Designed for everyday use by trail runners and day hikers, the Distance Z is Black Diamond’s most affordable Z-Pole.

Improved for 2019 with SlideLock technology and increased support in the pole’s joints, the Distance Z provides reliable three-season functionality for mountain adventures at a pretty decent price point.

Construction

Made from Aluminium, the Distance Z poles are pretty lightweight (only 370g for the 120cm length). They aren’t as light as a more expensive carbon pole, but perfectly light enough for any practical situation you might need your poles for.

The three section design makes these great for travelling with. They pack down pretty small, and with the light weight nature of them, they are easy to chuck into a backpack without worrying about the extra carry weight.

The poles have been updated this year with the new SlideLock technology. Essentially the new mechanism replaces the older style clip-like mechanism which Black Diamond say make it much easier to lock your poles into position. In practise, this new method takes a little getting used to. This is because there isn’t anything particularly physical to tell you that your poles are locked in place. Not apart from an interior ‘click’ that you can feel and somewhat hear once you have correctly locked them. The same comes when you collapse the poles. It can be a little fiddly at first in my opinion, but it is pretty easy to get used to after a few tries.

Performance

The Distance Z trekking poles worked great for me. As previously mentioned, they are pretty lightweight, so this works well for when you need to power up hills as well as coming back down. Less carry weight means you can expend more energy into helping to drive yourself up hill, or stabilise yourself downhill.

The contoured foam handles are comfy enough, but the straps are a little uncomfortable. This is mainly due to the velcro fastening. I found it can get in the way or even stick to other velcro items, (like a jacket’s wrist closure) which can be pretty annoying and distracting. Other than that little annoyance, the straps are functional and feel strong, able to take a decent amount of force through them as you climb or descend.

The interchangeable carbide tips grip well on a number of terrain types. I tested these in the rain on loose gravel and they felt very supportive. You can also swap these out for the rubber tips when using on harder surfaces.

Conclusion

I think these make for a great set of lightweight poles that don’t break your bank balance. Personally I don’t see the need for carbon poles unless you have an absolute necessity to pack as light as physically possible. Plus, carbon poles add a fairly large chunk of money on top of the price for not a huge amount of weight saving.

These Distance Z trekking poles pretty much do ‘what they say on the tin’ as it were. You could take these a great distance trekking and they feel like they would perform and be reliable across that distance. A good purchase consideration for both casual hill walkers to more serious mountain trekkers alike.