These carbon fibre poles are very lightweight and will be an attractive option for backpackers and the small band of trail runners who use trekking poles. Unlike most poles that are length adjustable, this model comes in three different sizes only, 110cm, 120cm and 130cm. This could be a real problem for those who like to lengthen the poles for descending or for shortening one pole when traversing.

An inner, coated Kevlar cord runs through all three pole sections, and this is tensioned when you pull the handle into place and fix it with a spring-loaded clip. Black Diamond call the system Z-Pole and it means you can tension the pole very quickly indeed with gloved hands without the usual fiddly twisting actions that other poles need.

I liked these poles very much but I’m not sure I’d want to use such a lightweight pole (270g) in winter conditions when winds could easily catch it. Also, I’m not terribly convinced about carbon fibre as a material for trekking poles – I’ve broken too many of them in the past, bearing that in mind the retail price of £120 (per pair) is a huge amount of cash for something as fundamental as a trekking pole. Do we need all this expensive technology in a pole? I’m not sure we do but then again, they are lovely poles to use.

First published: Sept 2013