder baskets for snowy hikes.
This trekking pole line is the most diverse and versatile. These are great option for price-conscious customers. There is a lot of variation in construction, handles, and materials among this group. All have a flick lock system, which will be metal or plastic depending on the style.
Also, more info straight from BD can be found below.