Concept / Mechanical Design / 3D CAD / Engineering / Materials / Pre-manufacture
The creation of the Z-Pole was a watershed moment in the history of the trekking pole industry. It was the first trekking pole to use a folding approach instead of telescoping, along with a rapid deployment system that allowed users to have strong poles when they need them on the trail and to stow them quickly in a pack when not.
The poles were much more compact when not in use than traditional poles (just over one foot long), and half of the weight of other typical lightweight poles on the market. The product was packed with other innovations, including: the first rubber tip for trail use on a trekking pole, advanced composite layups to achieve strength at low weight, multi-function cones at the joints for quick deployment and rattle elimination, a multi-hand position yet minimal grip, and a new lightweight/breathable/strong strap, among others.
The Z-Pole soon took over a significant portion of Black Diamond's trekking pole line and was imitated by a range of competitors.