Black Diamond Z Trekking Poles


Compact folding hiking poles

Hiking poles are not for the elderly and infirmed. Most serious long-distance backpackers use them to ease weight on their knees, and to retain balance on rocky trails (which is most trails). It is only unexperienced hikers who don’t realize how useful modern lightweight hiking poles can be. They turn you into a four-legged creature. I use poles anytime I am off road, even for short hikes. The challenge has been travelling on a plane with them because most telescoping poles don’t collapse small enough to fit into normal luggage. Black Diamond makes the Z-pole fold up into such a short length you can not only fit it in your luggage, but it will disappear into a day pack! I now throw at least one pole into any pack I am carrying and can whip it out if the terrain demands it. The poles come in 3 different lengths (to match your height) and in either aluminum or more expensive carbon fiber. I find the cheaper aluminum light enough. The pole stiffens into a rigid support in a few seconds, and folds up again almost as fast. Watch the video. Once you have one of these (or a pair) easily at hand, you’ll find yourself using it all the time. They have saved my day in while trekking in mountains of Vietnam, on the Great Wall of China, and along our local trails after I whip them out of my day pack..

-- KK 12/16/15

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