Black Diamond – Distance Carbon AR Trekking Poles


review by Tony Lourens

Little did I know that when I was given the BD’s new Distance Carbon AR trekking poles to test, my very first foray with them would be a crotch-deep crossing of the Molenaars River at 7.30 on a chilly mid-winter’s morning. We tried in vain to find a shallow crossing, but in the end we had to take the plunge – literally, and wade through 5 ˚C water, the icy river lapping ever closer to my ever shrinking manhood, as I gingerly made my way over the bouldery river bed to the other side, all the time kept in balance by my new trekking poles. Right, so first test ticked off!
At one time, trekking poles were thought of as aids for the ailing mountaineer, but not anymore. In recent years, it has become quite evident that trekking poles have become de rigeuer in just about every trekker and mountaineer’s kit. I have been using trekking poles for about a decade now, and I will rarely venture out without my trusty poles. I find that using them gives me great support, particularly on steep and rough mountain descents. It softens the jarring on the knees, and is very useful for balance over uneven terrain. Of course in an emergency, trekking poles can also come in very handy to support a shelter or even as a splint for a fractured limb.

So why the Distance Carbon ARs? Okay, fair question. What are we looking for in trekking poles? A number of things, actually!

  1. Durability and strength: Of course this is important, as you don’t want to end up with a bent pole, nor do you want your poles to ‘age’ prematurely. They should give you many years of pogo bliss on the hill. Boasting 100% carbon construction, with improved joint support (making them 30% stiffer) due to added reinforcements around the locking mechanism and upper shaft, the ARs are super sturdy. The 3-piece poles are linked to each other and fit together beautifully and with a superbly secure fit, and even have an inside adjustment on the bottom pole to tighten things up if necessary. At the top of the pole there is a very effective FlickLock to lock everything into place once you have adjusted to your chosen length.
  2. Weight and size: Another important factor. Due to their carbon construction, the ARs are super light, and fold up really neatly into three sections, which can slide into just about any gap in your rucksack, and at only 38 centimetres long (folded) and 388 grams per pair, you won’t even know they’re there.
  3. Comfort and grip: The grip of the ARs is an EVA foam grip, which is velvety and squeezy to the touch, and curved and ribbed for maximum comfort. There is also a fully adjustable wrist leash which adds to the comfort and stability of the grip.

Besides all these important features, BD have gone even further and have adapted the grips of the AR poles (which stands for Access Ready) so that they double as tent poles to pair with the BD Distance UL shelter for overnight adventures. The ultimate in light-weight trekking. The poles also come with interchangeable, non-scarring Tech Tips for excellent traction.
Designed for the weight-conscious trekker, BDs new Distance Carbon AR poles are just the ticket for light and efficient missions in the hills, or indeed any expedition you may be planning.
Watch the video for more info and a greater understanding on these futuristic trekking poles.

• Accessory Ready grip is compatible with Distance UL Shelter (sold separately)
• FlickLock adjustability
• Ultralight carbon construction
• Interchangeable, non-scarring rubber Tech Tips and carbide Tech Tips
• Ski compatible ferrule will accept 100 mm powder baskets for deep snow
Weight per pair:  388 g
Usable length:  105-125 cm
Collapsed length:  38 cm


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