Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Latest, Greatest Trekking Poles

Just like the saying "two heads are better than one," when it comes to trail travel, four points of contact with the ground create unparalleled stability compared to two. I'm talking of course about hiking with poles. Before I hiked the Long Trail I had never heard of anyone using more than just a walking stick; but after acquiring and getting used to poles, I felt disoriented without. I definitely owe my lack of injuries along the LT solely to my hiking poles.

Black Diamond's unyielding research and development team have once again outdone themselves with the birth of the Z-Pole. Inspired by avalanche probes, the goal of the Z-Pole was to have a pole lighter, stronger, and more compact than the norm. Success!  The new Z-Pole drew lots of attention when it came out a year ago and the Ultra Distance Z-Pole won the coveted Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award. 

Black Diamond Z-Poles come in three models: the aluminum Distance,  the carbon Ultra-Distance, and the Distance FL or flick-lock, also made of aluminum.  The Distance and Ultra Distance are fixed length poles while the Distance FL poles have a quick-release lever that allows a 20mm adjustment range. Their trail weight is impressive at under 1 lb/pr, and what's equally as impressive is how tiny they pack down.  BD's Z-Poles are comprised of three sections held together by a Kevlar cable that, when the handle is pulled, are guided by a silicone coating and snap into place. They come with interchangeable "climbing shoe rubber" and carbide tips, and even come their own stuff sack. The Distance weighs in at a petite 350g and the Ultra-Distance a trifling 275g.

Stop by our Waterbury retail store at the twin silos on Route 2 and check out the Z-Poles. I guarantee you've never seen anything like them!

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