The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork - Gear Hacker

Table Of Contents

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Review: Best Telescopic Pole

Best Telescopic Pole

  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 50% 50%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 90% 90%

Price: $170

Weight: 486g (1lb 1.1oz)

Length: 100-130cm

Collapsed Length: 61cm (24in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Cork

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: 360° nubuck

Collapse Style: Telescopic (FlickLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Carbide

Locking Mechanism: FlickLock

Included Baskets: Standard

What We Like: Incredibly comfortable grip and wrist strap. Telescopic design and thicker carbon makes them both adjustable and durable

What We Don’t: Not as light as other carbon fiber poles. Larger pack size. A bit pricey

As with all of Black Diamond’s Alpine series, the Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles are built to withstand four-season alpine terrain with ease. As their name would suggest, these particular poles feature carbon fiber shafts and cork grips. Unlike the folding Alpine FLZs, these poles utilize a telescopic collapse system and adjust using Black Diamond’s newly redesigned FlickLock® Pro technology. In addition, they feature a soft-touch grip top and the new solution strap, ensuring a comfortable and secure grip. The Alpine Carbon Corks are undoubtedly the best telescopic poles on our list, boasting an excellent degree of comfort and durability without sacrificing versatility.

Although there’s a sizable price tag associated with the Alpine Carbon Corks, the added features do a great job of ensuring you get your money’s worth. These four-season trekking poles are exceedingly comfortable, one of the more durable carbon fiber poles on the market, they’re easy to adjust, and they’re incredibly versatile. These poles should be able to do it all for years and years.

There really only seem to be two main drawbacks to these poles: for one, their pack size is held back by a telescoping collapse system, and two, the weight is not significantly lower than the Alpine FLZs, but they’ll still cost you an extra 20 bucks. If you’re planning to engage in some technical climbing, you might want to opt for smaller and more packable poles, but for everything else the Alpine Carbon Corks should have you covered.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

Compare to Similar Products

See Our Best Trekking Poles of 2021 HERE!

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine FLZ - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 90% 90%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 90% 90%

Pros

Combination-style pole makes them adjustable and pack small durable and versatile enough to handle all four seasons

Cons

Slightly heavy for the price

Not as adjustable as purely telescopic poles

Weight: [95-110cm] 482g (17oz), [105-125cm] 510g (18oz), [120-140cm] 567g (1lb 4oz)

Length: 95-110cm, 105-125cm, 120-140cm

Collapsed Length: [95-110cm] 34cm (13.4in), [105-125cm] 37c (14.6in), [120-140cm] 40cm (15.7in)

Shaft Comp.: Aluminum

Grip Comp.: Cork

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Adjustable

Collapse Style: Combination (SlideLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Carbide

Locking Mechanism: FlickLock Pro

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Z - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight 90% 90%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 100% 100%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 40% 40%

Pros

Excellent price for folding poles

Very light for aluminum poles

Collapse down small, pack/unpack easily

Cons

Only three-season support, unlike the Alpine series

Lack of adjustment for changing hiking styles

May not be sturdy enough for extra-heavy loads

Weight: [100cm] 323g (11.4oz), [110cm] 343g (12.1oz), [120cm] 362g (12.8oz), [130cm] 402g (14.2oz)

Length: 100, 110, 120, 130cm (39, 43, 47, 51in)

Collapsed Length: [100cm] 33cm (13in), [110cm] 36cm (14in), [120cm] 40cm (16in), [130cm] 43cm (17in)

Shaft Comp.: Aluminum

Grip Comp.: Foam

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Distance

Collapse Style: Folding (SlideLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Fixed

Tips: Carbide, Rubber

Locking Mechanism: Speed-Cone

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: LEKI Micro Vario Carbon - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 80% 80%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 90% 90%

Pros

Highly adjustable and packable

Comfortable grips/straps

Very durable for carbon fiber

Cons

A bit pricey

Weight: Men's - 481g (1lb 1oz), Women's - 459g (16.2oz)

Length: Men's - 110-130cm, Women's - 100-120cm

Collapsed Length: Men's - 40cm (16in), Women's - 40cm (16in)

Shaft Comp.: Pure Carbon

Grip Comp.: Foam

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Men's - Lock Security Strap (Skin), Women's - LEKI Skin Strap

Collapse Style: Combination (ELD)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Flex Tip (Short)

Locking Mechanism: Speed Lock 2

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 50% 50%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Locking/Adjustability 90% 90%

Pros

Incredibly comfortable grip and wrist strap

Telescopic design and thicker carbon makes them both adjustable and durable

Cons

Not as light as other carbon fiber poles

Larger pack size

A bit pricey

Weight: 486g (1lb 1.1oz)

Length: 100-130cm

Collapsed Length: 61cm (24in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Cork

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: 360° nubuck

Collapse Style: Telescopic (FlickLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Carbide

Locking Mechanism: FlickLock

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z - Gear Hacker
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 100% 100%
  • Durability 70% 70%
  • Locking/Adjustability 40% 40%

Pros

Lightweight, great for trail running

Easy to unpack

Cons

Only 3 oz. lighter than the distance Zs at almost double the price

Similar price to the Alpine series but with only three-season support

Lack of adjustment for changing hiking styles

May not be sturdy enough for extra-heavy loads

Weight: [100cm] 263g (9.3oz), [110cm] 275g (9.7oz), [120cm] 283g (10oz), [130cm] 295g (10.4oz)

Length: 100, 110, 120, 130cm (39, 43, 47, 51in)

Collapsed Length: [100cm] 33cm (13in), [110cm] 36cm (14in), [120cm] 40cm (16in), [130cm] 43cm (17in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Foam

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Distance

Collapse Style: Folding

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Fixed

Tips: Carbide, Rubber

Locking Mechanism: Speed-Cone

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Sport 3 - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight 30% 30%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 40% 40%
  • Durability 100% 100%
  • Locking/Adjustability 80% 80%

Pros

Excellent value at a low price

Very durable, great for heavy backpacking

Cons

Large pack size due to telescopic design

Heavy

Weight: 624g (1lb 6oz)

Length: 100-140cm

Collapsed Length: 64cm (25in)

Shaft Comp.: Aluminum

Grip Comp.: Rubber

Grip Extensions: Rubber

Strap Style: Vari-width nylon webbing

Collapse Style: Telescopic (FlickLock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Flex Tip

Locking Mechanism: FlickLock

Included Baskets: Standard

The Best Trekking Poles: Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock Cork - Gear Hacker
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 30% 30%
  • Durability 40% 40%
  • Locking/Adjustability 70% 70%

Pros

Incredible price for carbon fiber and cork

Comes With An Impressive Number Of Accessories

Cons

Doesn’t pack down small unless disassembled

Quick lock mechanism can complicate packing/unpacking

Could be more durable; entry-level hikers may want to opt for aluminum

Weight: 442g (15.6oz)

Length: 66-137cm

Collapsed Length: 66cm (26in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Cork

Grip Extensions: Foam

Strap Style: Adjustable

Collapse Style: Telescopic (Quick Lock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Tungsten Carbide

Locking Mechanism: Quick Lock

Included Baskets: Boots, Mud, Snow and Small Tips

The Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Gossamergear.com

  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Packing/Collapsibility 50% 50%
  • Durability 30% 30%
  • Locking/Adjustability 80% 80%

Pros

Incredibly light

Highly adjustable

Comfortable grip/strap

Cons

Could be more durable

Expensive

Twist locks could be more elegant

Weight: 300g (10.6oz)

Length: 60-130cm

Collapsed Length: 60cm (23in)

Shaft Comp.: Carbon Fiber

Grip Comp.: Foam

Grip Extensions: N/A

Strap Style: Adjustable

Collapse Style: Telescopic (twist-lock)

Fixed/Adjustable Length: Adjustable

Tips: Carbide, Rubber

Locking Mechanism: Twist lock

Included Baskets: Standard

As with all of Black Diamond’s Alpine series, the Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles are built to withstand four-season alpine terrain with ease. As their name would suggest, these particular poles feature carbon fiber shafts and cork grips. Unlike the folding Alpine FLZs, these poles utilize a telescopic collapse system and adjust using Black Diamond’s newly redesigned FlickLock® Pro technology. In addition, they feature a soft-touch grip top and the new solution strap, ensuring a comfortable and secure grip. The Alpine Carbon Corks are undoubtedly the best telescopic poles on our list, boasting an excellent degree of comfort and durability without sacrificing versatility.

Black Diamond has long been a well-known name in the hiking game, going back to the 1950s when Yvon Chouinard was selling his hand-forged pitons from the trunk of his car in Yosemite Valley. Since the company’s founding in 1989, they’ve established themselves in the climbing and skiing industries as well as many other outdoor pursuits. From helmets, crampons, and carabiners to backpacks, tents and (you guessed it) trekking poles, they can help you scale the world.

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork - Gear Hacker

Comfort

Comfort is definitely one of the Alpine Carbon Cork’s strengths. The natural cork grip is quite comfortable, and like most cork grips, will mold to the user’s hand over time. Below this, you’ll find a nonslip EVA foam grip extension. Finally, the attached strap is both wide and cushioned, with left- and right-hand markings to ensure hikers are optimizing their comfort level.

Weight

Don’t expect to shed much weight with these poles. At just over a pound (486g), these are the heaviest carbon fiber poles on our list. They even weigh more than the aluminum Distance Zs! This is due to the telescopic collapse style, which requires the poles’ sections to be larger and thicker than what you’d find with folding-style poles. There are other heavier features as well, such as the cork grip and aluminum locking mechanisms. What you gain in ounces you also gain in comfort and durability, so it’s certainly a fair trade-off.

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork - Gear Hacker

Packing

Using a telescopic collapse system does no favors to the Alpine Carbon Cork’s pack size; they’ll only collapse down to 61cm or 24in (just slightly smaller than the Trail Sport 3s and 1cm longer than the Gossamer Gear LT5s). If you’re strapping them to the outside of your bag, this likely won’t cause you any issues. That said, if you’re planning to pack them inside a day bag, you may need to look elsewhere.

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork - Gear Hacker

Adjustability

As one of the only telescopic carbon fiber poles on our list (the other being Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock Corks), these are also one of the most adjustable carbon fiber poles. You can adjust the height from 100-130cm with ease using the durable FlickLock Pro system. Made of forged aluminum, the locks are quite robust and chunky, snapping into place. If you need to loosen or tighten these lever locks, you’ll need to utilize a very small Allen wrench, which might be an inconvenience should you need to make adjustments on the trail—many users complained about losing this wrench.

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork - Gear Hacker

Durability

The Alpine Carbon Corks are especially durable for carbon fiber trekking poles for two main reasons. The first is their telescopic collapse style and thicker carbon; the larger, overlapping shaft pieces add to the pole’s overall strength, making them a more durable alternative to the typical carbon fiber Z-poles. In addition, the Alpine Carbon Cork’s dual FlickLock Pro adjustment and locking system, made of forged aluminum, is widely recognized for its durability.

Price

At nearly $180, these trekking poles are near the top of Black Diamond’s price range and are $20 more than the Alpine FLZ poles. I’d advise that potential customers consider how they plan to use these poles before making an investment. They’re not quite light enough to be ideal for scrambling, but with four-season support, they should be more than sufficient for everything else, from downhill skiing to heavy backpacking.

Other Features

One small but ultimately important feature on the Alpine Carbon Cork is its flex carbide tip. Unlike a typical carbide tip, the flex tip will (as the name suggests) bend and flex when it gets caught between rocks or stuck in other obstacles. This not only protects the rest of the pole from snapping, but it’s also replaceable—so any damage to the tip can be easily mended. For those looking to get several years out of their poles (and who isn’t), this is a lovely little perk.

The included trekking baskets can be unscrewed and switched out for snow baskets. Do note that some websites state that these are included with your purchase while others say they’re sold separately.

The Best Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

Although there’s a sizable price tag associated with the Alpine Carbon Corks, the added features do a great job of ensuring you get your money’s worth. These four-season trekking poles are exceedingly comfortable. They’re one of the more durable carbon fiber poles on the market, they’re easy to adjust, and they’re incredibly versatile. These poles should be able to do it all for years and years.

There really only seem to be two main drawbacks to these poles: for one, their pack size is held back by a telescoping collapse system, and two, the weight is not significantly lower than the Alpine FLZs but they’ll still cost you an extra 20 bucks. If you’re planning to engage in some technical climbing, you might want to opt for smaller and more packable poles, but for everything else, the Alpine Carbon Corks should have you covered.

Compare Prices From Retailers Below

You help support Gear Hacker by purchasing from our retail partners.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!