BD Distance Carbon FLZ Trekking Pole Issue
Jun 17, 2021 at 10:58 am #3719053
I purchased a set of BD Distance Carbon FLZ poles back in 2016. Love ’em and have been using them since with no issues until recently. These are the ones with the tiny metal spring button that locks the pole into the extended position. After reading about issues with the button seizing up over time, I’ve been diligent about regularly lubricating the mechanism with WD40. Continued to work flawlessly. Recently, the carbon tube cracked at the location of the spring button, rendering the pole useless. I’ve always thought that this one area was the weak link in the design. Couple of questions:
1. Is it possible that the WD40 degraded the integrity of the carbon tube?
2. It’s hard to tell from BD’s website image but their user manual pdf appears to show a slightly different locking mechanism on the current offering. Can anyone confirm this and, if so, what are your impressions of the strength of this design versus the previous one?
I really like these poles and have reached out to BD for their input. No response as of yet but they said their warranty/repair department, like most everyone these days, is backlogged. After 5-6 yrs of use, I’m certainly not expecting them to replace them. Just wanting to know if they can be repaired or possibly get a slight discount towards new ones (fingers crossed)…assuming its a better design.Jun 17, 2021 at 11:43 am #3719069
I may have answered my own question with respect to the current design. Looking at some recent (2020) reviews online, it appears the metal spring button remains, though there appears to be a collar at the bottom of the top tube. The spring button is in the tube that slides in and out of the top tube so unless there something I’m not picking up on, I don’t see the newer poles being any stronger at that particular location.Jun 23, 2021 at 12:48 pm #3719679
Just reporting that I heard from BD and they gave me a 40% discount off replacement poles. Considering my current poles are more than five years old and have seen a lot of use, I thought this was very generous on their part. After reading many of the older reviews, I can’t help but think it was, in part, an acknowledgement of the inherent weakness of the earlier design. I’m on the fence as to whether or not to commit to the newer version of the same poles or go for something beefier, such as the heavier Alpine Carbon Cork. I love the weight of the Distance Carbon FLZ’s and the limited adjustment has been sufficient for my needs. Wondering if anyone can comment on the their experience with the most recent version of them(?). The crappy photo somewhat shows point of failure of one of my current poles. Tube with the BD logo is cracked around the spring button.Jun 23, 2021 at 2:59 pm #3719793Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
I have seen one of the new Alpine Carbon Cork poles develop a scratch or score in the carbon at the very end of the upper section under where the aluminum locking mechanism sits. There is a small notch-like cutout at that location. Not sure how the scratch developed, as this was a set of poles for sale in the store I work at and had presumably never been used in the field. Customers can be excellent “beta testers” though, as they sometimes manipulate things in ways not intended by the designers. The carbon pole shaft seems quite thin there. Can’t say for sure if that is going to be a problem spot, but if you buy a pair be sure to inspect the ends of each section under the aluminum lever.Jun 23, 2021 at 3:47 pm #3719796
Thanks for the response Jenny. Initially, I was thinking of going with the new FLZ’s. My thinking was that should one of the new poles break, at least I’ve still got another functional, albeit older version of the same pole. I’m good to go. After reading Ben Kilbourne’s review on SectionHiker from 2020 and Andrew Skurka’s long-term review of the Alpine Carbon Cork’s, I’m now leaning towards those. Should I go that route, I’ll keep an eye on the area you described. At this point I have absolutely no clue which route to go. Decisions, decisions.Jun 23, 2021 at 10:31 pm #3719858Alex VBPL Member
@valleyjoLocale: North Cascades
I own the Distance Carbon FLZ and like them a lot. But I would not use them for the same situations as the Alpine Carbon Cork. To me the Apline Carbon Cork are for heavier loads and or off trail travel. They’re more durable compared to the distance model. But the distance model is also something like 30% lighter than the Alpine Carbon Cork. This appears to be a trade off between durability and weight. Which option you choose seems to depend on what the intended use is. If you got five years out of your old distance poles the durability doesn’t seem to be that necessary for you but just my $0.02.Jun 24, 2021 at 8:58 am #3719867
Thanks for the input Alex. My use case thus far has strictly been 3-season, on-trail AT and the Ozarks. Total pack weights generally no more than 25 lbs or so but that can jump to close to 40 when my wife comes along. Common to encounter lots of rock. Chunky, cobble-like stuff. Over the last 5-6 years I’ve wedged the poles between rocks numerous times but fortunately caught myself in time to avoid snapping one off. The pole pictured above failed when breaking it down after this last trip. Maybe fatigue over time at the location of the spring button finally got the better of it.
Returning to the line of thinking that should I go with the new FLZ’s, one fails and I still have an older functional pole, I went to order the FLZ’s last night only to discover that the 105-125 cm’s are out of stock. Bummer. Waiting to hear back from BD as to when they expect to have them again. Still on the fence.Jun 25, 2021 at 5:57 pm #3720108Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
“I’ve always thought that this one area was the weak link in the design.”
Push button poles have always been a disaster. They always fail due to the pressure and abrasion from the buttons. After inventing the flick-locks, BD must have developed the modified push buttons just to torture hikers. I have Yukon Charlie carbons with flick-locks and never a problem, and less than half the price. Only thing replaced, right from the git-go, were the grips, which were cheap foam and had to go. Replaced them with some ribbed extended grips by a European maker that make it easy to choke the pole. (Use only one, the other is kept in reserve in case the other wears out.)Jun 25, 2021 at 7:33 pm #3720114
BD must have developed the modified push buttons just to torture hikers
LOL!!! Possibly so. Up to this point, all seemed well. Heard back from BD today and they anticipate having the 105-125 cm FLZ’s back in stock mid-July so I have a bit more time to stew on it. Any other input would be greatly appreciated. Obviously, with the 40% discount, I’m limited to BD
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Our Community Posts are Moderated
Backpacking Light community posts are moderated and here to foster helpful and positive discussions about lightweight backpacking. Please be mindful of our values and boundaries and review our Community Guidelines prior to posting.