Gear Review: Black Diamond’s Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Trekking poles can make hiking and trekking easier and more efficient if used with proper technique. I rarely hike without my trekking poles, no matter if the terrain is flat or I’m scrambling up a mountain. I highly value a good trekking pole so when Black Diamond offered to let me test out their Alpine Carbon trekking poles, I just couldn’t say no.
These trekking poles are four-season poles. They can be used during the summer and during snowy winter adventures (hiking and snowshoeing).
Disclosure: Black Diamond donated these trekking poles to me for review purposes but this will not affect the accuracy and honesty reflected in this review.
Basic Specs for Black Diamond’s Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Type: FlickLock adjustable, four-season trekking poles
Usable length: 63-130 cm (25-51 in)
Collapsible length: 63 cm (25 in)
Weight per pair: 475 g (1 lb 1 oz)
Material: Cork grip, carbon fiber shaft, carbide tips
Suggested Retail Price: $159.95
Extras: Comes with powder baskets
These trekking poles were tested on many trails near Fort Collins, Colorado (Poudre Canyon) and Rocky Mountain National Park. The trekking poles were used on various terrains, such as flat and bouldering situations. Conditions varied from dry, muddy, icy, rocky, and deep snow/powder. Not only did I test the poles (female, 5’1”, 115 lbs) but my fiancee also tested these poles out many times too (male, 5’11”, 165 lbs).
Lightweight – The first thing I noticed about these trekking poles is that they are lightweight. The carbon fiber shaft paired with the cork grip are a winning pair together to make these poles fairly light.
Durable – These poles have been used for months on lots of different terrain. I have yet to experience any breaks or even bends. The FlickLock technology to adjust the poles’ length appeared to hold up to both of our weight and was easy to use. Neither me nor my fiancee experienced any malfunction (shortening, loosening) in the FlickLock, In my opinion, I think these poles would handle pretty well against a thru-hike.
Light Cushion on Strap – After putting my hands in the straps for the first time, I noticed that there was a bit of light cushion on the strap. This is a subtle yet nice feature.
Nice Color – The color of these poles are a pearly white, which I loved. However, they aren’t too beautifully colored to deter my fiancee from using them too.
Powder Baskets – Since these poles are four-season poles, they did come with powder baskets. The generic powder baskets worked great against Colorado’s very powdery snow.
Don’t Extend Extremely Long for Tall People – My fiancee is 5’11” and the poles fit him well. However, he would have to say that the trekking poles do not extend to a very tall height. He extends them to 50” on regular terrain and the max height of these trekking poles is 51”. He feels that anyone taller or a tall person needing to extend the poles longer (on descents) might not be a good fit for these poles.
Not the Cheapest – Like a lot of backpacking gear, you get what you pay for. These trekking poles are not the cheapest poles on the market but, in my opinion, Black Diamond has made some sturdy trekking poles that should last.
Logo is Peeling Off Strap – I know this isn’t the end of the world but I think it is worth mentioning that the decorative features on these poles might not last as long as they do on a functional level.
In the grand scheme of things, these trekking poles are pretty darn great. They have some features a thru-hiker would enjoy, such as being lightweight and durable. They also can appeal to both sexes. However, the short(ish) max height of these poles can be limiting for tall people.
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