Black Diamond Trail Back Trekking Poles Review

This is a solid, budget-friendly offering from a well-regarded name. These poles hit above their weight in terms of robustness and utility and could surely last a lifetime.

Black Diamond Equipment Trail Back Trekking Poles - Dark Crimson

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Very reasonably priced option from a well-respected brand
  • Solid build

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Quite basic in terms of design
  • A tool is required to adjust the tension on the flip locks


Black Diamond are a very well-respected name in outdoor equipment and they are one of the first names many will think of when considering hiking poles. The Black Diamond Trail Backs are a basic, no-nonsense, three-section telescopic aluminum pole. There are other options out there that are perhaps more exciting, but the fact is that these are solid, well-made poles from a well-respected manufacturer. They offer a reasonable adjustment range, are relatively compact when collapsed – at least in comparison to other telescopic poles as folding poles will always be shorter. Spare parts are readily available too, so these poles could easily las you a lifetime.

Compare to Similar Products


Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond Trail Back Review is one of the more basic options in Black Diamond’s massive range of hiking poles. Just because it sits at the lower end of the price range doesn’t mean it’s a bad pole at all and, in fact, we’re very impressed by its no-nonsense ruggedness. For sure, you can buy poles that pack smaller and lighter – like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ – or which incorporate more anti-shock technology to claim to increase comfort such as the Leki Makalu FX Carbon AS (or the shorter Cressida variant), but these options all also cost considerably more than these poles. If you’re on a budget – or simply don’t want to spend a lot of money on your hiking poles – then these Trail Back poles are hard to fault, offering a fantastic, solid and serviceable product that could easily last a lifetime from a well-respected and established brand and all at a very attractive price point.

Performance Comparison


The Black Diamond Trail back Poles are fairly basic in terms of their design. Vibration dampening is basic and comes from a flexible tip and the padded soft grip (which is not as long as some competitors) and, as aluminum poles, you can expect them to transmit more impact vibration to your wrists than a carbon model. However, any differences here will be very subjective in terms of how you feel them in the real world and factors like your general level of fatigue and any underlying health conditions will factor in too. With this in mind, we do think that most potential buyers will find these poles uncomfortable and indeed their no-frills design might actually be an endearing feature for many. The poles are adjustable between 100cm/39in and 140cm/55in.


The Black Diamond Trail Back Poles weigh in at 484g/1lb 1oz for a pair. Whilst there are lighter poles in this round up – indeed some that are far lighter – these poles actually stand up very well in terms of weight, even coming in lighter than some of their far more expensive carbon fiber competitors. The minimal, no-frills design is surely a factor here and it goes to show that a simple design approach can still yield a product with a competitive weight even when the lightest materials are not used.

Shaft Materials

The Black Diamond Trail Back Poles use aluminum as their shaft material. This is generally what you’ll find on budget poles and whilst carbon fiber may seme more desirable, aluminum arguably still has the edge in terms of durability as, unlike carbon fiber, it will bend before it chips or cracks. You can bend an aluminum pole back into shape on the trial, but a cracked carbon fiber pole is essentially unfixable – certainly so on the trail. Beyond this, carbon fiber can become brittle at extremely low temperatures (to be fair, temperatures much lower than most hikers would ever likely encounter), so, if you take your poles into very extreme environments or expect them to receive rough treatment on your expeditions, aluminum is still regarded as a better material choice.

Packed Size

The Black Diamond Trail Back Poles fold down to 62cm/24in. As far as telescopic poles go, these are tied for the most compact size with the Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles from TheFitLife Of course, folding poles will always be more compact when folded, but the appeal of telescopic poles is that they offer a greater adjustable length range – that can be very useful if you haven’t used poles before as you’ll like want to experiment with different lengths. It’s also handy if you regularly hike in deep snow (with snow shoes) or if very steep descents are a big part of what you do. In these cases, it can be handy to lengthen the poles beyond how you might regularly have them set and the extra adjustment telescopic poles offer is really handy here.

Pole Adjustment Mechanism

This three-section telescopic pole uses flip locks to secure the leg sections. There’s a marked length scale on the leg sections to help speed up the setup of the pole. We generally prefer flip locks over twist locks, even if we do sometimes catch a finger or bit of skin in them. The tension on the locks on these poles can be adjusted, as you’d expect, but a small screwdriver is required to do this, which we think is a shame as other manufacturers have designs that allow for tool free adjustment of this.

Basket Size

The Trail Back Poles come fitted with a small basket – Black Diamonds standard Trekking Basket. This can easily be replaced with a wider snow basket or be removed completely if desired.

Grip Ergonomics and Material

These poles are fitted with a high-density foam ergonomic hand grips with a hard top. The grip isn’t as long as that on some alternatives, but still provides a secure and comfortable surface to hold on to.


Costing $99.95/£70.16 at the time of writing, the Black Diamond Trail Poles are the least expensive poles from a big name brand in our round up. They are basic, for sure, but if you’re looking for a set of poles from a recognized and trusted brand and with good availability of spare parts all without breaking the bank, then we think these are a great choice.


Black Diamond’s Trail Poles are an excellent set of basic, yet solid and reliable poles that come in at what we think is an excellent price point. There are certainly more high-tech options out there, but we think that many buyers simply won’t be bothered with these – especially when they can cost several times more than these poles. If you’re looking for a set of no-nonsense hiking poles that will do their job well, and continue to do it for years – decades, even – to come, then these are a great choice. Black Diamond are a well-established and well-respected brand and these poles encapsulate the quality they are known for. What’s more, should a part get damaged in use, Black Diamond offer spares parts, so these poles can just keep going and going. All in all, we think they are an excellent product and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

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