Tough poles for hiking

Distance FL Z-Poles

Distance FL Z-Poles (Handout)

Name: Distance FL Z-Poles

What they are: Aluminum walking poles made by Black Diamond, one of the nation's leading makers of outdoor and adventure gear. Among the fastest-growing sellers in its business are trekking poles, which speaks to the appeal of poles for both extreme and less extreme hikers and travelers.

How they work: The poles are constructed as three-section foldable shafts; to assemble, fit the bottom section into the middle and the middle into the top. The top section slides up until snapping into place, and then the height can be adjusted with a flip lock.

The good: Walking poles take pressure off the legs, allowing walkers to use their hands more actively while navigating a landscape. Poles are particularly helpful when gaining or losing elevation, but walkers who might want a little extra support also would find them useful. The Distance FL poles are most everything walking poles should be: strong, durable and light. I gave mine a tough workout while gaining more than 10,000 feet of elevation across rough terrain, and they never faltered. A fellow hiker with a different set of poles snapped one at an inopportune moment, but I was never concerned about my Distance FL poles.

The bad: The new models are expensive, which means they had better last.

Cost: The 2012 versions are available online for as low as $65, which is a fine deal; the 2013 versions, which will be released in the coming weeks with a slightly redesigned (and supposedly stronger) flip lock, will cost $129.95.

Available from: blackdiamondequipment.com, as well as other online retailers.

Featured Stories

CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on ctnow.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

Travel Troubleshooter

Ed Perkins on Travel

Travel News