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steve_podleski
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PostWed Jul 11, 2018 1:01 pm 
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It's time to replace my 15yrs old Black Diamond trekking poles. I broke one using it as a ice axe during a glissade.  Black Diamond has kindly given me a 40% off a replacement.  Are their Z trekking poles a good design or a gimmick?  In the meanwhile, I bought a pair of cheap Costco carbon poles.
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Windstorm
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PostWed Jul 11, 2018 1:38 pm 
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I generally don't like using trekking poles. I use them for snowshoeing and for hiking up steep hills quickly while carrying a heavy pack, but when possible, they stay on my pack (or at home). I got the Alpine FLZ poles because they collapse down shorter than straight poles, but the folded-up z-shape is a little tricky to strap to my pack. Given the choice now, I'd probably give more consideration to the straight poles because they would be easier to strap to my pack. While I use the FLZ poles as little as possible, they seem to be completely functional as trekking/snowshoeing poles.
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texasbb
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PostWed Jul 11, 2018 2:32 pm 
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I have an older pair of Z-poles.  They have several little annoyances that would keep me from buying another pair.  The grips are too thin, so they tend to rattle around in my hand, even when using the straps correctly.  The straps, they're over-engineered (the right and left are different) and VERY hard to take off over gloves.  They also wear out quickly; I've had to replace them once a year.  The baskets are way too small to function as baskets but they hang on brush like nothing I've ever seen...fishhooks couldn't grab any better.  And those worthless little snaggers are too close to the tip of the pole to work well with tents that use your trekking poles.

On the good side, they're sturdy (I have the aluminum ones) and I love the balance of the fixed-length poles.
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DIYSteve
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PostWed Jul 11, 2018 3:24 pm 
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I love the BD Distance Z-pole (Al alloy). I usually carry one pole (although might switch to 2 when I'm again able to hike). They pack fast and compact when you need your hands or an axe on steeper ground. The (very low) swing weight is excellent.
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Jake Robinson
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PostThu Jul 12, 2018 9:08 am 
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IME Z-poles are not very durable. I broke several of them over the course of a year and since switching I've had no problems
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JPH
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PostThu Jul 12, 2018 12:40 pm 
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I've got the carbon z-poles for trail running. I haven't had any issues and think they're great.  It would be nice if the pole straps weren't L and R specific though, that is annoying.
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AlpineRose
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PostThu Jul 12, 2018 12:42 pm 
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I have some BD Z carbon poles I use for specialty travel purposes.  They are great for that, but I can't speak to their longevity as they don't get used much or used hard.  For me they are a specialty tool.

For longevity and constant use, I used regular BD three section poles.  Their flicklock mechanism is the best.  They will last forever, but I am not hard on my gear.
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DIYSteve
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PostThu Jul 12, 2018 2:09 pm 
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Interesting. We don't have straps on hiking poles.

I have lots of days on BD Flicklocks, mostly ski touring poles. I prefer the Z-pole internal tension thingy. We had a carbon fail due to getting scratched on a talus field. Al alloy much tougher.
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Jake Robinson
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PostThu Jul 12, 2018 2:47 pm 
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I'm pretty hard on poles so that could be the problem. I had the aluminum Z-poles and broke one traversing a talus field. Another time I had one randomly snap while descending a steep section of the Putvin Trail...took a nice little spill. Since switching to the flicklock poles I've had no issues. I do love how light the Z-poles are though, and the tension mechanism is pretty slick.

I've always thought the straps were there to let you transfer some of the force to the bones in your hand and wrist (especially on downhills) so you can keep a loose, relaxed grip on the pole. That's how I use it at least
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Kat
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PostFri Jul 13, 2018 5:03 pm 
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Have 2 pairs of the Black Diamond - Ultra Mountain Flick Lock Z-Poles, bought them only because they will fit inside horse saddlebags.  They're OK, just a bit flimsy feeling compared to my regular 3-section Black Diamond Expedition poles we regularly use for hiking, snowshoeing, skiing for over 15 years.  The Z-poles would not be my first choice for hiking poles - but that's because I prefer/need a sturdier pole.
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uww
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PostSat Jul 14, 2018 6:34 am 
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After I broke my Costco carbon poles on talus, I bought a pair of Leki aluminum Z poles because they have a lifetime warranty on breakage. They have straps that can go on either hand.

The only minor complaint I have is that the Z design does not allow the poles to be shortened enough for steep climbing- I'd prefer to grab the handle at the end than the middle. They do have a longer rubber grip area below the main grip to allow you to shorten up- but the regular grip is so nice I wish I could keep using it!
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bkellygr
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 7:35 pm 
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I've been happy with the z-poles in ways.  I bought them because of a hiking trip requiring a flight.  They pack down small and were lightweight.

I've had to replace the wrist straps only because a rodent took them in the night.

The only issue I have with them is that they are a fixed length.  I used to adjust the poles for ascent/decent but I got used to not doing that with the z-poles.  I've been considering getting a new lightweight tent and most use your poles where you have to adjust them a little (maybe an issue).

Overall, good poles and pack down small.  If you aren't using them for a tent and like the price, then they can be an option for you.  Otherwise, go with adjustable ones.  My opinion.
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rolsen
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PostThu Aug 16, 2018 1:11 pm 
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CF Z poles held up to my 200 pound frame as I hobbled with a broken ankle 9 miles, coming down from Doelle Lakes to Icicle Creek TH. Took two days and a chance encounter with horse riders shaved off 3 miles from what would’ve been 12. I was jabbing and leaning all my weight, with pack into those. No breaky. This was July 2016 and I’ve used the same pair on multiple trips since!
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DIYSteve
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PostThu Aug 16, 2018 3:51 pm 
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Adjustable length comes at a cost: weight and, more importantly, swing weight. I prefer Z poles for hiking and adjustable poles for ski touring. I love the light swingweight of a Z pole for hiking. I am careful with them on talus.

YMMV. Swing weight feel is subjective. Use what works for you.
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