BLACK DIAMOND Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

Last updated date: May 7, 2019

DWYM Score
8.7

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.

We looked at the top 1 Hiking Poles and dug through the reviews from 5 of the most popular review sites including CTOP Reviews, Outdoor Gear Lab, Cool Hiking Gear, The Trek, The Broke Backpacker and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Hiking Pole you should buy.

Overall Take

These durable poles will take you through four seasons of outdoor activities year after year. The carbon cork material makes them lightweight, but not the lightest of poles. They come with two kinds of baskets and interchangeable Tech Tips. As a result, you can switch between carbide and rubber tips for use on a variety of trail surfaces. In our analysis of 58 expert reviews, the Black Diamond BLACK DIAMOND Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles placed 2nd when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 15, 2019:
Checkout The Best Hiking Poles for a detailed review of all the top hiking poles.

Expert Summarized Score
9.1
5 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.0
101 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Ideal for all seasons
- CTOP Reviews
One of our testers reported on having this particular set of poles for over seven years and they're still going strong.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
Very functional and sturdy with great load bearing capability
- Cool Hiking Gear
The first thing I noticed about these trekking poles is that they are lightweight.
- The Trek
The fit in your hands is excellent and comfortable, even after hours on the trail.
- The Broke Backpacker
What experts didn't like
May have a poor locking mechanism.
- CTOP Reviews
That was super light a few years ago, but not now, with the newer "tentpole style" like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z (10 ounces) and Distance Z, (12 ounces), it now checks in toward the middle of the pack among all of the poles we tested.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
the only thing could be the price but you get what you pay for and they are good value for money in my opinion
- Cool Hiking Gear
However, the short(ish) max height of these poles can be limiting for tall people.
- The Trek
Expensive, Not an ultralight trekking pole
- The Broke Backpacker

From The Manufacturer

A highly versatile, fully adjustable four-season pole built with premium materials, the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Pole handles alpine backpacking routes, mid-winter expeditions and far-flung treks with ease. Three 100% carbon fiber shafts offer quick and secure length changes thanks to dual FlickLock Pro adjustability. The comfortable wicking cork grip features a durable padded wrist strap and a non-slip EVA extension for quick choke-ups on steep terrain. Two kinds of baskets and interchangeable Tech Tips allow you to switch between carbide and rubber tips to account for changing trail surfaces.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 6
2. BLACK DIAMOND Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 5
3. Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Trekking Poles
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 7
4. Hiker Hunger Trekking Poles
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 5
5. Trail Buddy Trekking Poles
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 5
6. Foxelli Trekking Poles
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 7
7. BAFX Products Anti-Shock Trekking Poles
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 6
8. Hikker Anti-shock Hiking Pole
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 4
9. Sterling Endurance Trekking Poles
Overall Score: 5.9
Expert Reviews: 4

An Overview On Hiking Poles

If someone tells you to take a hike, instead of assuming it’s an insult, consider it as awesome advice. A hike can lead you to wonderful new places. And, now that you’re heading for the trails, you’ll need a bit more gear than boots to keep you going strong.

If you think you’re too young to need hiking poles or your chosen route is not technical enough, you might think hiking poles are overkill. You would be wrong.

The right pair of trekking poles can take your hiking to new heights, literally. Trekking poles offer many hidden advantages. They help combat sore muscles before the aches begin. In fact, the poles reduce the impact on your knees and other joints. Additionally, they also increase stability and confidence on any terrain. That means you can move faster and cover more trail quicker. As such, they are good for everyone, not just older hikers. Weekend warriors, thru-hikers, backpackers and day-hikers of all ages are grabbing a set of poles along with their hiking boots before hitting the trail.

Now that you’re thoroughly convinced of the usefulness of trekking poles, here’s how to find the best pair for you.

First, trekking poles don’t have to be used in pairs. If you’re more comfortable taking one on the trail, that’s totally fine. Next, you want your poles to fit you perfectly, so the length is adjustable. The adjustable poles will have two main locking mechanisms to secure your desired pole length: flick and twist locks. Flick locks are generally better in the winter because they are easy to adjust with bulky gloves on. They also can endure frigid temperatures. On the other hand, the twist locking system is ideal for summer hikes. They are easier to adjust while you’re going along.

If achy joints plague you, then you’ll want to look for poles with shock-absorption. Like shocks on a bike or a car, they dampen the impact and lessen the stress. They reduce the impact on downhill hiking, working wonders. However, it comes at the cost of some power on uphills. BAFX Products – 2 Pack – Anti Shock Hiking / Walking / Trekking Trail Poles come with built-in shocks.

All poles will label themselves as lightweight. What light means from one manufacturer to another varies. Every year, manufacturers innovate with ever lighter and stronger materials, so generally, newly introduced poles will be the lightest. Most are made of aluminum or carbon. Both materials bring benefits and drawbacks. Aluminum is more durable while carbon is lighter. For example, the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock Trekking Poles are made of carbon and weight only 7.8 oz each and Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles weigh in at 1 lb 1 oz total. In contrast, the aluminum Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles weigh 9.6 oz. per pole. A few ounces may not seem significant, but every ounce counts in a backpack and on the trail.

The material used on the grip of each pole is also a key feature to consider. It will influence how comfortable the poles are throughout a short or long hike. Pole grips are generally made of one of three materials. Foam is most comfortable and softest, but it absorbs water, so it’s not the best in wet climates. Cork molds to your hand and is moisture-resistant and antimicrobial, making them a good all-around choice. However, cork is pricier. Finally, rubber is a bit less comfortable, but it is water-resistant and ideal for winter activities.

Beyond materials, many manufacturers back their products with lifelong guarantees. Poles like the Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles are made to last a lifetime of hikes, so the company boasts a lifetime replacement guarantee.

Hiking or trekking poles can make any hike more comfortable and safe for anyone.

DYWM Fun Fact

Hiking and trekking poles can trace their origin back to rudimentary walking sticks and canes. Nearly every culture has had their own specific version of a walking stick over the years. There’s the German Ziegenhainer, a knotty stick. Also, the kebbie is a rough Scottish walking stick with a hooked head. The Irish shillelagh, made of blackthorn, is very similar. The whangee is the Asian variation and made of bamboo. It does double-duty as a riding crop, too. If you happen to acquire a large collection of walking sticks, you’ll become a rabologist.

Throughout history, travelers around the world have used these walking sticks and many more for support while exploring. Armed with a pole in each hand, they’ve trekked through the snow, climbed mountains or crossed the Great Plains.

The Hiking Pole Buying Guide

  • Trekking poles are super versatile on the trail. You can use them to pitch tents or tarp shelters, so you can leave your tent poles at home. It’s an excellent way to lighten the load in your pack.
  • Some higher-end models have shock absorbers that can be turned on and off. This is helpful because you want shock absorption going downhill, but it’s better to hike uphill without.
  • Pole grips are generally made of foam, cork or rubber. Rubber is best in winter, and foam is the most comfortable. Cork resists moisture and soaking up smells.
  • A general rule of thumb for adjusting your pole height is to stand upright and bend your arms at 90 degrees. If your route is steeper, you’ll want shorter poles for uphill and longer poles for downhill sections.
  • Many hiking poles will come with excellent warranties, some with lifetime guarantees. They are made to be durable and last, so manufacturers will back the product.
  • Using trekking poles may also mean you use more energy on the trail. While using poles, you swing your arms and use more energy overall. It provides a total body workout and may mean you need to eat more calories on the trail.
  • Hiking poles can help improve your breathing. When you walk with poles, you automatically stand with a more upright posture, with head raised and proud open chest.