Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles Review (Black Diamond)

Earlier this year I purchased a pair of Distance Carbon Z Trekking poles to aid me on runs out on the trail that I categorise as ultra distance. Specifically I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to run a self-supported 50 mile ultra along the serpent trail.

I was thankful to have made this purchase as this particular trail run was exceptionally wet and muddy. It also had some steep areas of rocky elevation that were slippery after recent rainfall.

Not having owned a pair of trekking or running poles before I went in searching for a set without too much thought. My main criteria were that they be lightweight and easy to carry with me. They should not get in the way of my running gear for longer ultra marathon distances. In fact, the only time I planned on having them with me would be for marathon+ distances.

They should also be sturdy and stand up to any potential beating they would endure out on the trails.

Distance Carbon Z Impressions

First impressions were good. Taking them out of the packaging they really do feel super lightweight. They certainly do feel like they meet the stated 280g per-pair weight. A feat achieved no doubt with thanks to their carbon fiber shaft construction.

They fold up well, collapsing into three segments. They click together easily to hold their folded shape.

I can easily fit them into the back of my small netted running pack (2.5l) or simply carry them folded, one in each hand as I open up my cadence on easier sections of trail.

First Outing

My very first outing with the Distance Carbon Z trekking poles was actually the 50 miler trail run along the Serpent Trail in England that I did earlier this year.

I mostly ran with them folded in my hands. Everything else I carried in my running pack. However, I found myself deploying them when I got to the lower, swampier and extremely muddy sections.

The Distance Carbon Z poles provided support on slippery mud sections and down hills. I found that they would pin the ground with razor-like precision. I didn’t ever have any stability issues.

In fact, one particularly great use I found for them on this ultra marathon trail run was to vault over long sections of otherwise unpassable mud.

By the half way mark my shoes had been soaked over and over again. I could not manage to keep my feet dry at all and they were a wrinkled, aching mess as a result. Once I figured out this vaulting strategy with the Distance Carbon Z poles, my shoes and feet started to catch a break from the constant wet.

Heading toward the highest point on the run was where I again deployed the Distance Carbon Z trekking poles. They helped with the sharp, steep climb to the top, where I punched up through the low hanging mist and reached the plateau.

misty view
One of the highest points on the run. Lots of morning fog.

Going back to their construction, once deployed they feel very sturdy. I didn’t have any trouble with loose fittings or uncertainty around their stability.

The EVA foam grips never gave me any issues. They felt breathable and they didn’t ever get too sweaty. They have wrist straps too in case you worry about losing your grip or dropping them.

Here are two photos I found where you can see some pictures of them out on the trail. The first shot is roughly 1/4 of the way through at 22km. I had stopped for a quick half a bagel and still had them folded. The next shot was at the half way mark where I stopped for 10 minutes to re-fuel and hydrate. I had them deployed next to me on the grass while I stuffed my face with carbs 😂

Closing Thoughts

Onto my only gripe, which is the price. They are expensive. I believe this is because of their carbon fiber construction.

The other options I looked at were cheaper but also heavier. It seems like this is the price differentiator. If you’re looking for something that is light and sturdy, carbon fiber seems to be the way to go.

Lastly, be sure to pick your size correctly based on your height. The main Distance Carbon Z product page has a size guide along with the specifications, but I’ll post a copy below in case that product page ever disappears.

distance carbon z trekking pole size guide

6 thoughts on “Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles Review (Black Diamond)”

  1. Thanks for this review, Sean!
    I need to buy new poles. The ones that I have now are not foldable, which is a big disadvantage.
    I am not sure I would carry the folded poles in my hands as I like to have my hands free. How tricky was it to put them back into your running pack?

    • Hi Catrina,

      They were easy to fit into my running pack. The netted section on mine could easily hold them when folded. I also like to run hands free, but on the first one I tried I found it easier to run with them in my hands as I kept needing to deploy them for muddy sections, then fold back again as I picked up pace.

      They’ll be great for the rocky walks and runs around CT for you!


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