The Black Diamond FLZ trekking poles scored high with our alpine climbing testers who all raved about the packability this model demonstrated. Some technical climbers who never carried trekking poles on technical routes loved that these would fit in the smallest of alpine backpacks and in carry-on luggage.
At 1 pound 3 ounces (534 grams) the Black Diamond FLZ trekking poles were the second heaviest model in the group and the only other model that was primarily made from aluminum. Despite the actual weight, testers felt the swing and “feel” of these were quite close to the carbon fiber models we tested, perhaps because of the narrower profile.
The minimum collapsed size of the Black Diamond FLZ trekking poles is a mere 15 inches which tied for the most collapsible model in our test. This packability was a favorite feature of more than one rock climbing tester who was happy to be able to take poles on long approaches, then store them in small technical climbing backpacks for the ascent. Our international travelers were happy to be able to pack these in their carry-on bags.
The Black Diamond FLZ trekking poles combined the warm/cold comfort of a cork grip with a non-slip EVA foam grip extension to facilitate “choking down” when hitting brief steeper sections of trail. Some testers felt that the thinner diameter of this model helped it feel lighter in hand than the scale indicated.
The most talked about feature within our test group was the Z-pole system which was quick and intuitive. The upper section provided plenty of height adjustability via the “FlickLock Pro” system. A set of powder baskets included with the trekking baskets was appreciated by our skiers, snowshoers and winter climbers.
After hundreds of miles, the Black Diamond FLZ trekking poles only show minor cosmetic wear. While some testers were concerned with the smaller diameter aluminum shaft, none of our test units failed, though one receive a small bend when it was caught between two boulders on a hard descent. Of note, a tester pointed out this small bend would prevent the poles from collapsing if it was a telescopic-style model. But since it folds instead, the bend wasn’t anything but a cosmetic issue.
David is a self proclaimed snow & navigation geek and teaches all aspects of climbing and avalanche safety for Eastern Mountain Sports Schools in North Conway, NH. He tests GPS's for the Gear Institute.