PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Women's Distance FL Z-Pole
Innovation is what drives everything here at Black Diamond. If we're not making gear better, stronger, lighter, faster, more durable and easier to use, then we're not doing our job. In this ongoing series of monthly posts, we'll be giving you an inside look at some of our most innovative products through one-on-one interviews with our team of industry-leading product designers and category directors.
This month we sat down with Pole Category Director Curtis Graves to talk about our super-versatile, women's-specific Z-Pole, the Women's Distance FL.
What kind of applications is this pole ideal for?
The Women's Distance FL is ideal for 3-season use in activities like trail running, hiking, and lightweight backpacking. Trail users looking for additional security while hiking / running, yet benefit from the highly compactable features that Z-Poles offer.
How did the design team go about optimizing the pole's sizing for women?
The Women's Distance FL uses a women's-specific grip shape and strap size, tailored to smaller hands. Our Women's grip is roughly 10% smaller than the standard grip on the Distance models. The grip's ergonomic profile is oriented in a position relative to smaller hands as well.
What makes the Women's Distance FL (and Z-Poles in general) so versatile?
Z-Pole's compactibility are what make them so versatile. Traditionally, trekking poles were large and hard to stow. The traditional 3-section trekking pole was really designed to be used the entire time you are hiking. Z-Poles and their unique rapid deployment system allow poles to be collapsed and stored on the outside of your pack, then deployed in situations where you need them. Hikers and runners now have the versatility of using poles for support as trail conditions dictate, yet still easy to stow when traveling over flatter or less technical terrain.
Any unique challenges encountered by the design team while designing this pole?
Z-Pole's design challenges are all centered around making a pole that is super compactible and light weight, yet retains the strength of a traditional 3-section trekking pole. Z-Pole's Speed Cones, Rapid Deployment Syste, and internal Kevlar cord required the most challenging design and development on the project. Once we overcame a number of design challenges for the internal components, our long history of working with carbon and aluminum tubing made the design of the external components a relatively straightforward project.