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Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles Review: Travel-Ready Poles Designed For Most Adventures

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Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles Review: Travel-Ready Poles Designed For Most Adventures

I’m the proud owner of too much hiking gear. I’ve got different shoes for different occasions, layers upon layers of moisture-wicking clothing and plenty of weather-specific accessories like gaiters and micro spikes. To curb my outdoorsy clutter, I’ve been channeling my inner Marie Kondo as I de-clutter my not-so-spacious closet, donating items I rarely use. The Pursuit FLZ Hiking Poles The ones from Black Diamond, however, remain in my collection because they’re strong, versatile and collapsible. In fact, they’ve become my go-to travel poles for most adventures.

The best trekking poles are available in a wide variety of lengths and materials, and some boast handy features that suit different trail scenarios and personal preferences. But there’s a good chance you don’t need more than one pair of poles, which is why it’s sometimes necessary to choose a stellar set that performs well across the board. The Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles are designed to meet such demands, as they’re strong and supportive while retaining the lightweight and versatile properties we’ve come to expect of modern walking sticks.

If you’re looking to invest in your first set of poles or wish to upgrade the pair you’re currently using, read on to find out how the Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles fared during testing. These brand new beauties hit the market just in time for warm weather hiking, so there couldn’t be a better time to pick up a pair if they meet your needs.

Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles

Materials: Cork (grip), aluminum (shaft) , Weight Per Pair: 1.06 pounds (small/medium), 1.07 pounds (medium/large) , Trail Size: 43.4 – 49.2 inches (small/medium), 49.2 – 55.1 inches (medium/large) , Packed Size: 14.5 inches (small/medium), 16.8 inches (medium/large) , Color Options: Black-Foam Green, Black-Octane

Best for:

  • Serious trekkers tackling varied terrain
  • Hikers who appreciate versatile, lightweight poles
  • Anyone who wishes to travel with their trekking poles

Skip if:

  • You require ultralight carbon poles
  • You need additional shock absorption
  • You’re shopping for poles on a budget

Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles Design: Strong, Sturdy And Surprisingly Small When Collapsed

The Pursuit FLZ poles are top-of-the-line trekking poles designed with comfort, durability and travel in mind, making them well-suited for lengthy hikes across a variety of terrain. They come with two kinds of interchangeable tech tips, including rubber—a material less likely to degrade trails that offers improved traction on hard surfaces—and carbide—a material well-suited for soft surfaces.

The poles come in two unisex sizes, but the big selling point here is the z-pole design that allows them to fold up quickly and easily. To use the poles, simply pull down the uppermost portion of the shaft (located beneath the handle) to lock it in place. Then, unfold the other two shaft sections, which will also immediately lock into place. To collapse them, push the soft lock to collapse the top section back into the handle, and fold the lower two sections together. Setup and teardown takes only seconds.

Black Diamond employs ergonomic cork grips to improve comfort and reduce hand fatigue, which is of particular importance during long, strenuous hikes. Aluminum, meanwhile, makes up the shaft to improve strength for four-season hiking. The poles feature snow baskets designed with a small cut-out that allows the upper portion of the pole to lock into the snow basket for easy transport. And a 1.5-millimeter hex bit tool is also built into the shaft for on-the-fly field maintenance.

Because these poles are made from aluminum, they’re a bit heavier than their carbon fiber sibling, the Distance Carbon Trekking Poles, which clock in at 0.69, 0.75 or 0.81 pounds depending on the size. The Distance Pole Carbons come in three sizes, so they may be a better option for shorter or taller hikers that require more adjustability. The primary drawback of the carbon model (aside from the higher sticker price) is that it’s a three-season pole, so it can’t take on deep snow. If you’re a thru-hiker that needs to shave off as many ounces as possible, you may be fairer better with the carbon set, but otherwise, this aluminum set is sufficiently strong and sturdy, and it’s $30 cheaper.

Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles Features And Performance: Bells And Whistles Abound

When it comes to features, the Pursuit FLZ poles don’t mess around. From wrist straps made with post-consumer recycled fibers to comfort-focused features like a proprietary ergonomic grip geometry that accommodates large and small hands alike, these poles consider every detail. The primary grips are made from natural cork that helps manage moisture on hot or strenuous hikes, while secondary grips along the shaft are made from algae-infused Bloom foam which, when paired with additional grip material on top of the pole, allow you to find the perfect hand position through steep climbs and descents.

While you could certainly adjust the length of these poles quickly and easily with a simple flick of the soft-touch FlickLock+ adjustment system, the secondary grips act like a shorter pole. For instance, if you have a short, steep section of trail that you want to tackle without adjusting your poles, simply move your hands down to the grip extensions for a safer, more comfortable ascent.

Unlike some so-called four-season poles that can really only accommodate light snow, these aluminum poles are true four-season sticks. Because the poles were released in early spring (and because my testing area, New York’s Catskill Mountains, was hit with snow around the same time), I spent quite a bit of time trekking with these poles up snowy mountains and along icy trails. The snow baskets proved useful through ankle-deep drifts, and the carbide tips provided additional traction and support when the going got icy.

What I love about these poles is that they combine all the key features I need, like ergonomic grips and winter-worthy snow baskets, in a lightweight design that collapses quickly and easily for storage and travel. If you travel a lot with your poles (or have suffered through a hike without poles because yours were too big and bulky to pack), then the Pursuit FLZ poles could be a great alternative.

Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles Collapsibility: Tiny And Travel-Ready

When holding these collapsed poles, the first thing you’ll notice is how small they are. While they aren’t specifically marketed as travel poles, the collapsible design means they fold down smaller than most trekking poles on the market. Fully folded, the poles pack down to only 14.5 inches in length, or 16.8 inches if you opt for the longer pair. As a result, this tiny package can be easily stashed in a carry-on pocket or duffel during travel, but it won’t take up room in your gear closet, either.

In fact, I’ve circumvented the baggage check station during air travel precisely because these poles are so small. I made a quick four-day trip from New York to Wisconsin and tucked these into the water bottle pocket of my carry-on backpack before breezing through airport security. Doing so saved me a $30 checked bag fee and a wait at the baggage carousel.

Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Hiking Poles Verdict: Capable, Convenient And Collapsible

Peruse any of the best trekking poles and you’ll soon discover that many models offer features similar to those found on the Pursuit FLZ set. Z-Pole technology, ergonomic grips, grip extenders, interchangeable tips, snow baskets, wrist straps, moisture-management materials and an aluminum design are all common details we’ve come to expect. Few pairs, however, combine all of these features, and even fewer do so in a manner that can fold up as small as a water bottle. While these are definitely not budget hiking sticks, they’re a great value when all is said and done. Seeing as they’re built for year-round use and well-suited for travel, you’ll find countless reasons to use them, which means you’ll get your money’s worth.

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